Roger Gascoigne was at one stage the most famous man on New Zealand television. He began his TV career as a continuity announcer and introduced his infamous wink to the nation. He went on to present a huge range of TV shows in the 70s and 80s including Ready to Roll, Top Town and several Telethons. During the 80s he made the transition to news presenting on regional show Today Tonight.
Rima Te Wiata won fame with her impersonations of famous New Zealanders in comedy shows Laughinz and More Issues. Her most famous parody was of newsreader Judy Bailey. Te Wiata is also a successful dramatic actor, having appeared in Shark in the Park and Shortland Street. Her film credits include Via Satellite and — after this interview was conducted — Housebound and Hunt for the Wilderpeople.
Got a major live event you want to put on television? Ron Pledger has long been one of the first people to get on the phone. The MBE-awarded director has commanded live coverage of Sir Edmund Hillary’s funeral, Kiri Te Kanawa in concert, This is Your Life and roughly 20 Anzac Day ceremonies. His screen career also encompasses church choirs, Canadian soap operas, the infamous GOFTA awards, and the madness of Top Town.
Rima Te Wiata created a name for herself impersonating famous New Zealanders in comedy shows Laughinz and More Issues. Te Wiata has acted in everything from Australian soap Sons and Daughters to movie Via Satellite and — after this interview was conducted — Housebound and Hunt for the Wilderpeople.
Englishman David Bellamy is a world famous botanist, author, broadcaster and conservationist. He came to prominence in New Zealand in the 1970s and 1980s with numerous natural history programmes. His trademark beard, larger than life personality and ability to make science understandable made him a popular addition to family viewing time. In 1990 he came to New Zealand to host Moa’s Ark, a landmark documentary series telling the history of our country’s unique evolutionary past. In recent years, Bellamy has become a more controversial figure with his claims that global warming is just part of the earth’s natural climate cycle.
Des Monaghan has made an enormous contribution to the television industry as a TV producer and network executive in both New Zealand and Australia. Starting as a trainee producer with the NZBC, Monaghan produced a range of pioneering current affairs shows such as Town and Around, Gallery and Compass. In more recent years, Monaghan set up Australasian production company Screentime, whose slate includes popular shows Popstars, Underbelly, Police Ten 7 and Beyond the Darklands.
Peter Hayden has one of the best known faces and voices in New Zealand, having presented and voiced hundreds of nature documentaries on television. His many documentary series include the hugely successful Wild South and Latitude 45. Hayden is also a successful actor and has appeared in a range of dramas including: The Fire-Raiser, Footrot Flats and Beyond Reasonable Doubt.
Broadcaster the late Phillip Leishman had one of the longest and most successful TV presenting careers in New Zealand. He began presenting sports news and events in the 1970s, and hosted major live events such as the Olympics and test rugby. Leishman also hosted long-running game show Wheel of Fortune, and the internationally-syndicated Golf Show.
Christopher Bourn is the pioneering entertainment producer best known for his work on the classic talent series Studio One. He has also worked as a sports director, and on a range of other early TV shows. His legacy of live TV broadcasts includes directing the first ever All Black rugby test to be broadcast on television, as well as the boxing at the 1974 Commonwealth Games; and serving as New Zealand producer for international co-production The Pacific Song Contest.
Director and producer Mark Beesley has worked on some of New Zealand's most high profile series, including Outrageous Fortune, Shortland Street, The Blue Rose and The Almighty Johnsons. Beesley also worked on the big American shows Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules: Legendary Journeys. He also wrote and directed the 'Westie' feature film Savage Honeymoon, which some credit as an inspiration for Outrageous Fortune.