UPDATED: Go Back To Where You Came From gives SBS highest 2011 ratings

23 June, 2011 by Sam Dallas

SBS’ bold new documentary series Go Back To Where You Came From has given the multicultural network its highest ratings of the year.

Last night’s (Thursday) episode of the controversial series – which uniquely looks at the heated asylum-seeker debate – had about 600,000 viewers in the five mainland capitals, according to preliminary ratings from Oztam.


This is a jump on Wednesday's episode which pulled in 569,000 viewers. The show premiered on Tuesday with about 524,000 viewers.

Launched in refugee week, the Cordell Jigsaw-produced series features six Australians (with strong views on immigration) who live like refugees for 25 dangerous days. Tracing in reverse the journeys that refugees have taken to reach Australia, they travel to some of the most dangerous and desperate corners of the world, with no idea what is in store for them along the way.

Last night’s episode featured the six ordinary Australians – Roderick, Adam, Gleny, Raquel, Darren and Raye – in Iraq and Congo, Central Africa.

The series, narrated by Colin Friels, was funded by Screen Australia and Screen NSW.

SBS’ director of television and online content, Matt Campbell, says it was a good way of broaching the issue for Australians – and getting the perspective of the average person on the street.

“We knew this was going to be an absolute bombshell and it hasn’t disappointed that’s for sure,” an elated Campbell told IF.

SBS’ website – which offers a catchup service – has raked up 30,000 views in the first 24-hours since Tuesday, breaking the site's record.

Talk about the show has spilled onto Twitter and was the most tweeted subject in the world on Tuesday night. Wednesday night, Western Sydney participant Raquel Moore was the most tweeted "subject" in Australia.

But don't despair – this won't be the last time you will be seeing the participants' faces. IF can reveal that next Tuesday night, participants and their families will be part of a special discussion at SBS’ Sydney studio. Audience members will be made up of selected Twitter identities, who SBS will contact.