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The Fire-Raiser

Television, 1986

Inspired partly by a real life 1890s Nelson arsonist, The Fire-Raiser pits a quartet of school kids against a mysterious local who is setting fires in their town. The five-part gothic adventure was created by author Maurice Gee. Peter Hayden plays teacher ‘Clippy’ Hedges, while the lead role went to Royal NZ Ballet star Jon Trimmer. The Fire-Raiser won four GOFTA awards, including Best Drama Series, Director and Writer. Gee’s Fire-Raiser novel was published in New Zealand and overseas, and the show was recut into a telemovie. Gee writes here about the show's birth, while director Peter Sharp recalls broken jaws and other challenges.