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Clips (4)

  1. Part one of three from this full length episode.

  2. Part two of three from this full length episode.

  3. Part three of three from this full length episode.

  4. The credits for this episode.


This 90s 'docu-soap' put six 20-somethings — three students, a banker, a Miss Howick contestant and a cameraman — in a house for three months and filmed the results. The show screened amidst the 90s 'observed homelife' reality show zeitgeist, but without a lock-down or 24-7 surveillance the show's charms were more of a homespun Kiwi twist on MTV's Real World (1992) than Big Brother (1999). It was broadcast on now-defunct channel TV4 and made a minor local celebrity of outspoken Vanessa. In this first episode the flatties move in, and party ... until the cops turn up. 


Credits (9)

 Alan D'arcy Erson
 Craig Wright
 Tim Woodhouse

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Comments (5)



This has been on Choice TV at the moment at 1:30AM for the past few weeks.

 Robyn Gallagher

Robyn Gallagher | website

Trivia: the following year, flatmate Vanessa joined TV4's youth show The Drum for its second season, presenting alongside comedian Cal Wilson, Supergroove's Nick Atkinson and the wondrous Jennifer Weather-Centre.

 Robyn Gallagher

Robyn Gallagher | website

Nice one! It still counts as the first local reality house type show on NZ telly, so I'm glad there's a whole episode to enjoy!

 Paul Ward

Paul Ward | website

@Robyn - I think I've solved the pop culture conundrum. Here's the original Fiona Rae review that Russell refers to in the Public Address post: . My guess is that and Flatmates have become confused in the post and comments thread. Kiwiflatmates screened in 2000, so is definitely post-Big Brother. As you note the earlier (1997) Flatmates didn't involve any sort of BB style lock-down - I've amended the synopses (and "Richard Pearse of reality TV" claims accordingly)!

 Robyn Gallagher

Robyn Gallagher | website

I think Flatmates is being mixed up with a similar show from the late '90s. Russell's comment of the "original lock-’em-in-a-house-with-hidden cameras (and an internet stream, courtesy Ihug) show" does not describe Flatmates. The flatmates were free to leave the house and the cameras weren't hidden, there was no internet stream, flatmates weren't voted out. Flatmates had way more in common with the observational The Real World (which started five years prior in 1992) than the subsequent reality game Big Brother.

My memories of the other show are sketchy. It involved young NZers being locked in a fancy house (in St Marys Bay?) with wall-mounted cameras (no cameramen) and live streams of different rooms. The housemates were allowed to leave for one hour per day and every week one housemate was voted out and replaced by a new one (and I think this was a low-budget reworking of the then new Big Brother).

But Flatmates was still a really important show. My favourite was the break-out star Vanessa. Cheerful, ballsy ("I don't like anyone with manufactured dreads") but with her shocking but calm recollection of her mother's physical abuse towards her.


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You know you would be an absolutely lovely person, if you would go over tonight’s film ... and erase every little bit. 
No way! That is real life!