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Hero image for The Dagg Sea Scrolls

The Dagg Sea Scrolls

Television (Full Length) – 2006

It can be carbon dated to 1973 — whatever it is.
– John Clarke on the birth of his character Fred Dagg, early in this documentary
...lots of people I have known have got a shareholding in Fred Dagg; lots of them. And I say that with gratitude.
– John Clarke on the people who inspired the character of Fred Dagg, at the end of this documentary
It probably emerges at least in part from the way people used to have one another on, adults, when I was a kid — to very amusing effect I thought — without jokes. It's partly tonal.
– John Clarke explains the subtle art of being Fred Dagg, early in this documentary
Fred Dagg had probably always been in my head, somewhere, I think, from early childhood ... it was the sort of character that I'd mucked about with all through school and stuff.
– John Clarke tries to pinpoint the moment he invented Fred Dagg, early in this documentary
The black singlet and gumboot-clad Dagg character (farming father of seven sons all called Trevor) provided satirical commentary on many events of national significance through regular appearances on the lone Kiwi current affairs show. His biting satire made him an icon, spawning award-winning records, live sell-out tours and finally a "trade mission" to Australia in the late 1970s that allowed all of us to reap the benefits of his unique comedic take.
– An Australian take on the early Fred Dagg TV appearances, The Sydney Morning Herald, 30 December 2007
Television quite often replaces the imagination. Stimulating the imagination on television is very rewarding — it's hard to do. One of the things Fred Dagg taught me is how rewarding it is.
– John Clarke on his lifelong attraction to performing on television, The Age (Melbourne), 27 December 2007
I'm not here. I'll ask me to ring you back later, thank you.
– Fred Dagg takes a telephone call on behalf of his absent self, in a 1975 sketch
...it's a bit on the horrendous side, is this town-going. It has to be done, I make no bones about it, but I do like to try, insofar as is possible, to play it me own way.
– Fred Dagg on the challenges of going into town, in his 1974 Country Calendar special
We made it work for everybody and the way it worked for me was that I made sure Fred Dagg said a couple of funny things in each commercial, so that they worked for the character, and to an extent those commercials became my programmes.
– John Clarke on Fred Dagg making TV commercials
I thought it was the most brilliant thing I'd ever seen but I didn't laugh because I didn't want to miss anything and the minute the programme finished, I could have done the programme for you.
– John Clarke on watching the comedy of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore as a teenager, The Age (Melbourne), 27 December 2007
I would have an idea of what I was going to do but I'd get bored doing the same thing every night, so I'd vary it and that made me confident enough that when I came to do television I had a notion of where I wanted to go and just started speaking. It was bungee jumping of a high order...I very seldom wrote it properly.
– John Clarke on improvising as Fred Dagg on stage and screen, The Age (Melbourne), 27 December 2007
The wife and I struggled over the atlas last night, trying to find a test area. We don't want it to be too near to New Zealand, so that the ghastly fallout and firestorms and such like don't affect the good people of New Zealand. So we've got an area a long way from New Zealand where we won't be affected at all. And not to put too fine a point on it: France.
– Fred Dagg on choosing a test site for his homemade nuclear bomb, in a 1974 Nationwide sketch
It has to be remembered that when all of this was happening, there was one TV station ... there weren't very many New Zealanders on it. The news was read by an adult in a dinner suit, and the weather was world-quality weather.
– John Clarke describes the New Zealand television landscape of the early 1970s
...there's a mate of mine in Gisborne looking for rain. Here yar Trev, just for you mate: rain.
– Fred Dagg plays a weather presenter in Tonight at Nine, in 1974
The public response was immediate and very gratifying — and a good thing too, because there were some jitters at what might be called the management level in New Zealand broadcasting at the time.
– John Clarke recalls the reaction to Fred Dagg hitting television
To be perfectly Francis with you I'd go along more or less, probably about 78% with that argument, and for $10 and a hundred weight of pig food I'd probably go along with it in total.
– Fred Dagg agrees with the argument that the Kiwi public won't stand for government corruption
You can expect to be 60.
– Fred Dagg answers a question on what would happen to a 55-year-old in five years time, under the Dagg Party's superannuation policy