From the New Zealand TV Weekly. April 1, 1968
If you are disappointed that Violet Carson (alias Ena Sharples) is not coming to New Zealand after her Australian visit-during which she will be presenting the annual awards to top Australian TV shows-you may get some consolation from the visit of another TV big name. The versatile Rolf Harris, beard, wobble-board and all, has been signed for a local tour in May . . . . Vision Enterprises Ltd, is another way of saying Kevan Moore. If you are in any doubt, look out for a copy of the brochure which advertises his services as a commercial producer. Can't quite think why, but the photograph of him is vaguely reminiscent of Peter Sellers . . . . Town and Around continues to lack the zing of yesteryear, but Tom Finlayson scored top marks for his panel interview with visiting overseas TV brass, here for the Commonwealth Broadcasting Conference. Although the NZBC was not mentioned directly, the discussion contained a great deal of inferential comment . . . . It will be interesting to see how Mr Lee Grant gets on with his attempt to break into the hard, cold world of show-business in England. He had a warm up on the way in the shape of two TV programmes in Sydney . . . . The new programme for the kiddywinks, Button On Button Off!, got away to a good start with a deluge of drawings on to producer Michael Devine's desk. The small fry showed remarkable variation of imagination in giving their ideas of the Jabberwock from Alice in Wonderland at the invitation of show hostess, Milli Adams. Milli has been busy with radio plays since she came to New Zealand with her husband, radio drama producer, Dal Evans. Her co-hostess, Irene Wood, had a similar job with the junior magazine programme a couple of years ago.
The Frost Report made an impressive opening with a superb interview with Randolph Churchill defending stoutly the honour of his great father. Randolph was nearly outflanked by questioners Kenneth Tynan and David Irvine, but came back strongly, all guns blazing, to rout the enemy. Another excellent documentary seen here was the programme called Dispute . . . . Sports fans think that the NZBC on the whole does a fair job in bringing their favourite sports to the screen, but anyone who has recently watched a Saturday afternoon sports programme on either of the main channels in Britain will be inclined to say that the NZBC still has some way to go . . . . For example, cricket enthusiasts were getting large chunks of the tests in the West Indies on their screens the following day. It makes one wonder why so little was seen of the tests here (or so says my husband) . . . . Another recent NZBC purchase is a 13-part Dr Who series with William Hartnell still in the title role . . . . Four BBC plays are also schedule.d to be shown here: The Confidence Course, Calf Love, A Man on Her Back, and Wormwood . . . . NZBC is negotiating to buy new, specially-made television movies which NBC are currently screening in the U.S. in World Premiere Theatre. Two in the series
spun-off into their own series- Ironside, with Raymond Burr, which has been bought by the NZBC, and It Takes a Thief, another possible purchase . . . . The NZBC has also bought Hollywood Palace, which has a different host every week, big names like Victor Borge, Bob Hope, Jack Benny and Bing Crosby. This will probably be seen on Saturday nights.
Roll on Easter! Viewers who have found it hard to work up much enthusiasm over Channel 3's Saturday night offerings perked up a bit when the news broke that a quality film and Hollywood Palace would usher in
new look Saturday night viewing about Easter. This augurs well for the winter months, when most folk become reluctant to move away from home comforts . . . . Highlight during a recent trip to the United States for a Christchurch couple, Mr and Mrs Alex Thompson, was a meeting with Dean Martin during a rehearsal break at the NBC Burbank, California, studios. Their son, Paddy, plays trombone in the orchestra at the Sands Hotel, the Las Vegas nightspot where Dean often sings . . . . 3's sportsteam took New Zealand's test cricket win over India at Lancaster Park rather boringly to heart, showing the, final overs of the game on at least three occasions, the final one being in Friday night's Sports Magazine . . . . Incidentally, local cricket TV commentators have been coming in for some criticism because of an over-abundance of well-worn cliches . . . . Pity a technical fault marred the Dunedin-Christchurch link for the national athletics championships. Saturday afternoon reception was excellent after 4 p.m. when things had been finally sorted out and local athletic followers must have felt frustrated that they had missed earlier events. Dunedin's sports team introduced quite a lot of human interest with brief on-the-spot interviews with some of the competitors . . . . Town and Around here looks as though it will again top the viewing poll. Early editions contained quite a lot of stockpiled material, but producer Des Monaghan is obviously looking for topicality and Brian Edwards is definitely developing into a major interviewing force with no
beg-your-pardons. His interview with The Seekers was first-class, and he brought home the cold, cruel facts of unemployment With a straight-from-the-shoulder confrontation with a young couple who have been chilled by the winds of economic change. Incidentally, this piece brought a stream of job offers for the young man questioned. Seems TV does provide a service . . . . NZBC TV's review of the economy brought to light an often-hidden fact-the NZBC sadly lacks expert commentators and relies almost wholly on
outside experts. This is a state of affairs that should not be allowed to continue, as instanced by the recent threat of Wellington University professors and lecturers to boycott radio and TV if radio's Checkpoint producer, Alister Taylor, was not reinstated. Irrespective of the merits of the case, an organisation supposedly as strong as the NZBC should not find itself in such a position. Moreover, there is a definite lack of knowledgeable staffers capable of putting really penetrating questions to these
outside experts. If Channel 3 is any indication, the NZBC appears to have built up a pool of people in the various centres willing to be called in as circumstances demand. Hence the same faces appear on the screen time and time again.
After the departure of several well-know personalities from the local scene in recent months, it's nice to welcome a newcomer. He's Dudley Scantlebury, who actually joined Dunedin's announcing staif last year, but until recently had not appeared on television. Over the past few weeks, Dudley has been on relieving duties in Timaru, but he is now back in Dunedin, where he had formerly become well-known to the younger set with his radio programmes and appearances as a compere at local dances. In future he will be taking part in general radio announcing as well as some television continuity. Dudley, who is one of a family' of six children, was born in Masterton in 1945, and is an ex-pupil of Hamilton Boys' High. Listening' to records and D.X. radio take up most of his spare time, and in the sporting field he has taken part in rowing and is also interested in swimming and long-distance running. Not difiicult to please when it comes to meal time, he admits his favourite dish is pocket steak and gravy with
mountains of mashed potato and peas! Dudley joined NZBC in September, 1966, and before coming to Dunedin he was stationed at Palmerston North . . . . Town and Around seems to be taking on a new look this year, with interviews more in line with the type seen on Compass. Host this year is Derek Payne, who seems to be settling in well and is becoming popular with viewers. However, we're inclined to wonder just how viewers will react to continuing doses of this more formal type of programme . . . . Dunedin is well-known throughout the country for its weather extremes, but the conditions of a couple of weeks ago were extraordinary. One week residents were sweltering in the city's hottest weather of summer and a few days later much of the area was under water during one of the heaviest downpours yet recorded. Excellent conditions for telly-viewing, although DNTV2 ran into a spot of bother with flooded circuits causing break-downs in teleprinter and wire-photo links with the north.