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RocKwiz title card
Genre Quiz show
Created by Brian Nankervis, Peter Bain ken
Written by Brian Nankervis
Directed by Paul Drane
Presented by Julia Zemiro
Judges Brian Nankervis
Country of origin Australia
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 13
No. of episodes 170 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Peter Bain-Hogg, Zeus Condor
Editor(s) Chris Ward, Samuel Frederick
Location(s) St Kilda, Australia
Running time 60-90 minutes
Production company(s) Renegade Films
Original network SBS One, Max
Picture format 576i (SDTV)
720p (HDTV)
Audio format Stereo
Original release 31 January 2005 – present
External links

RocKwiz is an Australian television live music trivia quiz show, focused on rock music and featuring different guest artist musicians who perform live in each episode. The show was co-created by Brian Nankervis, Peter Bain-Hogg, and Ken Connor.[1][2] It is broadcast on SBS One and premiered in 2005. On May 30, 2015, it enters its 13th season.[3] The series won the 2007 AACTA Award for Best Light Entertainment Television Series and was nominated in the same category three times, it was also nominated for a Helpmann Award[4]


The program is hosted by Julia Zemiro and originally aired on Saturdays at 8:30 pm, except in 2014 when it aired on Mondays at 9:30 pm. Regular episodes are shot in The Gershwin Room at St Kilda's Esplanade Hotel, commonly called just The Espy, in Melbourne. The program format typically puts local lesser-known singers alongside more well known Australian and international musicians in a show closing duet after they have led teams of contestants chosen from the audience in a trivia quiz. It has a cult following for its no-frills style. The show features the "RocKwiz Orkestra" which provides musical clues and backing for the special music guests and, where needed, the contestants.

RocKwiz has also become a successful touring franchise and has staged national tours and special appearances at festivals. Occasionally these live tour shows are filmed for TV broadcast.



The show is hosted by Julia Zemiro, with Brian Nankervis as the scorer and "adjudicator where necessary". Dugald McAndrew is the roadie who features as a "human scoreboard". The show had the following guest hosts while Julia Zemiro was away on Eurovision duties:

House Band[edit]

The RocKwiz Orkestra comprises:

In 2015 James Black took a break from the TV show recordings and was replaced for Series 13 by:


The quiz comprises five rounds, and one preliminary round called "Ready Steady RocKwiz" which happens off air to select the contestants for the show from the live audience at the venue on the night. A notable feature of the show is its very casual attitude to the scoring system – a fact Brian once addressed on his introductory segment after apparently receiving some complaints from viewers. A common example of this is the awarding of "bonus points", often done when one team appears to be dominant.

  • Ready Steady RocKwiz – Early series of RocKwiz often opened with this pre-recorded segment, however more recently this is all done off air. Brian Nankervis runs three or four rounds of questions to find four finalists from 24 players to make up the two teams later for the TV episode recording. After the footage has been shown and the guests introduced, Julia Zemiro will usually ask the four guests what the first album they ever bought was, and/or what the first concert they ever went to was. The title of this segment is an allusion to the 1960s British pop music TV show Ready Steady Go!.
  • Who Can it Be Now? – This round introduces the show's two musical guests for the evening. Clues are read out in a "Who Am I?" style, and a team buzzes in when they know the answer. Ten points are awarded, and then the guest arrives and performs a song. The first guest announced will join the team that correctly guessed them, then the next guest joins the other team (after also performing a song), although the first team can still answer the question. Julia usually asks the guests about their first concert and/or album bought as well. The title and theme music of this segment comes from the 1981 song "Who Can It Be Now?" by Australian group Men at Work.
Finale of Rockwiz Live at Byron Bay Bluesfest, April 2014. L to R - Linda Bull, Vika Bull, Henry Wagons, Michael Franti, Adalita, Robert Susz.
  • Local and/or General – As the title suggests, this is a general knowledge music quiz section. The title of this segment comes from the song by Australian group Models on their 1981 album of the same name.
  • Million Dollar Riff – The RocKwiz Orkestra plays a series of notable riffs and a team buzzes in when they recognise the riff. The riff played as the intro in the first 12 series is from AC/DC's "Back In Black". More recently the intro music reflects the title of this segment which comes from the 1975 song by Australian group Skyhooks.
  • Master Blaster – The musical guests are given a number of questions, usually around five, to answer, on a specialist subject they have nominated. The title and theme music of this segment comes from the 1980 song "Master Blaster (Jammin')" by Stevie Wonder.
  • Whole Lotta Facts - This segment replaced Master Blaster in Season 11. The musical guests essentially pick a topic and talk (or sometimes sing) on that topic. The riff played as the intro is from "Whole Lotta Love" by Led Zeppelin, which also inspired the segment name. This segment did not reappear in Series 12.
  • Thirty Three and a Third - A new segment for Season 11. Each team has 33 and one third seconds to answer as many questions as they can. The title of the segment comes from the number of revolutions per minute of a vinyl album. There is no intro riff.
  • The Middle Eight - Another new segment introduced in Series 11. Eight questions with the last three questions having the same answer, a performer's name, and that artist will make a surprise appearance to perform a song.
  • Furious Five – This round involves "five or so" minutes of fast and furious questions to both teams. Usually, the Furious Five does not quite reach the five-minute mark. The title of this segment comes from the American group Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five and the theme music is composed of five 'furious' notes.

To close each show the musical guests perform a duet accompanied by the RocKwiz Orkestra. Four volumes of the best duets have been released on CD & DVD and some of the duets are available on iTunes.


As of June 2015, the show has had thirteen seasons. In addition to the regular episodes, there have been a number of specials and Christmas shows. Episode running times for Seasons 1 & 2 was 26 minutes. Seasons 3 to 10 had a regular running time of 44 minutes. From season 11 episodes have a regular running time of 52 minutes.

DVD Releases[edit]

  • RocKwiz Salutes The Bowl was released on DVD in Australia on 21 August 2009[5]
  • RocKwiz Duets vol 1-3 DVDs were collected into a box set released on DVD in Australia on 28 May 2010[6]
  • The 2010 National Tour highlights were released on DVD in Australia on 29 October 2010[7]
  • Season 1 was released on DVD in Australia on 5 October 2011[8]
  • Season 2 was released on DVD in Australia on 5 October 2011[9]
  • Season 3 was released on DVD in Australia on 30 November 2011[10]
  • Season 4 was released on DVD in Australia on 6 June 2012[11]


  1. ^ Harrison, Penny (23 July 2011). "Inside story: At home with Brian Nankervis". Herald Sun. News Ltd. Retrieved 20 May 2014. 
  2. ^ Leys, Nick (23 April 2012). "Ten questions for Brian Nankervis". The Australia. News Ltd. Retrieved 20 May 2014. 
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ "DVD Salutes The Bowl". RocKwiz Salutes The Bowl DVD. SBS. Retrieved 6 November 2011. 
  6. ^ "DVD Duets Boxset". RocKwiz Duets DVD. SBS. Retrieved 6 November 2011. 
  7. ^ "DVD 2010 Tour". RocKwiz 2010 National Tour DVD. SBS. Retrieved 6 November 2011. 
  8. ^ "DVD Series 1". RocKwiz Series 1 DVD. SBS. Retrieved 6 November 2011. 
  9. ^ "DVD Series 2". RocKwiz Series 2 DVD. SBS. Retrieved 6 November 2011. 
  10. ^ "DVD Series 3". RocKwiz Series 3 DVD. SBS. Retrieved 8 October 2012. 
  11. ^ "DVD Series 4". RocKwiz Series 3 DVD. SBS. Retrieved 8 October 2012. 

External links[edit]