Marcus Turner began his career as a folk musician in Otago in 1973, before joining the presenting team on Spot On. He worked as a director on Play School before going on to work with Natural History New Zealand in a variety of roles, including directing, research and composing music.
Marcus Turner’s television career began in 1980 when he became one of the three presenters on Spot On. On the show he became known for his comedy sketches, often as the butt of the joke. One sketch involved him playing an unfortunate weatherman who has water tipped over him in the studio. Others used editing to have him (and other Spot On presenters) playing multiple characters at once.
This period also saw the release of his 1983 debut album, The Best is Yet to Come, which included an earlier single originally recorded for EMI, 'The Civil Service Song' .
After leaving Spot On in 1984, Turner trained as a director with TVNZ. During his training he continued to explore his musical love, as musical director of televised folk music special A Drop of the Pure Stuff. Afterwards he moved to England where he spent 20 months working fulltime as a musician, before returning to New Zealand.
Upon his return Turner began directing another much loved children’s show, Play School. He also worked as a director for NHNZ, directing episodes of documentary series Wildtrack and producing various docos including Meet the Real Penguins and episodes of Wild South. He also composed the music for a number of NHNZ documentaries.
Away from television, he continued to devote much of his time to music. A second album, Laid Down, was released in 2005. He was also a member of band The Chaps, who recorded two albums and toured Europe. In 2007 he helped form folk band Footspa.
Marcus Turner passed away in early February 2016. He was 59.
Profile written by Simon Smith
'Marcus Turner'. KiwiFolk website. Accessed 5 February 2016
'Marcus William Turner' (Death Notice) - The NZ Herald, 5 February 2016
Spot On - Final Episode (Television Episode) Director Graeme Simpson (TVNZ, 1988)