I Was Actually There, ABC iview – streaming preview

From the team who made You Can't Ask That, this series interviews witnesses and participants in events that shaped Australia's recent history.
I Was Actually There, ABC iview.

What is I Was Actually There?

From the makers of factual series You Can’t Ask That, I Was Actually There is a new six-part documentary series on the ABC, exploring the defining moments of our recent history through the eyes, ears and voices of those who witnessed them firsthand.

I Was Actually There asks questions of real life witnesses and participants in historical events, like: What was it like to lie quietly on the floor of the Broad Arrow Cafe in Port Arthur while a mass murderer shot everyone around you? How did it feel to be a first responder on the scene of the massacre? To be the journalist who accidentally found herself on the phone with the gunman? Or the sniper tasked with taking him out? Other episodes explore events like the Boxing Day tsunami, helping an asylum seeker escape the desert detention centre of Woomera, or bantering with The Beatles in their Adelaide hotel room.

Who appears in I Was Actually There?

Real life witnesses and participants in the events covered. The host is interviewer and storyteller Kirk Docker.

What is the style of the show?

The show promises the ‘unfiltered and up-close interviewing style that made You Can’t Ask That an international sensation’ combined with never-before-seen footage of the events that shaped Australia.

Read: ABC offers internships to cast of The Assembly

Who’s the director?

Kirk Docker.

What’s the country of origin?


How many episodes?


What historical events does the first season of I Was Actually There cover?

  • Episode 1: Port Arthur massacre: 28 April, 1996
  • Episode 2: Boxing Day tsunami: 26 December, 2004
  • Episode 3 AFL footballer Nicky Winmar’s stand against racism: 17 April, 1993
  • Episode 4: The Beatles’ world record-breaking Adelaide visit: 12 June, 1964
  • Episode 5: Woomera Detention Centre breakout: 29 March, 2002
  • Episode 6: Beaconsfield mine rescue: 9 May, 2006

Will there be more?

Looks like it. Docker media is calling for audience questions and future suggestions for episodes.

Tell me about the companion podcast

I Was Actually There presents a companion podcast, releasing on Tuesday 9 July on the ABC listen app. Also hosted by Kirk Docker, each episode features an in-depth interview with an individual featured in the television series.

Who created the show?

Kirk Docker, Aaron Smith, and Jon Casimir.

What’s the production company?

I Was Actually There is a Docker Media production for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Finance by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Screen NSW.

Who are the producers?

Executive producer is Kirk Docker. Producers are Loni Cooper, Josh Schmidt and Jess Skinner.

Where and when can I watch I Was Actually There?

The series begins broadcasts on Tuesday 9 July, at 8pm on ABC TV, with all episodes available to stream on ABC iview.

Show me the trailer of I Was Actually There.

I Was Actually There premieres on ABC on 9 July.

Rochelle Siemienowicz is the ArtsHub Group's Education and Career Editor. She is a journalist for Screenhub and is a writer, film critic and cultural commentator with a PhD in Australian cinema. She was the co-host of Australia's longest-running film podcast 'Hell is for Hyphenates' and has written a memoir, Fallen, published by Affirm Press. Her second book, Double Happiness, a novel, will be published by Midnight Sun in 2024. Instagram: @Rochelle_Rochelle Twitter: @Milan2Pinsk