Podcast | Kirk Docker (I Was Actually There)
Kirk Docker (image - ABC)

Podcast | Kirk Docker (I Was Actually There)

Podcast | Kirk Docker (I Was Actually There) – is one of Australia’s finest interviewers and storytellers.

Kirk Docker is the co-creator and director of the ABC program You Can’t Ask That, now in its 7th season. Kirk tackles every topic imaginable, from ex-politicians to ice users to sexual assault survivors. Known for his deep curiosity, compassion, and playfulness, Kirk elicits honest dialogue, even from those new to the camera. Through thousands of hours of conversations, Kirk has discovered a universal truth: every human, regardless of beliefs or status, shares the fundamental desire to be understood.

In his new series, I Was Actually There, Kirk explores hidden perspectives and never-before-seen footage to create a rich, experience-driven picture of the events that shaped Australia. Across six episodes, the show delves into pivotal moments such as the Port Arthur Massacre, the Boxing Day tsunami, Nicky Winmar’s stand against racism, The Beatles’ record-breaking visit to Adelaide, the Woomera detention centre breakout, and the Beaconsfield mine rescue. Join us as we explore these significant events in a whole new light.

On this podcast, Kirk chats about:
  • His aim to retell impactful events meaningfully
  • Securing participants to talk about Port Arthur and understanding its tragedy without naming the gunman
  • Exploring the Boxing Day Tsunami 2004 and the Beatles’ Adelaide tour in 1964
  • The broader impact of the Beatles’ visit on Adelaide
  • Interviewing Brant and Todd about the Beaconsfield mine rescue and its community ripple effects
  • Differences between I Was Actually There and You Can’t Ask That
  • His personal background and its influence on his storytelling
  • Addressing if there were questions deemed unaskable on You Can’t Ask That
  • The importance of multiple perspectives in recounting events for I Was Actually There

Link to ABC iview HERE

Podcast | Kirk Docker (I Was Actually There)

TV Central ABC content HERE

Thanks to Peta Mackey at ABC for organising this podcast

Pick your player below. The podcast is also available through Apple Podcasts, Deezer, Amazon, iheart Radio and more

I Was Actually There

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 emotional was it to be part of the high-stakes rescue mission of two mineWhat were you thinking as you lost your grip on your teenage son in the raging waters of the Boxing Day tsunami? Or sped away from a desert detention centre in Woomera with an escaped asylum seeker hiding in your car? Perhaps you snuck into an Adelaide hotel to meet The Beatles or captured the moment on a suburban footy field where a proud Noongar man called out Australia’s racism?

I Was Actually There is a bold, new six-part ABC documentary series, brought to us by the team behind You Can’t Ask That. It explores defining moments of our recent history through the eyes, ears, and voices of those who witnessed them firsthand.

“It’s almost impossible to put yourself into these moments by reading a Wikipedia entry,”

– says Kirk Docker, director of I Was Actually There.

“When you hear the intimate details from regular people of what it was like to be inside these events, you realize history is so personal and so individual. You and I could be standing next to each other in the midst of the same moment, and yet the impact on each of us could be worlds apart.”

Employing the unfiltered and up-close interviewing style that made You Can’t Ask That an international sensation, I Was Actually There uncovers hidden perspectives and never-before-seen footage to create a multi-dimensional, experience-driven picture of the events that shaped Australia.

Port Arthur
Podcast | Kirk Docker (I Was Actually There)
Brigid Cook

Brigid Cook was working as a chef at Broad Arrow that day and was shot by the gunman.

“It felt like someone had driven a star picket into my leg. It was really immediate and really wrong,”

– she says.

Somehow, she managed to escape and warn others of what was happening, saving countless lives in the process. “I was so full of adrenaline I could still run.”

Nicky Winmar stand against racism
Podcast | Kirk Docker (I Was Actually There)
Gilbert McAdam

“Swearing at you, spitting at you, calling you everything under the sun, which I won’t repeat,”

McAdam recalls, adding that abuse was far from an exception in those days.

“Every club tried it, don’t worry. As the siren sounded, Winmar faced Collingwood fans, lifted his shirt, pointed his middle finger at his stomach, and uttered the now immortal phrase, “I’m black and I’m proud to be black.”

Boxing Day Tsunami
Podcast | Kirk Docker (I Was Actually There)
Alexa Moses

Heart wrenching accounts of loss, miraculous tales of survival, and the reactions of ordinary people to
extraordinary circumstances dominate this second episode.

“I’m not brave. I have great respect for paramedics, police, fire fighters. These are people who run towards danger. I don’t know how they do it. I know that I’m not one of them,”

– says survivor Alexa Moses.
Beatles in Adelaide
Podcast | Kirk Docker (I Was Actually There)
Kate Fitzpatrick

When the most famous musicians on the planet flew into Adelaide on an Ansett-ANA jet, they had no idea that the biggest crowd they would ever witness was waiting for them. The Beatles made their way through the streets surrounded by 350,000 screaming fans – more than half the population of the city.

Explaining the hysteria, then 14-year old Beatles fan, now actress, Kate Fitzpatrick says,

“You just got sucked along with it. You can understand those cult things where they all drink Kool-Aid.”

Woomera Detention Centre breakout
Podcast | Kirk Docker (I Was Actually There)
Ali Malekizad

A demonstration against indefinite mandatory detention at Woomera detention centre, in the middle
of the South Australian desert, attracted more than a thousand concerned citizens from all over the

“It was hard to believe all these people coming there, but when it happened it was more like a miracle,”

– then asylum seeker Ali Malekizad recalls.
Kirk Docker
Podcast | Kirk Docker (I Was Actually There)
Kirk Docker

As a director, storyteller and interviewer, I am particularly interested in telling the stories of ordinary people, or aspects of peoples’ lives that are misunderstood, judged or feared. I like putting faces on screen that are often ignored or dismissed and through telling their stories, normalise these people and their experiences.

In my interviewing, I strive for authenticity from my subjects, and through deep curiosity and care for them and their story, find new revelations. I then present to the audience these honest and deeply personal perspectives, so that the way we see the world is challenged or changed.

This philosophy is at the core of I Was Actually There. We take an established truth about a moment in our history and through a variety of voices, present a new understanding of that moment.

I wanted to challenge the audience to consider that opposing truths can exist simultaneously. That you can connect with someone who seems so different from yourself when you hear their perspective. But also I want to show that as humans, the way in which we deal with defining events is not clearcut.

There can be humour in the most tragic of circumstances. There can be gravity in times of irreverence. How someone has lived through an experience is almost always more complex, nuanced and weird than we realise, until we actually hear their take.

In 2024, how we understand truth has been in upheaval, so it feels timely to be able to chart not only multiple versions of events, but also look at how Australia has changed. We’re not interested in judging or justifying but simply observing the progress or otherwise of this nation and where we sit in the world.

Finally, I’m most interested in understanding the impact these moments have had on Australians, how they have grown or lived with this history and how they feel about its place in our collective memory.

Kirk Docker

Kirk Docker in picture
Podcast | Kirk Docker (I Was Actually There)

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