Stanley - ASB Bank

Television, 1992 (Full Length)

This trio of 1990s-era commercials features a pre-Xena Lucy Lawless — who is more fiscally responsible mum than warrior princess — while the doting Dad is played by Erik Thomson (Packed to the Rafters). The two are promoting the “your future bank” concept by extolling the benefits of banking with ASB, and securing the financial future of their baby Stan. Actor and nature presenter Peter Hayden's smooth tones and power suit launch the campaign. The following decade, ASB bank's ad campaign featuring fish out of water lawyer Ira Goldstein began a remarkable 11 year run.

Interview

Erik Thomson: Aussie TV's favourite dad...

Interview, Camera and Editing – Andrew Whiteside

From appearing alongside Lucy Lawless and baby ‘Stanley’ in the 90s ASB Bank ads, to headlining hit Aussie drama Packed to the Rafters, actor Erik Thomson has built a solid career and a loyal fan base on both sides of the Tasman. Along the way he has appeared in TV shows Hercules: The Legendary JourneysThe Alice and 800 Words, short films (Snap) and movies (We’re Here to HelpThe Black Balloon).

Interview

ScreenTalk Short: Erik Thomson

Interview, Camera and Editing – Andrew Whiteside

Raised in Scotland and New Zealand, Erik Thomson found his acting career really taking off in Australia — including six seasons playing dad on TV hit Packed to the Rafters.

Series

Sea Urchins

Television, 1980–1984

This TVNZ kidult drama is a saltwater Swallows and Amazons, where the plucky "urchins" stumble upon villainous plots (from missing treasure to wildlife smuggling) on their seaside adventures. Over three series, locations like Mahurangi Peninsula in the Hauraki Gulf — where the youngsters holidayed with their uncle — and the Marlborough Sounds allowed for much floatplane, launch and navy frigate chase action. The cast included an array of experienced talent and featured a young Rebecca Gibney (the Packed to Rafter’s star’s first major TV role) and Robert Rakete.

One of those Blighters

Television, 1982 (Full Length)

One of those Blighters began life as a doco on Taranaki novelist Ronald Hugh Morrieson, but after interviews with many who knew him, morphed into something more offbeat: a semi-fictionalised tale of Morrieson’s mates reminiscing about his departure, interwoven with highlights from his tales of drunkards and con artists. The dramatisations are from his four novels - all became movies - plus one posthumously published short story. Amidst a cast packed to the rafters with carousing Kiwi screen legends, fellow multi-talented muso Bruno Lawrence plays Morrieson.

Series

The Amazing Extraordinary Friends

Television, 2007–2010

Created by superhero fan Stephen J Campbell, this light-hearted adventure series follows teen Ben Wilson (Carl Dixon) who discovers his father and grandad have done time as superheroes. Still getting to grips with the basics of being one himself, Ben enlists family and friends to help fight assorted villians. The show ran for three seasons, and spawned web series The Wired Chronicles and Origins. Nominated for awards in Rome and New Zealand, it picked up one in Korea. The eclectic cast included the tried (David McPhail) and the new (Hannah Marshall from Packed to the Rafters).

Sea Urchins - Series Three, Episode Five

Television, 1983 (Full Length Episode)

For the third series of this TVNZ kidult drama, the location moved from the Hauraki Gulf to the Marlborough Sounds, where there's also plenty of water for floatplane and speedboat thrills (and an explosion). Brothers Peter, Nik and Hape — the "sea urchins" — attempt to foil a thuggish gang of tuatara and kākāriki smugglers, led by cravat-wearing evil mastermind, Carl. The urchins are aided on the ground and in the air by a young Rebecca Gibney (the Packed to the Rafter's star's first major TV role), while future broadcaster and Wiggle Robert Rakete plays Nik.

Erik Thomson

Actor

Scots-born Erik Thomson moved to New Zealand at age seven. In the mid 90s his career took off, after he began acting in Australia. In 2004 he won an AFI award for feature Somersault, then later starred in Aussie TV hit Packed to the Rafters and NZ drama/comedy We're Here to Help. In 2016 Thomson won a Best Actor Logie for his role in TV series 800 Words, as an Australian widower who moves his family to NZ.

Rebecca Gibney

Actor

Within two years of acting in kidult TV adventure Sea Urchins, Kiwi Rebecca Gibney had set up shop in Australia. There she would find fame  — and a long list of awards and nominations — thanks to a television CV which includes Wanted (which she also created), Packed to the Rafters, The Flying Doctors, mini-series Come in Spinner, and 21 Halifax tele-movies as forensic psychiatrist Jane Halifax.

Ria Vandervis

Actor

Ria Vandervis grew up in Dunedin, before completing a major in acting at Unitec in Auckland. Moving to Australia after a spell as a Power Rangers villain, she won a recurring role on the second season of Packed To The Rafters, and on police drama Cops LAC. Returning to New Zealand she continued to act in law enforcement; she was Detective Christie Mills in Harry, TV3's acclaimed police drama. Shortland Street's Doctor Harper Whitley was her next role, in 2013. The character initially appeared as best friend of fan favourite Sarah Potts, and continues to be a regular on the series — including doing time as hospital CEO.