NZ telly's longest running children's show turns 30 with a two hour, live extravaganza — far removed from its modest beginnings as a half hour pre-record in 1981. Current hosts Charlie, Johnson and Gem are joined by a parade of past presenters who reminisce, and compete to find the show's best decade. Masterchef finalist Jax Hamilton provides snacks, celebrities send greetings; and — in amongst the cupcakes, gunge, fart jokes and mayhem — the programme enters its fourth decade as an institution, watched by the children of its original audience.
The tables are turned in the second episode of this online comedy as Sid (Byron Coll) get tongue-tied while being interviewed about being a sexy new doco maker. Sid exhorts his fellow residents to star in a recreation of the town’s battle against a Belgian petrochemical corporation, but actor Molly (Gentiane Lupi) takes direction a bit too enthusiastically. Don Longridge deadpans as deaf Mr Baker, whose fart gag permeates a pair of near wordless scenes with Sid and Bella (Vanessa Stacey). Woodville was selected for London’s Raindance Festival in 2013.
In the third episode of this doco about a doco, Byron Coll’s Sid shows visits Uncle Clive (Tim Spite) to ask for a loan, while his gung ho film crew prepares to launch some vigilante justice if the deal doesn’t go through. He shows Clive the dramatic slow-mo trailer, featuring Mr Baker as the king of Belgium and head of the petrochemical company crushed by the small Hawkes Bay town of Woodville. Sid is reacquainted with the lovely aspiring actress Jane (musical comedienne Hayley Sproull) but makes a dodgy impression.
Six Māori Battalion soldiers camped in Italian ruins wait for night to fall. In the silence, the bros-in-arms distract themselves with jokes. A tohu (sign) brings them back to reality, and they gather to say a karakia before returning to the fray. Director Taika Waititi describes the soldiers as young men with "a special bond, strengthened by their character, their culture and each other." Shot in the rubble of the old Wellington Hospital, Tama Tū won international acclaim. Invited to over 40 international festivals, its many awards included honourable mentions at Sundance and Berlin.
Suzy Cato explores the workings of the digestive system in her science programme for five to nine year olds. A plate of baked beans is the starting point — but, first, the inevitable by-product of baked bean consumption is addressed in vox pops. Vinegar, funnels and pantyhose are just some of the aids Cato uses to simulate the process; and the changes are contrasted with untouched baked beans at each stage. The results aren't pretty but the explanation is clear and good natured — and the audience outside the studio is spared the resulting smells.
Wellington-born Jonathan Hardy, who died in July 2012, was an actor for more than four decades. Along the way he was on stage in New Zealand, Australia and England, and on screen in Kiwi classic The Scarecrow and a run of Australian projects. Hardy also co-wrote Constance and Aussie classic Breaker Morant, in the process becoming the first New Zealander to be nominated for a scriptwriting Academy Award.
Radio writer turned TV3 weather presenter Belinda Todd went on to win infamy and a cult following, as the boundary pushing co-host of late night show Nightline. Todd has also written and produced documentaries, and starred as a caring career woman in Melody Rules, a comedy series which has its share of detractors.
Luke Nola is the creator of madcap children’s show Let’s Get Inventin’, which over seven seasons spawned awards, dozens of inventions — and 11 successful patents. The show screened in more than 30 countries. Nola began as a graphic designer, and the advertising world soon led him to television; he has also directed children’s shows Life on Ben and The Goober Brothers, in which he played one of the Goobers.