The Ghan is SBS's first foray into
The Ghan is SBS's first foray into "slow TV". Lisa Hatzimihail

The weirdest TV show of 2018

SBS has released first footage from the weirdest Aussie TV event of all time with The Ghan: Australia's Great Train Journey.

The program consists of three hours of footage taken from a camera on the front of the famed luxury passenger train as it travels across Central Australia.

The Ghan train will be the subject of a slow TV special by SBS. Picture: AAP
The Ghan train will be the subject of a slow TV special by SBS. Picture: AAP

The hypnotic vision - with no breaks - consists solely of the tracks and the outback landscape rushing past.

SBS has programmed The Ghan: Australia's Greatest Train Journey in a prime time Sunday 7.30pm timeslot on January 7.

The Ghan: Australia's Greatest Train Journey is Aussie television's first attempt at slow TV, a concept that originated in Europe and derives from filmmaker Andy Warhol's 1963 film Sleep.

In 2009, Bergensbanen minute by minute depicted a seven-hour train journey from Bergen to Oslo. 2011's Hurtigruten minute my minute covered a 134-hour ship voyage from Bergen to Kirkenes.

The Ghan travelling through outback Australia.
The Ghan travelling through outback Australia.

The trend has proved immensely popular. More than half the Norwegian population watched some of the Hurtigruten broadcast.

Other slow TV telecasts have included live salmon fishing and a 168-hour reindeer migration.

SBS has had great ratings success with Michael Portillo's various train series including Great British Railway Journeys, Great European Railway Journeys and Great American Railway Journeys.

Red Centre dawn taken from the Ghan en-route from Darwin to Alice Springs. Picture: Glenn Thomas
Red Centre dawn taken from the Ghan en-route from Darwin to Alice Springs. Picture: Glenn Thomas

"As you know, some of our audience quite enjoys train journeys," SBS's director of TV and online content, said.

"It (The Ghan) is a three-hour immersive journey. It certainly hasn't been seen on TV in Australia before. It might almost be crazy enough to actually work.

"Slow TV offers an alternative to the noise, drama and disruption of other shows, and gives viewers a unique opportunity to pause."

The Ghan - the name honours Afghan camel drivers - travels between Adelaide and Darwin with a four-hour stopover in Alice Springs. The 2979 kilometre trip takes 54 hours.

The Ghan will screen on SBS at 7.30pm on January 7 and be streamed live on SBS On Demand.



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