Coverband: Playing jukebox for jokes

Taken from NZ Herald, by Lydia Jenkin.

Sticky-carpet pubs filled with rowdy drinkers, basly lit living rooms filled with inebriated party guests, sterile office dos with staff only there for the free beer - such is the glamorous life of a covers band. But the creators of a new local TV show thought it could be fodder for a comedy series.

It all started in 2007, when Johnny Barker's 48Hours film competition team, called Lens Flare, won the grand prize with a short musical comedy, Lease, about three hapless musicians. With the prize money, Barker decided to shoot a trailer with his teammates Jared Kahi and Brendon Morrow for a TV series idea they had rattling around, and see if they could get anyone interested.

It was when The Down Low Concept (Nigel McCulloch, Ryan Hutchings and Jarrod Holt, who also created 7 Days and Hounds) came on board that NZ On Air and TVNZ also came to the party with some funding.

"With The Down Low Concept's reputation, things finally worked out," Barker explains. "Initially I thought of it as a music-based drama, and now it's got that Down Low stamp on it, it's taken a very quirky turn. They're great writers."

Read the full article here.

Flat3’s ‘most ambitious season’ out this month

Taken from 3News, by Daniel Rutledge.

Kiwi cult comedy web series Flat3 is back for a third season, starting September 26.

The show follows three Kiwi-Asian flatmates as they figure out who they are, what they're doing in love and life and whose turn it is to buy toilet paper. It's been described as Girls meets Flight of the Conchords, with a touch of Bridget Jones' Diary.

Flat3 was created by stars JJ Fong, Perlina Lau and Ally Xue, who were inspired to make it through a combination of annoyance at typecasting and the desire to take the kind of comedy they loved and make it their own. The show is written and directed by Roseanna Liang and produced by Kiel McNaughton.

"At the beginning we didn't know whether people would like the show or feel they could relate to it, but the overall response has been so positive," says Lau. "People have been very generous in their responses and open about the show. We really appreciate the feedback and love that we've dreated something people can watch and recognise themselves or their friends in their characters."

Read the full article here.

The Brokenwood Mysteries - Coming soon to Prime TV

The Brokenwood Mysteries comprises four two-hour murder mystery stories set in a seemingly quiet country town where the town's newest resident, Detective Inspector Mike Shepherd, finds that murder lurks in even the most homely location.

Neill Rea (Scarfies, Legend of the Seeker, Go Girls) stars in the lead role of DI Shepherd while Fern Sutherland (The Almighty Johnsons) plays Detective Constable Kristin Sims.

Each telefeature in the series is a standalone story which sees the show's two lead police officers trying to solve a murder case. Chris Bailey (Nothing Trivial, Street Legal) is Producer, while Tim Balme (Stolen, The Almighty Johnsons) is the lead writer. James Griffin (Outrageous Fortune, The Almighty Johnsons, Sione's Wedding) has also penned one script.

The Brokenwood Mysteries was filmed in the greater Auckland region and will screen on Prime TV in New Zealand later in 2014. The production received funding from NZ On Air.


Coverband - Coming soon to TV One

Coverband... a story of broken hearts, broken dreams, sex, drugs and... other people's music.

No one grows up wanting to play in a covers band. It's what happens when the dream of being a rock star has faded and the desperate need for cash takes precedence over any faltering ambition.

Like all cover bands, The Silhouettes nearly made it with their original material. Now they're on the bottom rung of a very shonky ladder to nowehere special, in a world where dodgy promoters and drunk crowds pretend that they're having a good time - but would rather just listen to the original track on an iPod. But unlike everyone else in the scene, The Silhouettes' leader Matt Gibson isn't ready to give up on the dream. Not while he has unfinished business with his former lead singer, the now infinitely more successful Ivy.

Starring Matt Whelan (Go Girls), Johnny Barker (Shortland Street, Go Girls) and Wesley Dowdell (Outrageous Fortune).


New NZ On Air TV funding announced

Taken from Stuff, by Katie Kenny.

After six incredible seasons, Outrageous Fortune has gained funding for one more. A prequel. Local drama has received an $18 million funding boost from NZ On Air to back three new Kiwi series, including West Side Story, a journey into Ted's murky past.

From the Platinum Fund for TV One, Hillary will be a landmark series about lauded beekeeper-turned-adventurer, Sir Edmund Hillary. The six-part drama has been created by the experienced writing team of Tom Scott and Greg McGee and is based on the story told be Hillary to Scott for his biography.

Meanwhile, on TV2, Dave and Cara's unconventional love story continues in a second series of Step Dave. Following its successful first season, the lighthearted family drama is back with the trails and triumphs of blended family life.

Read the full article here.

Siobhan Marshall returns to Shorty

Taken from Stuff, by Isobel Allbury.

The wheel of TV fortune has turned full circle for actress Siobhan Marshall. More than 10 years after she first appeared on Shortland Street, the Outrageous Fortune star is back on the soap in a new role as a high-flying doctor.

Clearly it has proven difficult to take Marshall out of the west.

Marshall made a major impact as Pascalle West, the eldest daughter of the iconic westie family in the Kiwi drama Outrageous Fortune. And now she is back in west Auckland at Shortland Street's base in Henderson.

Marshall's 2004 appearance on Shortland Street was brief but she is back to play Dr Ava Eriksson, Ferndale's latest addition and a doctor of appearance medicine. Not only does Ava sport a shorter, more mature hairstyle than Pascalle, she is also different in other ways to Marshall's ditsy Outrageous Fortune character.

"She's quite different," Marshall says. "She's really confident, she's really smart and she's very ambitious... She's definitely not Pascalle so that's good."

Although she may have book smarts, Marshall says her character is not always the most clued up in social situations.

"She's a little bit confusing because she is really smart but in a lot ways she misses the point," Marshall says. "I've played other characters, like Pascalle. She wasn't book smart but she could pick up on what was going on quite well. Whereas this one socially doesn't, which is kind of funny and quite fun... Sometimes she just misses things that are happening around her. She is charming. Well I hope she is, she's supposed to be. I'm trying to be. So she's quite good in certain social situations when she's putting on an act but she misses a few social cues."

Read the full article here.

Twitter’s mixed reaction to Hope & Wire

Taken from NZ Herald.

Viewers have responded with mixed feelings about last night's debut of Hope and Wire, a new three-part drama series based on the aftermath of the Christcurch earthquakes.

Created by veteran director Gaylene Preston, hopes were high that Hope and Wire would do televisual justice to one of the country's worst disasters. Each episode is a feature length, and last night's debut dealt with the shock of the September 4, 2010 event, and the tragedy of February 22, 2011.

Throng reported the first episode drew in 248,440 vieweres, TV3's second most-viewed show of the night, below House Rules with 267,860 viewers.

In a preview for TimeOut, Christchurch-based reporter Kurt Bayer, who reported on the quakes and their aftermath, wrote the first "episode pulls no punches" and was "raw, but done with sensitivity".

Read the full article here.

SPP named co-production partner for BBC drama

Taken from Screen NZ.

South Pacific Pictures is named a co-production partner for BBC Three-commissioned drama Tatau, to be shot later this year.

The full BBC release follows:

BBC Three has commissioned a brand-new 8×45′ drama series, written by Richard Zajdlic and co-produced by Touchpaper TV (makers of Being Human) and South Pacific Pictures in association with BBC America.

Tatau is the first drama series to be commissioned for BBC Three – the winner of the Channel of the Year at last week’s Broadcast Digital Awards – since BAFTA Award-winning serial In the Flesh. It was commissioned by Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama and Zai Bennett, Former Controller, BBC Three.

Ben Stephenson says: “From the makers of Being Human, Tatau is an ambitious new BBC Three drama series that will raise the bar for viewers of the channel who have a real appetite for distinctive stories from all different worlds.”

Kyle Connor and Pete ‘Budgie’ Griffiths are 20-something friends from London travelling the world looking for sun, fun and adventure. They’ve worked hard, saved even harder, and now finally they’re off, eager to soak up as many different cultures and experiences as they possibly can. Kyle even got himself a Maori-style tattoo in London, excited about their eventual destination: the Cook Islands.

Rob Pursey, the executive producer for Touchpaper, adds: “It’s exciting to produce a show that takes the BBC audience to an entirely new location. And it’s even more exciting to explore the ancient myths of a culture that very few of us are familiar with.”

Kyle is unsettled when local people react to his tattoo: it clearly has a significance that he is entirely unaware of. It’s like he’s been marked out for something – but what?

Later, while snorkelling in a lagoon, Kyle finds the body of a local girl, Aumea, tied up underwater – dead. Returning to the lagoon with the police, Kyle finds her corpse has disappeared. Budgie wonders if his best friend is going mad – he’s imagining things. But Kyle knows what he saw. And he’s also beginning to realise that he has a gift – or a curse: the murder he’s witnessed isn’t something that has happened, it’s something that will happen in the future.

Kyle and Budgie find themselves sucked into a desperate race to prevent Aumea’s murder, as Kyle learns that his gifts don’t stop at prophecy… and the full meaning of his tattoo is revealed.

Sam Bickley, Channel Editor, BBC Three, says: “BBC Three has rightfully made a name for itself producing multi-award-winning dramas like In the Flesh, The Fades and Being Human. Tatau very much continues the channel’s tradition for commissioning original, innovative and exciting drama that you would not expect to see anywhere else.”

Tatau is 8×45′ and will be co-produced by Touchpaper TV and South Pacific Pictures in association with BBC America. Touchpaper TV is a Zodiak Media Company.

Richard Zajdlic, creator and writer and Rob Pursey are the executive producers for Touchpaper TV, John Barnett and Chris Bailey for South Pacific in New Zealand and Matthew Read for the BBC.

Filming starts in September 2014 and casting will be announced in due course.

TV Preview: Hope & Wire

Taken from NZ Herald, by Nick Grant.

In Hope and Wire, TV3's new drama about the Christchurch earthquakes and the aftershocks - literal and psychological - that ripple through the community in their wake, Stephen Lovatt plays a lawyer who finds himself on shaky financial ground as a result of the disaster.

The decision to accept the part was a no-brainer, but it wasn't the character that attracted him. "I just wanted to be in it, really," he says. "We need to talk to ourselves nationally about these experiences and television is a good way to do it, especially as a drama."

Plus, the project represented Lovatt's first opportunity in his 28-year-long career to work with writer-director Gaylene Preston, whom he describes as "frustratingly and delightfully creative".

Thanks to Preston's "idiosyncratic presence" and the way she let the actors experiment, and at other times would throw them curve balls that demanded an instant response, "it was an exciting time being on set with her, and a rewarding one. I'd work with her again at the drop of a hat."

Read the full article here.

Robyn Malcolm: Keeping it real estate

Taken from NZ Herald, by Penny Lewis.

Whether it's front-page news or dinner-party chat, real estate is a topic that New Zealanders, and particularly Aucklanders, never seem to tire of. Kiwis can't get enough of the property game. We love hearing about ridiculous prices, shoddy practices and high jinks such as a disgruntled real estate agent allegedly posting pooh in a box to a former colleague.

Our national obsession with real estate inspired the creation of local show Agent Anna, about a wannabe Auckland real estate broker. Star and executive producer Robyn Malcolm has bought and sold a couple of houses in recent years. She has lived on the North Shore and in West Auckland and is now based in edgy city-fringe Kingsland with her sons Charlie, 10, and Pete, 8. Recently she has been commuting to Melbourne, filming the second series of Upper Middle Bogan for the ABC. Despite the show's name, Malcolm is not rehashing Cheryl West in Outrageous Fortune. She plays Julie Wheeler, a drag racer.

Upper Middle Bogan screens on TV One later this year but, ahead of that, New Zealanders can look forward to seeing Malcolm on the small screen when the second series of Agent Anna debuts on TV One early next month.

The first series was her pet project and she plays the titular role of Anna Kingston.

Read the full article here.
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