Catalyst (TV program)

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Genre Science
Presented by Graham Phillips
Theme music composer David Chapman, Zig Zag Lane[1]
Country of origin Australia
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 16
Executive producer(s) Ingrid Arnott[1]
Producer(s) Geraldine McKenna, Paul Schneller, Matthew Lovering, Adam Collins, Karen Appathurai[1]
Editor(s) Vaughan Smith, Andrew Glover, Meredith Hopes, Rowan Tucker-Evans, Chris Spurr, Lile Judickas[1]
Camera setup Kevin May, Ron Ekkle[1]
Running time 30 Minutes
Original channel ABC
Picture format 480p (SD)
Original run 2001 – present
Preceded by Quantum (1985–2001)
External links

Catalyst is the ABC's primary science journalism television series and the only science show on primetime television in Australia. Launched in 2001, it replaced Quantum, which had ceased the previous year. Catalyst is regularly broadcast on ABC 1 at 8:00 pm on Tuesdays and at 11:30 am Saturdays. Also repeated on ABC News 24 on Saturdays at 4:30 pm.

Catalyst celebrated its tenth year of production in 2010.


The show broadcasts stories on scientific themes, and in particular significant recent developments and discoveries. It focuses primarily on stories relevant to Australia, but the series covers international developments as well. It attempts to convey information in a way that is not only accurate but also interesting and informative to the general population, often discussing the ethical, political, and other implications of scientific discoveries and research as well as the discoveries themselves.

The show's website describes it as follows:[1]

At Catalyst we know that science is a dynamic force for change.

Each week Catalyst brings you stories from Australia and around the world.

Our passion to meet scientists at the forefront of discovery is matched by our fascination with science breakthroughs however big or small.

Science changes all our lives.

For better or worse, we are committed to showing you what our future holds.

Prime examples of Catalyst featured segments include "Corporate Psychopaths",[2] "The Truth About Vitamins",[3] and "Smell and Schizophrenia".[4]


The Catalyst team is composed of specialised science journalists, each with different specialisations and roles.



A series of episodes (Heart of the Matter, Parts 1 and 2) broadcast in October 2013 which questioned the link between saturated fat, cholesterol and heart disease, as well as the widespread use of anti-cholesterol drugs known as statins, have come under fire from doctors and the National Heart Foundation of Australia.[5] The Foundation estimates that in the wake of those episodes up to 55,000 patients may have stopped taking their medication, leading to a potential increase in heart attacks and strokes over the next five years.[6]

In May 2014 the ABC removed both episodes from its website, [7] after an internal review found that the second episode (but not the first) involved one breach of ABC standards on impartiality and there was a problem of omission of important information.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "About Catalyst". Catalyst. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 18 June 2009. 
  2. ^ "Corporate Psychopaths". Catalyst. ABC TV Science. Retrieved 5 February 2008. 
  3. ^ "The Truth About Vitamins". Catalyst. ABC TV Science. Retrieved 5 February 2008. 
  4. ^ "Smell and Schizophrenia". Catalyst. ABC TV Science. Retrieved 5 February 2008. 
  5. ^ "Catalyst challenges the mainstream". Media Watch. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 
  6. ^ "Catalyst fallout: Heart Foundation warns patients stopping anti-cholesterol drugs, statins". ABC News. ABC News. Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  7. ^ "ABC will take down two controversial Catalyst episodes on heart disease". 2014-05-12. Retrieved 2014-05-12. 
  8. ^ "Catalyst 'Heart of the Matter' Investigation Report" (PDF). 2014-05-12. Retrieved 2014-05-12. 

External links[edit]