Though best known as a sports writer and radio DJ, Phil Gifford’s long career has also seen a number of noteworthy screen encounters — including top-selling rugby videos, an acclaimed feature film and sketch-writing for late legend Billy T James.

I wouldn't have been the greatest scriptwriter in the history of the world, and Billy could take stuff that I thought was absolute rubbish and make it somehow funny. A modest Phil Gifford on the alchemy of writing skits with Billy T (from Matt Elliott's Billy T bio)
Title.jpg.118x104

Rocked the Nation: 100 New Zealand Sporting Moments

2011, Subject - Television

5269.thumb.png.540x405

Billy T: Te Movie

2011, Writer - Film

Following the big-screen success of Topp Twins documentary Untouchable Girls came another chronicle of a Kiwi entertainment legend: sometime Taranaki bandito, giggling newsreader and crooner Billy T James. The film uses remastered footage and an impressive cast of interviews to capture his path from cabaret singer to fame, fan clubs and eventual financial and bodily collapse. Te Movie director Ian Mune originally cast James in the classic Came a Hot Friday, as the Māori-Mexican Tainuia Kid; Te Movie co-producer Tom Parkinson played a hand in making Billy T a TV star.

Rocked the nation series thumb.jpg.540x405

Rocked the Nation

2011, Subject - Television

Rocked the Nation launched in 2008 with six one hour-long shows. Company Satellite Media ransacked the archives and interviewed protagonists to survey 100 key moments in New Zealand music history: smash hits, global breakouts, riots, sex, drugs, rock’n’roll, and TV talent shows. Hosted by Karyn Hay, the series screened on C4 during NZ Music Month, and was the channel’s highest-rating series to that date. Follow-up series counted down 100 New Zealand Pop Culture Stories (2009, hosted by Rhys Darby) and 100 New Zealand Sporting Moments (2011, fronted by Dai Henwood). 

Title.jpg.118x104

Chasing the Lions

2005, Subject - Short Film

Title.jpg.118x104

The Weakest Link

2001, Subject - Television

Title.jpg.118x104

Game of Two Halves

1999 - 2008, Subject - Television

4171.thumb.png.540x405

The Best of The Billy T James Collection

1992, Writer - Television

Billy T’s unique brand of humour is captured here at its affable, non-PC best in this compilation of skits from his popular 80s TV shows. There’s Te News (“... somebody pinched all the toilet seats out of the Kaikohe Police Station ... now the cops got nothing to go on!”) with Billy in iconic black singlet and yellow towel; a bro’s guide to home improvement; the first contact skits, and Turangi Vice. No target is sacred (God, The IRA, the talking Japanese sketch) and there are classic advertising spoofs for Pixie Caramel’s “last requests” and Lands For Bags’ “where’d you get your bag”.

Title.jpg.118x104

Billy T Alive and Giggling

1991, Presenter

Title.jpg.118x104

Don't Tell Me

1989, Presenter

5077.thumb.png.540x405

The Good, the Bad and the Rugby

1989, Writer - Television

This documentary follows the then world champion All Blacks on a 1989 tour of Wales and Ireland. With star winger John Kirwan as guide, 'The All Black Film Unit' gives a players’ insight into an international tour in pre-professional, pre-media trained times — there’s even a plate of oranges. Match, training, and travel footage is complemented by relaxed encounters with players (Zinzan Brooke mounting a shetland pony has entered rugby folklore). Producer Ric Salizzo repeated the recipe — sports fandom mixed with schoolboy pratfalls — in the successful Sports Cafe series.

10810.thumb.png.540x405

That's Fairly Interesting

1987 - 1989, Presenter - Television

This 80s relic was a homegrown take on US show That's Incredible!, with spectacular stunts and supernatural happenings replaced with subjects that were more kiwiana kitsch than wow! It was the first show from production company Communicado; presenters included Tim Shadbolt, Neil Roberts, Sue Kedgley, Phil Gifford and Phil Keoghan. In a Vanity Fair interview to illustrate Kiwi's "enormous understatement" Jane Campion famously quipped: "You know, they used to have a program on TV in New Zealand, That's Fairly Interesting. [...] In America, it's That's Incredible!"

4648.thumb.png.540x405

That's Fairly Interesting - Series One, Episode 13

1987, Presenter - Television

This wryly-titled show was a homegrown take on US show That's Incredible!, with the spectacular stunts and supernatural happenings of the original replaced with more downbeat kiwiana kitsch subjects. It was the first series from production company Communicado. Presenters included mayor Tim Shadbolt, Neil Roberts, future Green-MP Sue Kedgley and rugby writer Phil Gifford. This highlights and bloopers episode from the first series, includes crayfish hypnotism, obese cats, a wind-turbine powered catamaran, dancing cows, and Gifford as a Gorillagram.

Title.jpg.118x104

Working with GST

1986, Writer

Title.jpg.118x104

The Billy T James Show

1981 - 1988, Writer - Television