The early television days were staffed by competent, experienced staff with mainly radio experience coping with second hand BBC equipment in small make shift studios with tape, lighting and telecine (film) operators in cramped uncomfortable cupboards/offices. Staff like Barry Warner, Colin Harrison, Geoff Eady, Robyn Petrie, Ian Hill, Stuart Murray and Russ Lambert and Bob Smith. We owe them so much.
‘Have a beer’, said a friend recently. ‘No thanks, juice will be fine’, I replied. Remembering me as a keen beer drinker, he looked bemused. ‘I’ve become a bit of a wowser, these days. Grandma would be proud of me.’
On another recent occasion, I was offered a glass of wine by one of my quiz night teammates. All the other members were imbibing. ‘No thanks. lemon, lime and bitters, will be fine. I don’t touch the stuff these days. Grandma would be proud of me.’
‘What you mean – your grandma would be proud of you?’ one asked. And so began my tale.
Bob strolls to the new coffee house not far from his home. The sun’s out, shadowed now and then by fluffy white clouds. He’s on his way to meet his old friend John and despite the weather he wears his faded raincoat – because, as he always tells everyone in summer and winter, you just never know with Auckland weather.
First I must declare that I’m involved with Better Public Media, so it is very apparent what I want from television in New Zealand.
But I also want more for other sectors of the media, for I have drifted away from mainstream (linear, scheduled) television and have joined the Netflix generation. When I drift back to Television New Zealand or TV3, these channels seem like foreign places, where narratives are jarringly interrupted by extended breaks of increasingly banal adverts.
Standing on the fourth-floor balcony of Tūranga, Christchurch’s recently opened library sited on Cathedral Square, I gazed down onto the sagging ruin that is the post-earthquake Christchurch Cathedral. From this angle the decision to restore makes even less sense than it did three years ago when I viewed the wreckage from behind a ground level wire-mesh safety fence.
It will seem mean to those who think the demise of TV3 is a shame, but I’m glad it’s gone and gladder still to see the beginning of the end of all television as we have come to know it. The dying distorted remnants of what was once an entertaining, informative and artistic public service has had its day after far too many years in expelling noisy, lingering death throes.
The Lost Generation
‘There’s a generation of Kiwis who have grown up not knowing what public service television is’, says the Better Public Media Trust on its website. And it goes on to list the programming casualties lost in the shifting battlefields of broadcasting over the past 50 years:
Rainbow Tick is a business, like the halal certification business, it gives organisations a tick for behaving in the manner the certifier approves. The Muslim Islamic Council provides certification to businesses that kill their animals with a single cut, that are thoroughly bled, and have not come into contact with animals (pork especially) that have been stunned before being slaughtered.