In 2006, Th’ Dudes reformed after 26 years. This documentary follows them on a national tour as members Peter Urlich, Dave Dobbyn, Ian Morris, Lez White and Bruce Hambling reflect on their former lives as late 70s pop stars. Encouraged to behave like stars, they didn’t disappoint. There are frank discussions about sex, drugs, an obscene t-shirt, on-stage nudity and other bad behaviour — but also the stories behind classic songs like ‘Bliss’, ‘Right First Time’ and ‘Be Mine Tonight’, which still captivate adoring, if aging, audiences a quarter of a century later.
Th’ Dudes formed in 1976 — around a nucleus of Peter Urlich, Dave Dobbyn and Ian Morris (later Tex Pistol) — all fresh out of Auckland’s Sacred Heart College. Propelled by the accomplished songwriting of Dobbyn and Morris, Th’ Dudes followed in the footsteps of Hello Sailor and helped Kiwi rock’n’roll shake off its mid-70s lethargy. The band released two albums and a number of classic singles — including ‘Be Mine Tonight’, ‘Right First Time’ and ‘Bliss’. Baulking at the grind needed to make an impact in Australia, Th' Dudes split in 1980. In 2006 they reunited for a tour, and documentary Th' Dudes - Right Second Time.
Bernie Allen, QSM, was a professional musician and teacher before beginning his TV career as musical director of popular 60s show C’mon. He continued on to Happen Inn, followed by a vast number of shows as composer or music director over the next two decades. His score for Hunter’s Gold won an APRA Silver Scroll; his arrangement of ‘Hine E Hine’ accompanied the classic Goodnight Kiwi animation.
Cathy Campbell became the first woman in New Zealand to anchor a sports programme, after joining TV One’s Sportsnight in 1989. The longtime news and sports reporter moved into newsreading, and later ran PR and events company Cathy Campbell Communications. She died on 23 February 2012, after a two-year battle with a brain tumour.
Craig Little was one of the first local television stars created by the highly successful regional news shows in the 70s and 80s. In 1970, he took over the presenter’s role on Auckland’s This Day but resigned three years later, tired of constant public attention. He also presented Top Town and New Faces, and worked in radio. Little ran his own PR company, and held positions in Auckland local government.
Mai Time and I AM TV host Gabrielle Paringatai-Lemisio swapped presenting in front of the camera for behind the scenes work, and developing education resources. Since leaving the screen to raise children, she has worked as a researcher and writer for TVNZ's Good Morning and Wellington production company Te Amokura Productions.
Mark Wright became one of NZ television's most familiar faces in the 1990s, by imitating other people. The drama school graduate became a a reluctant comedian in an era of skit based shows that included Issues, LaughINZ, That Comedy Show, and Newsflash. His work on Issues and Sportsnight won him two NZ Film and Television awards. Wright's CV also includes a long run of stage roles, as well as live MC'ing and film acting.
Peter Rowley has performed alongside many Kiwi comedy legends, including David McPhail, Jon Gadsby and Billy T James. After debuting on hit 1970s sketch show A Week of It, he joined the ensembles of McPhail and Gadsby and (in 1985) The Billy T James Show. In 1994 Rowley won equal billing alongside comedian Pio Terei on Pete and Pio, before going on to co-star in McPhail and Gadsby's Letter to Blanchy.