• Search Keywords

  • Year

  • Production Status

  • Genre

  • Co-production

  • SA Supported

  • Indigenous creative

  • Length

  • Technique

Top-rating Australian documentaries

Top 10 documentaries on free-to-air television, 2008–2014


Next update February 2016

2014

Rank Title Format Channel Total people ('000s) TARP %* SHR %**
1 The Real Mary Poppins Short ABC 1,023 6.4% 15.7%
2 The Embassy Series 9 867 5.4% 16.5%
3 The Force – Behind the Line Series 7 829 5.2% 14.8%
4 Countdown: Do Yourself a Favour Series ABC 827 5.1% 16.6%
5 Border Security – Australia’s Front Line Series 7 818 5.1% 15.6%
6 Surveillance Oz Series 7 735 4.6% 15.3%
7 Great Whites: Secrets Revealed Short 9 718 4.4% 15.1%
8 Kings Cross ER Series 9 714 4.4% 14.2%
9 Two Men In China Series ABC 694 4.3% 11.4%
10 Bali: The Dark Side of Paradise Short 9 693 4.3% 26.3%

Source: OzTAM; compiled by Screen Australia.

Notes:
All people, consolidated, five-city metro average audience, 1 January to 31 December 2014. Includes first release and repeat screenings. Australian titles only.
Repeats may include episodes airing in one or more of the five-city metro regions.
Ranked by average audience. Programs with the same rating are ranked by unrounded total number of people viewing.
ABC’s main channel was renamed ABC1 in February 2008. SBS’s main channel was renamed SBS ONE in June 2009.
* TARP (Target Audience Rating Point): the average viewing audience expressed as a percentage of the Universe Estimate (see About the data).
** SHR (Share): refers to the viewers of a particular program or time band as a percentage of total TV viewing for the same time period across all stations including Subscription, Spill-in and Community TV (see About the data).

Top


2013

Rank Title Format Channel Total people ('000s) TARP %* SHR %**
1 The Force – Behind the Line Series 7 1,154 7.3% 17.8%
2 Bali: The Dark Side of Paradise Short 9 1,130 7.2% 17.1%
3 Whitlam: The Power and the Passion Series ABC1 1,044 6.6% 15.3%
4 Border Security – Australia’s Front Line Series 7 966 6.1% 17.3%
5 Redesign My Brain with Todd Sampson Series ABC1 945 6.0% 17.5%
6 The Search for the Ocean’s Super Predator Short ABC1 935 5.9% 15.1%
7 Air Rescue Series 7 877 5.6% 15.7%
8 Kakadu Series ABC1 799 5.1% 12.1%
9 Ten Bucks A Litre Short ABC1 740 4.7% 13.1%
10 Highway Patrol Series 7 735 4.7% 15.0%

Source: OzTAM; compiled by Screen Australia.

Notes:
All people, consolidated, five-city metro average audience, 1 January to 31 December 2013. Includes first release and repeat screenings. Australian titles only.
Repeats may include episodes airing in one or more of the five-city metro regions.
Ranked by average audience. Programs with the same rating are ranked by unrounded total number of people viewing.
ABC’s main channel was renamed ABC1 in February 2008. SBS’s main channel was renamed SBS ONE in June 2009.
* TARP (Target Audience Rating Point): the average viewing audience expressed as a percentage of the Universe Estimate (see About the data).
** SHR (Share): refers to the viewers of a particular program or time band as a percentage of total TV viewing for the same time period across all stations including Subscription, Spill-in and Community TV (see About the data).

Top


2012

Rank Title Format Channel Total people ('000s) TARP %* SHR %**
1 Anh Does Vietnam Series 7 1,578 10.1% 23.5%
2 Surveillance Oz Series 7 1,112 7.1% 18.8%
3 The Great Barrier Reef Series 9 1,098 7.0% 18.2%
4 Bikie Wars: Here and Now Short 10 1,089 6.9% 16.1%
5 The Force – Behind the Line Series 7 1,034 6.6% 15.9%
6 Air Ways Series 7 1,029 6.6% 16.7%
7 Border Security – Australia’s Front Line Series 7 976 6.2% 15.4%
8 Great Southern Land Series ABC1 863 5.5% 13.4%
9 Highway Patrol Series 7 850 5.4% 15.6%
10 Australia: The Time Traveller’s Guide Series ABC1 803 5.1% 12.1%

Source: OzTAM; compiled by Screen Australia.

Notes:
All people, consolidated, five-city metro average audience, 1 January to 31 December 2012. Includes first release and repeat screenings. Australian titles only.
Repeats may include episodes airing in one or more of the five-city metro regions.
Ranked by average audience. Programs with the same rating are ranked by unrounded total number of people viewing.
ABC’s main channel was renamed ABC1 in February 2008. SBS’s main channel was renamed SBS ONE in June 2009.
* TARP (Target Audience Rating Point): the average viewing audience expressed as a percentage of the Universe Estimate (see About the data).
** SHR (Share): refers to the viewers of a particular program or time band as a percentage of total TV viewing for the same time period across all stations including Subscription, Spill-in and Community TV (see About the data).

Top


2011

Rank Title Format Channel Total people ('000s) TARP %* SHR %**
1 The Force – Behind the Line Series 7 1,193 7.7% 18.4%
2 Border Security – Australia’s Front Line Series 7 1,090 7.1% 16.8%
3 Highway Patrol Series 7 933 6.1% 15.3%
4 Young Doctors Series 9 882 5.7% 14.7%
5 Bondi Rescue Series 10 865 5.6% 14.1%
6 Recipe for Murder Short ABC1 862 5.6% 14.4%
7 AFP – Australian Federal Police Series 9 846 5.5% 12.9%
8 RBT Series 9 803 5.2% 13.8%
9 Send in the Dogs Australia Series 9 794 5.2% 13.7%
10 ICU Series 7 791 5.1% 14.5%

Source: OzTAM; compiled by Screen Australia.

Notes:
All people, consolidated, five-city metro average audience, 1 January to 31 December 2011. Includes first release and repeat screenings. Australian titles only.
Repeats may include episodes airing in one or more of the five-city metro regions.
Ranked by average audience. Programs with the same rating are ranked by unrounded total number of people viewing.
ABC’s main channel was renamed ABC1 in February 2008. SBS’s main channel was renamed SBS ONE in June 2009.
* TARP (Target Audience Rating Point): the average viewing audience expressed as a percentage of the Universe Estimate (see About the data).
** SHR (Share): refers to the viewers of a particular program or time band as a percentage of total TV viewing for the same time period across all stations including Subscription, Spill-in and Community TV (see About the data).

Top


2010

Rank Title Format Channel Total people ('000s) TARP %* SHR %**
1 Such Is Life: The Troubled Times of Ben Cousins Series 7 1,999 13.4% 32.0%
2 Miracle at the Zoo Short 7 1,546 10.4% 24.2%
3 Air Ways Series 7 1,400 9.4% 22.8%
4 The Force – Behind the Line Series 7 1,261 8.5% 19.8%
5 Border Security – Australia’s Front Line^ Series 7 1,229 8.3% 19.6%
6 Trishna & Krishna: The Quest for Separate Lives Short 7 1,210 8.1% 21.2%
7 RSPCA Animal Rescue Series 7 1,147 7.7% 20.2%
8 Bondi Rescue Series 10 1,106 7.4% 18.2%
9 RBT Series 9 1,039 7.0% 18.6%
10 Crash Investigation Unit Series 7 1,020 6.9% 18.0%

Source: OzTAM; compiled by Screen Australia.

Notes:
All people, consolidated, five-city metro average audience, 1 January to 31 December 2010. Includes first release and repeat screenings. Australian titles only.
Repeats may include episodes airing in one or more of the five-city metro regions.
Ranked by average audience. Programs with the same rating are ranked by unrounded total number of people viewing.
ABC’s main channel was renamed ABC1 in February 2008. SBS’s main channel was renamed SBS ONE in June 2009.
* TARP (Target Audience Rating Point): the average viewing audience expressed as a percentage of the Universe Estimate (see About the data).
** SHR (Share): refers to the viewers of a particular program or time band as a percentage of total TV viewing for the same time period across all stations including Subscription, Spill-in and Community TV (see About the data).
^ Series average includes Border Security: C Squadron – Front Line in Afghanistan special.

Top


2009

Rank Title Format Channel Total people ('000s) TARP %* SHR %**
1 Find My Family Series 7 1,451 10.0% 24.6%
2 Border Security – Australia’s Front Line Series 7 1,425 9.8% 24.8%
3 Surf Patrol Series 7 1,415 9.7% 23.8%
4 RSPCA Animal Rescue Series 7 1,409 9.7% 25.4%
5 Triple Zero Heroes Series 7 1,380 9.5% 22.6%
6 Highway Patrol Series 7 1,353 9.3% 23.5%
7 The Force – Behind the Line Series 7 1,272 8.7% 21.4%
8 Air Ways Series 7 1,271 8.7% 22.8%
9 Bondi Rescue Series 10 1,267 8.7% 22.1%
10 Last Chance Surgery Series 7 1,240 8.5% 24.2%

Source: OzTAM; compiled by Screen Australia.

Notes:
All people, consolidated, five-city metro average audience, 1 January to 31 December 2009. Includes first release and repeat screenings. Australian titles only.
Repeats may include episodes airing in one or more of the five-city metro regions.
Ranked by average audience. Programs with the same rating are ranked by unrounded total number of people viewing.
ABC’s main channel was renamed ABC1 in February 2008. SBS’s main channel was renamed SBS ONE in June 2009.
* TARP (Target Audience Rating Point): the average viewing audience expressed as a percentage of the Universe Estimate (see About the data).
** SHR (Share): refers to the viewers of a particular program or time band as a percentage of total TV viewing for the same time period across all stations including Subscription, Spill-in and Community TV (see About the data).

Top


2008

Rank Title Format Channel Total people ('000s) TARP %* SHR %**
1 Find My Family^ Series 7 1,768 12.4% 30.9%
2 Border Security – Australia’s Front Line Series 7 1,591 11.2% 26.0%
3 The Force – Behind the Line Series 7 1,591 11.2% 25.6%
4 RSPCA Animal Rescue Series 7 1,576 11.1% 27.8%
5 The Zoo Series 7 1,449 10.2% 27.3%
6 Made in China Short 7 1,399 9.8% 23.6%
7 Surf Patrol Series 7 1,363 9.6% 21.6%
8 Crash Investigation Unit Series 7 1,255 8.8% 23.0%
9 Bondi Rescue Series 10 1,241 8.7% 22.0%
10 The Prime Minister is Missing Short ABC1 1,238 8.7% 24.0%

Source: OzTAM; compiled by Screen Australia.

Notes:
All people, consolidated, five-city metro average audience, 1 January to 31 December 2008. Includes first release and repeat screenings. Australian titles only.
Repeats may include episodes airing in one or more of the five-city metro regions.
Ranked by average audience. Programs with the same rating are ranked by unrounded total number of people viewing.
ABC’s main channel was renamed ABC1 in February 2008. SBS’s main channel was renamed SBS ONE in June 2009.
* TARP (Target Audience Rating Point): the average viewing audience expressed as a percentage of the Universe Estimate (see About the data).
** SHR (Share): refers to the viewers of a particular program or time band as a percentage of total TV viewing for the same time period across all stations including Subscription, Spill-in and Community TV (see About the data).
^ Series average includes Find My Family – Reunions special.

Top