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Paul Casserly: Highlights from Tim Shadbolt's TV marathon

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Over the weekend, Tim Shadbolt attempted to break the world record for the longest ever interview. It took him 26 hours. This is the condensed version.

Tim Shadbolt's record-breaking interview was a marathon effort. Photo / Robert Trathen
Tim Shadbolt's record-breaking interview was a marathon effort. Photo / Robert Trathen

Saturday Morning: I was eating brunch and the media was eating itself.

I'd just finished the Herald report of the Campbell Live story about the John Banks-Kim Dotcom saga, when my Twitter feed informed me that Tim Shadbolt had started his Guinness Book of Records attempt at doing the "longest interview in history".

It was on Southland's regional channel Cue (SKY 110). I turned on the TV just in time to hear Tim say the words: "Politics can get tough."

He may have been talking about John Banks or maybe it was this guy, the Australian minister who said the immortal line: "I don't know what the Prime Minister said but I agree".

For a minute I thought I was watching John Clarke and Brian Dawe.

But back to John Banks and that marvellous Campbell Live piece which screened on Friday night.

It seems that Kim Dotcom had given Banks $50,000 for his Auckland mayoral campaign and it seems that Banks and Dotcom were closer mates than Banks has subsequently let on.

There's footage of Banks toasting the colourful German at his birthday bash. Then there's a delicious section where Banks sounds like a small boy who's been caught by his mum after sneaking Mallowpuffs from the fridge.

Kim told Campbell that he once sent his chopper to Mechanics Bay to pick up Banks to fly him out to his mansion.

John Campbell: "Did you ever helicopter out there?"
John Banks: "I ... don't remember that, I have my own helicopter of course ..."
JC: "Did you ever fly out there and land at his property?"
JB: "I don't re-call."
JC: "You'd remember that surely, if you landed at the Coatesville Mansion?"
JB: "I can't recall if I did or not."
JC: "You can't recall if you flew a helicopter to the Coatesville mansion of Kim Dotcom?"
JB: "No."

It took me back to my childhood, with Mallowpuff chocolate all over my face. "No mum I didn't touch them."

Anyway, back to Tim Shadbolt and his Fidel Castro-beating talkathon.

4 hours 35 minutes: Tim was reminiscing about his early days. "Rent was only $15 a week for a three bedroom flat in Parnell. That's $5 a room." He wanted to buy a Triumph motorbike so took a job at Manapouri, building the hydrodam. He lied about his age and experience, "Like the young guys who wanted to go to war".

8 hours 10 minutes: Tim is Talking about being on Would I Lie To You (TV3, Sundays, 7pm). "I got Paul Henry a beauty, I told a lie about a slug gun, but they cut it. That's life, all the best bits end up on the cutting room floor."

8 Hours 30 minutes: The interviewer, Tom Conroy, opines that he's not a big fan of The World's Fastest Indian, which was shot in Invercargill, and which Tim was in. He then reads out a note that says that some people in Riverton are watching the whole thing while they drink a bottle of whisky.

9 hours 15 minutes: Who was your heartthrob when you were growing up? "Germaine Greer. She was arrested for saying that I had been arrested for saying 'bullshit'." Tim was in jail at the time, serving two months for saying "bullshit". New Zealand in the 1970s was indeed another country.

10 hours 30 minutes: I come in towards the end of a rambling joke but only catch the punch line: "If you're quick, you can grab another scone."

11 hours 10 minutes: Tim is talking about a Lonely Planet description of Invercargill that was published in the early days of his Mayoralty. It said that the city was "a place where people have bad haircuts" among other negative things. The council wanted to know how to deal with the bad PR and entertained some fancy pants ad agency who suggested that they needed to find another town like Eketahuna and smear it, "because every country has it's scape-goat, like Tasmania in Australia". The suggestion was not taken up.

12 hours 11 minutes: Tim is talking about The World's Fastest Indian again. He played Frank, who said, "I see your front tyre's gone a bit flat on you there Burt". Some discussion follows about Anthony Hopkins and his accent. Then Tim drops a bombshell and reveals that he has forgiven the director, Roger Donaldson, for sleeping with his wife. He's smiling, in the way that Tim does, so it's impossible to tell if he's joking.

16 hours 20 minutes: The subject is Tame Iti. "I think people get this romantic idea about revolution. We had mates who made Molotov cocktails and threw them at sheds but they never attacked anyone ... it's just radical chic."

21 hours 47 minutes: The subject of Michael Laws comes up.
"I fall out with him a lot over his racial attitudes. He's clever in debates, a bit more nasty than I am." Tim then tells a story about how the Whanganui organisers of Movember flew him up to shave off the moustache of the police chief because Laws refused. "He thought it wasn't what a mayor should be doing. We have a different idea of what being Mayor is about."

22 Hours 28 minutes: Tim is talking about his favourite mayor of all time, Auckland's much loved Sir Dove-Myer Robinson. "Five-foot-two, a nudist, a communist and a millionaire. You don't meet jokers like that everyday." Tim then reminds us that Robbie "not only stopped the sewage being pumped into the Waitamata but that he lost office because of his insistence on building a rapid-rail system." This morphed into one of his hobby-horses. "Auckland is too big; it sucks up all the resources." He called for a redistribution of people in New Zealand, and suggested that immigrants and refugees shouldn't be allowed to live in Auckland.

I'm guessing that this wont be an issue taken up on The Neighbourhood (TV1, 11am, Sunday) which began its run as Tim talked about sending all the foreigners to other parts of the country. In this show a celebrity guide takes us on a journey through their neighbourhood, introducing us to the cultural diversity found within. In episode one we learn about Muslim funerals, Greek food and a Mexican artist. This is beautifully shot, feel-good TV, reminiscent of the superb Living Room series. The 'curator' this week is rapper King Kapisi, who hails from Newtown in Wellington not South Auckland, as a man making a "Newtown" T-shirt suggested. Kapisi: "Just cause I'm brown and a rapper it doesn't mean I'm from South Auckland."

Meanwhile ...

23 hours 52 minutes: Tim is talking about the rivets on the Titanic.

24 hours: At midday on Sunday the music kicks in and stops Tim mid-story. He looks confused as people clap off-screen. "It's a world record!" someone yells. Tim sits down and continues with the story; his Dancing With The Stars days. "Every week when the judges gave us these terrible marks the bloody public kept voting to keep us. I met Nicky Watson for the first time there. I saw she had a swollen ankle and said, 'I hope you're not in pain'. She replied, 'Hello Mr Mayor, I was in pain, until I discovered these Nurofen suppositories'."

Sheena of Twizel texted in. "My Husband hasn't laughed so much in years."

So cheers to Tim, smiling and talking for 26 hours with ease, raising money for St John and reminding us that Cue is making the kind of TV that no one else does.

And might I suggest that the next time Kim Dotcom wants to chopper a Mayor to his mansion, he knows who to call. Tim won't forget nor deny that it ever happened.

In fact you won't be able to shut him up.

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