Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a fly on the wall, up close and in the room, as iconic moments of history unfold?

 

What if history could be retold, not by the paid polemicists or university historians, but by the people who were there on the day. What if this retelling came with all unvarnished, irreverent occasionally contradictory humanity still intact?

 

These questions are the driving force behind my new show that’s currently in production. It’s called  I Was Actually There, and it’ll interview Australians who were there when our nation’s most culturally defining and memorable events happened. 

 

Were you there when Australian history happened?  Moments like Cathy Freeman winning gold, or that terrible day in Port Arthur, maybe you were there when Gogh Whitlam got dismissed, or that infamous party at Corey Worthington’s house? We’d love to hear from you! 

 

Let us know what iconic moment you’ve witnessed or what moment you would have liked to have been a fly on the wall at, to see what happened for yourself.

Kirk Docker is one of Australia’s finest interviewers and storytellers. He is the co-creator and director of the ABC program You Can’t Ask That, now in its 7th season. The show has been awarded Rose d’Or, AACTA and Walkley awards and is the most successful format in ABC history, selling to 32 territories, and broadcast in 9 different languages world wide. When it comes to the content he creates, no subject is off-topic. Kirk’s interviewees range from ex-politicians to ice users to sexual assault survivors. He has a deep curiosity, compassion and playfulness that elicits honesty from his participants, many of whom have never sat in front of a camera before. Through thousands of hours of open dialogue, what’s become absolutely clear to Kirk is that every human, no matter what they believe or how high their stature, share a core value: the desire to be understood. 

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NEWS

22.12.23
58 INTERVIEWS DOWN — Over the last 6 weeks I have spoken to some incredible people who have told me about life-defining moments and the wisdom they’ve learnt from them.  Some of the well-known names include Nicky Winmar, Todd Russell and Brant Webb, 97 yo Bob Rogers, and Bob Katter!  But what we do best is find those that you’ve never heard from.  In this series I Was Actually There, it doesn’t matter who you are—a main player or one on the periphery—if you witnessed it live, we are interested in your take. 
 
4.12.23
NEW QUESTIONABLE ADVICE — What can we learn about interviewing from the late, great Sir Michael Parkinson? Here are 4 things you can incorporate in your own style, in my latest issue of Questionable Advice.
 
27.11.23
EARLY SAMPLE OF I WAS ACTUALLY THERE – Made for Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Upfronts 2024. As you can imagine, I’m hearing some mind-blowing stuff. You can watch a small sample of the show here.
 
15.11.23
HR + L&D TECH FEST — I love speaking to different groups about the interview process and communication.  Regardless of who you are, getting better at asking tough questions and having difficult conversations is integral in both work and life.  I have a limited amount of time next year amongst making content if you’d like me to work with your team.  Contact Conor here for more detail.
 
23.10.23
SHOOT BEGINS — I Was Actually There is a 6 part documentary series, each episode focusing on a significant Australian historical moment.  Cut from the same cloth as You Can’t Ask That, each episode will feature a variety of voices with first-hand experience, intercut, to show how multiple truths can exist for any moment.  Season 1 will focus on the Port Arthur massacre in 1996, the Beaconsfield mine rescue in 2006, the Woomera Detention Centre breakout in 2002, Nicky Winmar’s “I’m black and I’m proud” stance in 1993, the Boxing Day tsunami 2004 and the Beatles visit to Adelaide in 1964.  Over the shoot period I will interview upwards of 60 people for the series.
 
11.10.23
SECOND NATURE x ANGUS MORTON — This is a project I’ve been working on for a while! It’s called Second Nature. It combines two of my loves, the outdoors and talking to the most interesting people in the world. The first event features Angus Morton. A former pro cyclist turned explorer. I’ve nabbed him while he’s out from the US for a live interview next Wednesday in Redfern. Followed by questions and general adventure chat! Follow Second Nature here.
 

YOU CAN'T ASK THAT

For 7 years I made a show for the ABC called You Can’t Ask That. There are 65 episodes over 7 seasons of the show.  It is the most successful format in ABC history, with 35 seasons around the world in 9 languages.

 

For those that don’t know the show I’d describe it as an interview show, where each episode we focus on a misunderstood or marginalised group of Australians – it could be Muslims or people living with Schizophrenia or Bogans.  All our participants live with a label.  What we’re trying to do is go past this label and understand who they truly are.  We do that by asking the questions you shouldn’t ask. Maybe you’d like to, but the questions are too rude or too insensitive or maybe you don’t have access to that person to ask it.  Each person then gets to answer these questions however they like.  The show only features people with first hand experience, so no experts or family speaking on anyone else’s behalf.  Just a group of people with a label, talking about what it’s like to be them.

 

WATCH IT HERE.

I see my job as one where I get to talk to the most interesting people in the world and ask them the most personal, honest, gut wrenching questions about who they are—and then I get to listen to them. Over the last 20 years, I’ve done this thousands of times. But what I’ve realised is this – I wasn’t born curious or inherently gifted at asking questions. Underneath it all is a whole lot of technique and a heap of practice.  These skills — asking difficult questions, looking to understand people — are not isolated to the TV and film interview arena, they are universal. So I’ve decided to start writing about what I’ve learnt over my career.  You can read it in my regular newsletter, QUESTIONABLE ADVICE. I’d love you to sign up!