TV series The Deep End saw reporter Bill Manson trying his hand at a variety of tasks, from female impersonator to Robinson Crusoe to captaining a navy frigate. In this episode, Manson is given six weeks to get in shape for a pro wrestling bout. To prepare himself for the dangerous job, 12 stone Manson hits the weights, grapples with wrestling legend Steve Rickard (On the Mat) and works with an acting tutor, barber and promoters on his onstage persona: ‘Doctor Mindbender’. “The thing that scares me," he says, "is just breaking my neck…”
Actor Paul Ellis is best known for playing bad boy Fergus Kearney on Shortland Street. Since leaving the show, he has appeared in a number of New Zealand, US and UK television productions including The Chosen, Celebrity Treasure Island, Legend of the Seeker, Dream Team and Ice. He has also appeared in 2008 movie The Delphi Effect and online soap Auckland Daze.
Alongside a successful career in musical theatre in Australia, actor Ross Girven has tackled a variety of television roles on both sides of the Tasman, and starred in landmark 1987 New Zealand film Ngati. He debuted on television here in trucking drama Roche, then had roles in a run of TV shows in the 1980s such as Peppermint Twist and The Marching Girls. Girven has also acted in Gloss and Shortland Street, and movie thriller Dangerous Orphans. More recently, he has appeared in Aussie cop show Water Rats, and NZ dramas Orange Roughies and The Cult.
Brit-born Helena McAlpine moved to NZ in her 20s. Soon she was DJing on The Edge and being headhunted by C4, where she became one of the music channel’s main hosts. After discovering she had breast cancer, she got busy on a large bucket list, including cameoing on Shortland Street, campaigning for the Breast Cancer Foundation, and flying a plane once again. McAlpine died on 23 September 2015.
Actor Grant Tilly, who died in April 2012, displayed his gifts for understated comedy in movies Middle Age Spread and Carry Me Back. The versatile Tilly had done it all — from acclaimed theatre performances (often in Roger Hall plays) to screen roles that took in everything from adventure movies and landmark historical dramas (The Governor), to children's TV, sitcoms (Gliding On), and many voice-overs.
Longtime Cantabrian Simon Barnett has had many encounters with the small screen. In the late 80s he spent four years as a presenter on What Now?, before going on to host a number of talent and game shows. The longtime radio DJ has also competed in Celebrity Treasure Island. In 1990 he acted in hit comedy Ruby and Rata, as the young man who gets caught up with a dodgy but lovable solo mother.