David Beatson was a broadcasting veteran with more than 50 years experience in journalism. Beatson began his television career as a reporter on magazine show Town and Around, before developing a reputation for a no-nonsense interviewing style on shows like Gallery and Eyewitness. Later in his career Beatson became the editor of the Listener, chief press secretary to PM Jim Bolger and chairman of NZ On Air.
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.
Tammy Davis (Ngāti Rangi, Atihaunui a Paparangi) grew up in Raetihi, and studied acting at Northland Polytechnic before landing his first major role (alongside fellow graduate Clint Eruera) as Mookie in the feature film What Becomes of the Broken Hearted? Following supporting roles in Whale Rider, and TV dramas Jacksons Wharf, The Market and Mataku, Davis starred in macabre feature Black Sheep, and Taika Waititi short film Tama Tū, before securing the role of Munter in long-running TV series Outrageous Fortune. Davis won Best Performance by a Supporting Actor at the 2008 Qantas Film and Television Awards for his role as Munter.
David Harry Baldock’s long TV career includes submarines, sea rescues, ailing prime ministers and psychics. The onetime editor began making his mark as a director and producer on current affairs and a run of documentaries. In 1988 he left state television to launch production company Ninox, whose prolific output would grow to include Sensing Murder, Mitre 10 Dream Home, award-winner Pacific Rescue and ambitious documentary series Our People Our Century.
Actor Paul Gittins biggest screen role to date is as Doctor Michael McKenna, the original boss of the clinic on long-running soap Shortland Street. He has also acted in a number of movies, including Other Halves, The End of the Golden Weather, and The Whole of the Moon. Gittins’ love of history led to the creation of popular docudrama series Epitaph, which he hosted and sometimes directed.
Jaquie Brown began her media career in radio, before branching out into television as host of music show Space and star of comedy series The Jaquie Brown Diaries.
Producer and director Colin McRae has a television career spanning 40 years. In that time he has worked in news and current affairs for both TVNZ and TV3, and was the private channel’s Head of Sport to boot. His ground-breaking historical series The New Zealand Wars won Best Documentary Series at the 2006 Qantas Media Awards. In recent years, McRae has produced Native Affairs and Anzac Day coverage for Māori Television.
Donogh Rees is an accomplished actress in theatre and on screen. Her feature film debut was playing the lead role in Constance. She won a Film and TV award for her portrayal of a woman with a head injury in the film Crush, and in 2012 was seen playing Lady Capulet in an unorthodox film adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. Her most well known television role was playing Nurse Judy Brownlee in Shortland Street, but she has been in a number of TV shows such as Marlin Bay, Xena and the mini-series Fallout.
Gordon Dryden has had a long and distinguished career in journalism, public relations and broadcasting. He became a familiar face on New Zealand television in the 1970s, fronting sports and then current affairs programming. Dryden made a name for himself as a tough interviewer on The Friday Conference, and as a talk radio host. In recent years, Dryden has developed education books both in print and online.
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