This collection of 40 classic Kiwi TV series offers up images spanning 50 years. The titles range from Gloss to Gliding On, from Olly Ohlson to Nice One Stu, from Ready to Roll to wrestlers. In this special backgrounder, Stuff's James Croot writes about favourite moments of Kiwi TV. The list is in rough chronological order of when each series debuted.
November 2014 marks 25 years since New Zealand TV’s third channel began broadcasting. This 25th birthday sampler pack looks back at iconic drama (Outrageous Fortune), upstart news shows (Nightline), fresh youth programming (Ice TV, Being Eve) and comedy high watermarks (bro’Town, Jaquie Brown, 7 Days). As the launch slogan said "come home to the feeling!"
The first movie written and directed by playwright Anthony McCarten is a portrait of a family melting down under the media spotlight. The comedy/drama stars Danielle Cormack in two roles — as a swimmer on the cusp of Olympic glory, and as the twin sister back home, looking on as her family descends into spats and bickering as they find the pressure to perform too much to bear. Via Satellite showcases a topline cast, including Tim Balme, Rima Te Wiata, and a scene-stealing and heavily-pregnant Jodie Dorday, who won an NZ TV and Film Award for her work.
This animated series stars a shed of friendly machines who live on Murray and Heather’s farm near Kumara Cove. In this episode Beaut the Ute goes through a midlife crisis when he meets a younger ute — Flash — in town, and worries his time might be over. But the machines soon learn that a slick new number plate isn't everything. The colour palette of this animated series makes it clear that the machines are the characters that matter. The show is narrated by broadcaster Jim Mora (Mucking In), who created it with Brent Chambers.
The first episode of this Kiwi-Pasifika comedy whodunnit introduces us to the extroverted Kala, and her close-knit group of West Auckland housie lovers and churchgoers. Kala and Chaka's pricey fundraiser for the new Avondale church hall has packed them in — but then the night's takings go missing. Kala (played by musician Bella Kololo) feels all eyes and ears are on her as she tries to contain the secret of the missing money. Written and directed by Mario Faumui (Fresh), the web series also features actors Sushila Takao (Filthy Rich) and Stacey Leilua (in an eye patch!)
Anthony McCarten is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter and novelist, who has directed two of his own movie scripts. His screenplay credits include Bohemian Rhapsody, Winston Churchill film Darkest Hour, and Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything, which won him a BAFTA award in 2015 for Best Adapted Screenplay. McCarten was interviewed for NZ On Screen when he was in Auckland in 2015, for Script to Screen's Big Screen Symposium.
Alex is a champion teenage swimmer determined to win selection to the 1960 Rome Olympics, in this adaptation of the award-winning young adults novel. Written by ex Empire Games swimming medallist Tessa Duder, Alex was the first in a quartet of books exploring the vicissitudes of the high achiever freestyler as she deals with rivalry, ambition, first love and the pressures of growing up. Lauren Jackson, who played the title role, later appeared in vampire movie Perfect Creature. The film was a co-production between New Zealand and Australia.
A Political Game charts not only intense rugby rivalry between South Africa and New Zealand, but also the politics of racism that came increasingly to the fore. The signs were there during the Springboks first tour of New Zealand in 1921: a South African reporter was outraged white New Zealanders had supported a Māori side. In 1976 an All Black tour of South Africa sparked an African boycott of the Montreal Olympics; the 1981 tour saw violent protests. Starting with the historic All Blacks win in 1996, this excerpt jumps back in time to chart conflicts on and off the field, up until 1949.
A death-bed confession from a touch judge leads to a repeat of a test match between the All Blacks and Wales played 25 years earlier — with the same players. Before the footy, a former Welsh star is forced to face up to a past romance. Mateships and rivalries are rekindled in this genial "what if" yarn, that celebrates and satirises two nations' rugby obsessions. It won best screenplay and supporting actor (John Bach) at 1992's NZ Film Awards. The cast saw former All Blacks and Welsh rugby reps playing alongside acting greats from both countries.
Created by Gavin Strawhan and Rachel Lang, popular one hour drama series Jackson's Wharf was set in a fictional coastal town and revolved around a sibling rivalry between brothers Frank and Ben. Frank is the town policeman with a big secret; and golden boy Ben is a big city lawyer who has returned to town after their father's death. In this excerpt from the first episode of the South Pacific Pictures production, returning son Ben faces gossiping locals, simmering family tensions over the will (who will get the pub?) and an impending fishing tournament.