Jude Dobson became famous in New Zealand as co-host of nightly game show Sale of the Century. She went on to present a range of lifestyle series on TVNZ including Open Home, Alive and Kicking, and NZ Living. In 1997 she began hosting five nights a week magazine show 5:30 with Jude. Since then she has set up her own production company and produces media content about parenting.
Peter Wells was an accomplished writer/director who explored gay and historical themes in his work. Among his screen credits are groundbreaking TV dramas Jewel’s Darl and A Death in the Family. Wells also created stylish feature film Desperate Remedies with co-director Stewart Main. In later years he collaborated with filmmaker Annie Goldson for documentary Georgie Girl.
Close to Home first screened on TV One in May 1975 and ran for eight years. The popular and ground-breaking series was New Zealand television's first soap opera. It was based in Wellington and centred around the trials and tribulations of the Hearte family. At its peak in 1977, Close to Home attracted a twice weekly audience of one million viewers.
Guitar-playing yodellers The Topp Twins have been bringing audiences together for decades. As this Funny As interview demonstrates, Jools and Lynda Topp make for a formidable team. Among other topics, they talk about: Six decades of making each other laugh, starting from when they had to share a bath as children Making yodelling funny How an empty petrol tank and a prison cell launched their career; how busking taught them showmanship Protest, politics, loose elastic bands, and the value of "beautiful mistakes" Winning over an audience of London punks How Lynda got married before gay marriage became legal
Simon Prast made his television debut in cop drama Mortimer’s Patch. Best known for playing spoilt rich kid Alistair Redfern in Gloss, Prast’s biggest film role was playing a gay man in 1998 movie When Love Comes. He also has a strong background in theatre, and for 11 years ran the Auckland Theatre Company.
Actor, writer, and director Madeleine Sami has been honing her skills in theatre, television and film since she was a teen. She talks in this Funny As interview about Kiwi humour, performing, and other subjects, including: Coming from a large, close extended family, where "everyone's got a good singing voice and everyone's a comedian" Travelling around the world to perform in Toa Fraser plays Bare and No. 2, soon after leaving high school Learning to write on drama/comedy TV series Super City, and playing all five lead characters in the first season Worries over whether Americans would get the humour in her and Jackie van Beek's film The Breaker Upperers Feeling excited that New Zealand comedy is respected overseas — "It feels really nice, it feels like we can be ourselves and laugh at ourselves and the rest of the world get it" Wanting to try stand-up comedy next
Producer Philip Smith comes from a family of entrepreneurs, so it’s always been in his nature to pursue opportunities. Currently working as head of the production company he created, Great Southern Television, Smith also had an eventful career in journalism before moving into producing. He was once expelled out of Tanzania while working as a print journalist, and sold his first production company for several million dollars while still in his early 30s. Great Southern has produced Lion Man, Eating Media Lunch, The Unauthorised History of NZ and The Cult. Smith lives in both Auckland and Queenstown, where he does a lot of brainstorming out in his woolshed.
Director David Blyth has created some of New Zealand’s most graphic and challenging movies dealing with horror, sexuality, and the sub-conscious mind. His career began as an assistant director on the film Solo, but it was his first feature Angel Mine which showed his interests in pushing the boundaries of filmmaking. In his time, Blyth has made a number of documentary features, directed episodes of Close to Home and created New Zealand's first horror film Death Warmed Up.
Gloss was a popular soap opera that screened from 1987 to 1990. It pitted a respectable moneyed family against a new generation of rich yuppies. Set in the glamorous world of a fashion magazine, Gloss epitomised the high life and big spending culture of the 80s, while also showcasing the fashion du jour: shoulder pads and big hair.
Actor Elizabeth McRae is best known as Marj the receptionist on Shortland Street. She began her TV career in the 70s on shows such as The Games Affair. Since then she has appeared in television dramas About Face, Terry and the Gunrunners, and Go Girls. Her film credits include Jubilee and Rest for the Wicked.