Writer, producer and actor Millen Baird made a splash with his award-winning comedy show The Millen Baird Show, before going on to make the popular web turned TV series Auckland Daze. Baird has also appeared in TV dramas Being Eve and The Almighty Johnsons, and took his top off for Step Dave.
Actor Ian Hughes made a big impact on our screens playing the ‘sad clown’ Ant in the acclaimed TV series and movie Topless Women Talk About Their Lives. From there, he went on to play a number of roles on television shows such as Shortland Street, Hercules, Xena, and Doves of War. He has also appeared in feature films including The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, and directed his own short film The Waiting Room.
Musician turned TV producer turned radio presenter Simon Morris pops up among the Funny As interviews mainly to talk about John Clarke — one of the funniest guys Morris has ever met. Among the topics covered: How Morris and Clarke first bonded in a cafe at Victoria University Clarke's love of the way British comedian Peter Cook combined "low comedy and unbelievably high comedy at the same time...and that was John really" Joining Clarke for a badly-reviewed student extravaganza, where Clarke was one of the only standouts How hit TV show Gliding On (on which Morris directed) utilised the classic sitcom formula of a bunch of characters in a single setting, who irritate one another Working on the TV pilot for comedy group Funny Business, who arrived "just three years too soon" For more on John Clarke, check out this extended interview with Clarke's daughter, writer Lorin Clarke.
Nathan Rarere landed a presenting role on What Now? in the 90s, but turned it down because he didn't want to be on TV. Eventually he changed his mind.
Television producer Gavin Wood has worked on some of New Zealand’s biggest game shows and live events. His first producing role saw him bring Sale of the Century to our screens, which was soon joined by Wheel of Fortune. His career path led him from TVNZ to TV3, then offshore working for FremantleMedia. Returning to New Zealand, Wood turned his producing talents to the third season of New Zealand Idol, TV coverage of the state funeral of Sir Paul Reeves, and the Pike River and Christchurch earthquake memorial services.
The globetrotting Sandy Houston began her career in animation and visual effects, after she left New Zealand for London. In the 90s she joined powerhouse American effects company ILM and Walt Disney Pictures, then Weta Digital in 2003. En route, she worked on a number of landmark films in modern visual effects, including Jurassic Park, the Oscar-winning Avatar, and Peter Jackson's remake of King Kong.
Producer Grahame McLean was one of the pioneers of the New Zealand feature film industry. In his long career, he was worked in many roles - props manager, assistant director, production manager, line producer, director, scriptwriter and producer. His first job in the screen industry was on the early 70s independent TV drama The Games Affair, and he went on to produce films including Sons for the Return Home, A Woman of Good Character, and Should I be Good? The special guest interviewer is McLean's industry colleague John Barnett.
Versatile director Mike Smith has made an enormous amount of New Zealand drama. Highlights of his lengthy television CV include Radio Waves, Duggan, Serial Killers, The Almighty Johnsons, Nothing Trivial, tele-movie Siege and docu-drama Nancy Wake: The White Mouse. Smith also had a big hand in creating Heroes (80s pop band on-the-make show), yokels comedy Willy Nilly, children’s drama The Lost Children and 2013 comedy Sunny Skies. He was also one of the key players in the launch of Outrageous Fortune.
Award-winning actor Jennifer Ludlam has played a range of strong female characters in TV shows such as Cover Story, Gloss, and Undercover. She spent time in Australia appearing in a number of dramas including Prisoner and Sons and Daughters. Returning to New Zealand, Ludlam starred in Sima Urale’s feature film Apron Strings.
Actor Blair Strang shot to fame in New Zealand playing the likeable ambulance driver Rangi in Shortland Street. After six years, he quit the show and returned to law school. Since then, his acting career has been resurrected playing a range of characters in shows such as Go Girls, Spin Doctors, Doves of War, Orange Roughies and Nothing Trivial.