1 9 8 1 – 1 9 8 4 (Australia)
This offering from Australia’s SBS television introduced Australian music viewers to sounds from continents other than the UK and USA.
Producer Bernie Cannon said at the time that the show “wanted to show the local kids that good music was occurring in other places like Holland, quite amazing stuff from West Germany, France, Japan and South America: that it was a universal language among the youth”.
The show was hosted by Polish-born Basia Bonkowski (pictured above), who, despite her ultra-cool on-camera delivery, described herself as a music fan rather than an expert. Australian band Painters and Dockers released the single Basia (1984) in her honour.
Rock Around The World was first mooted to Bruce Gyngell, then head of the SBS 0/28 network, shortly after the station began broadcasting at the end of 1980. An unsuccessful pilot was made, and a year later the programme went to air.
Originally airing on Friday nights, the success of the show saw it eventually aired as four half-hour shows running Monday to Thursday.
Producer/director Al Maricic had been the producer in 1965 of the Melbourne pop show Kommotion (on which he employed the soon to be ubiquitous Molly Meldrum). In the intervening years, he managed several Australian bands and was credited with discovering Ross Ryan.
Basia Bonkowski (whose married name was Basia Rendall) passed away on 3 September 2022 following a lifelong battle with lymphoma.