There have been some shocking moments throughout the last few decades of Australian TV and whether they happened live or were pre-recorded, they’re likely to stick in your memory for a long time.
From epic blunders live on air, to embarrassing stumbles and even a slurring and apparently ‘drunk’ Karl Stefanovic, primetime TV has served up endless cringeworthy moments and hilarious memories.
Whether they left you laughing, cringing or fuming with anger, they’re here to stay thanks to the wonders of the internet and social media. But which one do you remember watching and loving?
Here’s a look back at some of the most shocking moments on Aussie screens.
Karl Stefanovic was famously filmed in fits of giggles and slurring his words as he appeared beside his former Today show co-host Lisa Wilkinson the morning after the Logies in 2009, prompting anger from many viewers who claimed he was still drunk from the night before.
It prompted a huge backlash and Karl was forced to apologise on air when he reappeared on Today two days later. He said at the time: “I guess the first thing I have to say is that yes, it was a very big Logies night, probably too big.”
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, he added: “I didn’t feel drunk when I woke up the next morning otherwise I would not have gone on-air. I like to think that I’m professional enough to have made that decision.
“But clearly from the vision that I have seen, I wasn’t at my best and what I want to do is apologise to anyone out there who may have, um, you know, been offended by my behaviour on Monday morning. So, humble apologies to you all.”
Meanwhile, he addressed the scandal again in 2014 in a YouTube video, adding: “I remember seeing it on Today Tonight and going ‘Oh god’. I really was drunk, or at least I certainly looked and sounded drunk.”
While she’s arguably one of the most controversial characters on prison drama Wentworth, viewers were nonetheless shocked when Joan ‘The Freak’ Ferguson was buried alive in the series five finale.
The gripping moment was a revenge act for fellow character Bea – with a photo of the much-loved character nailed to the roof of the coffin to ensure the message hit home.
Her fate was kept a secret throughout series six, before the box was dug up again at the end to reveal she had in fact died inside.
Some TV mishaps disappear with time, while others remain firmly planted in our memory for life. Unfortunately for Aussie favourite Bert Newton, his major Logies disaster falls into the latter bracket.
Muhammad Ali was invited as a guest of honour to the 1979 Logies and appeared onstage alongside Newton to present the final award.
After exchanging some light-hearted banter, Ali said to his companion: “I was told I was coming here to give out an award, they didn’t tell me I was going to do an interview.”
Apparently unaware of what it could mean, or simply not planning his words in advance, Newton replied: “I like the boy” – a remark that is considered racist by many.
Ali responded: “Did you say Roy or boy?” To which a worried-looking Newton responded: “I said ‘I like the boy’.” He turned to the audience, realising something was wrong, before asking: “Is there anything wrong with saying that?”
As shouts came from the audience, with some spectators shouting, “Roy”, he stepped back and attempted to cover up his mistake by joking: “Hang on, hang on. I’ll change religion for you, I’ll do anything, I don’t care.”
Luckily, Ali took the error good-naturedly.
She’s known for her glamour and poise on camera, but even Carrie Bickmore has her down days and one of the most memorable came in 2013 when she took a nasty stumble live on air.
The co-host of The Project was about to do a live cross back to the show when she slipped and lost her footing, immediately disappearing from the camera’s view.
Luckily she was uninjured and launched into a fit of laughter, before taking off her shoe and holding it up to the camera to show the world where it had all gone wrong. She said: “Look at what I am wearing, clearly I cannot stand.”
The incident earned her the nickname ‘Carrie Stackmore’ at the time, but she took it all in her stride like a true professional.
He’s known as one of Today‘s most popular weathermen, but poor Steve Jacobs discovered first-hand how things can go wrong during a live cross on the show when he stepped in to present a rooster to the camera.
All was going well until the bird began to move around dramatically in his arms, before flapping around and scaring the TV star.
Clearly shocked and taken by surprise, he began shouting, placed the rooster down and then immediately ran away with his arms waving in the air to escape. The Today show shared the funny moment on YouTube shortly after and it got some hilarious responses from viewers, with one commenting: “BAHAHAHAHHAAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAAAHAHHAHAAH,” while another added: “The rooster was looking for a perch.”
In 2012, Karl Stefanovic lost his cool during an interview with Victorian farmer Will Jelbart after a farm visitor’s wedding ring was digested by a calf named Yogi.
Karl joked with the guest that the bloke would have had to go home and explain to his wife that “the cow sucked it off”, but it was the guest’s naughty response that set Karl off.
Jelbart replied: “Maybe his wife was asking what else the cow was sucking off,” before adding, “Maybe I shouldn’t have said that on telly.”
The camera cut to Karl going beetroot red in the face as he fought back hysterical laughter.
Sarah Murdoch put her foot in it when she announced the wrong winner of Australia’s Next Top Model in 2010.
Murdoch announced that contestant Kelsey had won the competition, before a producer told her she’d made a mistake via her earpiece. The mortified presenter was forced to admit her error and break the news to Kelsey that she had actually lost to rival Amanda, despite already giving her acceptance speech and thanking everyone.
Holding her head in her hands, she said: “I feel a bit sick about this. This was a complete accident, it was fed to me wrong. This is what happens when you have live TV.”
Virginia Trioli suffered one of the most memorable on-air mistakes on Aussie TV during a chat with then-Senator Barnaby Joyce, when she was caught mocking him on air.
The TV star made headlines at the time after footage of her interview was beamed around the country. Speaking about the incident recently, she admitted that when she realised footage of her twirling her finger against her temple, implying Joyce was crazy, had been shown on air, her “heart stopped dead for a full five seconds”.
Tragically, Trioli, who is celebrating 10 years on the national broadcaster’s breakfast program this month, told the Women in Media conference on the Gold Coast in September that she suffered a miscarriage after the footage of her infamous 2009 interview went live.
Pulling off a live cross from a flying plane is one thing, but managing to stay focused while the pilot is performing terrifying stunts is something else entirely – as Grant Denyer found out the hard way in 2013 on Sunrise.
As co-host Mel Doyle watched on via a satellite hook-up, Denyer began speaking to viewers from the plane, as his head was thrown around by the strong G-Forces.
Unfortunately, while he looked queasy early on, it went from bad to worse as one movement made the weatherman pass out cold on camera. Explaining what happened later, he admitted to Confidential: “My whole body just started to feel all warm and cosy to be honest… I had no idea I passed out. But I was out for about six or seven seconds.”