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Artist

Fred Dagg

As well as being good for laughs, gentleman farmer Fred Dagg proved he had a singing voice from an early age. His 1975 debut album Fred Dagg's Greatest Hits – much of it recorded under duress in a single morning – sold thousands more copies than EMI executives expected. Five of the 20 tracks were musical, including the original version of the beloved 'We Don't Know How Lucky We Are'. A live tour and 1977 short film Dagg Day Afternoon fuelled further releases. Then Dagg went awol, possibly to Australia. A 1998 remake of "Don't Know How Lucky We Are' also involved Dagg, although this one inexplicably wore a suit. 

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Collection

Kiwi Comedy On TV

Curated by NZ On Screen team

This collection celebrates Kiwi comedy on TV: the caricatures, piss-takes, and sitcoms that have cracked us up, and pulled the wool over our eyes for over five decades. From turkeys in gumboots and Fred Dagg, to Billy T, bro'Town and Jaquie Brown. As Diana Wichtel reflects, watching the evolution of native telly laughs is, "a rich and ridiculous, if often painful, pleasure." 

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Collection

Top 10 NZ Comedy Series

Curated by NZ On Screen team

Every now and then here at NZ On Screen, we like to stick our necks out and choose a Top 10. And our collective opinion is that these are the funniest New Zealand television series to date: from bro' Town to Billy T, from Gliding On to the tag team hijinks of 7 Days. Plus 10 runners-up that we couldn't agree on. Read on to find out more. 

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Collection

The NZ Film Commission turns 40

Curated by NZ On Screen team

Without the NZ Film Commission, the list of Kiwi features and short films would be far shorter. In celebration of the Commission turning 40, this collection gathers up movie clips, plus documentaries and news coverage of Kiwi films. Among the directors to have had a major leg up from the Commission are Geoff Murphy, Peter Jackson, Taika Waititi and Gaylene Preston. In the backgrounders, Preston remembers the days when the commission was up an old marble staircase, and producer John Barnett jumps 40 years and beyond, to an age when local stories were seen as fringe. 

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Collection

NZ Music Month

Curated by NZ On Screen team

This NZ Music Month collection showcases NZ music television, spun from a playlist of classic documentaries and beloved music shows. From Split Enz to the NZSO, Heavenly Pop Hits to Hip Hop New Zealand, whether you count the beat or roll like this, there’s something here for all ears (and eyes). Plus music writer Chris Bourke gets Ready to Roll with this pop history primer.

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Collection

The Top 10 NZ Television Ads

Curated by NZ On Screen team

Great adverts are strange things: mini works of magic, with the power to make viewers smile, cry, and even buy. Kiwi directors have shown such a knack for making them, they've been invited to do so across the globe. But this collection is about local favourites; dogs on skateboards, choc bar robberies, ghost chips. NZ On Screen's Irene Gardiner backgrounds the top 10 here.

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Collection

Accent on Kiwi

Curated by NZ On Screen team

Thus linguistic collection takes a look at sux — nah, make that seven — pieces of fentestic New Zealand television that focus on the Kiwi ecceent. Accent on Kiwi includes a compilation that compresses 21 years of local TV news reading into four minutes, Karyn Hay — who shocked New Zealand, by daring to front Radio With Pictures speaking in her own accent —  Billy T James taking on varied voices, classic Kiwi put-down “Jeez, Wayne”, and John Clarke going Face to Face with Kim Hill, as he remembers Kiwi bloke Fred Dagg. Beaut!

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We Don't Know How Lucky We Are

Fred Dagg, Music Video, 1998

John Clarke created an unofficial Kiwi national anthem when his alter ego Fred Dagg first released 'We Don’t Know How Lucky We Are' in 1975, simultaneously celebrating and poking fun at national pride. This video is a 1998 update of the song, instigated by TV's SportsCafe. Times change, but the recipe remains the same: "good clean ball and for God's sakes feed your backs!" Alongside a roll call of celebrities, politicians and sports stars — Sean Fitzpatrick, Chris Cairns, Zinzan Brooke — Clarke spreads the grateful gospel at the United Nations. 

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Face to Face with Kim Hill - John Clarke

Television, 2004 (Excerpts)

Kim Hill interviews comedy legend John Clarke at his home in Melbourne. In this excerpt, Clarke talks about how easily humour travels and how Kiwis can be funny, and looks back at the birth of his iconic Fred Dagg character in the early 70s, with his black singlet, a hat given to Clarke by his sister, and some torn-off trousers from state television's wardrobe department. Clarke talks about New Zealand being far from alone in claiming to have a laconic, understated style of humour, and how he thinks the country is seen overseas. 

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Grunt Machine - Andy Anderson spoof interview with John Clarke

Television, 1975 (Excerpts)

The airport interview with the visiting overseas celebrity was very much a staple of 70s New Zealand TV — but in this encounter the location looks suspiciously like NZBC's Avalon studios, and rock star Hiram W Violent bears more than a passing resemblance to John Clarke (of Fred Dagg fame). The wardrobe department has had a thorough ransacking and the question of Hiram's ability with the guitar remains thankfully moot. The interviewer is original Grunt Machine presenter and actor/musician Andy Anderson (who later starred in Gloss and The Sullivans).