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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume. 33, Number 7. 27 May, 1970

The 625 Line — TV with David Smith — The Ministry of Music-Making

The 625 Line

TV with David Smith

The Ministry of Music-Making

TV with David Smith

TV with David Smith

I have it on good authority that a high official in the NZBC (not wholly unconnected with the Director-General) has expressed the opinion that for him TV is radio with pictures. Apocryphal or not this viewpoint would seem to have percolated down through the production ranks and no more clearly is this shown than in those offerings which claim to represent the local music scene. The musicians Jazz Mode for example gives the impression of a bunch of civil servants testing saxophones and drums for the DSIR, while the camera roams amongst them checking in strict rotation that none of them is slacking on the job. The whole thing has as much atmosphere as the Moon. Worse yet we have Let's Dance, the tempo of which is best described as "slow, slow; slow slow slow" with the camera once again playing the embarrassed Peeping Tom. If this programme were set in the Levin Mausoleum the joint could scarcely be said to be less jumping.

The ultimate in locally produced sterility, however, came when-tiring of showing homegrown performers in the worst possible light—the Corporation took that polished and truly dynamic English trio The Peddlers and homogenised them in the best WNTV-I tradition. Totally destroying the acoustics of this combo is almost forgivable but to subject them to applause by cameramen and technicians at the end of otherwise show-stopping numbers calls for cruel and unusual punishment. There would have been no difficulty getting an audience for these boys who were obviously most put out by the deadening response. Here was an example of the camera serving only to catch the distressed looks on the faces of three very disappointed musicians.

Question: If an old overseas panel game were to be revamped by using fatuous questions posed by a clapped-out compere to a succession of inane and overrated showbiz time-servers for pitiful amounts of cash and the whole thing called Guestimate how long would the show's run last?

Answer: Too bloody long.

The NZBC has never bought a bad Canadian TV programme. Either the Corporation has very selective buyers or Canadian programmes are of a very high standard. Wojeck coming as it does after The Grave, Nobody Waved Goodbye and Report on Communist China rather suggests the latter. More please.

Yorkshire Television seems well under way with Gold Run and Inside George Webley. As an infant channel, but one which employed Austin Mitchell as the NZBC would a teaboy, this Company has achieved great maturity in a short time. Nicholas Tomalin was given the best in photographic know-how to produce the feature on South African gold mines. Roy Kinnear (a most convincing George Webley) got Waterhouse and Hall (co-authors of Billy Liar) and makes the most of it. Both succeed brilliantly. Gold Run was a oncer but George will be bumbling for some time to come.

Victor Borge could easily be emulated on the local scene. Come on NZBC: invest in a few piano lessons for Erich Geiringer.