Christopher Banks has worked in journalism, music, and film. In the 90s he wrote and produced songs for chart-topping band Deep Obsession, before reinventing himself as a journalist, directing and reporting for TV's Queer Nation. In 2005 he wrote and directed feature comedy Quiet Night In, the tale of a writer whose night descends into disaster. Banks followed it with a series of award-winning shorts, which have been invited to gay and lesbian festivals in both New Zealand and North America. In 2012 he completed feature-length documentary Men Like Us, based on interviews exploring the lives of nine gay men.
I only let them out at weekends, making sure they wore electronic anklets so I could keep tabs on them. They were a shifty lot. Christopher Banks on the cast of his first film Quiet Night In
The episode opens with a story about the Maxim Institute, an international think tank that has been linked to anti-gay fundamentalist groups. The main feature focuses on Marilyn Waring, an MP from 1975 until 84. She talks candidly about the personal cost of being in parliament — especially when she was outed as a lesbian. Waring also shares her opinions about the Civil Unions Bill and why she is opposed to it. The show finishes with a gay literature review and an interview with James Hadley, the incoming programme manager of Wellington's Bats Theatre.
In this Queer Nation edition 'QNN' (queer news headlines) leads, with stories about moves to introduce gay marriage in Australia and Canada, and a dramatic rise in the number of HIV cases in New Zealand. Crew involved in Takatāpui, on Māori Television, promote their (new at the time) programme. The third part of this episode focuses on the first reading of the Civil Union Bill, on 24 June 2004. With still some confusion surrounding the bill, its workings are explained to viewers.
Queer Nation was a factual series made by, for and about lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT) New Zealanders. Produced by Livingstone Productions with John A Givins at the helm, it screened on TVNZ for 11 seasons over nine years from 1996 till 2004 and was the world's longest running free-to-air TV programme made for the LGBT community. Long-serving presenters included original host (and future NZ On Screen ScreenTalk director) Andrew Whiteside, Libby Magee and Nettie Kinmott. Queer Nation won Best Factual Series at the NZ Television Awards 2003.