From New Zealand TV Weekly January 6, 1969
Local performers who have long since found a pot of gold at the rainbow’s end on the other side of the Tasman are now discovering TV outlets apart from the usual pop shows. The C'mon pop group, The Clevedonaires, had one break-through of this kind which will take them on to colour Television in the States and in Britain. They were in the first Australian colour TV production, Riptide. This is an adventure series angled directly towards overseas sales. Their 10- minute scene took a whole day of shooting. Other TV appearances on such shows as Bandstand were much less arduous as they are produced without the rehearsal time given to similar Auckland shows. This is certainly very obvious when the shows are seen in Australia . . . . It is surprising how many towns have woken up to the publicity value of being included on the nightly listing of temperatures in the weather report. The channel has a constant stream of requests from all sorts of hamlets which would like to get into the act. Incidentally, the weather reports, must have been the best advertisement ever for Gisborne. It is surprising how many people comment on the consistently higher temperatures and finer weather recorded by this hitherto somewhat forgotten centre . . . . The Compass exercises in Australia were so well received that it must have given NZBC cause to think of the virtues of sending more teams abroad. Admittedly NZBC must keep a close eye on the expenditure of overseas currency, but there is no reason why they should not start taking more advantage of offers of free travel from the airlines. Things look very different through Kiwi eyes and a do-it-yourself programme is a far better bet than buying an overseas product . . . . “Big” Mike Durney has felt sufficiently confident to move from his former Country and Western style to a more sophisticated act. He is yet another local artist heading for the Trans-tasman bonanza. He is due to leave on an Australian tour in March and to date has 11 TV spots lined up, including five national programmes which should give him all the prestige he needs to get into the lucrative club entertainment field.
There could be a change of emphasis in Looking at New Zealand, with producer Bute Hewes taking over from Conon Fraser. He says he doesn’t have as much “feel” for the open air and will rely on the “stringers" for this material while he intends himself to focus on city life in order to achieve what he thinks of as a balanced picture of New Zealand. He recognises that the programme has built up an audience used to its style, and he wants to maintain it along the lines already set so as to keep faith with the viewers. But he hopes also to expand its appeal from the upper age groups to include younger people as well. The new series will start on February 16, and Bute hopes to have two or three finished by then. . . . The two documentaries, White Africa and the Heart of Apartheid, must rate among the finest of their kind in offering an insight into life in Africa, both from the white and the coloured points of view . . . . The fade-out of The Avengers hardly left us broken hearted. Perhaps we have grown a little tired of the fantasy? And though she had her distinctive points, Linda Thorson never really matched the appeal of Diana Rigg. The new Granada series, The Liars, which has followed in the same time slot, started off promisingly, with Nyree Dawn Porter in one of the lead roles. . . . Head office newsroom did an excellent job in organising a programme on the Government’s "micro-budget” with a confrontation the same night between the Minister of Finance, Mr Muldoon; and the Labour financial spokesman, Mr R. J. Tizard. George Andrews seemed a bit out of his depth as the chairman of the discussion, but apart from that blemish, it was a useful bit of work. It might have been followed up by a Gallery-type documentary from a couple of economists . . . . An interesting new purchase by the NZBC is the Carol Burnett comedy, Carol Plus Two, which also features the durable Lucille Ball and Zero Mostel . . WNTV1’s sports crew did some good work on the golf matches at Paraparaumu and Masterton which showed New Zealand’s own Bob Charles in action. . . While New Zealand viewers have seen little enough of David Frost, reports from England indicate that viewers there have had a surfeit of him, and his ratings are dropping so fast that his thrice weekly shows will be eliminated soon. It is not known when he will return to the screen. Probably a rest will bring him back to top form.
For longer than most viewers probably care to remember, Channel 3’s interludes comprised scenic views in and about the city, ducks on the Avon and so on. But this year things have changed considerably, the gaps between scheduled programmes being filled often with some quite imaginative and sometimes “way-out” filming. But not everyone favoured a recent piece, Cold Sweat, produced by Peter Lambert, and featuring a Christchurch pop group that looks like going places - The Secrets. It was introduced with gimmick credits and the voice of local disc jockey, Australian Glen Roache. This five-minute piece elicited a quick spate of complaints and just one compliment at Channel 3’s switchboard. It came on at an off-peak time, but will be shown again when more are watching, presumably to test reaction . . . . Fendalton vicar, the Rev. Bob Lowe, who gets more TV exposure than any other New Zealand cleric, was recipient of some 380 letters after his first two Sunday evening religious pieces modelled on the David Frost theme. Among them were only 40 uncomplimentary. It now remains to be seen whether his “Unaccustomed As I Am . . ." appearance at the Christchurch Marist Rugby Football Club’s dinner under the grandstand at Lancaster Park sets a new correspondence record. One early writer, after the Auckland showing of Unaccustomed As I Am, was a woman who took exception to what she claimed was, a disrespectful reference to women and also the linking of religion and sport. On the whole, however, local clergymen and their parishioners evidently received it favourably. One thing is certain: the Marist club did, too. . . . . Not seem as much these days as local viewers would like, CHTVB’s continuity girl, Mary Dick, has been more widely exposed to the New Zealand viewing public, visiting various centres as part of a “Miss Exciting Australia” contest. During three weeks in Auckland she has been appearing three times weekly on AKTV2. Mrs Dick, a dentist’s wife, studied at Otago University, three years in Britain and was librarian at Rangiora High School before she joined the NZBC some five years ago . . . . Sadly, the Landscape portrayal of the West Coast turned out to be a poor imitation of the real thing. One local reviewer was moved to claim that with this one, Landscape hit rock bottom and most viewers would probably agree. Sometime journalist, folk singer and so on, Les Cleveland sounded as much like a Coaster as the Wellingtonian who never got farther west than Otira.
After a long wait for the Landscape series to reach our screens, the final result turned out to be something of a disappointment. The final programme in the- series, “Meat Hawks,” earlier posed a number of problems for DNTV2 producer, Bruce Morrison, but on-screen it emerged as probably the best episode in a mediocre bunch. Perhaps the major fault with the series was the forced dialogue given to the “stars.” Admittedly the language of the outback can be rather rough, but the delicate phrases prepared by the script-writers added a phony touch which seemed immediately to defeat one of the purposes of the series- that of showing the Kiwi of the “Good Keen Man” species as he really is. . . While most of the production at DNTV2 has stopped for the holiday season, Rod Cornelius and the Well I Never team are still at work, producing the next series. This will be screened nationally early this year Rod, incidentally, will also be taking over production of On Camera this year, in addition to his, other duties . . . . Eileen Cook, the popular On Camera hostess, is making the most of the break in the series to pay a visit to our Trans-tasman neighbours. Leaving early this month, Eileen will be staying in Australia for a month and will spend some of her time in Melbourne, although she hopes to travel farther north to Queensland as well . . . . Bon Voyage also to Martin and Elizabeth Baines who left on December 27 for India, where they will visit Elizabeth’s parents before travelling on to Rhodesia, to spend a year’s leave of absence. Replacing Martin on the camera staff of DNTV2 will be Mr B. D. Anderson who will come here from Wellington on January 14.