In this The Years Back episode Bernard Kearns charts New Zealand's 6th Brigade and Maori Battalion as they fight their way through Italy between 1943 and 1945. Reaching Monte Cassino in 1944, the force suffered 1600 casualties in 12 weeks of bitter fighting. Using NFU pictures, the documentary traces the advance north after Cassino falls, and includes the bloodless capture of Padua and the setting up of the New Zealand Forces Club in the best hotel in Venice. The documentary ends with Kiwi forces facing down Tito's Yugoslav partisans in Trieste.
In this episode of Chris Stapp and Matt Heath's bawdy, bogan, BSA baiting TV variety series spoof, studio band Deja Voodoo have been fire after the police raid in the previous episode — but replacements, The Warlocks of Firetop Mountain, lack the "sharp suits and sharp tunes" that presenter Danny Parker is looking for in a band. There's an extended episode of Bottlestore Galactica but the real focus is on stuntman Randy Campbell's last despairing attempt to succeed at even the simplest challenge. His inevitable failure extacts a terrifying toll.
This consolidating episode of the archive-based New Zealand history series finds World War II at an end, the return of Kiwi servicemen and the country in an optimistic mood. That's sealed by the 1950 British Empire Games where New Zealand is third on the medal table. But rising prices and low incomes lead to more militant unionism, culminating in the fractious waterfront workers dispute of 1951. At the same time there's a new flowering of the arts. The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra is established and a new generation of writers and artists take centre stage.
The final episode of Chris Stapp and Matt Heath's bawdy, bogan, BSA baiting TV variety series spoof opens with a tribute to "People's Presenter" Danny Parker who was a victim of the previous episode's carnage. Show regular Piers Graham looks behind the scenes at the show's imagined past (including 60s exploitation pic 'Datura Flowers of the Garden of Death') and the real injuries sustained by cast members in the show's stunts; and hapless mechanic Spanners Watson get his chance to assume daredevil stuntman Randy Campbell's hopeless mantle.
The end of World War II is in sight in the 10th episode of this NZ 20th Century history series. But there's still fighting to be done by New Zealand troops and their allies as they battle tenacious Japanese forces in the Pacific. Future Prime Minister Jack Marshall addresses his men in the jungle, and war correspondent Stan Wemyss recalls being under fire with Fijian troops in the jungles of Bougainville (while his footage of the event plays). When the war finally ends, Prime Minister Peter Fraser delivers his victory speech and there is dancing in the streets.
In this episode of the "greatest TV show on earth", the ape set on fire in the show's first episode — when Randy Campbell's stunt went "horribly wrong" — has escaped, and the hairy one is after vengeance. Meanwhile the police show no sympathy for presenter Danny Parker and daredevil Campbell, for the way the show has portrayed them. And against all odds, Spanners Watson's rocket car 'The Spirit of Russell Crowe' might actually work ... but the ape and the police are closing in.
The Years Back was a NFU-made TV documentary series that used archive footage and interviews to survey New Zealand’s 20th Century history. This episode details events in the Pacific during World War II, from Japan’s 1941 attack of Pearl Harbour through to mid-1944. Japan’s aggressive thrust into South East Asia threatened NZ and Australia (“any day now it’ll be us”), and forced the countries into war close to home. Veterans and commanders recall sea battles, rallying of air defences and jungle warfare, from New Caledonia to New Guinea.
In this episode of the The Years Back presenter Bernard Kearns explores New Zealand's part in the famous campaign against Rommel in the Libyan Desert. Using rare footage of the action and contemporary post-battle reconstructions, the episode follows the New Zealand 2nd Division in the lead up to the battle of El Alamein and pursuit of the German Afrika Korps, and victory under the guidance of legendary British commander Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery. A notable moment is Kiwi Sergeant Keith Elliott being presented with his VC for his deeds at Ruweisat Ridge.
With the Second World War over, Kiwis stood with their more powerful allies in the occupation of Japan. But with Britain increasingly preoccupied with its home affairs and Europe, New Zealand began to set its own foreign policy agenda. In this episode of The Years Back presenter Bernard Kearns explains how New Zealand turned to its own backyard to create new export markets. That also meant military involvement in Korea and Malaya and a sometimes fumbling attempt at being a colonial power in the Pacific.
This edition of the New Zealand history series looks at the beginning of World War II. With war declared in 1939 NZ faces the new decade with a call to arms. Presenter Bernard Kearns explains how Kiwis mobilised and set sail for the Middle East, before being sent to Greece and Crete where overwhelming German superiority sent them into retreat. Prime Minister Peter Fraser explains the defeat to New Zealanders in an NFU newsreel filmed in Egypt. The contemporary footage also shows the victory at the naval Battle of the River Plate and looks at some Kiwi war heroes.