Marking New Zealand television’s 50th birthday, this TVNZ Heartland series looked back at the medium's history, decade by decade. Each episode featured an interview with a prominent TV figure from the era. In this excerpt from the 1970s survey, host Andrew Shaw interviews broadcaster Brian Edwards, who reflects on changes in TV political interviewing from veneration to confrontation, and the impact of Muldoon; his key role in brokering a Post Office dispute, live on screen; and the birth of consumer affairs show Fair Go, and why it has lasted so long.
Popular consumer affairs show Fair Go is one of New Zealand TV's longest-running series. In this episode reporter Phil Vine investigates Pure Air Ventilation: a "slippery snake" with a string of unhappy customers from Thames to Tokoroa. As burnt customer Belinda Muir says "I hate being taken for an idiot!" A showdown with the touters ensues. There's a classic spoof from the Fair Go archives, looking at "lawn aerator sandals" and featuring Helen Clark, Peter Dunne, Ed Hillary and Spiderman endorsing the jandals-meets-crampons product. Contact Fair Go here.
Rolling out their Christmas Special in June, to show just how far they're ahead of the game, the Moon TV team threw most of their regulars into this wrap-up special: dodgy driving on Speedo Cops, Naan Doctors (a soap set in an Indian restaurant) and Leigh Hart's regular attempt to sound literary with writer Joe Bennett. Elsewhere Hart and Matai Johnson cheat during the annual coast to coast race, and join Jason Hoyte to demonstrate how not to treat a guest when John Key joins them on Late Night Big Breakfast. Plus pratfalls from an incompetent handyman.
Lindsay Perigo and TV producer Allison Webber have a heated discussion about the portrayal of women in the media in this 1986 current affairs show. Webber says females are sick of being portrayed as sex symbols or tidiness-obsessed housewives. Webber was representing Media Women; the organisation was campaigning for better media coverage, and running its first NZ conference. Also interviewed are Dominion journalist Judy Pehrson, advertising guru Terry Christie, and Mr Wrong director Gaylene Preston (who talks about double standards in casting movie roles).
For roughly three decades Vincent Burke has been the man behind Top Shelf Productions. In that time he has helmed an impressive line up of screen projects. Among them are TV shows An Immigrant Nation, All About Eve, Cinema of Unease, Flatmates and Target.
Veteran broadcaster Brian Edwards is an Irish import who made a big impact on New Zealand current affairs television. He was first seen on the 1960s regional programme Town and Around, and made a name for himself as a no-nonsense interviewer on Gallery. On that show he helped bring about the end of a union dispute with the Post Office, live on air. His bi-weekly TV show Edwards on Saturday followed, and was a ratings hit. Later, Edwards helped start up the long-running consumer rights show Fair Go, and hosted the popular Top of the Morning on Radio New Zealand.
Gordon Harcourt’s first television job was working in the newsroom when TV3 launched in 1989. Since then he has done an extended stint as presenter and reporter on TVNZ consumer affairs show Fair Go, and done time at the BBC.
Bold lighting and caterwauling guitars push this largely black and white performance clip above others of the era. Silhouette and strobing make for a mesmerising video that deserves a consumer health warning for those affected by flashing lights. After line-up changes and much remembered live gigs, the Christchurch noise-meisters ultimately morphed into Bailterspace.
Thinking that documentaries would benefit if film crews were much smaller, TVNZ producer Richard Thomas proposed that emerging directors take over much of the filming themselves, using consumer video cameras. Thomas organised camera workshops for First Hand's directors, and overcame opposition that this more intimate style of making documentaries wouldn't meet broadcast standards. The result gave early opportunities to a host of emerging filmmakers, including award-winners Leanne Pooley and Mark McNeill, and production executive Alan Erson.
In this Jam TV series, comedian Te Radar ditches 21st Century consumer luxuries and the city rat race to see if he can live sustainably for 10 months on a remote patch of land west of Auckland. His back-to-basics mission requires him to exist on only what he can hunt, grow and fish himself — putting delights like goat salami and home-made feta on the menu. He also explores topical green issues like the viability of solar power and whether simple steps such as composting and starting a worm bin can reduce landfill. The series also bred a book and a live show.