Miranda Harcourt's career has seen many notable excursions into screen work — from finding early fame on beloved soap Gloss to ambitious big screen drama For Good, which she acted in and helped produce. In 2017 she made fantasy The Changeover, with her husband Stuart McKenzie. As an acting coach, Harcourt has worked with everyone from Melanie Lynskey to Nicole Kidman.
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.
Sky Television chief John Fellet began a long tenure in pay television after abandoning hopes of becoming a professional baseballer, and realising accountancy was “a terrible career choice”. Arizona-raised Fellet joined the pay television company as Chief Operating Officer in 1991, and has been Sky’s Chief Executive since 2001. Fellet is set to leave Sky in late 2018.
Shirley Duke acted in classic shows Mortimer's Patch (as a teacher who Mortimer took a shining to) and Terry and the Gunrunners (as Terry's mum). While starring in 1982 TV play That Bread Should Be So Dear, she stumbled onto a very different role. Realising that two actors aged under seven needed a toilet break, she said "someone ought to be looking after those kids". Duke went on to work on a run of kidult dramas as chaperone and acting coach to junior actors, from Strangers (for which she learnt sign language) to The Champion. Duke was also an acting coach on Shortland Street. She passed away on 14 January 2019.
Actor and vocal teacher Sylvia Rands’ first big television role was playing Polly Hanlon, wife to the legendary barrister in Hanlon. Nominated again for movie Bonjour Timothy, Rands has gone on to act in Go Girls, Homeward Bound and cult comedy The Neighbourhood Network, inbetween a busy stage career.
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.
Veteran actor Roy Billing has acted in so many films, TV shows and plays, his CV runs to more than 10 pages. Often cast as the straight-talking everyman, Billing has also provided award-winning screen portrayals of rugby-playing priests (Old Scores), drug barons (Underbelly), small-town mayors (The Dish) and avuncular judges (Rake).
Director Anna Marbrook came to the screen from an extensive theatre background (she co-founded Auckland company Theatre at Large). More than 150 episodes directing on Shortland Street laid the groundwork for a run of factual work, focused on Pacific themes: including food series Real Pasifik, award-winning waka documentary Te Mana o te Moana – The Pacific Voyagers, and reality series Waka Warriors.
Ric Pellizzeri is an award-winning TV director and producer. He has worked extensively both in his native Australia and New Zealand, having partnered with company Screentime on Underbelly NZ and telefilms Siege, How to Murder Your Wife, The Monster of Mangatiti and Rainbow Warrior drama Bombshell. His Aussie credits include hit police drama Blue Heelers and directing the pilot episode of Home and Away.
Michael Noonan is a legend in New Zealand scriptwriting, and not just because he was amongst the first to prove you could actually make a living at it. Creator of landmark New Zealand shows The Governor and Close to Home, Noonan's work has often explored ideas of power and social injustice.