From the New Zealand TV Weekly. March 11, 1968
Watch out when you go into any of the NZBC buildings-there is sure to be rebuilding in progress. The ladders and scaffolding have again been up in the Durham Street building, while Shortland Street is just getting its small studio revamped. Is all this building activity really the best way for NZBC to spend its money? The amount which has been poured into the various buildings over the past few years could have produced a respectable nucleus to the eventual NZBC Tank Farm development-and surely that would have been a better bet than messing around with buildings which can never be anything but semi-makeshift . . . . Reports that Patrick McGoohan might be coming to New Zealand seem to be nothing more than idle rumours. After leaving viewers worldwide scratching their heads in puzzlement over the meaning of The Prisoner, Mr McGoohan is more likely to retreat to a TV-less desert island . . . . Town and Around's erstwhile comic, Colin Hill, is reported to have landed a handy contract for telly work in Sydney . . . . Barbara Magner must be ruffling a lot of NZBC feathers with some of her Sunday paper revelations, especially her references to the Landscape documentary series and their odd background. Must be something of a bitter pill for the moguls that she is able to slam the service and yet, in effect, still broadcast over it in her role as Radio I's breakfast interviewer . . . . Violet Carson (Ena Sharples) is another star mentioned as a possible visitor in the near future . . . . Wonder whether his appearance in a singularly tasteless TV commercial-the itchy feet one-had anything to do with the disappearance of Arthur Downes from this year's Late Show resident singer spot. His place has been taken by Bobby Davis, who had a fair amount of experience on Sydney pop shows. The Cambridge Three folk group- last year's Mobil Song Quest radio show winners-will be another addition to the resident team. Eliza Keil is back and Peter Sinclair, of course, is front man . . . . Wonder why we don't hear more from the regional advisory committees?
Begorrah! The Irish are to have their own big fling on television on St Patrick's Day. Irishman Maurice Smyth, producer of Wellington's Town and Around, has recorded television's first Ceilidh. Translated from the Gaelic it means, roughly, a night of singing, dancing and fiddling. It will be shown from all four channels simultaneously on March 17, with special guest Kathleen McCormack, the best-known Irish singer in Australia and New Zealand, at present engaged in cabaret work in Auckland. Also featured will be the Southern Cross Ceili Band, well-known in Wellington Irish circles. The programme, titled Are Ye Right There? will take place in a special Irish pub created by Cedric Leeming . . . . A searching look at On Camera is planned for early March by NZBC executives. The four personalities and four producers from each channel have been summoned to the capital to discuss problems, programmes and points of interest with Prudence Gregory, who is in charge of afternoon programes . . . . Good news for Mogul fans-the NZBC has acquired another series from the BBC. No date for its return has been set yet. Many of the faces made so familiar in the first series will be re-appearing in the 26 hour-long episodes bought . . . . Wonder whether Shari Lewis would really have been much of an attraction had she made a local tour after her Australian personal appearances Wellington has been packed with some of the most influential broadcasters in the British Commonwealth. Top of the pole was, of course, Sir Hugh Greene, director-general of the BBC. He impressed local interviewers with his friendliness and frankness. His views on censorship of television- none at all, he believes-and on independence from political pressures were refreshing to hear after so many examples of NZBC timidity in both fields . . . . Strange though that the Commonwealth Broadcasting Conference, which brought all these experts to New Zealand, should have been closed to the press except for the inaugural meeting . . . . After waiting so long for the controversial British comedy Till Death Us Do Part, Wellington viewers were a little disappointed when it finally came to the screens. After so much had been said, it was rather tame. Certainly there was nothing to take offence about. But viewers should keep watching. It warms up as it goes along.
Viewers who don't reckon much on documentaries must have nearly exploded one recent weekend when CHTV3 screened four in the two nights. On the Saturday there was
The Four-day Week from the CBS The 21st Century series, and then on Sunday came Alan Whicker's
A Few Castles in Spain, followed by
A Hundred Ways to Save Souls from the BBC's Man Alive series, and finally a programme on American folk art from the BBC's Monitor series. Admittedly some of the light entertainment is a bit too light for some tastes, but four
heavies in a space of 24 hours was probably loading the dice a bit too heavily in the other direction . . . . CHTV3's news-team becoming more conscious of the impact made by on-the-spot interviews in its newscasts. When local Dr D. J. Dobson returned from six months as Medical Officer at Qui Nhon, Vietnam, a reporter was at Christchurch Airport to meet him and made a good job of drawing the doctor out and bringing home to viewers just what the medical team is doing. This is the right approach and it is to be hoped viewers will get more news this way rather than indirectly as is so often the case . . . . Announcement made at the recent Timaru motor racing meeting rather smacked of parsimony as far as the NZBC is concerned. Public address commentator appealed for someone to rush film of the main event back to Christchurch for processing immediately after the feature event. In any event, film on the race did not reach Channel 3 viewers screens until after the late news, some eight hours after the event. Surely this item could have made much earlier sports news programme if the CHTV3 team had had its own transport instead of relying on someone's goodwill? . . . . Are New Zealand TV viewers embarrassed by too much kissing and cuddling in American comedies? One local newspaper correspondent fears they might be! Come to think of it, one does not need a TV set to suffer this sort of embarrassment (if such it. is). A stroll alongside the Avon River in Park Terrace and elsewhere any lunchtime in spring and summer will usually produce at least a few
live shows and, generally speaking, neither the cast nor the audience seem much embarrassed .... With Nyree Dawn_Porter capturing most of the headlines these days, local viewers were probably brought back to earth with a jolt and came to the conclusion that they have their own TV actor to be proud of. Guy Doleman showed himself to be in the top class in ITV Play of the Week
The Cruel Deadline, which also featured Barbara Murray, better known as Lady Wilder, and Peter Dyneley of The Mask of Janus fame.
Cricket has dominated the sporting scene in Dunedin over recent weeks, the highlight being the New Zealand v India test match, which happily coincided with the city's hottest temperatures for this summer. However, anyone who stopped to spare a thought for the hard-working production team sweltering behind their cameras need not have worried. The camera crew was just as delighted with the weather as the players themselves. Usually it is considered wise to add raincoats and umbrellas to the list of requirements for an outside telecast from Carisbrook, but on this occasion, shorts were the order of the day . . . . From the viewers' angle, more variety in the cricket coverage came with the introduction of a third camera where previously only two had been used. Production, incidentally, was in the hands of Brian Ault and Harold Anderson. Regular commentators, Geoff Ellis and Vern McArley were joined at this match by Sports Ofiicer, Wayne Andrews. Although no stranger to local screens, this was Wayne's first attempt at cricket comment, and proved to be a most satisfactory beginning . . . . Latest efforts in the Dunedin-Christchurch TV link-ups will take place on March 2, when the New Zealand Amateur Athletics Championships will be held in Dunedin. Christchurch will pick up DNTV2's outside telecast of the event and screen it directly over CHTV3 . . Most recent of the DNTV2 staff to respond to the
Call of the North, is Brian Stevenson, who has been accepted for a position in Auckland. Brian, who came to Dunedin about seven months ago, applied for the transfer in order to be nearer his family. While in Dunedin, television work has included news-reading and continuity, and he quickly became a popular host of radio 4ZB's lunch-time programme and Young at Heart Show.