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ScreenTalk: Allan Martin

Allan Martin
Allan Martin: Pioneering television in New Zealand...


Allan Martin was influential in television in both New Zealand and Australia. In the early 60s he helped the fledgling television arm of the BCNZ produce popular regional show Town and Around, and was a key player in the creation of ground-breaking current affairs series Compass. After time in Australian television, he returned to set up NZ's second TV channel South Pacific Television in 1975. Martin was later Director-General of TVNZ from 1980 to 1985.

In this ScreenTalk, Martin talks about:

  • His early days producing current affairs at the NZBC
  • The lack of equipment on current affairs show Compass
  • How Compass attempted to 'bring a bit of light' into the restrictive New Zealand society of the early 1960s
  • Setting up Town and Around in the main centres
  • Battling bureaucracy to get permission to subscribe to Time magazine 
  • Starting from scratch in building the country’s second TV channel
  • Robert Muldoon's lack of enthusiasm for the second channel
  • Renaming the channel South Pacific Television despite opposition
  • Being very nervous on the night of the first Telethon
  • Arguments over the budget of drama series Hunter's Gold
  • Proving that local shows could be sold overseas
  • The challenge of restructuring TVNZ as its first Director-General
  • Preserving war memories with documentary Gallipoli: The New Zealand Story
  • Realising it was time to leave TVNZ
  • His belief that New Zealand should have a public service television system

This video is available on YouTube to embed and distribute via this Creative Commons licence.

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