Imagine watching a 3-hour TV program with no music, talking or ads. Sound boring? Actually, it isn’t. Welcome to the world of ‘Slow TV.’

The Ghan: ‘Australia’s Greatest Train Journey’ is an Australian-first foray into the ‘Slow TV’ movement and screened last night on primetime SBS TV and was also streamed LIVE across SBS On Demand and SBS Australia Facebook.

The insightful program takes viewers on a journey aboard Australia’s most iconic passenger train voyage from Adelaide to Darwin, condensing what is a 54-hour journey down to 3-hours of visual enjoyment.

Three hours, no breaks; just you, the viewer, the tracks beneath, and stunning landscapes and sounds of the central Australian outback rushing past.


To make the program, the crew used 15 cameras, plus a helicopter, to capture the footage and graphics alongside archival imagery to share the construction story of the 2979 kilometre ‘Ghan line’.

The graphics that pop up share interesting facts about the train and the route and tell stories about historical points such as the Afghans from where The Ghan got its name, where the first camel was on the route and about the Chinese coolies that came to mine the gold.

There’s no narration or music, just beautiful sound and graphics to accompany the journey. Interestingly, it works to keep you entertained and seems to mesmerise you along the way, kind of forcing you to relax really.

‘Slow TV’ is an innovative style of television which invites the viewer on an immersive journey.

The trend originated in Europe, where hours of real-time footage of events and voyages such as a Hurtigruten ferry ride up the spectacular coastline of Norway, live salmon fishing, and a 168-hour reindeer migration have all been hugely popular, with viewers welcoming an escape from the frenetic pace of modern life.

Norway's Reindeer Migration was a Social media hit

Norway’s Reindeer Migration was a Social media hit

One show, for example, called ‘National Firewood Night’ was streamed on Netflix and was watched by almost a million people when it was broadcast in Norway. That’s almost 20 percent of the population, essentially watching a fire burning.

What’s all that about then?

In a world of smartphone addiction and ultra busy lives, Slow TV is tipped as the antidote to the violent and sexually graphic content we are increasingly offered on TV, not to mention the mind-numbing wasteland of free-to-air reality TV.

It’s uninterrupted by advertising and well, just relaxing really.

Norwegian Cruise line Hurtigruten famously captured a five and a half day cruise through the Fjords in 2015 and in doing so created the world’s longest TV Documentary.

Three million people watched the resulting documentary.

For travel, naturally, this is a massive opportunity to present a destination or product in a different way and bring the experience into someone’s living room.

And of course, inspire people to go and see the real thing for themselves.

READ: Move over Netflix, Norway is live streaming their reindeer migration

What do you think about the Slow TV trend? Sound boring? Or something you’d be into?