With his eccentric wardrobe and hard-hitting stories, Philip Alpers has been one of Fair Go's most memorable hosts. Not just a one trick pony, he presented dozens of documentaries and series during his time in television. Since backing off from reporting, Alpers has founded gun injury organisation GunPolicy.org, and is currently an associate professor at Sydney University's Medical School.

As if there weren't enough outrageous clothes on set, Philip Alpers joined… to stun Fair Go viewers with his white suits, glittering silk ties, and collection of fedoras and panamas. Phil was a larger-than-life character with a huge frame and memorable, Shakespearean bald head. Kevin Milne, in his 2010 autobiography The Life and Times of a Brown Paper Bag
Title.jpg.118x104

No Good Calling for Mum

1994, Writer - Television

Title.jpg.118x104

You're Soaking In It!

1994, Writer - Television

Dilemmas series thumb.jpg.540x405

Dilemmas

1993 - 1994, Panelist - Television

Dilemmas sought to give advice to New Zealanders on how to negotiate their day to day lives. Hosted by Australian doctor Kerryn Phelps (and later by Marcus Lush) with a rotating panel of guests, the show covered everything from annoying neighbours to harassment and violence. Guests included Jude Dobson, Philip Alpers, Ginette McDonald and Genevieve Westcott. A regular media commentator in Australia on health matters, Phelps became the first woman elected to head the Australian Medical Association; in 2011 she received an Order of Australia, for services to medicine.  

Dilemmas  episode 13  thumb.jpg.540x405

Dilemmas - 12 November 1993

1993, Panelist - Television

Advice show Dilemmas saw a doctor and a panel of guests responding to letters from viewers on a range of issues. In this episode, Australian GP Kerryn Phelps and guest panelists Jude Dobson, Philip Alpers and Liane Clarke deal with everything from a neighbour using a chainsaw at 6:30am on a Sunday, to violence in a relationship. The question of smacking kids as a disciplinary measure is given a children’s perspective, and Liane Clarke suggests a humorous way to deal with catcalling. Phelps went on to become the first woman elected to head the Australian Medical Association. 

Title.jpg.118x104

Referendum '92 - A Voter's Guide

1992, Presenter

The north head mystery thumb.jpg.540x405

The Mystery of North Head

1992, Presenter - Television

Riddled with old military tunnels, Auckland’s North Head has long been the focus of speculation. In this documentary Philip Alpers explores theories that a hidden tunnel network contains tonnes of decaying ammunition — and two old Boeing airplanes. Archeologist Dave Veart sets about finding the truth. The man responsible for closing the tunnels says there's nothing there; others recall seeing a plane. Filmmaker John Earnshaw is convinced of its existence. Earnshaw would spend years battling the crown in court, over claims of a breached agreement to search North Head.

Tv one id   toby dog thumb.jpg.540x405

Wonderful World - TV One Channel ID

1991, Subject - Television

One shaggy dog, dozens of humans, and a smorgasbord of Kiwi scenery: viewers were glued to the screen for this TV One promotional campaign, which began screening in August 1991. The six-part promo followed a lovable sydney silky poodle cross travelling the country by car, train and paw. En route, roughly 50 Kiwis make blink and you'll miss it appearances: including sporting figures, local townspeople, and 20+ TV personalities (see backgrounder for more info, and clues on who is who). The popular promos were directed by Lee Tamahori, before he made Once Were Warriors

The beginners guide to the census key image.jpg.540x405

The Beginner's Guide to the Census

1986, Reporter - Television

This edition of TVNZ’s Beginner’s Guide series aims to background New Zealand’s 1986 census. The population survey will be filled in by everyone (including street kids, possum trappers and jailed French secret service agents), generate 5,500 pages of information and influence national planning. Reporter Philip Alpers is the guide and strives to find flaws in the exercise's much vaunted confidentiality as he interviews politicians and statisticians and visits his mother. Leading naysayer The Wizard of Christchurch is a typically colourful dissenting voice.

Title.jpg.118x104

Minding Your Business

1986, Presenter

10502.thumb.png.540x405

The Beginner's Guide to...

1983 - 1986, Reporter - Television

The Beginner's Guide... was a series of half-hour documentaries made for TV ONE, and hosted by reporters Ian Johnstone, Caroline McGrath, Judith Fyfe, John Gordon and Philip Alpers. Veteran broadcaster Johnstone described the programmes as going "into areas of life which intrigue, mystify or frighten us". Topics included visiting a marae, prisons, wealth, bankruptcy, GST, the Census, divorce, cancer and the Freemasons. Three series of six episodes and one special screened between 1983 and 1986.

The video dispatch series thumb.jpg.540x405

The Video Dispatch

1980, Reporter - Television

Long-running afternoon show The Video Dispatch presented current affairs for younger viewers. Legend has it some politicians also used it to get a handle on the news. Topics ranged from poverty to a DIY polytech computer called ‘Poly’. The show's first presenter was Dick Weir, who in 1983 handed the reins to Lloyd Scott (best known at the time as Barry Crump's hapless pal in a series of Toyota ads). Rodney Bryant replaced Scott in 1987. Among the show's many reporters were Michele A'Court, Kerre McIvor (nee Woodham), and Bill Ralston. The title sequence will tickle nostalgia for 80s kids. 

12326.thumb.png.540x405

Top Half

1980 - 1989, Reporter - Television

Local news was a staple of pre-network 1960s NZ television, and retained its popularity in the network era. The amalgamation of TV1 and SPTV in 1980 produced regional shows The South Tonight and The Mainland Touch in the South Island, and Today Tonight in Wellington. Top Half covered the area spanning from Turangi to North Cape. It was presented for six years by the "dream team" of John Hawkesby and Judy Bailey (latter succeeded by Natalie Brunt in 1986). Amid some controversy, regional news on TVNZ was eased out by Holmes and the arrival of a new era of TV.

Fair go series key image.jpg.540x405

Fair Go

1983 - 1991, Presenter, Reporter - Television

Popular consumer affairs show Fair Go is one of New Zealand TV's longest-running series. It began in 1977, devised by Brian Edwards and producer Peter Morritt. The TVNZ programme mixes investigative reporting (daring to "name names" and expose rip-off merchants everywhere) with light-hearted segments. Its roster of presenters has included Edwards, Judith Fyfe, Hugo Manson, Philip Alpers, Kerre McIvor (nee Woodham), Carol Hirschfeld, Gordon Harcourt, and longest serving host, Kevin Milne. A perennial favourite segment is the round-up of the year's ad campaigns.  

4507.thumb.png.540x405

Spike Milligan - Nuclear-free public service announcements

1976, Interviewer - Commercial

In these never-aired commercials, comic genius Spike Milligan urges New Zealanders to sign the Campaign Half Million petition against the introduction of nuclear power. Instead he advocates wind power while standing in breezy Wellington. The ads were never shown, though they did end up in a TV news story on the decision to ban them, thus gaining prime time exposure. The petition, organised for the Campaign for a Non-Nuclear Future, eventually gained 333,087 signatures, representing 10% of New Zealand's population at the time.