Paul Casserly 's Opinion

Paul Casserly watched too much TV as a child.

Paul Casserly: Banned in New Zealand

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A banned 1970's documentary film about an Auckland gang finally gets aired.

The good old days - Members of the Auckland chapter of the Hell's Angels in 1966. Photo / Supplied
The good old days - Members of the Auckland chapter of the Hell's Angels in 1966. Photo / Supplied

Ah the good old days, before the wowsers ruined our fun. Back when you could ride motorbikes drunk, without a helmet, or if you had a helmet it had a bloody big swastika on it.

But even back then, when we ate mutton for breakfast, lunch and tea and gargled beer 24/7, political correctness was going mad. I know some people like to think PC was invented by Helen Clark, but it was obviously rife back in 1972 when the NZBC banned a programme about bikie culture in New Zealand.

Recently added to the NZ On Screen website is the lovely bikie documentary, If You're In It, You're In It To The Limit. The film was banned upon release. No doubt it was seen as promoting a lifestyle that sent shivers up the spines and down the walk-shorted pants of the old men who used to run the country.

It's remained hidden for all these years, save for a few outings like the one on The Unauthorised History of New Zealand which typically focused on a scene involving an amputated pig's head and urination.

You can watch the complete film here.

It's a brilliant depiction of life in the Auckland chapter of the Hell's Angels. It's not just of anthropological interest, it's also a terrific depository of Triumph motorbikes and Nazi memorabilia.

Best of all it features bikies with proper bikie haircuts - which is to say, they are not like those pussy-haired-male-models on Sons of Anarchy.

Most interesting is how accents have changed over the years. These bikers talk they way white guys in their 60s or 70's talk now. No doubt mathematicians out there will rightly point out that's because these are the same guys, but still, it seems somehow exotic when they use terms like "having a blue" and refer to "jokers" and "sheilas".

The title, If You're In It, You're In It To The Limit might also apply to the guys who made the film. Producer Michael Scott Smith, a Brit who went to drama school with Peter O'Toole, went on to make such classics as Close to Home and The Governor. The director John Charles was better known as a composer, responsible for the music in some our best films, like Goodbye Pork Pie, Utu and The Quiet Earth.

Meanwhile, editor Jamie Selkirk has found great fame as Peter Jackson's cutter, working on Braindead, The Frighteners, King Kong, Lord of The Rings and as an executive producer, Forgotten Silver, LOTR, Predicament.

Which reminds me of the late great, alternative band, The Skeptics, whose video for the song AFFCO was also supposedly banned in 1987 - although it has screened many times since. Set in an abattoir, the video is certainly shocking enough.

I guess it's saying that farming may be the backbone of the country but few of us have the actual backbone to watch how it's actually done. BTW a documentary film about the band is currently in production. There's even a Facebook group you can join.

There must be other banned local TV shows. If you know of any or have any information about the ones above I'd love to hear from you.

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Paul Casserly

Paul Casserly watched too much TV as a child.

It began with Dr Who, in black and white, when it was actually scary. The addiction took hold with Chips, in colour. He made his mum knit a Starsky and Hutch cardigan. Later, Twin Peaks would blow what was left of his mind. He’s been working in radio and TV since the 1990s and has an award in his pool room for Eating Media Lunch.

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