From the New Zealand TV Weekly. August 28, 1967


When it comes to being extroverts, Auckland's Town and Around must have the champions in Barbara Magner and Colin Hill. They are cheerfully ready to appear in any sort of outlandish garb-although Barbara was very Carnaby Street, complete with floating feather boa, and Colin had a Steedish air of raffish distinction when they headed a recent BOAC mini promotion. The others in the Town and Around band stay rather more conservative, which keeps a nice balance. . . Former continuity announcer, Margaret Moore, has followed the example of a lot of other local expatriates and done well on TV in Britain. She has had a relieving job with Southern TV at Southampton. Eugene Fraser has landed a six months' BBC contract. . . . . We should see the locally made TV drama productions soon, and Brian Bell has been smart in making a documentary as a sort of prologue to the season. There should be no reason why any apologies are called for with the local efforts, but viewers are sure to be hypercritical. So it seems a sound idea to get in first and let folk have some sort of idea of just how much preparation and work has gone into the series. The idea of doing a homegrown cloak-and-dagger serial next season is not as silly as it sounds. Australian TV has turned out quite a number of such serials and most of them have stacked up well with the high-priced imported product. And anything Australia can do, surely we can, too. . . . . It is a pity if the NZBC moguls interfere too much with the TV and radio news reporting. There have been rumours that the TV interview with the grandfather of the little boy who figured in the recent yacht case produced a caning for those responsible. This simply shows a lack of sense of news values. Heaven forbid that our news services should ever get around to the brow-beating, trial-by-TV type of news reporting one sometimes encounters overseas, but there is no reason why they should steer clear of controversy. . . . . If old trouper Eddie Heagen's plans to band together as many as possible of the Kiwi Concert Party for a tour of Australian clubs and possibly Vietnam come to fruition, it is to be hoped that the NZBC does a documentary on this unique entertainment group.


Miss Prudence Gregory, back on deck at Head Office TV after nine weeks on sick leave, records that she is delighted with the success of the On Camera programmes, of which as supervisor of Women's programmes she is in charge. One aspect of the favourable reaction from viewers has, however, caught her by surprise. She had not envisaged that On Camera would be strictly a women's programme, but the volume of letters coming in that have as their theme now that we have our own programme . . shows that female viewers felt they had been rather neglected up to now . . . . Husbands who want to satisfy their curiosity on what On Camera is all about are likely to be disappointed if they thought NZBC planned to screen omnibus editions at off-peak hours at the weekend. There are no plans at present to bring together the best of the four On Camera programmes in this way . . . It's not going to be easy to replace Wilder and Co. on a Sunday evening. The plan is to have some good single-shot dramas, and then follow about the end of September with a really topflight new series. It's lined up but the NZBC programme planners are not talking about it, at the time of writing . . . Those old friends Steed and Mrs Peel are due to re-appear on our screens sometime in October, but it's not certain yet whether we will be seeing another familiar face in the same line of business. NZBC programme people have seen a couple of pilot prints of Patrick McGoohan's The Prisoner and are keen to buy it but apparently there is some hitch which might keep it off NZ channels . . . . Some people were surprised to find that the BBC series Let Me Speak, now going the rounds, dates back to 1963. The NZBC had no qualms about screening it even though other Muggeridge programmes are coming through. Muggeridge described himself the other day as a white hairen, wizened old stranger who has wandered by chance into a kid's bunfight. There is doubt about his ability to rouse viewer reaction-one way or the other. One programme in which Muggcridge appears that we will not be seeing is the BBC's Alice in Wonderland. It had so many big names in the cast that it cannot be cleared for screening here . . . . Compass struck a topical note with its discussion on Vietnam during the week that President Johnson's envoys were in Wellington, It war. a lively debate, with all the participants shaping up well. The surprise though was Government MP from Hawke's Bay, Mr J. R. Harrison, who cast in the role of defender of Government policy, carried the attack to the enemy. Could be that because of his televisual ability the party will use him more . . . . NZBC news teams gave blanket coverage to the presidential envoys General Taylor and Mr Clark Clifford. There were so many NZBC men and cars on the job that they easily outnumbered security men, and at one point looked as if they might outnumber demonstrators.


Auckland's art world provides the background to Dame Ngaio Marsh's mystery play specially Written for the NZBC TV Workshop. The Christchurch authoress's work, her first. commissioned contribution for New Zealand TV, is being produced in Auckland with a cast of local actors. Several names so far discussed, including Knotty Problem, but nothing decided yet, according to Dame Ngaio. . . . . Bernard Smyth lost no time in getting Rae Pritchard before Town and Around cameras during her recent Christchurch visit. Former This Week in Britain hostess looked rather more glamorous in CHTV3's studio than was usually the case in her English weekly programme. However, Rae saved her more pointed comments on the New Zealand scene for the newspapers. She was nothing if not forthright. Said she saw no satisfactory outlet for her talents and desires in New Zealand and forecast a gloomy future for her country and countrymen, adding she was appalled at the New Zealand economic climate. . . . . Rumoured CHTV3 make-up experts had a bit of a job finding the right cosmetics for Prime Minister Keith Holyoake's local TV appearance following the National Party's conference in the city. . . . . Could it be that Christchurch folk are not quite so susceptible to the lure of TV as those living elsewhere? City has 4.3 per cent less than the national average of TV sets in homes, according to the New Zealand Manufacturers' Federation. Saturation in Christchurch area is 68.7 per cent, compared with the national average of 73.1, according to information given the NZBC by the federation. . . . . On a flying visit to Christchurch to give a cooking demonstration in a city store, Dunedin's TV personality, Alison Holst, was told by shoppers that TV really did not do her justice. There's a compliment if ever there was one. Maybe there could be something in this colour business after all. . . . . American, Terry Whitehand, now living in Christchurch, was a busy girl recently, spending her days as the American lead in a thriller being recorded for radio and evenings as an English aristocrat in the Repertory Society's production, "Beaux Stratagem". . If "away" members are excluded, the "home" side in Sixty Seconds Please, CHTV3's late Sunday afternoon panel entertainment devised by David Pumphrey, comprised very familiar faces as far as local viewers are concerned. Mind you, there are exceptions, including James Walshe. Admittedly, there's nothing wrong with the "home" side, but a few new faces never go amiss. Surely Christchurch could produce them.


When announcer, Bernard Buck, returned to Dunedin from his visit to Australia and the North Island, it seems he must have brought the holiday spirit with him for two more members of the DNTV2 staff were recently seen packing their holiday gear. David England has taken his wife and two small sons away for two weeks, while John Ramsay, his wife Joy, and their three daughters have left for Alexandra. . . It looks as if winter sports enthusiasts from DNTV2 - and there are several of them - are not going to have much success this season. There has up to now been no heavy snow and very little ice in Central Otago, officials at Coronet Peak had a snowmaking machine installed but so far they have been unable to use it to any extent as temperatures haven't been low enough to freeze the water sprayed out by the machine. . . . . One wonders where the People and Places team will be moving to next. Producer, Harold Anderson, certainly seems to be making every effort to keep the programmes as varied as possible. A recent visit to the local Jazz Club was followed with a look at the Scottish Country Dancing Club where the rhythm was of an entirely different, but equally interesting nature. . . . . One of Dunedin's best-known landmarks, Larnach's Castle, is to feature in the Sunday night series Looking at New Zealand. A production team is coming from Wellington to film various aspects of the castle since its renovation by the latest owners, Mr and Mrs Barry Barker, who have been in residence for about six months.

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