From the New Zealand TV Weekly. February 17, 1969
It must be hard to justify the cost of some of the fragmentary items which pop up in the news. Not the fault of the compilers- news is news and viewers would soon start complaining if trivialities started to take up a great proportion of the allocated time. But there seems to be a distinct need for a programme falling somewhere in content between the news and Town and Around-a fairly folksy and leisurely look at events which are not newsworthy in the true sense, but certainly photogenic and interesting. For example, a major rally of vintage cars has a tremendous following, but the news coverage is seldom more than a 30 second snippet. A good five minutes taking a longer look at interesting specimens would not go amiss. And wouldn't ardent bird-watchers approve of something more tangible in the way of coverage of bikini-beauty contests than the present fleeting glimpse? What about a camera wandering the town and picking up little vignettes, progress reports on buildings under way, exceptional gardens, odd ships at the wharves, eager gardeners buying their Saturday supplies, horses being trained, pony club youngsters-and the thousand and one oddments which go to make a picture of everyday life? How about a shot at it, NZBC? . . . This Year's Country Touch has been widened in scope a bit as there will be a 20-strong square dance team and a choir of youngsters. The old familiars are back again-Tex Morton as front man and the Hamilton County Blue Grass Band as the backing musicians. Brother and sister duo, Kay and Shane, will have the resident vocal spots, but there will be a lot more guest artists popping up throughout the series. . . . Almost since the start of local Telly, scared first-timers have had cause to be grateful for the unruffled assistance of Joyce Cronin-and many a lined face has looked a lot better thanks to her ministrations with the make-up kit. So all those folk who remember Joyce with affection would be delighted to hear of her marriage recently. Congratulations to her-and may her successor with the powder and paint, Carol Tipping, soothe the jangled nerves of new- comers as readily!
Faced at last with the threat of real competition, the NZBC - wants the Government to loosen the purse strings, Now, the corporation must ask the Government if it wants to spend more than $50,000" and in these days of short money it's been almost impossible to get approval. The corporation wants to be able to spend more freely out of its own revenue and has told the Minister of Broadcasting this. One day it might get more freedom, but at the moment the chances are slim . . . . More freedom in staff appointments is also wanted but politics will play a major role in this. The Public Service Association doesn't want to lose control of its members within the corporation and more freedom would weaken its case to represent NZBC employees, and the PSA carries a lot of weight in this sort of thing . . . . . The members of the newly constituted Broadcasting Authority showed themselves as very human fellows with widespread tastes when they made their bow together in the capital. They freely admitted they were
squares when it comes to listening or watching, but from their comments this should not affect their judgement in selecting the lucky few who will get warrants for the first private radio stations . . . . In the light of Mr Adams-Schneider's warning that the Government doesn't want a second channel until 1971, it is no surprise that no one has yet shown any interest in applying for a private Television licence . . . . Poor old bowls. Right through the national tournament it was barely mentioned while other, less popular sports were given the full film treatment. A brief summary of the major results was all that the thousands of Wellington bowlers were given . . . The Australian Broadcasting Corporation paid a nice tribute to New Zealand scientists in its documentary, The Talgai Skull. This intriguing documentary followed the efforts to track down the ancient skull's history. Without the help of sophisticated dating techniques developed by the New Zealand Institute of Nuclear Sciences, its exact age might have remained a mystery. Incidentally, this documentary was edited by former Wellingtonian, Richard Walcott.
So - Patrick Smyth, former CHTV3 Town and Around frontman, was not sacked after all. It simply appears that the NZBC did not renew his contract. The terms of the contract? From production to production- which means that there was no obligation on the NZBC to renew it from day to day! How's that for job security? . . . . All the same, Smyth confessed to surprise when he learnt that producer Kim Gabara had stated that it was final and definite that he would not be used in 1969 . . . . Burns Scandrett, better known as the Christchurch magician, De Larno, has postponed his trip to the United Kingdom to star in a new Channel 3 children's show, The Ooky Spooky Show. Producer will be Bill Taylor, who knows what he's about when it comes to TV entertainment for the young fry. Initial run for this one will be 20 weeks. De Larno will attend the magician's convention in England in September and also probably do a return performance on Glasgow's Scottish TV . . . . Town and Around's annual 10-week holiday is carrying things just a bit too far in the opinion of some local viewers. Maybe they feel put out because they get only two or three weeks. But fact remains, apart from sport, there's nothing much offered in the_way of home-produced programmes here in January and February . . . . Channel 3's sports team really stepped itself right out to provide coverage of Christchurch's annual motor race, the Lady Wigram Trophy, with a first-class Friday night preview, race coverage on the Saturday night and a good Grandstand piece on Monday night. Comparisons may be odious, but the Christchurch effort had that of Auckland knocked into a cocked hat . . . . Christchurch admirers of local-actor, Fred Betts, pleased to learn he's got a part in Aucklander Roy Hope's six-part adventure serial, The Alpha Plan, the most ambitious NZBC drama to date.
A personality who is no stranger either to Television or theatre audiences in this country is the most recent addition to the production staff of DNTV2 and if his past training is any indication, he should be a most valuable acquisition. We refer to Wayne Tourell, who is currently appearing nationwide as the host of the children's series Well I Never. Wayne has gained considerable experience in all aspects of theatre work, from writing to production, and first became interested in the subject while he was at high school. He later moved from his home in Wangaloa, South Otago, to Christchurch, where he worked with Allan de Malmanche at the Phoenix Theatre and spent two years at the Christchurch Repertory professional training school under the tutelage of John Kim. While in Christchurch, as well as making a general study of the theatre, he took part in radio and TV plays and formed part of a trio of players who visited schools throughout the South Island. Four years ago, Wayne and his family moved south again, and he turned his hand to writing. Unable to forgo taking an active part in theatre life, however, he joined the Globe Theatre and the Repertory Society and among his more notable performances here were the roles he took in Picnic and Taste of Honey. Back in South Otago, he continued with his writing and won considerable acclaim for his one-act plays which have been produced for a number of British Drama League Festivals and one of which has since been published. He has also produced successfully for BDL and reached the national finals on a number of occasions. Also among his writing credits are a number of scripts for Well I Never, which he wrote in conjunction with Waric Slyfield, Jean Packwood and James Edwards . . . Before Well I Never, Wayne directed several major productions for South Otago theatre companies and when he began his TV commitments, he commuted to Dunedin each week for rehearsals and taping of the series. Since he joined the DNTV2 production staff as a trainee producer, however, he and his family have moved to Dunedin. Incidentally, Well I Never is not the only nationally screened TV show in which Wayne Tourell has appeared-he had a guest role in an episode of Adventures of the Seaspray, which was set in the Arrowtown region. Movie-goers will be seeing Wayne in a B.P. colour film, The Taking Mood. Directed by Derek Williams, this comedy trailer will take a look at a number of amusing situations in which New Zealanders find themselves . . . Well, it does seem rather a pity to be putting all that acting talent behind the camera, but time will tell-we'll be looking forward to seeing the first results.