From the New Zealand TV Weekly. February 12, 1968
Past tense now, but what an atrocious job AKTV2 made of the Grand Prix coverage. A couple of scraps on the night of the race and a Sportsroom fiasco a couple of nights later-no imagination in camera angles, no zoom work to get right in on the drivers' expressions, cars lost at the crucial moment, and a soundtrack which vanished periodically, kept in touch with the race intermittently, and was quite banal consistently. Tush, tish and tosh! Motor racing buffs will lynch you if you make such a boo-boo of one of the year's top sports events next time . . . . How about a little imagination when local boys who have made good come home for a visit? Former New Zealander, and top Australian telly performer, Brian Henderson, was back here for a holiday. He made his name first as a news reader. What better idea than to have him read the news just for once? Surely, it would be far more of a change than a mini-interview? Well, why didn't somebody think of it? . . . . And talking of news reading, would some of the boys remember to pause between items? Nothing more confusing than having one news brief run into the next . . . . How far out can some people get in trying to work out the meaning behind The Prisoner?
An allegory . . . an entertainment with a moral-a very disturbing one . . . a problem of personal identity a'nd so forth. Whatever it is, it could wear pretty thin by the final reel . . . . Couldn't quite see erstwhile NZBC chief producer Alan Morris's point when interviewed during his recent holiday here. A privately-owned second channel would not be the answer to New Zealand's television problems, he said. But surely he was looking at it from a production economics viewpoint? A second channel, private or NZBC, would certainly solve one big problem as far as viewers were concerned, simply by offering variety. That is, of course, assuming that rationality could be reached in programme planning between the two channels. And I wonder what he meant by saying that New Zealand was
not a light entertainment country as opposed to Australia? When we have to take what we are given on a single channel, how can we really know what we are? Can any survey be really valid? And if we don't go for light entertainment, what about the success of C'mon! in particular?
There's more than the Tasman Sea separating Australians and New Zealanders. It seems our television tastes are quite dissimilar. A list of the most popular TV shows in Australia was recently published by the Australian TV Times, and it showed that the Australians are fans for the way-out programmes rather than the news-documentary shows which are so popular here. Up at the top over there were Star Trek (which we will be seeing shortly), The Monkees, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Avengers, Lost in Space, and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea . . . .The NZBC's viewing committee is looking at what seems a very promising show, It Takes a Thief. The star is Robert Wagner, who has made quite a name for himself in several films . . . . Some viewers were suspicious that the heavy hand of censorship had been at work on Not Only... But Also, the satirical, sometimes close to the bone, British comedy series. Not so, says NZBC. If any cuts have been made they have been only the odd word . . . . Just as in Britain, sales of Galsworthy's works have soared in Wellington since the BBC's television adaptation, The Forsyte Saga, started screening. Bookshops have cashed in with displays of the books . . . . Top Australian television compere, Brian Henderson, passing through Wellington after a South Island holiday had some interesting comments on a second channel. It could only benefit local productions and improve their standard considerably, he said. Malcolm Muggeridge's long-awaited discussion with young members of the John Birch Society on the Let Me Speak series was a trifle disappointing, after all the talk. These young people were the least impressive of all the groups which appeared on this show. They seemed to have no ideas or philosophy of their own, remaining content to parrot the society's way-out views.
Christchurch's popular science TV man, Ron Walton, turned his hand to a new field recently and made a good job of it when he fronted the international Lady Wigram Trophy race preview programme. Actually, it probably was not such a tough assignment for Walton, who is a car racing enthusiast himself and drives his own home-built special in local club events. His intelligent questions, combined with some very good camera work, added up to a good programme, and he was able to maintain quality with a following race report on the evening after the race and further footage in Monday night's Grandstand . . . . More than incidentally, Stan Hosgood, Channel 3's production chief was out at Wigram on race day and taking a lively interest in proceedings.He is another motor racing fan and so was able to combine pleasure with business . . . . Still on the subject of sport: Keith McEwan was very busy tying up everything for the recent international swim meet at Christchurch's Centennial Pool. This was a direct telecast job in which DNTV2 linked for the international events. Channel 3, the only one to carry out a live telecast during this tour of Canadian swimmers, among whom is Elaine Tanner, winner of seven Commonwealth Games medals in Jamaica and current world record holder of the 100 and 200 metre backstroke. The New South Wales team flew in on the eve of the telecast meet. Such assignments are really no problem for Channel 3. Production team on this one the same as that which handled the 1967 national swimming championships, and that was a good job if ever there was one . . . . If upcoming programmes slated for later this year are as good as they sound, there should be a lot more happy Christchurch viewers.
Dund Determination and dedication to duty certainly paid dividends recently for local radio personality, Rosalie Henaghan, and members of DNTV2's Sports Section recently. Anxious to have world motor-racing champion, Dennis Hulme, take part in her afternoon programme, Portrait, Rosalie wrote to him, but with little success- his current tour of the country apparently did not include Dunedin, and he intended setting off through the Haast Pass with his wife and some friends. Not easily deterred, Rosalie rang the Nelson-born champion while he was in Christchurch, and persuaded him to make a stop-over in Dunedin on his way to Teretonga for the final race meeting of the season. For Rosalie, Hulme's part in Portrait proved highly successful, with at least 45 telephone calls being made to the driver during the programme. In 4ZB's main studio, waiting for Hulme to come off the air, was Sports Officer, Mike Crichton, who proceeded to conduct a television interview with the driving ace. This venture was directed by Wayne Andrews. Meanwhile, in yet another studio, District Sports Officer Peter Sellars, was testing equipment for a third interview. With Wayne Andrews asking the questions this time. Hulme readily talked about his racing career and gave some very interesting facts about the background of the sport, all of which should make some pretty good viewing and listening for local, and possibly national motor-racing fans. By the time the television and radio interviews were complete, a crowd of autograph hunters, as well as members of the local press, had gathered at the studio, and certainly kept Dennis Hulme busy while Mike Crichton prepared a much-needed afternoon tea!