Originally published in New Zealand TV Weekly 27 Nov, 1967
Mildly surprised that producer Christopher Bourn should have had to be imported to handle the Maria Dallas quartet of shows locally. Admittedly, it was to have been a Wellington undertaking but facilities were not available. However, one would think that this could have been a natural for Kevan Moore if the Saturday Night Show was not taking up too much of his time. On the other hand the top brass may have felt that Kevan could have made too much of a go-go girl out of Maria instead of preserving the girl next door image... Bryan Ashbridge to supervise a videotaping of the NZ. Ballet's Petrouchka in Wellington, which should produce a meatier programme than his earlier Highlights of Ballet series. Bryan had two months leave to help the Australian Ballet Company and returned with a considerably enhanced regard tor the local standards of TV production..... I'm very much in agreement-you'll not find a pop show across the Tasman to match the standard of C'mon... Full telly talent line-up behind the Zonta Club's Hallowe'en Happening. what with Bute Hewes as writer and Max Cryer as music man and a roster of familiar figures starring in the skits sending up a night of television-Rae Pritchard as 'the Girl from Auntie'; Merv Smith, Cherry Raymond and Chick littlewood looking at Auckland from the underside in 'Clown 'n' Around'; Sonia King, Peter Sinclair, Val Lamond and Rhys Jones putting the whammy on evergreen songs in 'C'moff!' All good fun for a worthy charity... Found in London that the BBC's endeavour to provide a replacement pop programme for the sunken pirate radios was even more laboured than the endeavours of some of the NZBC's senior announcers to get with it for pop programmes. Also interested to note while there suggestions that it was high time Coronation Street ground to a halt. Saw Barbara Murray (Power Game) in a stage thriller, Wait Until Dark, with TV husband Patrick Wymark nearby in The Cherry Orchard... Switched on telly in my San Francisco hotel and was met with an N.Z. travel film...
There's not doubt that Steed and Mrs Peel give a lift to the week's viewing: the return of the inimitable pair in the same week that a fair amount of publicity was given to the successor to Diana Rigg added a dash of spice to the psychedelic events of the 'Something Nasty in the Nursery' episode. It is true that British critics have described the series of The Avengers now screening in the United Kingdom as
tired and unsophisticated and a
trivial crime melodrama, whose hamminess would shock Edgar Lustgrten. We are not vet so blase. The third Avengers girl will be Linda Thorson, a 20-year-old blonde, but she will not be seen here until well into 1968... World in Action and Man Alive are vying with each other to provide some excellent documentary programmes: currently they are better than anything the United States produces, at least for consistency... Chris Bourn's Golden Disc award programme aroused little enthusiasm here. One viewer saw the items as a sad commentary on the taste of modern youth; another that all those imitative pop groups hardly look like indigenous Kiwis. Even such talented entertainers as Maria Dallas and Herma Keil failed to give the show much of a sparkle... For the programme planners in the NZBC, the Golden Disc show and the Kevan Moore production, The Late Show, both raise awkward questions.
Where do we go from here?
How do we get a fresh approach? If they are not asking themselves these questions, and trying to find answers, they should be... Some viewers are not too happy about the late hour for screening
Not Only, But Also programmes. So little satire is shown here that one could assume the NZBC is unnaturally wary of it. Mr Barry Parkin, programme purchasing officer, says of the Moore-Cook series that they are of a rather mixed standard. Another satirical show,
The Frost Report, with David Frost may be bought... Compass boldly reviewed the activities of the Communist Party in New Zealand (even if that subsequent part of the Programme on the Presbyterian theological controversy made a rather strange complement). Bob Higson showed real style in his probing questions to Communist Party chiefs... Interesting new programmes from the BBC include the Royal Ballet's presentation of Coppelia, Sadler's Wells production of Strauss's Die Fledermaus, and of Offenbach's La Belle Helene.
Educational TV is just as far away as ever, judging by the Education Department's latest 'progress report' to the Christchurch Secondary Schools' Council. Council members learned at a recent meeting that the department had nothing to add to its letter of last December on TV for schools, adding that continuing research was adding information, but it was not yet possible to make firm proposals on an undertaking of such magnitude . . . . Town and Around came up with what surely must be a 'first' of some description last month when Bernard Smyth interviewed Mrs E. M. Dearsley on the eve of her 105th birthday. Christchurch's oldest inhabitant, Mrs Dearsley is well-known and well-loved and still active and alert to all that happens around her. She faced up to TV with equanimity, but, after all a TV camera barrage would hardly concern a grand old lady who has lived through the reign of six British monarchs among other things . . . . Judging by recent newspaper correspondence, not everyone agrees with Bernard Smyth's contention that New Zealand TV is the best in the world . . . . Freelance TV cameraman Pierre Lods found that being French imposes some penalties when he arrived at Christchurch International Airport to head Sydneywards recently. Turned out that because of his nationality Pierre had to have his 'jabs' before he could leave the country whereas Kiwis can commute across the Tasman to their hearts content without ever seeing a needle. The plane was held up while a medico rushed to the airport to do the necessary. . . . More than one local churchgoing Rugby enthusiast critical about All Black films clashing with evening services Sundays . . . . Time has come for a full-time director for church TV programmes, in the view of Mr J. C. McFadyen, convener of the Baptist Union of New Zealand's radio and television committee. He expressed the opinion at the 85th annual assembly of the church in Christchurch recently and the motion he put to the assembly was carried. To be hoped the Baptist Union is backed up by other churches, for there's no doubt that this is one department of TV which is very patchy . . . . The Grandstand team showed some enterprise in whipping together a good piece on Kiwi world champion racing driver, Denny Hume.
With Christmas only four weeks away, DNTV2 staff are being kept very busy with programme preparation for the holiday period. One of the most active departments at the moment is Town and Around, where the team is aiming at making another complete coverage of the viewing area before the end of the year. Producer, Rod Cornelius, has hinted that there's some interesting viewing ahead... A recent trip over the Haast Pass provided two interesting segments for the programme, one giving viewers an insight into the problems of whitebait fishing, the other a general coverage of the Haast area, which seems to have been forging ahead since the opening of the new road... While it can hardly be considered a tourist attraction, St Martin's Island (formerly known as Quarantine Island) joins Larnach's Castle as one of the unique landmarks in the Otago Harbour area. DNTV2 recently screened a short film about the island, showing some of the many changes (including an attractive chapel) which have been made on the island by voluntary labour. Added interest came with an interview with Dean Walter Hurst, formerly Dean of Dunedin, who first conceived the idea of buyng the island and making it into an interdenominational retreat for local church groups. Dean Hurst was interviewed in Wellington by Kevin Mills, who was in the capital to take part in a 'directors' course... However exciting life in Wellington may have been for Kevin, it still looked as though he was keen to get back to his hometown on one Town and Around item. Viewers were taken on a tour of the Wellington Zoo to observe visitors' reactions to the animals and see the results of the zoo's experiments in breeding animals in captivity. Kevin crowned his visit with a ride on an elephant which carried a large Sign reading;