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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 33, No. 2 4 March 1970

625 — TV with David Smith — Anyone for Young Turk?


TV with David Smith

Anyone for Young Turk?

Photo of a man

The only problem associated with the television death of Young Turk Shand is that of deciding whether it was murder or suicide. (Give a man enough cathode ray tube and he'll electrocute himself?) There is, however, no doubt in my mind that WNTV1 has come up with an entirely new technique of political death-dealing. Briefly, it might be described as the rebirth of cock-fighting. All the political animals are bundled into the same cage and left to claw each others eyes out with no interference from their handlers. Despicable events then ensue. Obstructionism, irrelevance, name-calling and incoherence. The most despicable is declared the winner or loser, depending on whether he is an Old Turk (a la Muldoon) or a Young Turk (Shand). Satisfying though the result may occasionally be it is a sad comment on local television's ability to create the atmosphere where important issues can be properly put forward.

From the ridiculous to the sublime and at the risk of being labelled a snivelling capitalist crypto-fascist errand boy, might I record that by far the best programme screening at this time is The Life and Times of Lord Mountbatten. To call this offering (made by an independent commercial company, surprisingly enough) a documentary is to do it less than justice. Rather it represents an extremely well-executed re-run of modern history—courtesy of Mountbatten himself whose unique approach could easily be dubbed 'involved detachment'. Whiskery newsreels take on a new life and immediacy and Mountbatten elucidates rather than supplies footnotes. He exudes a controlled excitement which in anyone else (Muggeridge particularly) would come across as bored cynicism. He is at his most devastating when quoting from his own letters—as they appear in a multitude of other people's memoirs. With seven more in the series to go this programme is highly recommended.

Perhaps the NZBC might be prevailed upon to hire Mountbatten as replacement for Ian Cross whose long-heralded End of a Decade showed us the '60's as they never were. Granted, the research and film facilities of the NZBC are not exactly encouraging but this is no excuse for compressing so much history into so little screen time or for allowing a decade of New Zealand's past to be trivialised to the point where the only hint of progress was that Jack Marshall is looking older these days. One man's eyes were clearly insufficient in this case a team job would have been much more satisfying. But then again that would have cost more money and that's what buys us "Coronation Street" and "Peyton Place". We must get our priorities right, mustn't we?

First class way of making All Gas and Gaiters bearable. Imagine the Archdeacon is Arnold Nordmeyer.

New news time is a definite step in the right direction and this is particularly noticeable on Sunday evenings where, prior to the changeover, the evening's viewing rarely got off the ground until 8.15. Much dead wood has been pruned from the news which, when it loses those appalling blackouts, could have a fair degree of punch (give or take a satellite receiving station or two). Then the next objective must surely be a television version of the excellent radio feature Checkpoint.

Finally: my message to that lovable trio of samaritans who, through no fault of their own, have slaved through many a series to ease the excruciating lot of the Tannochbrae sick and infirm—piss off.