Gordon Harcourt has been investigating and reporting the news, the arts and sundry rip-off merchants since 1989. Harcourt has worked for almost every New Zealand broadcaster. After seven successful years with the BBC he returned home in 2008.
Harcourt began his screen career at the launch of new channel TV3 news. After time as a junior reporter he went on to consumer rights show Fair Go, then worked as a producer on Gibson Group arts magazine show Sunday, presented by Mike Hosking. Harcourt recalls that the team were so careful about staying under budget that at the end of one season there was enough left over to make three more episodes.
In 1998 he conceived and executive produced a successor show to Sunday: Backch@t. Intended as a provocative forum for debate, and unashamed advocate of the cultural sector, Backch@t was a departure from the tradition of genteel arts programmes. Presenter Bill Ralston argues the show "really was Gordon's baby", and that Harcourt successfully applied "current affairs values to an arts show, so that the stories really did have meat in them." Backch@t won the award for best lifestyle programme every year it was on air.
Says Harcourt: "in New Zealand I certainly regard the conception (under executive producer Dave Gibson) and production of Backch@t as my most significant contribution to broadcasting here. It was an intelligent and significant programme, and I still regard its axing as a stupid decision."
Post Backch@t, Harcourt produced for books show Bookenz, then moved to the United Kingdom. During his time in London he produced flagship BBC interview programme HARDtalk, which is broadcast around the globe, and its sporting sidekick, Extratime.
Back in New Zealand, Harcourt returned to the field in 2008 after "driving a desk for too much" in recent years. This time he was back reporting for the long-running Fair Go. "Its an enormous privilege to work on the show," he said in 2008, "but as I found on my first stint, I'm constantly appalled at the lack of conscience that you come up against."
Harcourt described the essential element of a Fair Go story as "obvious unfairness".
In September 2011 a Mount Maunganui company director was convicted of assaulting Harcourt, as he was about to record a piece for Fair Go involving the man's caryard. The story made the front page of The NZ Herald for four days running.
Harcourt left Fair Go in 2016.
He is also proud to have commentated club cricket (on cable station Saturn TV) with veteran John Morrison.
'Gordon Harcourt' (Profile). TVNZ website. Loaded 11 February 2008
'Gordon Harcourt: On giving TV a fair go...' (Video Interview) NZ On Screen website. Director Andrew Whiteside Loaded 4 May 2017. Accessed 4 May 2017
Andrew Campbell, 'Spiers convicted for Fair Go assault' - sunlive, 12 September 2011
'Bill Ralston - a lively life in TV news' (Video Interview), NZ On Screen Website. Director Andrew Whiteside (Uploaded 8 August 2011). Accessed 19 August 2011
James Ihaka, 'Fair Go to air show into alleged attacker' - NZ Herald, 2 August 2011