From the New Zealand TV Weekly. October 28 1968.


The Late Show is under way again, this time with John Blumsky as front man. John is senior announcer from Napier with a great deal of experience in radio work of all types, Which must stand him in good stead for the exacting job of fronting a late night, topical variety programme which seems to be the only way of summing up the varied aims of the programme. Just as in the early days of the first C'mon series, Peter Sinclair had to be flown up from Wellington, John will be taking off from his regular post in Napier each Thursday for rehearsals in Auckland to front the show that night, then back to Napier. After seeing the first Late Show of the series the atmosphere is certainly on the way to being relaxed and should settle down to a good standard, comparable with many of the overseas late shows we are getting.... Drama production is on the move. The production team for The Alpha Plan left Auckland headed for the wastelands of Waiouru looking for suitable locations... The personable pop group The Monkees who showed that they are on the way to becoming a fair sort of comedy team in their recent Television series, are to be replaced by a new comedy pop group called The Archies. The man who make The Monkees famous, Don Kirstner, is concentrating his sights on the new group's meteoric rise to fame. A Television series is already in the can and it is thought that we will eventually see the results in New Zealand, but as yet the NZBC have not viewed the films with the idea of buying... One of the most popular programmes around today would be the regular Wednesday night date with gardening expert Reg Chibnall. Like most programmes that are well produced and with a likeable and friendly approach it is eagerly awaited each week. Reg Chibnall has a way of making the most complicated-sounding process of gardening a simple exercise in common sense. A bouquet must also go to Hamilton producer, Ian Richards, for formulating the programme in this way. This makes Reg another regular traveller to the Television studios in Hamilton, as he lives in Waihi.


On Camera has shown itself many times to be a programme of lively ideas, and one of its most original is the perfect kitchen contest, which offers scope for frustrated housewives to design the kitchen that they often thought about, but never had the chance to acquire. The winner of the contest will receive her prize in the actual perfect kitchen in a direct telecast on November 21. For, as part of the fun of the contest, staff of the Wellington Building Centre will be busy building the kitchen as soon as entries are judged by the panel of Mrs Peter King (a home science graduate from Plimmerton), Mr Michael Fowler (a Wellington architect), and Mr Ron Chapman (building consultant at the Building Centre). Entries closed last Monday, so from now on everyone concerned with the show will be working hard. Designer Cedric Leeming will construct a model of the perfect kitchen to help with the camera work. On November 14 and again in the following week, Irvine Lindsay will gradually build up to the unveiling of the winner by showing the ten most highly commended designs. This is one ot the most ambitious undertakings of the On Camera team, and with the Building Centre backing, Prudence Gregory and Irvine Lindsay have high expectations of a really interesting finale to this competition... It was pleasant to welcome back Relda Familton from her sojourn in the south... The Landscape series, which Bob Lapresle was commissioned to produce last year is now ready for screening. The theme of the series is aspects of New Zealand life, and it attempts to cover these in individual items produced in different parts of the country... What do the audience research people say about AKTV2's Come Dancing? The current series offers little that is new. It seems surprising that the NZBC can find money from its limited production budgets for a show of this kind, with its appeal, one suspects, to a very small section of the viewing public... Producer Bute Hewes, with his I can't get out of the place fast enoughcomments, has obviously left a few scars in Christchurch-- Wonder what he will think of Wellington?


It was a laudable effort on Channel 3's part to try and whip up some interest in the local body elections by inviting local body officers, candidates and commentators in front of the cameras to discuss the various issues and provide background information. But, generally speaking, it seems fairly safe to assume that these programmes were only vaguely seen and heard by the majority of viewers. They lacked the interest-awakening sparkle that is the prime ingredient required in any offering that is not straight entertainment and, on the whole, they were not very informative and certainly not entertaining. An Austin Mitchell or Brian Edwards might have provided the necessary stimulus. By and large, this CHTV3 series, produced with the best of motives, only served to show why so many do not bother to go to the polling booths on local body election day... Justice Minister, the Hon. Ralph Hannah, faced a lightweight barrage on that Compass piece on divorce, and provided quite a polished performance. But this was another instance where Compass, as it has tended to do lately, skirted around the subject. A confrontation by people with more than an academic interest in the legislative proposals, would have served a much more useful purpose. As one viewer, who has long trudged a rough and tough marital trail, remarked: That group did not rustle up a curly question between them. They were all on the outside looking in. Fair comment, This was lukewarm commentary whereas what was needed was real involvement. Come to think of it, too many of these public affairs programmes in recent times have been all froth and no beer... People who have taken notice of the sort of revenue the NZBC is picking up from advertising, and have also noted the increased rates recently promulgated, will not be over-impressed with the official reason for beaming WNTV1 to the West Coast rather than CHTV3 (which most Coasters want). Westland member of Parliament (Mr P. Blanchfield), following talks with NZBC top brass, said it would be too costly and added that by the time the transmitting system had been completed, programmes from Wellington would be almost identical with those from Christchurch. As far as Coasters are concerned, the operative word is probably almost. Why they want CHTV3 is because the programmes will not quite be the same. It's the not quite bit with the Canterbury flavour that they seek because their ties are much closer to Canterbury than they are to Wellington.


A word of praise for the initiative shown by DNTV2 in making good use of one of their outside broadcast cameras to give a complete coverage of the recent eclipse of the moon. Throughout the evening in question, the programme was interrupted to show the progress of the eclipse and each stage was accompanied by a short, but competent description by announcer, Raewyn Molloy. The following evening the film was shown, speeded up, during the major News Bulletin, and this, too, made fascinating viewing. To obtain the excellent shots screened on both occasions, the O.B. unit was stationed at the Beverly Begg Observatory, where a camera was attached to a large telescope. The entire venture showed an intelligent use of equipment which would have otherwise spent yet another useless night gathering dust... Productions are now grinding to a halt at DNTV2 for 1968, but already plans are being formulated for next year's offerings. Making the most of the lull in proceedings is producer, Brian Ault, who is leaving this month to spend two weeks, in Australia... Muggeridge muzzled! We never thought the day would come when that vitriolic tongue would be lost for words but in the recent Tomorrow's World Special, Professor Barnard Faces his critics, Malcolm Muggeridge was well and truly silenced. Oddly enough, though, while this was something we had waited for years to see, when it came it brought with it more a feeling of pity for an old man who had stuck his neck out once too often than any feeling of satisfaction at seeing an interviewer who has probably scored more verbal victories than any other, at last forced to eat humble pie. But perhaps this might just substantiate the case for most of our own personalities maintaining their bland, non-committal approach to controversial topics.

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