The Almighty Johnsons is a fantasy/comedy series that screened on New Zealand television over three series from 2011 to 2013. The show is about a family of brothers who are descended from Norse gods, desperately trying to restore their powers. While not a huge ratings success in New Zealand, the series has won a cult following in a number of countries.
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.
Veteran actor Kevin J Wilson has made a career out of playing no-nonsense Kiwi blokes. His film credits include Pictures, Wild Horses and Chunuk Bair. He played Janet Frame’s father in Jane Campion’s An Angel at My Table, starred in the Wellington-based TV cop series Shark in the Park, and replaced the late Bruno Lawrence in the Aussie comedy show Frontline.
Music is Peter Blake's passion. Blake's career has encompassed jazz, Hendrix covers, keyboards for Hello Sailor – and quite a lot of television. After time at radio station 2ZA he began working on TV music show Grunt Machine, then got the job of musical director, and later producer of the high-rating, hit-making Ready to Roll. Soon he was commanding a stable of music shows that included RTR, Radio with Pictures, Heartbeat City, and stereo simulcasts of rock concerts.
Actor and director Murray Keane's first big acting role on screen was in 80s TV series Peppermint Twist. Since then he has appeared in Away Laughing, and movies Braindead and Chunuk Bair. In the 1990s, Keane expanded into directing, working on popular drama series Shortland Street, Outrageous Fortune, The Almighty Johnsons and Go Girls.
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.
As the founder of production company Desert Road, Steven O'Meagher has produced a long list of documentaries, films and television shows. His documentaries include The Understudy, Million Dollar Tumour, and Reluctant Hero. O'Meagher executive produced TV drama This is Not My Life, and made the police series Harry, featuring Oscar Kightley in the lead role.
A generation of Kiwi kids grew up watching Jason Gunn on television. At the same time Gunn grew up on television himself. Beginning in children’s TV, Gunn hosted Jase TV, The Son of a Gunn Show, After School, and What Now? Through many of these shows his co-star was a hugely popular life size puppet named Thingee. Gunn moved on to other programmes such as Young Entertainers and Small Talk. In recent years Gunn has starred in a host of top-rating primetime entertainment and game shows including Wheel of Fortune, The Rich List and Dancing with the Stars.
From reporting to scriptwriting and acting, Keith Aberdein has been a part of some of New Zealand’s biggest television and film moments. His screen career began as a journalist on Town and Around and Compass. Aberdein has scripted major TV shows such as Pukemanu, Section 7, Moynihan, Close to Home, and the colonial epic The Governor.
Thedownlowconcept is an Auckland-based production company run by Ryan Hutchings, Jarrod Holt and Nigel McCulloch. Their first TV production was music quiz show Pop Goes the Weasel. They cemented their TV comedy credentials with hit show 7 Days, and followed it up with ‘science for blokes’ series Bigger Better Faster Stronger and acclaimed comedy series Hounds. Thedownlowconcept have also made a number of short films for the 48 Hour Film Festival including the award-winning Only Son.