This edition of Great War Stories accompanies author Shona Riddell to Berhampore Primary School in Wellington, where she reads her story of a pet tortoise that she grew up with. It was taken from the trenches of Gallipoli by a soldier, gifted to hospital nurse Nora Hughes (Riddell’s great aunt), then transported to New Zealand, where the tortoise’s adventures didn’t end: he made local news on a walkabout to Mangatainoka Brewery. The series of short documentaries screened during TV3’s nightly news, as part of centennial commemorations of World War l.
Kids of the 80s will fondly recall this after school current affairs show. Presenter Lloyd Scott was a national celebrity at the time as ‘Scotty’, Barry Crump’s hapless companion in a popular series of ads for Toyota. Items in this last edition for 1983 include traffic safety with radio hosts Lindsay Yeo and Buzz O’Bumble, and the arrival at Auckland Zoo of a pair of Galapagos tortoises (whose faces reporter Jane Dent guesses were inspirations for E.T.). Backed by children from Taita Central School, Scott signs off with ‘Merry Christmas’ in English, Māori and Samoan.
The trio of documentaries surrounding the religious community of Gloriavale generated huge TV ratings. Amanda Evans is the director and producer behind this mini-TV phenomenon. In her 30 year career she has produced and/ or directed documentaries, reality series and iconic Kiwi kids and arts shows.
Christchurch-raised Anna Cottrell is a prolific documentary maker, with a keen interest in the stories that people tell. Her work ranges widely, from documentaries on immigrants (An Immigrant Nation) and family (Other People's Children), to five seasons of the bite-sized Great War Stories. Cottrell launched her company AC Productions in 2001.
Hilary Barry has long experience of reporting and reading the news. In 1993 she began a two decade stint at TV3. In 2005 she became anchor of the channel's primetime news, alongside Mike McRobert. Barry went on to report from the Canterbury quakes, the 2011 royal wedding and the famine in Africa. She left TV3 in 2016, and began co-hosting TVNZ's Breakfast; in 2018 she moved to primetime show Seven Sharp.
A founding member of early electronic group Free Radicals, Jonathan Besser has composed for opera, ballet, theatre (Red Mole) and performance ensemble Bravura. Born in New York but New Zealand-based since 1974, Besser began adding screen compositions to his CV in the 90s. Since then he has composed extensively for documentary maker Shirley Horrocks, been award-nominated for 1995 documentary feature War Stories, and won a TV Guide Television Award for documentary A Cat Among the Pigeons. In 2015, Besser began composing for 3 News' World War One short documentary series, Great War Stories.
Peter Metcalf has four decades of experience in making it all look seamless. After 20 years in state television, he became TV3’s first Head Video Editor in Wellington. His credits include classics like Country Calendar and Kaleidoscope, plus Great War Stories, 35 short documentaries for TV3 commemorating the First World War. He also helped launch successful post-production suite Blue Bicycle Flicks.