All Things Being Equal was an early TVNZ sitcom written by future Gloss creator Rosemary McLeod. Screening on Friday nights the 70s gender politics satire was a one-off NZ TV experiment, broadcast live-to-air from Avalon Studios (a second series ditched the live shoot). Ginette McDonald and Bruno Lawrence had made their screen debut together in Pukemanu and were reunited by series director Ross Jennings. When film director Roger Donaldson saw Bruno on the show, it led to Lawrence being cast as Al Shaw in Smash Palace — his career-defining big screen role.
This series of 25 half hour documentaries made for TVNZ uses individual stories to explore diversity in NZ in areas including ethnicity, age, gender and religion. Among the locations are earthquake ravaged Christchurch, the WOMAD festival in New Plymouth, a fire fighters’ competition in Port Macquarie and slums in Manila. Subjects include a Malaysian born plastic surgeon, Wellington grannies offering cooking and budgeting tips for council tenants, a prison choir, a Burmese expatriate waiting for heart surgery and a middle-aged male mid-wife.
National treasures The Topp Twins (aka twins Lynda and Jools Topp) have performed as a country-music singing and yodelling comedy duo for more than 25 years. In the late 90s they created their own TV series which ran for three seasons and showcased their iconic cast of Kiwi characters, including Camp Mother, the Bowling Ladies and cross-dressing Ken and Ken. The series, travelling from a Highland Games to a Tauranga triathlon, won the twins - out-and-proud lesbians - several gongs at the NZ Film and TV Awards and screened on the ABC and Foxtel in Australia.