From the New Zealand TV Weekly. April 8, 1968
Are the nightly temperature readings on TV really accurate? Ask most viewers and you'll find they are ready to be sceptical. Admittedly the sites at which the readings are taken are often known to produce results at considerable variance to readings taken in the centres of the various cities, but few Aucklanders-even southern expatriates with some lingering loyalties-could credit Dunedin with having 3 p.m. temperatures as high as they are often listed. Maybe they were that, high in the morning, they say, but who ever struck Dunedin without a cool afternoon breeze up the harbour? Perhaps the TV listings would be more readily accepted if the comparative degrees of humidity were also given. Auckland, for example, can be like a sauna bath at temperatures which in Southern centres would be just comfortably hot . . . . Elegant, sunglassed figure unexpectedly met stepping off a BOAC jet at Auckland, turned out to be big Mike Bellinger, erstwhile member of the local Town and Around team. Now based in Australia, Mike was back as front man for a German TV travel documentary, and possibly some sports material, on New Zealand. His Town and Around guest appearance was a nostalgic shadow of the lively show it used to be . . . . Too bad that we have not got colour TV as Auckland's yacht fleet under full sail must be one of the most magnificent spectacles to be seen anywhere. Certainly, a live-wire freelance cameraman could pick up miles of vivid footage on the harbour for sale overseas . . . . Wonder whether we will see Sandy Edmonds back here again? Her guest appearance on the pilot show for the Her Hits series was her farewell before an extensive tour of Australia and the Orient. It will last just as long as jobs are offering, and that could be for ever . . . . You can bet that one of the features of Rolf Harris' forthcoming tour will be his version of Po Kare Kare Ana, complete with background painting. This was a hit in one of his TV shows in the U.K. recently. Incidentally, for all the song's popularity, few people could answer the quiz question on its composer. For the record, it was Paraire Tomoana who wrote it in Hawkes Bay about 50 years ago . . . . Bryan Easte is pressing on with the country and western series with veteran Tex Morton as the front man . . . . John Holdsworth is scheduled to do a series of Anything Goes, but just let's hope that it goes at a somewhat more lively clip than the pilot which we saw at the end of last year.
New reporters in the Town and Around team always excite curiosity on how they will perform as interviewers, perhaps the most exacting and least understood of front-of-camera duties. For beginners, there is always the problem that one might dry up--and so we see on local television the interviewer going through his set list of questions, which never allow scope for an interesting question-and-answer to be followed up and explored. Catherine Dowling, who, as a continuity announcer, was inclined to the allegro con vivace style is turning this warmth and involvement to proper use in her Town and Around interviews, where the projection of personal interest arouses a sympathetic response, both in the person being interviewed, and in the viewer. The other new reporter, Bill Saunders, has not as yet had much opportunity to establish his particular abilities . . . . On news programmes, too, the reluctance to follow through answers to extract information that will give the viewer the warming feeling that he has learnt something new is becoming all too plain. In the first years of local programmes, it was possible to forgive news gatherers for the nervousness on screen, but now editors should be insisting on productive interviews. If local celebrities cannot be made to say something significant by intelligent interviewing, news programmes are in danger of becoming a hodge-podge of non-news, tedious film clips, and stills of over-exposed personalities . . . . Producer Brian Bell, who was in charge of NZBC's first significant effort to produce drama shows, is resigning from the corporation, but he may still be associated with television drama here, as a contract producer. The TV Workshop plays he supervised last year evoked a sharp, critical, and perhaps unfair, response. We New Zealanders have come to expect nothing but the best, and tend to be not only surprised, but indignant, if even experiments on the local scene do not match or surpass the BBC's finest productions. If television drama is to make progress, it needs the enthusiasm, drive and know-how of people like Brian Bell.
The University of Canterbury is closely watching developments in educational TV, both as an internal teaching aid and medium for adult education. Now, Mr I. G. Clark, a lecturer in extension studies, has been asked to note the latest trends during a tour on a Carnegie travel award that will take him to Britain and the United States, countries now using TV widely for university extension programmes. Mr Clark's main inquiry will be on liberal studies, the basis of the earliest W.E.A. and adult education programmes . . Deeply concerned about the need to educate young people about venereal disease, the North Canterbury Hospital Board's venereologist, Dr W. M. Platts, has tried to interest the NZBC in excellent programmes which have been made by Granada in Britain, but nothing has been done. These films have been praised by the British Medical Journal, but it would appear that this could be another subject that the corporation feels is too hot to handle. According to Dr Platts, one of the best means of education is TV . . . . A fair sprinkling of repeats seem to be finding their way into peak viewing time slots once more in this neck of the woods . . . . Channel 3 pitched in to help make a success of the Christchurch Pan Pacific Arts Festival in no uncertain fashion. This sort of community spirit certainly helps win friends and influence people and is probably the underlying reason for the local success of Town and Around, which is now part and parcel of Christchurch.
It won't be too long now before rugby and
Saturday's game become major topics of conversations up and down the country, but before they do, a word of credit is due to the Sports Officers at DNTV2 who have done such a great job covering all aspects of cricket matches played here this season. The highlight of the season was, undoubtedly the visit of the Indian Cricket Team and the test match which kept Dunedin's three Sports Ofiicers on the job almost continuously for five days. While Mike Crichton was at the controls at 4YC, broadcasting in link to other YC stations throughout New Zealand, Peter Sellers and Wayne Andrews were out interviewing the many personalities connected with the match. In addition to a large amount of stand-by material, for use during luncheon and afternoon tea breaks, and in case of an unscheduled stop in play, they prepared spoken items for the regular sports programmes and interviews with leading cricketers, the New Zealand team manager, and former England test cricketer, Murray Chapple. Peter Sellers must surely have set something of a record during his conversation with the Indian captain, the Nawab of Pataudi. In 7 minutes and 7 seconds he asked the Nawab no less than 16 questions. Before Mike wound up his broadcast on the fifth day, not only many of the cricketers had been spoken to, but also a number of leading men in other sporting fields, including Murray Halberg, John Davies and Horace Lindrum had been added to the list of interview subjects . . . .
Television dinner may be frowned upon in the best circles, but there is certainly some excellent TV viewing to be had during the chi1dren's programmes for those who don't mind the occasional meal-time interruption. Local shows seem to be holding their own well with overseas programmes. DNTV2 is at present producing the quiz series, Top Mark, which will later make its way around the other channels. It seems strange that children's quizzes can be conducted in a most orderly, and adult fashion, while adults themselves seem to collapse into embarrassed giggles at the thought of even giving their own names. Then, too, there can't be an easier way of encouraging the youngsters to take an interest in subjects which, when handed out as homework would cause cries of distress. Christchurch seems to be making an all-out effort to improve on past performances with its Sally Dalley Show. A good, well-rounded programme, it has a touch of humour and seems to cater for a greater age-range than do most of its type. Two programmes which are back for another series are Joe’s World and Carousel, and while the former doesn't seem to be attracting as much attention as before, the latter is still a great favourite. Finally from overseas we can enjoy a number of travel, and information programmes which put much of our prime time and so-called adult viewing to shame.