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Hero image for Allan Martin: Pioneering television in New Zealand...

Allan Martin: Pioneering television in New Zealand...

Interview – 2016

Allan Martin has been influential in television in both New Zealand and Australia. In the early 1960s he helped the new television arm of the BCNZ produce popular regional show Town and Around, and he was a key player in the creation of groundbreaking current affairs series Compass. After time in Australia, he returned to set up New Zealand's second TV channel South Pacific Television in 1975. From 1980 to 1985 he was Director-General of TVNZ.

In this ScreenTalk, Martin talks about:

  • His early days producing current affairs at the NZBC
  • The lack of equipment on current affairs show Compass
  • How Compass attempted to "bring a bit of light" into the restrictive New Zealand society of the early 1960s
  • Setting up Town and Around in the main centres
  • Battling bureaucracy to get permission to subscribe to Time magazine 
  • Starting from scratch building New Zealand’s second TV channel
  • Robert Muldoon's lack of enthusiasm for the second channel
  • Renaming the channel South Pacific Television despite opposition
  • Being very nervous on the night of the first Telethon
  • Arguments over the budget of drama series Hunter's Gold
  • Proving that local shows could be sold overseas
  • The challenges of restructuring TVNZ, as its first Director-General
  • Preserving war memories with documentary Gallipoli: The New Zealand Story
  • Realising it was time to leave TVNZ
  • His belief that New Zealand should have a public service television system
This video was first uploaded on 30 May 2016, and is available under this Creative Commons licence. This licence is limited to use of ScreenTalk interview footage only and does not apply to any video content and photographs from films, television, music videos, web series and commercials used in the interview.
Interview, Camera and Editing – Andrew Whiteside
...because it was new and something different, the viewing audience accepted it wonderfully, you know. They took it to their hearts, the programmes. People still talk about Town and Around — I had someone just the other day asking me if I was associated with it. He remembered it from 50 odd years ago, or whatever it was. So it did make its mark at the time.
– Allan Martin on the popularity of regional show Town and Around