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Hero image for Allison Webber: From South Africa to sexuality on TV…

Allison Webber: From South Africa to sexuality on TV…

Interview – 2013

Journalist turned media trainer Allison Webber began in television at a time when women were more likely to be making the tea than making programmes. After working alongside presenters like Brian Edwards and Ian Johnstone, she became part of a new generation of women producers and directors who changed the shape of what went on air especially via her ground-breaking documentary series Expressions of Sexuality.

In this ScreenTalk, Webber talks about:

  • The excitement of working as a researcher on 90 minute live show Edwards on Saturday 
  • The show's "hugely creative" presenter Brian Edwards
  • Sneaking around apartheid-era South Africa, arranging secret interviews with legends like Donald Woods
  • An unforgettable encounter with Steve Biko
  • How journalists find courage under pressure, but sometimes lack gratitude for opportunities given 
  • Working with masterful presenter Ian Johnstone, a man who got just as excited interviewing a possum farmer as a president
  • Becoming a producer, at a time when women were starting to move up the ladder
  • Making ground-breaking series Expressions of Sexuality, and arranging special training so that those being interviewed were treated respectfully
  • How TVNZ, "scared and challenged by the content of the show", sat on it for more than 18 months before putting it on air
  • How the rise of women into positions of power helped drive change in the kind of material that went on screen
This video was first uploaded on 8 October 2013, 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 and Editing – Ian Pryor. Camera – Jess Charlton
...having women that were conscious and were part of the feminist movement helped drive change — not only in content, but in the kind of jobs that we would go on to do . . . . so we weren't just stuck with a glass ceiling around being researchers.
– Allison Webber on women working in New Zealand television moving on up, into directing and producing roles