Brian Edwards Media

TVNZ – whizzing through the years.

Here’s a spot of nostalgia for those of you who remember the early days of television – and a bit of a shock for those who don’t, I imagine!



  1. I remember almost everything after the moon landing.

  2. What a rich archive of television development in our small country. Thank you for bringing it together so successfully.

  3. 1 minute 21 seconds is just about right to show the best of TVNZ.

  4. Nothing personal Brian!

  5. You’re just being ridiculous, Baz, with that throwaway remark.

    In its heydey, there were some wonderful programmes from AKTV 2.
    Who can remember the title of the first, ever, full-length movie shown on Sundays’
    afternoon’s “Cinema Parade”, starting at 2pm? (I can). There were some wonderful films shown on Cinema Parade; and, later, on Friday nights as well. All films were shown completely ad-free.

    Some memorable programmes.
    Wednesdays: The Valiant Years, Dr. Kildare, The Texan.
    Friday: Dr. Who, The Untouchables (11pm)
    Saturdays: You Asked For It, Bonanza, The Dick Powell Show, Science Fiction Theatre
    Sunday: The Patty Duke Show, Perry Mason, Mediation (last prog. @10pm)

    Other wonderful programmes:
    Hazel, Pete and Gladys, Grindyl, I Love Lucy, My Three Sons, The Munsters, The Beverly Hillbillies, Petticoat Junction, Steptoe and Son, Our Man Higgins, The Farmer’s Daughter, The Loretta Young show

    Tombstone Territory, Laramie, The Outcasts, The Westerner, The Monroes, Wagon Train, Rawhide.

    77 Sunset Strip, Naked City, T.H.E Cat, Mannix, Markham, The Fugitive, The Invaders.

    The Adventures of Robin Hood, The Adventures or Sir Lancelot, William Tell, Supercar, Fireball XL5, Captain Pugwash, Torchy, the Battery Boy.
    And the superb, “Katy” (starring Susan Hampshire).

    And last but not least — sharp interviewing and discussion, on Politics and Issues of the day, from this blog’s owner.

    TV was really good, then.

  6. Merv, unless you are trying to be ‘ironic’ you have defeated your own argument. Every one of the programmes mentioned as I recall were made overseas, and I hardly think that 77 Sunset Strip is a cause for self congratulation.

    TVNZ has scarcely produced drama worthy of mention. I recall Shark in the Park and an adapatation of Angela’s Ashes but nothing else.

    In terms of documentary TVNZ was respnsible for one of the most appalling series on WW2 ever made by some guy who kept saying Africa Corpse. There was also a NZ history designed to send the audience into a catatonic trance.

    There has been no comedy to speak of and I am mystified to know where all this sharp interviewing and discussion was, (yes, Mr Edwards you are an excetion but of course you are not a New Zealander). The average New Zealand interviewer is about as sharp as a blancmange, and about as anodyne.

    Baz has it absolutley right; in fact the highlights of TVNZ could probably be squeezed into half the time. Most of the higlights have been disasters! TVNZ does death and destruction well.

  7. Actually, in the 60’s CHTV3 (and probably other stations) made some reasonably good local programmes, despite limited resources.

  8. PS – Oh bugger, just remembered that Mr Edwards was involved in some of it – sounds like I’m just crawling…

  9. A little bit later than Mervs examples but Buck House was always funny (from memory)A few episodes of Town and around with Keith Bracey had a few humerous skits.Im always going to back anyone who mentions Dr Who(William Hartnell era).Pukemanu is worthy of mention for the late Dame Pat Evisons character alone.C’MON was a great variety show as was New Faces.

  10. Did I forget country Calender.There is a wealth of tv worthy of its time.

  11. “but Buck House was always funny”
    PJR, how can you say that? Buck House was appalling.
    But I agree that Pukemanu is worthy of mention.

  12. @ Lynette

    We must be the same age. Moonlandings are also among my very earliest TV memories.

    @ PJR, Cav39

    Although we’re going back to my childhood here, I remember Buck House was usually fairly dire in scenes with Paul Holmes, but always quite funny whenever John Clarke’s character appeared.

    @ Ben “no comedy to speak of…”

    Yeah, I generally agree, but there was the odd one or two…’Funny Business’ (1989) had its occassional moments (particularly the song ‘Norman the Mormon’).

    Also a skit comedy in the mid-1990s (forget its name) had the odd touch of brilliance amongst a good deal of mediocrity. One memorable scene involved a black and white satire of 1960s New Zealand commercials (and 60s attitudes in general). From memory, a very officious, somewhat pompous-looking bloke in shirt/tie/suit with authoritative moustache, pipe and BBC accent is advertising an exciting new food product called ‘asbestos’. His attractive young female assistant hands him a piece of asbestos to show the TV audience and, as she does, he looks at her intently and says (authoritatively) “Good Girl, Jean !.” Then, a few more skits, the credits roll, and right at the end of the programme another B&W scene, this time we see a couple having sex under the blankets, post-coital, the man pulls himself off the woman and we see that it’s the same bloke from the 60s ad. He takes his pipe out of his mouth and, looking down intently at his partner, says authoritatively “Good Girl, Jean !.”

    Apart from that, Gliding On had its moments and, of course, ‘Flight of the Conchords’ (though, admittedly, NZ rather than TVNZ).

    But without a doubt the best NZ comedy has always been the unintentional stuff. Let’s face it, we’re essentially a nation of shy, naive, easily-embarrassed backwoodsmen and we’re at our unintentional funniest when we’re just being ourselves.

    Two TV examples from my younger teenage years (late 70s) come to mind (Muldoon’s New Zealand, Muldoon’s Ba-Ludy New Zealand !):

    (1) ‘The Club Show’.
    Former wrestling commentator and racing host, Glyn Tucker, together with Maori broadcaster, Ernie Leonard, hosted a show in which various indoor games simultaneously took place in a big studio. It was regularly (unintentionally) hilarious – with people constantly running and tripping over the camera cables, accidently smacking into each other and falling headlong into the set’s cardboard dividers in the background. Tucker and Leonard, in front of camera addressing the TV audience, would hear all this commotion behind them, look around to see utter chaos, and then (best of all) look back at camera with sheepish grins, having no idea what to say or do next. The look of utter embarrassment on Glyn Tucker’s face was priceless.

    My older brother would invariably end up lying on the floor in almost uncontrollable hysterics. Took him 20 minutes to stop laughing, tears of sheer pleasure flowing from his eyes.

    (2) The NZ equivalent of the BBC’s ‘The Night Sky':

    The BBC version, of course, was always hosted by the mad-as-a-march-hare astronomer, Sir Patrick Moore. TVNZ’s version (roughly 1978, from memory), had two astronomer guests on one particular episode. They were both tall, thin, middle-aged men, balding, with glasses and neat, small dark beards. They looked very similar, almost like twins and very much reminded me at the time of NZSO conductor, William Southgate.

    Sitting down for a studio interview, the host tried to ask them something on astronomy, but they were both utterly mesmerised by the camera, staring out at us with embarrassed, cheesy grins, while making slightly giggly noises. Very much like shy children, embarrassed when an adult makes a fuss of them. Except, in this case, Balding, bearded children.

    On this occassion, my brother almost went beyond hysterics to a full-scale medical emergency. He was laughing so much he not only had tears flowing from his eyes but actually liquid emanating from his nostrils.

    Almost certainly one of the Great Moments of unintentional New Zealand Comedy.

  13. My memories of Buck House are possibly selective but I always liked John Clarke’s Igneous rocks of the southern hemisphere.

  14. @ Ben: It was a recollection of very fine programmes that helped fashion out tastes, not so much an argument.

    And we were lucky to have them, because they educated and enriched us. For example, I remember, our dancers’ choreography on “C’mon” as being unimaginative and stiff, compared to the American girls who had the pizzazz.

    Peter Reid hosted ‘Night Sky’ from the late 60s to the early 70s. I felt sorry for him when he went on Mastermind; where he got a bad case of the yips, or he just didn’t know as much about the universe as we all thought. He just plain conked out in the chair. Just about all his responses to the questions were, “Pass”. Even, Pete Sinclair was very embarrassed.

  15. While you’re talking about good ol’ NZ television, Peter Read appears in this unusual TV experiment from 1972, alongside TP McLean and Maxwell Fernie:

    We also wanted to let you know that you can see episodes of Buck House, Pukemanu, and we’ve just added an episode of Moynihan in the past day.

    (If you click on that link, you’ll see that we have an Edwards-related link! Post Office Go Slow…)