If director and producer Peter Coates was a superhero, he’d surely be ‘Renaissance Man’. His contribution to championing the arts on television is arguably heroic, and his career multi-faceted. From 1971 to 2004 Coates produced, directed or scripted hundreds of TV productions covering a smorgasbord of topics, from operas to soap operas, and from portraits of New Zealand artists to rugby coaching films.
David Brechin-Smith is an award-winning screenwriter. Nominated for Lovebites and The Strip, he won awards for The Insider's Guide to Happiness and prequel The Insiders Guide to Love. He created and wrote drama series The Hothouse and worked on thriller series The Cult. Teen comedy-drama series Paradise Café and movie The Hopes and Dreams of Gazza Snell are also among his credits.
Richard Thomas has a passion for documentary. After directing for the BBC's legendary doco series Man Alive, he moved downunder and became head of Television One’s information programme department. Following a short spell as Director of Television at the ABC in Australia, he settled in New Zealand to make some compelling television documentaries — and inspire others to do the same.
Jeremy Dillon began as an actor, did time as a children's show host and found his true calling as the creator of the friendly monsters seen on shows like The Moe Show and Pop-Up. In 2010 he set up production company Pop-Up Workshop, with friend Zane Holmes.
Dunedin-born Bridget Armstrong has found success in a range of British and Kiwi stage and screen roles. At 18 she joined the touring NZ Players, where she recreated characters as diverse as Anne Frank and Elizabeth I. Later in London, Armstrong showed her comedic talents and played Katherine Mansfield for the BBC. Back in New Zealand she acted on TV's Gather Your Dreams and Roger Hall film Middle Age Spread.
Peter Montgomery’s colourful and vibrant commentaries made him “the voice of New Zealand yachting”. Through the 1980s and 1990s, Montgomery played a major part in the sport’s move to mass popularity and had a central role in radio and TV coverage of Team New Zealand’s America’s Cup campaigns. On dry land, he has covered many other sports, and made the Eden Park side-line his own over two decades of rugby commentaries.
Michael Haigh gave up teaching to become a professional actor. A founding member of Wellington’s Circa Theatre, his TV legacy is the gruff office worker Jim in Roger Hall’s Gliding On — one of NZ television’s great comic characters and a role that won him a Feltex Award. He played Jim for five years and appeared in a number of other TV series and films (almost inevitably playing a policeman). Michael Haigh died in 1993.
Roger Gascoigne owns the most talked about wink in the history of New Zealand television. Gascoigne's work in continuity, music and quiz shows (on everything from Ready to Roll to Telethon) saw him snare two Feltex Awards and a legion of fans. In the 80s he went on to co-host regional magazine show Today Tonight.
A New Zealander of Lebanese descent, Steve La Hood joined TVNZ in the early 70s. He went on to direct on everything from Close to Home and Shortland Street, to an acclaimed documentary on Bruno Lawrence. He also produced The Marching Girls (1987), one of the first dramas to highlight contemporary women characters on NZ television. La Hood now creates museum exhibitions at company Story Inc.
Glenn Standring is a writer/director with a background in animation and computer graphics. His 1996 short Lenny Minute was accepted into competition at Cannes. To date his feature films have been southern gothic takes on the occult/horror genres. He also provided the script for historical action tale The Dead Lands, directed in 2014 by No. 2 talent Toa Fraser.