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.
Despite starring in Kiwi classic Goodbye Pork Pie, playing 'a good true blue basic Kiwi joker' in Home by Christmas, and scoring for the All Blacks, Tony Barry marks a rare Australian entry in our ScreenTalks. The veteran actor cemented his relationship with the Kiwi screen as early as 1971, when he appeared in landmark TV series Pukemanu. Barry went on to tour New Zealand (and his homeland) in Bruno Lawrence’s genre-bending musical group Blerta, then drove a yellow mini to Invercargill in the iconic Goodbye Pork Pie.
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.
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.
Kevin Milne is one of New Zealand’s most popular TV presenters after more than 20 years on Fair Go. In that time he won settlements worth millions of dollars. Before Fair Go, Milne was a reporter for Eyewitness News and the TVNZ lifestyle shows Production Line and Then Again. He has also been a presenter on the travel show Holiday and Fair Go spin-off Kev Can Do. Milne left Fair Go at the end of 2010.
Judy Bailey is sometimes called the 'Mother of the Nation', thanks to nearly 20 years as newsreader on TV One’s prime time news bulletin. Bailey began as a TV/radio reporter for the NZ Broadcasting Corporation, before co-hosting regional magazine show Top Half with John Hawkesby. In 1986 she began her newsreading career on the Network News; after a long run working alongside Richard Long she took over the role solo in 2004. She has gone on to host a number of other shows, including Māori Television's Anzac Day coverage and travel show Judy Bailey’s Australia.
Hugh Macdonald’s long filmmaking career encompasses historical epics, Oscar-nominated shorts, and lots of time on the road. Macdonald is probably best-known for three-screen spectacular This is New Zealand, which got crowds queueing at World Expo in Japan, before playing for months back home. A two-decade long stint at the National Film Unit also saw him directing two episodes of historical epic The Governor, and producing the first of many animated shorts.