First published in the New Zealand TV Weekly, July 10, 1967
...the fact that New Zealand viewers are seeing, or are about to see, all but one or two of the top-rated pro- grammes in Britain and the States. WNTV1’s new quiz programme, Prize Line, turned out to be almost total disaster. Viewer reaction was so antagonistic that the Director-general, Mr G. H. Stringer, on the recommendation of the Director of Television, Mr N, R, Plalmer, “killed ” it after the first. This must have been a blow to producer Chris Bourn who looked to it to revive his reputation after The Family Game last year. Compere Gary Chapman found the transition from radio to television too big a leap. Contestants were not impressive - perhaps New Zealanders are too self-conscious to be generally very good on television? Out of the wraeckage was salvaged the 2,500 dollars allotted for prizes and a good deal more for production. NZBC officials confessed to
a slight error of judgment on it. The programme had
looked good on paper. . . . . Reports suggest TV News Controller, Mr Ted Parkinson, has placed some timebombs under subordinates to pump some visual life back into NZBC Reports. Suffering in recent months from slap-happy direction, poor presentation and an overdose of tired Government hand outs, NZBC Reports should be, but is not, the main locally-produced programme. In the long run, NZBC’s reputation in the public affairs field -as distinct from entertainment- will depend on the liveliness and vigour of its television news programmes. Undoubtedly competition would be a great stimulus here..... The Seekers at Home hlad wide appeal to all age-groups, and wisely it was re-screened on a Sunday afternoon. Another single, The Seekers Down Under should be screened fairly soon.
Christchurch’s first TV drama workshop, in which 38 local amateur actors took part, was a great success, according to senior producer on the NZBC’s drama project, Brian Bell. Potential was quite remarkable, he said, and he was able to push the actors further than at either the Auckland or Wellington workshops. Now being produced by Des Monaghan, Town and Around scored another New Zealand “first” recently when it went on live. Bernard Smyth’s linking comments and any studio interviews are now screened as they are spoken, instead of being pre-recorded. Outside items, of course, are still filmed. Production supervisor, Stanley Hosgood, said recently that although the new method imposed a greater strain, members of the team were coming to prefer it, probably because everyone realised that things had to be right first time.... Channel 3 production staff should move from its present cramped quarters to its new studio, just behind the present premises, in about four months. But the move to the more commodious studio is not likely to bring with it a spate of new local productions. Trouble is everyone is already working flat out on the “bread/and-butter” shows and there is neither the staff nor the equipment available to increase the volume of local productions in any spectacular fashion. However, the viewer dividend will come in greater efficiency and better visual results.... Viewer reaction to On Camera with hostess Julie Cunningham generally very good. However, some mothers would be happier if it was slotted in between 2.30 and 3 p.m. rather than between 3.30 and 4 p.m. Reason is that youngsters usually arrive home from school about the present scheduled time and thus Mums can’t give the programme their undivided attention. . . . . Some Paparua County residents want Sunday stock car scrambles stopped. It appears the competition is spoiling Sunday after- noon viewing as the cars are not fitted with suppressors.
Have you ever wondered where the TV announcers go to between appearances each evening? Chances are at DNTV2 that they’ll be down in the basement taking part in a quick game of table tennis. A group of people from the newsroom found a table and began filling in odd moments with a quick game. Before long, word had spread throughout DNTV2 and enough players were found to form two teams to take part in the Otago Table Tennis Association’s annual competitions. In May of this year, trials were held and the DNTV2 teams found they had been upgraded. Plans are now in hand for improving practice facilities, and making room for new members. The main difficulty the group experiences is choosing practice times, for with players working so many different shifts, it’s quite an achievement to have them all assembled at one time. . . . . Two new announcers recently began work with the DNTV2 team, which is headed by George Speed. They were Dudley Scantlebury, who comes from Palmerston North, and Veronica Eldmonson, who has just completed a course at the announcers’ training school in Wellington. The two newcomers will join another recent arrival, Brian Stevenson, to gain more announcing experience before making their debuts on local screens..... Miss Doreen Neale, of Wellington, who is in charge of children’s programmes for New Zealand, was in Dunedin recently to discuss the new series of Kaleidoscope, with producer, Bruce Morrison. . . . . Another topic which came up for discussion during the meeting was the pro gramme, Speak Up. The Dunedin series of this will be appearing on screens throughout the country next month. Local children will form the panel and together with a chairman and a weekly guest speaker, they will discuss items of national and local importance.