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Hero image for Frank Torley - On and off the farm...

Frank Torley - On and off the farm...

Interview – 2011

The late Frank Torley, ONZM, was a Kiwi television legend, forever known as that Country Calendar guy — he narrated, directed, produced and reported for the show for more than 40 years. But Torley hadn’t always been Mr Rural. He was a newsreader, Top Town presenter, documentary maker (including an early doco on AIDs), and religious programmes producer.

In this ScreenTalk, Torley talks about:

  • Breaking into radio as a rural broadcaster during his Mark III Zephyr/slouch hat period
  • The joys of producing Country Calendar, which offered a front window into farming for the "common man"
  • The early Country Calendar producer who kept offending interviewees
  • The origins of Country Calendar’s spoofs, and contributions by cartoonist Burton Silver
  • The nail-biting dog versus sheep tension that was A Dog’s Show, thanks to host John Gordon's commentary, and Torley's thoughts on the show’s premature cancellation
  • The days when ratings weren’t so important
  • Being compared to a startled rabbit while newsreading for TV One
  • Handling birth scenes for documentary From Here to Maternit
  • To retire — or not to retire

This video was first uploaded on 22 March 2011, 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 - Ian Pryor. Camera and Editing - Alex Backhouse
If you go back to the earlier days, everybody had an uncle or a brother or someone directly associated with the land, whereas now Country Calendar is about the only, I suppose, front window for farming.
– Frank Torley on the visibility Country Calendar brought to farming