Richard O’Brien made his mark in the history of musicals — and cult movies — after creating the tale of a sweet transvestite from Transylvania. The Rocky Horror Picture Show has played on cinema screens for decades. The stage show continues to win new fans. O’Brien has gone on to a wide range of projects, including movie Dark City and hosting New Zealand’s DNA Detectives and UK hit The Crystal Maze.
Two expat Kiwis return home from the United Kingdom in this episode of Coming Home — Rocky Horror creator Richard O’Brien, and renowned opera tenor Patrick Power. Power returns for work: he’s performing two demanding roles in Pagliacci and Cavalleria rusticana in Auckland. O’Brien’s visit is far more relaxed, visiting old haunts, his siblings and a former employer. Despite the pair espousing love for their UK residences, both fall victim to that irresistible allure of home. O'Brien, a British citizen raised in Aotearoa, was finally granted citizenship in 2011.
For this One Network News story from 16 July 1998, Jo Malcolm reports on ailing Dragon singer Marc Hunter. Suffering from throat cancer, Hunter had been in Korea and Italy seeking alternative treatment with money raised by a benefit concert. On returning to Australia he fell into a coma. The report features a montage of the band’s classic songs, earlier clips of Hunter reacting to the diagnosis and a poignant performance from Hunter at the March benefit concert. The legendary, larger than life frontman died the day after this report went to air.
Coming Home chronicled Kiwi successes abroad, by profiling New Zealanders living and working overseas, then following them back to Aotearoa when they made a return visit. Each episode of the Touchdown Productions series was grouped roughly geographically, with two or three expat New Zealanders featured per episode. Among those reminiscing upon home and opportunity were businesswoman Mary Quin, motor racing legend Steve Millen, journalist Peter Arnett, model Kylie Bax, psychologist John Money, law lecturer Judith Mayhew and singer Patrick Power.
The Stolen follows English migrant Charlotte Lockton (Alice Eve, from Star Trek: Into Darkness) as she sets out to track down her kidnapped baby in gold rush era 1860s New Zealand. En route she meets gamblers, hustlers, prostitutes and Māori warriors. Bringing the era to life are Scotsman Graham McTavish (The Hobbit), Brit James Davenport (as the romantic interest), Rocky Horror Show creator Richard O’Brien, Cohen Holloway and singer Stan Walker. Produced and originated by London-based Kiwi Emily Corcoran, the film was directed by Brit Niall Johnson (comedy Keeping Mum).
Fiona Jackson grew up in Hamilton and Christchurch, before a move to the US, where she provided stunts for a variety of productions, including Vincent Ward's What Dreams May Come. Since returning downunder, she has mixed studies in film with road movie Penny Black — which she produced and co-wrote — and her masters project, a documentary featuring Rocky Horror Show creator Richard O’Brien.
After starring in feature Broken Barrier — the only New Zealand feature made in the 1950s — Terence Bayler departed for England, to continue a six-decade long acting career that encompassed Monty Python, William Shakespeare and Harry Potter. Born in Wanganui on 24 January 1930, Bayler passed away in England on 2 August 2016.
John Carlaw's directing career spanned four decades. During 23 years in England, he directed for the BBC and Channel 4, and on high profile ITV arts slot The South Bank Show. Shortly before starting over in New Zealand, Carlaw was nominated for a Cable Television award for Edgar Allen Poe adaptation The Tell-Tale Heart, starring stage legend Steven Berkoff. Carlaw's Kiwi work was almost exclusively in documentary, including docos on Michael King and Ian Mune. He won more awards for Edmund Hillary series View from the Top and Revolution, which chronicled the Rogernomics era. Carlaw passed away on 29 May 2017.
As longtime host of primetime current affairs show Close Up, Mark Sainsbury became a household name; in 2007 the Sunday Star Times described his moustache as “the most famous in the country.” But the ginger duster doesn’t overshadow the experience and talent he’s brought to many roles over a long broadcasting career: from reporting for One News and Holmes, to officiating at Sir Edmund Hillary's funeral.
After making a career in marketing at record company RCA, English-born John Sumner switched back to his original love of performing in 1992. Since then he’s appeared in Shortland Street and had a memorable role in political satire Spin Doctors as Giles Peterson — "the buffoon", as Sumner calls him — the boss of a PR agency. He played the producer of a current affairs show on TV's Cover Story, and on the big screen was cameraman Herb in Peter Jackson’s remake of King Kong. Sumner has also lent his voice talents to numerous shows and documentaries, including Going Going Gone, Treasure Island and Piha Rescue.