Simone Kessell first appeared on screen playing Hannah Tumai on short-lived soap Homeward Bound. She acted in both Hercules and Xena before being cast as a TV journalist on Cover Story, and as the lead in period drama Greenstone. Kessell has worked in both America and Australia, and appeared in Aussie dramas Underbelly and Wonderland.
Comedy legend David McPhail began making New Zealanders laugh in pioneering 1970s sketch show A Week of It, then he and Jon Gadsby moved on to McPhail and Gadsby. The two comedians also had big parts to play in sitcom Letter to Blanchy. Later McPhail starred as the appallingly politically incorrect teacher in Seven Periods with Mr Gormsby.
Mark Albiston and Louis Sutherland have stacked up so many awards for their film and television work, they must be running out of places to store them. The writer/directors and long-time friends (since their Kapiti Coast childhood) have made hit short films, the feature Shopping, and worked on their own separate projects as well as their successful collaborations.
Geraldine Brophy describes herself as a character actress, but her television and film roles have been very memorable ones. She played the lovable Moira Crombie in Shortland Street for four years, before moving on to roles in Serial Killers, The Insiders Guide to Love, and Outrageous Fortune. One of her favourite roles was playing the control freak bureaucrat Marion in Seven Periods with Mr Gormsby. More recently Brophy danced up a storm on Dancing with the Stars, and had a small but memorable part in Peter Jackson’s remake of King Kong. In 2008, she received a NZ Film and TV Award for best actress for her lead role in the feel-good feature film Second-Hand Wedding.
Lisa Chappell first won fame playing spoilt rich kid Chelsea Redfern in 1980s glamour soap Gloss. In the 90s she moved to Australia and landed a starring role McLeod’s Daughters. Between small screen gigs, Chappell appeared in period romp Desperate Remedies. In 2009 she returned to New Zealand to play the gun-toting Sophie in TV drama The Cult.
Ngila Dickson is an Academy Award-winning costume designer who has been involved in some of our biggest film and TV projects. Her first film experience was on User Friendly and since then she has designed for Jack Be Nimble, Heavenly Creatures, Crush and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. In television, she made a name for herself designing costumes for Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. Dickson has also worked on a range of international movies.
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.
Comedy legend David McPhail made Kiwis laugh with pioneering sketch show A Week of It.
Actor/director Danny Mulheron has acted alongside drug-addicted frogs, haunted automobiles, and “force of nature” David Fane. After appearing in early Kiwi soap Close to Home, Mulheron went on to act on television, stage and film - including in the cult Peter Jackson puppet movie Meet the Feebles. In the late 80s he found himself working on both sides of the camera on a run of television sketch shows. Mulheron’s lengthy directorial CV now includes drama, comedy, and documentary.
Programmer John McCready has had a significant impact on the television industry in New Zealand. After extended time in music and radio he joined TVNZ in 1989 as Manager of Presentation and Promotion, just as TV3 came on air. The following year McCready became TVNZ's Director of Programming, and revamped both TV1 and TV2 over a four year period. He headed overseas for a while, before returning to New Zealand as Director of Programming and Marketing for Sky TV. Before retiring in 2007, McCready successfully launched The Living Channel and Food TV on Sky.