Stu Dennison became a household name in the late 1970s as the host of Nice One Stu, an after school programme for children.
Dennison quickly became one of New Zealand's most popular and well remembered TV icons. He played the naughty schoolboy who often poked fun at Roger Gascoigne, his straight-laced sidekick.
Known for his naughty jokes and very good singing voice, Dennison delighted children and infuriated parents. He was the anti-hero that taught young viewers the right way to do things by almost always getting it wrong himself.
Born in Coventry, England, Dennison arrived in New Zealand in 1971 as part of an extended overseas experience.
He began working in television in 1975, writing and performing for popular music shows. From there he moved into children's television with his own show...
"The late Brian Lennane gave me my first job in TV, it was in ‘Light Entertainment', two productions - The Grunt Machine and Ready to Roll. From there Chris Bourn, Head of Presentation (and a legend for shows like Opportunity Knocks and entertainment shows), hired me to do kids continuity. I said I have a character that would need a little cleaning up but could do the job. Nice One Stu was born".
The programme, and the appeal of Stu's character, resonated far beyond the three short years that Nice One Stu was on air (1976-1978). The theme song 'Nice One Stu-y' and his signature thumbs-up salute have become embedded in New Zealand's popular culture.
Dennison's naughty schoolboy character was enhanced by his appearance in the educational video, Stu Learns to Ride; his character was stopped by police for doing everything wrong with regard to safety. This segment was recorded initially for the programme, then later released as a video for use in schools.
Moving to the other side of the camera, Dennison had a stint in TVNZ promotions before joining the sports department, in 1982, as a producer and director. Since then he has been involved in all major productions at TVNZ Sports. These include the Olympics, the Commonwealth Games, the Goodwill Games, Rugby World Cups and Rugby Sevens.
Most recently Dennison was the Executive Producer for TVNZ at the 2006 Commonwealth Games and in Beijing for the 2008 Olympic Games.