From the New Zealand TV Weekly. August 14, 1967
Did anybody really ask for two screenings of Coronation Street each week? Admittedly, we are dropping further and further behind with this lugubrious import, but I doubt whether it can be justified as an early evening time-filler twice weekly. What would be wrong with dropping it, along with Alison Holst's cooking and a few other obvious matinee series, into afternoon slots? . . . . . Odd to hear that the BBC has only just got round to employing the first coloured TV announcer in the U.K. considering the remarkable percentage of West Indians and other coloured folk in the community. But come to think of it, the NZBC can only produce two Maori announcers, while Eugene Fraser, who has now gone to Britain, was part Fijian. . . . . Strikes me that too much filmed news already seen on the main news session is now appearing for a second run in the late news. Surely, when items bear repetition, enough film is normally shot to allow an alternative coverage to be offered. . . . . . The original idea of a sort of adult, thinking-person's C'mon! seems to have shrunk. The Concert Time series eventually dwindled to a trio of 15-minute presentations, with the Symphonia of Auckland providing the middle-brow music and interludes by Heather Begg and John Parker. Bryan Ashbridge has had charge of the production side of things. . . . . Experience has made a great change to the camera techniques of many of the C'mon! regulars. Sandy Edmonds never misses a throw to a different camera and Mr Lee Grant is now much more relaxed. Oddly enough, of all the C'mon! team, a poll would probably produce the greatest following for the one with the fewest gimmicks, Herma Keil. Surprising how many oldsters really enjoy his cleancut looks and easy style. . . . Wonder when the NZBC will have the bright idea of doing a short series on the few good newspaper cartoonists in the country. Or maybe it could be one for Ian Cross to look at in Column Comment. . . . . For once, Shakespeare was a big hit with the viewing audience. It was, of course, the BBC- Danish two-parter on Hamlet, without doubt the best of the Bard yet seen on telly.
A young man with a future is Auckland-born John Barningham who is now working on Channel One after five years with AKTV2. As TV production officer, he is guiding early evening programmes Carousel, Who in the World and Partners in View. Items for Partners... come from the Asian Broadcasting Union, of which New Zealand is a member. Earlier this year John attended a producers' course in Wellington. He was with AKTV2 for five years, at the end of which he directed Town and Around for a time. . . . . Philip Sherry now with the WNTV1 Town and Around team of interviewers has an interesting background of Work with Radio Netherlands, one of the leading shortwave stations in the world, with headquarters at Hilversum near Amsterdam. Working in the English section, he did continuity announcing, newsreading, interviews, and also produced newsreels. In preparing these programmes he got the opportunity to travel to most places in the Netherlands. Afterwards he went to Berne in Switzerland and worked there for seven months as an English-language producer. . . . . Miss Beverley Wakem, production officer for Conon Fraser's Looking at New Zealand is an expert on Shakespeare. She recently presented the Shakespeare memorial lecture to the Wellington Shakespeare society. Subject: "Richard the Second and King Lear from Political Folly to Personal Wisdom." Let's hope the NZBC asks Miss Wakem to appear on camera sometime. She looks to be a homegrown talent that would brighten our screens. . . . . Some people were unhappy with the switch of Coronation Street to 7 p.rn. viewing -- but NZBC says on the whole reaction has been good. Those who are addicts of the Street appreciate the twice weekly diet. Programme planners say that it was not possible to fit Coronation Street into a Thursday night schedule later than 7 p.m. . . . . NZBC have just received a pilot of Patrick McGoohan's new series The Prisoner. McGoohan fans can take it for granted that the NZBC will purchase the series. It's said to be quite avant garde, but even so, anything with McGoohan in it is sure to have a wide following here.
Popular Town and Around reporter Helen Holmes off-camera for a few weeks following a motor accident. She was admitted to Christchurch Hospital with moderately serious injuries, but Town and Around host, Bernard Smyth, was able to report within a day that she was on the road to recovery and would be back with the team again. . . . . . Also in the wars, Christchurch pop singer Max Merritt and other members of his group, the Meteors, as the result of a head-on car collision in Victoria. Max apparently in a bad way, while drummer "Stewie" and sax player "Bob", not so badly hurt. Max and Meteors have a lot of NZTV friends who will be sad to hear this news. . . . . Not often Supreme Court judges go on camera. But T and A's Bernard Smyth had what appeared to be an obvious pleasure when he most competently quizzed retired Supreme Court judge, Sir Francis Adams, on his views about heavy fines instead of prison sentences. This was really good material, and Smyth enhanced his reputation as an interviewer while Sir Francis clearly demonstrated that judges are human, too, and turned out to be first-class interviewing material. . . . . Not so good the same night was a supposed
funny on the shortcomings of women drivers. But reporter Edwards managed to collect some interesting quotes from men-in-the-street, all of whom were unanimous that the females of the species should never be allowed behind a steering wheel. Funny thing about these quotes was that those who uttered them gave the impression that they should probably be kept from behind steering wheels, too. . . . . Substantial programming changes going on at CHTV3. New shows involved, while a reshuffle sees some notables in new slots. Dean Martin returns as a strong Saturday favourite. Peyton Place - some folk say it is a juvenile show for adults-moved back to 9.30 p.m. Wednesdays, a time when the kids are supposed to be in bed--although if personal experience counts for anything in this family, the kids won't be sorry. . . . . Generally agreed by old boys who couldn't get to the match, and others interested, CHTV3's O.B. unit made a good job of the annual Christchurch Boys' High School-Christ's College match, one of THE sporting fixtures of the year as far as the Garden City is concerned. However, lack of jersey numbers made the job no easier for Keith McEwen. This is a school ruling, the underlying motive being that individuals should not be singled out for praise (or, presumably, criticism). However, as some of the other colleges don't feel that way, Keith's job could be easier in future.
All good things must come to an end and so, it seems, must the run of excellent documentaries which DNTV2 viewers have been enjoying recently. The climax came with the British effort, Cathy Come Home, which, incidentally, is scheduled for a re-run later in the year. The following week brought a David L. Wolper documentary, March of Time, in which a team attempted to trace the movements of two Nazi war criminals . . . A recent addition to the DNTV2 on-screen staff is Brian Stevenson. Twenty-one-year old Brian was born in Auckland, and later moved to Wellington. An attempt at an Arts degree at Victoria University convinced him that an academic career was not in his line so he embarked on an 18-month working tour of Australia and New Zealand. His work in New Zealand was mainly connected with a favourite occupation - skiing - while in Australia he
worked at anything and everything, from market research interviewing to painting houses. At the end of 1965 an old interest in television production was reawakened and he applied for several jobs without much success. On returning to New Zealand, he found the situation much the same until a friend suggested he try an announcing audition. After training in Wellington, Brian worked for a year in New Plymouth before coming to Dunedin, where he has, until recently, been working on 4ZB's Lunch programme and The Young at Heart Show. When time allows, Brian likes to pursue his skiing interests or concentrates on learning to fly, a project which he began in New Plymouth . . . Much has been said about the old conversation piece-the weather. At present DNTV2's weather absorbs three minutes usually spent by the family settling down for the major news bulletin, with only a glance at the 3 p.m. temperatures chart to see which main centre was the warmest. As it stands, DNTV2's weather report is adequate, but dull. Would a slight "face-lift" be too much to ask?