From the New Zealand TV Weekly. August 11, 1969
Bryan Easte is a brave man. From every indication, he has more than enough to do with producing such shows as The Country Touch-there's a new batch in front of the cameras now that the veteran front man, Tex Morton, has been tied down to a spell of studio work-and the increasingly popular Personality Squares. But he has also become operations supervisor for Northern Television. The job includes supervising the training of young producers and keeping an overall eye on-which also means accepting responsibility for-overall production standards. And that's a pretty tough assignment when you remember that producers are getting scarcer than the proverbial hens' teeth in the area. Bryan will also be. sandwiched between the creative folk and the administrators, and trying to keep both factions happy would be a bit like the job of a U.N. observer on the banks of the Suez Canal. Good luck to him .... The programme listings for the charity production of Cyrano de Bergerac will be virtually a roll call of TV folk. As mentioned some weeks ago, Alan de Malmanche will ibe producing the play and taking the main role. But read on and you come to Merv Smith (can you get a health food plug into Cyrano?), Alma Johnson, Margaret Moore, Cherry Raymond, Rex Sayers, Pamela Seebold and Anna Soutar. Keep on reading and you'll find Ian Watkins as director, Peter Empen responsible for writing the music, Judith Lessing looking after publicity, and Rick Carlyon as front-of-house manager-which won't be anything new for him as he managed the Lido for some years . . . . A familiar face has left our screens. Announcer Gwen Perry has decided to head back to her home town, Hull, after five years with the NZBC . . . . interludes featuring Les Andrews singing quasi-religious songs have have been getting steady playing of late. Bryan Ashbridge produced the interludes in St Matthews Church. In one, tenor Andrews had vocal support from his daughter . . . . Guitarist Peter Posa has been added to the Hamilton County Bluegrass Band for the new Country Touch series. Once again there is a considerable line-up of guest talent . . . . Popster Allison Durbin commuting across the Tasman with advance plans for a U.K. visit fairly early next year.
The re-organisation of the NZBC into regions has led to major changes in the news i service, with Mr G. W. Harte, the assistant editor (administrative) at head office moving south to Christchurch to take over the southern region. Mr P. W. Fabian, who had been deputy editor to Mr Ben Coury since the inception of the news service, will take over as editor of the central region, while Mr G. Wear remains in charge of the northern region. Mr R. Melville from Auckland takes Mr Harte's place in Wellington. Mr G. Norman, the chief reporter at head office, has been seconded for a period to the Parliamentary Press Gallery, and Mr B. Crossan, who previously has been district editor at Wellington will act as chief reporter in Mr Norman's absence in the Press Gallery. The changes have provoked a good deal of discussion in NZBC news staff circles, and there may even be some further consequential moves, some out of the corporation. It is known that a number of the experienced men in the newsrooms around the country are keeping an eye on possible vacancies with private broadcasting stations . . . . The NZBC has bought another series of Champion House, which should be on our screens again in the not-too-distant future. It proved a highly popular series, though for sheer virtuosity The Power Game is away out in front, even though some of the plots are so complicated it is not always so easy to follow the Wilder manoeuvres, and the Bligh counter-ploys . . . . John Barningham will soon be leading the field as producer of light entertainment. His Two Girls to Watch Music By brought into focus some of the country's most attractive singers . . . . Not everyone was enthralled with the first Compass effort of the year; which showed what might happen if a major earthquake hit one of our bigger cities. One or two critics thought that it might stir the authorities into some kind of action, but if a Television producer hopes to achieve a constructive reaction he must himself have some constructive ideas . . . . Pleasant to see in Wellington again the familiar face of Don Donaldson, back from Dunedin in at new job at Head Office TV as Television programme planner.
Christchurch will have a second TV channel for a period of twelve days later this month, thanks to the New Zealand Industries Fair. Channel 5 results from a temporary permit granted by the Broadcasting Authority and follows the precedent set in Auckland at this year's Easter Show where the NZBC had a big display. Christchurch arrangements will be similar, with Channel 5 transmitting between 1 p.m. and 10 pm. each show day. Presentation officer Peter Muxlow will be in charge. Folk who want to see Channel 5 will have to go to the fair, unless they happen to live near Canterbury Court, as the station will have only a low-powered signal. However, viewers in Addington and Spreydon areas should find themselves with a choice of programmes - for twelve days, anyway . . . . New continuity announcer at, CHTV3 is 19-year-old Jane Stayt, who hails from Napier. After initial training in Wellington, Jane was heard, but not seen, for a month as an afternoon continuity announcer. Her TV debut came early in July and if it was an ordeal for her she certainly did not show it . . . . The Christchurch-produced Jazz Mode (1969), scheduled to debut at 10.30 p.m., Sunday, July 27, made an unheralded appearance three weeks early to occupy an afternoon spot, evidently left vacant in the programme reshuffle required for the screening of the investiture of the Prince of Wales. This was pretty cavalier treatment of what promises to be a first-class series featuring some of the leading local jazzmen playing music that should appeal to most viewing families. There was no publicity beforehand, so a lot of people who would regard this as
must viewing probably missed out. Also the 10.30 pm regular Sunday slot is rather an oft-beat one for a locally produced series that must have a wide appeal in the Christchurch viewing area. Seems some one just doesn't want to give this well-produced local confection any more than a runner's chance. It's rather a raw deal, when you remember that musical productions from other centres generally take up some of the peak viewing time on Channel 3 . . . . Viewers who have enjoyed Channel 3's original and entertaining interludes wondering just what future fare of this nature will be like now that Wellington's cold and clammy head office hand is clutching each piece for vetting by the viewing committee, which has already vetoed some, and directed screening times for others.
Brian Ault's parting contribution to DNTV2 viewers was a series , of short
fillers featuring Eddie Lowe, which should make a very pleasant change from the usual mini excursions around Otago Harbour or postcard-type scenesof Central. Inciclentally, it was good to see DNTV2 making the most of Eddie's stay in Dunedin, for not only does he possess an outstanding voice, his strong and obviously genuine devotion to music for music's sake deserves far more recognition than it has received to date . . . For the better part of two days recently, the Five Live studio at DNTV2 was definitely no place for the squeamish. In the interests of providing a realistic performance Bruce Morrison used live rats in the production of a Pied Piper sequence for his children's TV show. ... A decision earlier this year, by producer, Rod Cornelius, to take On Camera away from the city more frequently has, according to latest reports, been responsible for an impressive rise in the show's ratings. Where formerly the programmes were filmed generally either in the studio or around Dunedin these locations are now kept to a minimum and the production team has, on two occasions ventured as far afield as Stewart Island, where the members were not only able to find plenty of material for On Camera, but also came up with a couple of items for Town and Around. In this effort to maintain the inclusion of something from out of town in every programme, Rod and his team are currently in Wanaka where they have been filming aspects of life on a high country run, in this case, Cattle Flat and Mount Aspiring stations; One of the speakers in a forthcoming discussion of the pros and cons of correspondence schools will be Mrs Sheila Aspinall who should be well-known in these parts for her radio talks.