Rick Harris began working as Billy T James' minder in 1986 — "I drove the car, I rolled the smokes, I made the tea." He reminisces about the fun times they had in this Funny As interview. Billy T James Show co-star Peter Rowley joins Harris, 19 minutes in. They discuss subjects such as: The real life inspiration behind Billy T's iconic laugh How Billy T loved to have fun, including spraying Rowley with a firehose while he was asleep in bed How Billy was able to get away with anything — says Rowley: "He had this lovely, almost little boy quality housed in this super talented adult" Billy being a "law unto himself", who disliked listening to advice Billy's concern for his daughter Cherie when his house was shot at, and their "immense" bond Note: For more on Billy T, check out Peter Rowley's solo interview for Funny As.
Actor Mark Hadlow first appeared on our TV screens as a teenage bully in Children of Fire Mountain. Later he worked alongside Ilona Rodgers and Billy T James in the sitcom version of The Billy T James Show. His flair for comedy earned him starring roles in the film Just Me and Mario, and TV series Willy Nilly. Hadlow has worked twice with director Peter Jackson – first providing voices to a range of characters in Meet the Feebles, and then playing both a dwarf and a troll in The Hobbit trilogy.
Nathaniel Lees is an NZ-born Samoan actor who has acted on both stage and screen. Lees began his screen career with small roles in Death Warmed Up and Other Halves, before joining Billy T James on his sketch comedy shows. Lees went on to appear in a number of TV dramas including Shark in the Park , City Life, Gloss, Shortland Street and Street Legal. His many film roles include Sione’s Wedding, The Lord of the Rings, Rapa Nui and The Matrix trilogy.
Peter Rowley was in his early 20s when David McPhail asked him to audition for new comedy show A Week of It. Rowley talks in this Funny As interview about his long career, performing with Billy T James, and other subjects, including: Working as a stage manager at Christchurch's Court Theatre, before getting his break on A Week of It in 1977 — "It was just sensational, and it was groundbreaking" First meeting Billy T James in a corridor, and clicking with him straight away Giving up stand-up comedy in Australia to write and act in The Billy T James Show, and moving into Billy's house to write the series Hanging out of a helicopter for The Billy T James Show, and having "the most fun a guy could ever have" on accidents will happen comedy Letter to Blanchy Being a "bit difficult" while co-starring on comedy Pete and Pio in the 1990s Wearing an $8,000 wig for 2018 movie Mortal Engines (in which he played a slave trader) Note: For more on Billy T, check out this Funny As interview with Rowley and Billy T's former minder Rick Harris.
Morgana O’Reilly is an actor and playwright who began her screen career performing in comedy series such as The Jaquie Brown Diaries and Super City, as well as the comedy drama Nothing Trivial. O’Reilly starred in TV movies Safe House and Billy, and in comedy horror hit Housebound. In 2014, she scored a role on long-running Australian soap Neighbours.
Ian Magan helped found pirate station Radio Hauraki, then promoted live concerts and tours.
Aileen O’Sullivan has a significant screen pedigree, from acting to directing, producing and – most importantly – storytelling. Her work ranges from Gloss and The Billy T James Show to Holiday and The Great New Zealand Showdown specials. Under her production company Seannachie Productions, O'Sullivan's has helmed a number of well received documentaries including Witi Ihimaera, Black Grace – From Cannon’s Creek to Jacob’s Pillow, Life’s a Riot and Ngaio Marsh – Crime Queen.
Mark Wright is an actor who is well known for impersonating celebrities and sports stars on television. He has appeared on a number of primetime comedy shows including Issues, That Comedy Show and Newsflash. Wright has also appeared in TV dramas Shortland Street, City Life, Nothing Trivial and Harry.
Annie Whittle had already made her mark as a singer, before she played all the female roles on the first season of comedy hit A Week of It.
Ilona Rodgers has starred in a huge array of theatre, film and TV roles in New Zealand, Australia, and the UK. As well as appearing in many British and Australian TV shows screened in New Zealand, Rodgers has been a stalwart of locally made programmes such as Close to Home and Hunter's Gold. Probably best known for playing Maxine Redfern in Gloss, some of Rodgers' other screen credits include The Billy T James Show, Marlin Bay and the film Utu.