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TV3 Turns 21

Curated by the NZ On Screen Team
26th November 2010

 TV3 Turns 21

TV3 Turns 21

 NZ On Screen Team

Curated by the NZ On Screen Team


November 2010 marks 21 years since New Zealand TV’s third channel began broadcasting. This 21st birthday sampler pack looks back at iconic drama (Outrageous Fortune), upstart news shows (Nightline), fresh youth programming (Ice TV, Being Eve) and watermarks high (bro’Town, Jaquie Brown, 7 Days) and low (Melody Rules) of local screen comedy.


TV3 21st Collection

 Outrageous Fortune - Episode One

Watch the first episode that began the dynasty. The Westie flag-bearer for contemporary NZ TV drama won unprecedented viewers and local screen awards. Outrageous staunchly proved - in all its grow-your-own glory - that genre TV in NZ could be so much more than overseas' stories pasted to a NZ setting.

 bro'Town - The Weakest Link

This animated comedy series followed the adventures of five kids growing up in suburban Auckland. Developed from the poly-saturated comedy of the Naked Samoans, its fearless, un-PC wit saw it screen for five series and win multiple best comedy gongs at the NZ Screen Awards. “Morningside for life!”

 3 News - 'Corngate' interview with Helen Clark

In July 2002, on TV3 News, John Campbell confronted PM Helen Clark over the suspected release of GE corn seed. Upset at the ambush, Clark reacted tersely (she later labelled Campbell a "sanctimonious little creep"). With an election looming the encounter was immortalised as 'Corngate'.

 Ice TV - Best of

Ice TV launched the careers of hosts Jon Bridges, Nathan Rarere and Petra Bagust. Irreverent, fast-paced, and imbued with a (mostly) family friendly sense of fun, the youth show took in skits, music, satire, gags and interviews, and a sign-off where L&P bottles were subjected to various stresses.

 The Early Bird Show - Excerpts

A foundation TV3 programme, The Early Bird Show mixed overseas cartoons and locally made inserts. The puppet line-up of Russell Rooster, Kiri Kea, Dawn Chorus and Quack-ups was joined by Suzy Cato from mid-1990. These 1991 excerpts include cameos from bugman Ruud Kleinpaste and Billy T James.

 Melody Rules - Going, Going ... Goner (Episode One)

Well we couldn’t have a 21st celebration without an embarrassing family story: sitcom Melody Rules has become a by-word for failure in NZ TV (equalled only by The Club Show); obtaining cult status as a result. Unsurprisingly rarely screened since, check out the first episode and make your own call.

 Homeward Bound - Episode One

Set in a rural hamlet just south of the Bombay Hills this early TV3 soap revolves around the Johnstone family, who have farmed there for 100 years. The cast includes a young Karl Urban — worlds away from Mega-City One and his title role as the gruff law enforcer in Dredd — and Simone Kessell.

 Skitz - 'Best Of' Excerpts

This popular sketch-based comedy screened for four series in the 90s. Seasoned comedians featured alongside new faces, such as future-Conchord Jemaine Clement. Regular characters included the Semisi family with their 'fresh off the boat' antics inspiring mirth and groans in equal measure.

 Nightline - 20th Anniversary Episode

TV3’s late night news show gained notoriety for its regularly infamous ‘third break’ where presenters (Belinda Todd, Bill Ralston, Dylan Taite, David Farrier) pushed boundaries as newsreaders (Joanna Paul, Janet Wilson, Leanne Malcolm, Carolyn Robinson) did their best to keep a straight face. 

 The Jaquie Brown Diaries - Brown Sweat (Episode Three)

TV personality Jaquie Brown plays (and plays up) herself for delightful comic effect in this satire. Brown plays an egomaniacal journalist looking to climb the media ladder any which way she can. The show won Best Comedy at the 2009 Qantas Film and TV Awards. The Listener gushed: "A local sitcom that doesn't suck."

 Being Eve - Being a Couple

This quirky, upbeat comedy-drama looked at teen life through the eyes of 15-year-old Eve (Fleur Saville). The series' fresh, self-aware style appealed directly to media-savvy teenagers, fostered young screen talent, and sold to over 40 territories, screening in the US on Nickelodeon.

 7 Days - Series One, Episode Three

This well-received comedy panel series takes an irreverent look at the past week in the news. Jeremy Corbett referees two teams of guests and regulars, including Ben Hurley, Jeremy Elwood, Dai Henwood and Paul Ego. Segments include "my kid could draw that" and "what’s the taxi driver talking about".

 You and Me - Toilet Training

The irrepressible Suzy Cato presents this long-running series for pre-schoolers. Set in a house, Cato presents stories, songs, animations and puppetry; on-set companions are a doll, teddy bear, clown and scarecrow - and a sock puppet family. More than 2000 episodes were made in eight years.

 Suzy's World - Digestion (Episode)

After fronting TV3 children’s shows (Early Bird Show, 3pm, You and Me) Cato presented this science show for five to nine year olds. With the emphasis on lively practical demonstrations as teaching aids, it sought to explain everyday phenomena like how smoke alarms work, and why birds sing.

Grow your own goodness

Grow your own goodness

Philip Wakefield argues TV3’s success is built on taking “more creative risks with local content than the state-owned competition.” Read >

3's company

3's company

In a 2009 NZ Herald 20th birthday survey Sarah Lang plots TV3's journey from “foreign-owned upstart” to beloved kiwi battler. Read >

Missing programmes?

Missing programmes?

We're in the process of sourcing classic Campbell Live, Ralston Show and Early Bird Show. Are there other TV3 shows you’d like to see? Let us know >