From New Zealand TV Weekly October 13, 1969
Location shooting around the city has given Alpha Plan a new dimension with Auckland viewers, Hunt-the-house is a parallel pastime to watching the action and has suddenly let viewers know how much more interesting some overseas productions are When viewed in the cities of their setting . . . . With the 1969 Loxene Golden Disc Award show coming up in November, producer Kevan Moore is busy getting his new series on film. Plans call for seven half-hour shows with well-known names hosting their own segments and introducing a couple of guests to give extra zest. Tagged An Evening With... the series kicked off with John Hore - minus his riding trails moustache - as the host, and guests Yolande Gibson and Eddie Lowe. Doubt whether anybody but Kevan could have persuaded recently split Lou and Simon team to get together for a show. Up-coming on the show will be Maria Dallas and Des Gibson, Yolande’s big brother, a hit-parader of some six years back and since then busy on the Australian club circuit . . . . Strange nomination for the Entertainer of the Year award was one-time Aucklander Ewen Solon, once Maigret’s off-sider and now The Revenue Man. Frankly, I can’t see Ewen’s particular talent at all. In fact, he always sounds completely phoney and is consistently up-staged by his fellow performers . . . Town and Around’s Keith Bracey has become a late starter in the wild blue yonder department. Although in the R.N.Z.A.F. during the war - and that wasn’t yesterday - Keith has only recently gone back to school to earn himself a pilot’s licence . . . . That Caesar’s World segment on New Zealand may have held a few bloopers for perceptive local ears, but just think what a power of publicity it must have earned the country when screened on the networks in the States. Actually, trivial details excepted, it was far closer to fact and fairer in coverage than a lot of more ambitious publicity films.
John Barningham has developed a sure touch in the production of first-rate, professionally slick musical shows, and word around the studios here is that he has another winner in Happiness Is ... a 25-minute special featuring the Earnie Rowse Trad Band and fronted by the Capital’s most popular club-singer, Jim McNaught. This show, which will be screened here on October 16 and subsequently at Auckland, Christchurch and Dunedin in that order, features as well The Chicks, The Shevelles and members of The Black and White Minstrel Show.... Conrad Bollinger was an interesting change as critic on Column Comment, though his view of the Press seemed to be rather narrow and overly academic. His replacement, Noel Harrison, is a familiar face in this slot... The Ronnie Barker Playhouse tended to get better as it proceeded with Alun Owen as script- writer, but then . . . Which reminds me that the NZBC has under consideration Spike Milligan’s hilarious The World of the Beachcomber. This could give some lift to the rather barren comedy field if it is up to the standard of the guest slot he gave us on the Cilla show a few weeks ago. Also being considered is another series of Not In Front of the Children, an Irish version of the Andy Williams Show as it were, called The Val Doonican Show, and Dame Edith Evans in The Gambler, a two- part Dostoevsky (The Idiot) play. And if the American shows being considered click as well, there could be some good viewing over the holiday period, with perhaps The Survivors (Lana Turner and George Hamilton), Robert Young as Marcus Welby, M.D., one of those medico shows so loved by women viewers, and Bracken’s World, all about the motion picture industry. Talking of doctors, Richard Chamberlain (Dr Kildare himself) will be on our screens soon in the six-part British serial, Portrait of a Lady, which has been well received in Britain. Also upcoming is Wuthering Heights and an Interpol series from the ATV stable, Department S, with Peter Wyngard and Rosemary Nicols.
It seems that the contention of some South Islanders that Aucklanders can’t see beyond their own province does not carry so much weight after all. Christchurch’s Dr John Moifat was a guest panelist on the Auckland-produced Personality Squares recently. Dr Moffat, senior lecturer in languages at the Christchurch Teachers’ College, is no stranger to Television, for he appeared on Sixty Seconds, Please, the Christchurch-produced panel game screened some two years ago. Dr Moffat is also well~known in this city as a newspaper columnist on education who is not only very perceptive but also witty . . . . The Rev. Trevor Shepherd, who objected to that Ronnie Barker Playhouse episode, is no stranger to Christchurch. He was minister at the combined Methodist- Presbyterian Church of St David’s in Bryndwr until about three years ago. He enjoyed a reputation for sincerity and forthrightness. On the Ronnie Barker "affair" he was quoted as saying that he believed people got only the standard of Television they wanted, and on that point it’s probably fair comment, judging by some of the stuff served up, that either a very significant segment of viewers is content with very mediocre fare or is too apathetic to complain. . . . The rejection of the film Fisherman’s Country, which was made by Christchurch’s Mr D. J. Scott, caused a minor furore in the city for a day or two, but those who took affront at the NZBC’s rejection of it probably did not get the thing in its proper perspective. A portion of it had been shown earlier on CHTV3’s Town and Around and it was also viewed by Looking at New Zealand producer. Butte Hewes, as well as the corporation’s film assessors. Rightly or wrongly they judged it good New Zealand tourist promotion material, rather than suitable for local consumption. Fair enough. Some one must make the decisions. The efforts of New Zealand freelance journalists are not automatically accepted by newspaper and magazine editors at home and abroad, and while the writers may be disappointed when they receive their rejection slips they don’t generally create a public song and dance of lament about it. Freelance film-makers have no reason to expect different treatment; Mind you, there is no doubt that the introduction of private TV would probably afford them with a better market for their wares. The local field is pretty restricted at present, and obviously the NZBC cannot screen every local confection that is submitted to it on the basis of blood being thicker than water . . . . Comedian Peter Fleming, in the city for the stage version of radio and TV’s Ceilidh made a good point about locally produced TV shows, and particularly those of a humorous or satirical nature, when he said that, as, most are pre-recorded weeks or even months before they are screened, they cannot be topical. Fact of the matter is that what would be a good political gag today would infrequently have much impact a month hence. What is needed, of course, is more local "live” Television. But if some of New Zealand’s locally produced shows can be taken as a yardstick, a whole lot of new local/talent would be required to make this a feasible proposition.
Bruce Morrison and his production team arrived back from their tour of the Cook and Tongan Islands, where they had been filming the work done by a team of researchers who had been following the route taken by Captain James Cook as part of the Cook Bicentenary celebrations, to report a highly, successful venture all around. Weather, as might be expected, had been kind, there were no major mishaps in filming, the Islanders themselves had been most cooperative, and, a preview of “rushes” proved that some very interesting material had been gathered. However, the major event of the month for Bruce Morrison took place, not in the Islands, but here in Dunedin, when his wife Nola presented him with a 10 pound son - Congratulations . . . . DNTV2 producer, Murray Hutchinson has been selected as one of the three judges who will select the winning entry in a competition to find the best design for a trophy to be awarded for locally produced programmes at a function next March ... Murray moved away from the world of TV to live theatre recently when he filled the role of designer for the Repertory Society’s latest major venture, The Poker Session, which was produced by another DNTV2 man, Wayne Tourell.