Dating game show Blind Date ran for more than a decade in the United Kingdom and the United States. At two seasons, the Kiwi version proved less of a long-stayer. The show’s format prioritises the importance of clever answers, over impressive looks: the person taking the hot seat asks questions of a trio of unseen contestants, before choosing who to take on a blind date. The series was presented by Dave Jamieson and Suzy Aiken (before she became Suzy Clarkson).
The basic format of Blind Date involves putting a series of questions to three potential dates who can't be seen. First in the driver's seat is Natalie, a “part-time actress and model who would love to meet somebody fast and exciting” — although not too fast. Her choices are a “Greenpeace supporter”, an accounts clerk, and a welder who likes to work out. Watch out for Suzanne Paul as one of the show's later suitors, who gets laughs for making clear the romantic impact of a well-built wallet. Two contestants also provide a post-mortem on their blind date.
Bad Dates peeks into a fictional evening of speed dating; those evenings where singles meet prospective partners on fast rotation. This quick-paced short film turns the idea into tragicomedy, where, in the vital opening bouts of small talk, a series of prospective relationships go down in flames before they've even begun. Writer/director Grant Lahood democratically gives equal screen time amongst the ensemble cast (made up of graduating students from drama school Toi Whakaari) and to a range of idiosyncrasies, from the infantile to the sex-obsessed.
Sam Neill has acted in forgotten Kiwi TV dramas (The City of No) and classic Kiwi movies (Sleeping Dogs, The Piano, Hunt for the Wilderpeople). His career has taken him from the UK (Reilly: Ace of Spies) to Hawaii (Jurassic Park) to dodgy Melbourne nightclubs (Death in Brunswick). As Neill turns 70, this collection celebrates his range, modesty and style — and the fact he was directing films before winning acting fame. In these backgrounders, friends Ian Mune and Roger Donaldson raise a glass to a talented, self-deprecating actor and fan of good music and pinot noir.
In the first episode of comedy drama Step Dave, solo Mum Cara (Sia Trokenheim) finds herself rescued by womanising barman Dave (Jono Kenyon), after a disastrous blind date ends in a sprained ankle. Dave is convinced he's met 'the one'. Cara's daughters and mother in-law (Lisa Harrow) are horrified. And Cara fears there isn't enough time in her busy life for a man who calls her favourite song "ancient". Meanwhile Dave's flatmate is falling for the workmate who has stolen his desk. Created by Kate McDermott, Step Dave screened for two seasons — and was later remade in Russia.
Fronted by Paul Holmes, this doco looks at the New Zealand Paralympic team at the 1996 Paralympics in Atlanta. It was the most successful team to date with a haul of nine gold medals, six silver and four bronze (and 44 personal bests). Triumph focuses on several disabled Kiwi athletes, from their arrival in the States to victory on the track, in the pool and on the field. The first Paralympics were held in Rome in 1960 with just 400 competitors. In Atlanta 3,500 athletes competed, 35 of them kiwis. Triumph broke ground screening in a primetime slot on TV One.
Suzy Clarkson (formerly Suzy Aiken) presented news and sports for Prime Television from 2004 until 2010. Her varied television appearances include travel shows Getaway and Holiday, reports for American network ABC, and a celebrated cameo on the first episode of Shortland Street. Clarkson now works in corporate affairs.
Roy Good is the creative talent behind a wide range of set designs (1960s music show C'mon, Hudson & Halls, Top Half) and graphics (including iconic logos for South Pacific Television, and Television New Zealand's Southern Cross logo). Good started his television career painting sets and designing graphics for C'mon. The accomplished artist led a large design team at TVNZ for most of the 1980s.
Andrew Shaw has experience of both sides of the camera. After debuting in his teens as a popular children's TV host, Shaw went on to spend time as producer and director, on a variety of music programmes and live shows. These days he is a TVNZ executive, responsible for commissioning and buying programmes.
Brit-born Suzanne Paul first made a splash on Kiwi television screens in the 80s, thanks to her infomercials. Hit TV show Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? saw her surprising ordinary New Zealanders with a long run of celebrity guests. She paired up with Anthony Ray Parker again for TV's Garage Sale and Second Honeymoon, then went on to win the third season of Dancing with the Stars — despite breaking a rib in the final.