1 9 6 7 – 1 9 7 8 (Australia)
Commonly abbreviated to TDT, This Day Tonight was Australia’s first nightly current affairs television show.
Based on the BBC daily current affairs program 24 Hours, it first aired on 10 April 1967 and found itself immersed in controversy almost immediately.
Its reports and influence led to libel suits and other legal action, sackings, suspensions, strikes, official inquiries, questions in state and federal Houses of Parliament, confrontations, physical assaults, resignations, outcries, scandals and threats of being brought before Parliamentary bars.
The list of comperes and reporters who spent time with TDT reads like a Who’s Who of the Australian electronic news media. They included Bill Peach, Michael Willesee, Peter Couchman, Richard Carleton, Gerald Stone, Frank Bennett, Caroline Jones, George Negus, Peter Luck, Mike Minehan, Kate Baillieu and Iain Finlay.
Besides breaking many important news stories, TDT was also important in establishing the format and reporting style which has been copied by most of the subsequent current affairs programmes on Australian television.
When TDT debuted, it had the largest budget of any Australian TV show, costing the ABC more than $1,000,000 a year.
TDT won many awards during its years of broadcast including Logie awards for Best News Programme (1967), Most Outstanding Coverage of Political Affairs (1971) and Outstanding Contribution to TV Journalism in 1977.
The final episode aired on 1 December 1978 after eleven-and-a-half years as the flagship of the Australian Broadcasting Commission’s television current affairs department.
Michael Willesee successfully took the basic format to commercial television as A Current Affair.