Race Around the World
Created byMichael Rubbo
Directed byJohn Lander
Presented byRichard Fidler
JudgesDavid Caesar
Sarah Macdonald
Tony Squires
Sigrid Thornton
Country of originAustralia
Original languageEnglish
No. of series2
No. of episodes21
Executive producersDavid Leonard (series 1)
David Jowsey (series 2)
ProducersPaige Livingston (series 1)
Deborah Boerne (series 2)
Running time30 minutes
Production companyABC TV
Budget$1,217,837 (series 1)[1]
Original networkABC
Original release2 June 1997 (1997-06-02) –
26 October 1998 (1998-10-26)
Race Around the Corner (1998)
Race Around Oz (2000)

Race Around the World was an Australian travel documentary and competition series produced by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in 1997 and 1998. The series was brought to the ABC by filmmaker Michael Rubbo,[2] and was based on the Canadian television series[3] Course destination monde (1988–1999).

Both seasons were hosted by Richard Fidler, a former member of the Doug Anthony All Stars comedy group.[4]


For each series, eight "racers" were selected from video auditions from the Australian general public. The only stipulation for the video auditions was a lead in of ten seconds of black. John Safran submitted his audition with ten seconds of yellow. The successful applicants undertook a brief course in documentary film-making, before deciding on an itinerary for their journey around the world. They were then given a digital video camera, and sent to their first destination.[5]

Over the next 100 days, the racers were required to devise, arrange and film a series of ten four-minute documentary films,[5] as well as a stand-by documentary and five "postcards". This gave them ten days to travel to their next destination, film the video, and send it back to the ABC in Sydney with detailed editing instructions.[6]

The series was broadcast as a weekly half-hour program, with four films shown per episode. Each film was then judged by a panel of three media and film experts including David Caesar,[7] Sarah Macdonald,[8] Tony Squires[9] and Sigrid Thornton, as well as being put to a popular viewer vote. Points were deducted for late submissions.[10]


First series (1997)

Olivia Rousset was the winner of the first series.[11]

Second series (1998)

Tony Wilson was the winner of the second series.[12]

After the Race

Although receiving fairly high ratings for its timeslot, Race Around the World was a considerable logistical and financial drain on the publicly funded ABC. In 2000, the series, now entitled Race Around Oz, was restricted to the Australian continent because it was the Olympic year and the producers wished to focus on Australia.[13]

A youth-oriented program titled Race Around the Corner was produced by ABC Children's Unit with students (14–16 years of age) making low-budget local productions in the same style as Race Around the World.[14][15]

Host Richard Fidler undertook a few more television hosting gigs, including the short-lived ABC art and culture chat program Vulture.[16] He then became a radio presenter and host of the popular Conversations radio show and podcast.[4]

Most of the racers from the series went on to pursue careers in media and film-making:

See also


  1. ^ Parliamentary Debates (Hansard).: House of Representatives, Volume 219
  2. ^ Coslovich, Gabriella (26 January 2018). "How brothers Mark and Michael Rubbo have spurred each other's creative careers". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  3. ^ a b The electronic reporter : broadcast journalism in Australia (2nd ed.). University of New South Wales Press. 2006. ISBN 0868404950.
  4. ^ a b Peatling, Stephanie (15 September 2017). "Richard Fidler confesses to radio's sound of silence and beautiful suspense". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  5. ^ a b c The SBS story : the challenge of diversity. University of New South Wales Press. 2008. ISBN 978-0868408392.
  6. ^ a b Stevenson, Martin (17 April 1998). "Sheona focuses on TV race". The Examiner. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  7. ^ "a film for all markets". RealTime Arts. January 2009. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  8. ^ "Sarah Macdonald". ABC Radio. 21 December 2016. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  9. ^ "How I became a TV Star". The Sydney Morning Herald. 15 April 2003. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  10. ^ "Race Around the World Rules and Regulations". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 20 October 2011. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  11. ^ Christopher, Lissa (5 March 2007). "Walkley winner's solo journeys". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  12. ^ Dubecki, Larissa (18 November 2006). "Convert to the cause". The Age. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  13. ^ "Race Around Oz (2000)". The Screen Guide. Screen Australia. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  14. ^ ABC Annual Report 1997–1998 (PDF). Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
  15. ^ "Race Around the Corner (1998)". The Screen Guide. Screen Australia. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  16. ^ "Cultural arty facts". The Age. 22 September 2005. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  17. ^ "6 Aussies Celebs Who Became Famous From Winning Competitions". Hit Network. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  18. ^ Compton, Leon (17 December 2009). "Crucifying John Safran". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  19. ^ Corporation, Australian Broadcasting. "Kim Traill has told the stories of Russia for almost 20 years". Conversations with Richard Fidler. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  20. ^ "Cath Turner: Television Reporter, Channel 7". Samantha Wills Foundation. Samantha Wills Foundation. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  21. ^ Wong, Tessa (25 January 2017). "The Oscar-worthy film inspired by a tribal song". Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  22. ^ "Of killer bees and jamborees". The Age. 19 June 2002. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  23. ^ "Ben Davies – The Brains Behind Bondi Rescue". The Beast. 1 March 2015. Retrieved 27 February 2019.