The late Frank Torley was a Kiwi television legend, forever known as that Country Calendar guy - he variously narrated, directed, produced, and reported for the show over more than 40 years. But Torley hadn’t always been Mr Rural. He also spent time as a newsreader, Top Town presenter, documentary maker (including an early doco on AIDs), and producing religious programmes.
Television presenter Bob Parker went on to become mayor of New Zealand's second largest city. After starting out as a continuity announcer for TV One, Parker hosted a number of live TV shows including Telethon, Young Farmer of the Year, the Benson & Hedges Fashion Design Awards and spent 12 years holding the big red book on This is Your Life. In 2007 he was elected Mayor of Christchurch, leaving the role in 2013.
John Clarke was one of New Zealand’s best-loved comic performers. His 1970s farming character Fred Dagg became an icon of Kiwi comedy. Clarke worked as a comedian, actor, writer and director. His satirical television series The Games was an Australian Film Institute award-winner. Although based in Australia since 1977, he lent his unmistakeable comic voice to Kiwi TV comedies bro’Town and Radiradirah. In a departure from our usual ScreenTalk format, this extended audio interview was produced and recorded by Andrew Johnstone and Richard Swainson with the assistance of Hamilton Community Radio and The Film School.
Originally from Holland, world famous 'Bug Man' Ruud Kleinpaste has called New Zealand home for over 30 years. His TV career began in 1990, hosting farming documentary series The Enduring Land. He soon made a name for himself talking about bugs on children’s programmes The Early Bird Show and What Now?. Kleinpaste was then a primetime regular on TVNZ’s long-running gardening series Maggie’s Garden Show. Making the documentary The Bug House with producer Bryan Bruce led to international success with Animal Planet’s World’s Biggest Baddest Bugs.
Journalist turned media trainer Allison Webber began in television at a time when women were more likely to be making the tea than making programmes. After working alongside names like Brian Edwards and Ian Johnstone, she became part of a new generation of women producers and directors who changed the shape of what went on air, especially with her ground-breaking documentary series Expressions of Sexuality.
Actor, acting teacher, and artist the late Grant Tilly played cow cockies, assassins, missionaries, and German villains in funny hats. And that’s not even counting his long-running stage career, which included a run of classic Kiwi plays, one of which became acclaimed movie Middle Age Spread.
Marshall Napier has forged a successful acting career playing strong supporting roles in a swathe of Kiwi and Aussie TV dramas and films. His numerous credits include The Governor, Goodbye Pork Pie, Came a Hot Friday, Blue Heelers, Babe, McLeod’s Daughters and Water Rats. He also has a strong pedigree in theatre, and took his own play Freak Winds to New York in 2006.