Top five TV picks of the week

Check out five shows that will keep couch potatoes glued to their seats over the coming days.

Peter Snell's victory at the Rome Olympics in 1960 made him a national hero. Photo / Supplied
Peter Snell's victory at the Rome Olympics in 1960 made him a national hero. Photo / Supplied

Pick of the week: The Golden Hour

Murray Halberg nearly gave up running after the Melbourne Olympics in 1956. He was one of New Zealand's biggest medal hopes in the 1500m but he ended up coming second to last. Back then he was seen to have let the country down, as well as himself.

And even today, as this new docu-drama screening to coincide with the lead-up to the Olympics shows, recounting the race is still hard for him.

"They just streamed past me and I was powerless to do anything about it. My whole world had changed in under four minutes," he says.

But after much soul searching he resolved to carry on.

The Golden Hour tells Halberg's story and that of fellow Olympic runner Peter Snell and their visionary coach Arthur Lydiard.

Directed by Justin Pemberton (Love, Speed & Loss), The Golden Hour brings together candid interviews with Snell, Halberg and other runners under Lydiard's charge, archive footage and dramatised scenes.

It focuses on the four years between Melbourne and the 1960 Olympics in Rome where Halberg and Snell were notably significant in New Zealand's greatest ever day at the games. The former won the 5000m and the latter the 800m gold within an hour of each other.

But the lead-up to this day was the stuff of running legend, because back in the 50s many thought Lydiard's obsessive focus on endurance training was the theory of a mad man. But he got the results.

"We started to follow him as a guru," remembers Halberg. "He was someone to believe in, have faith in. If he said it I believed it."

It was Lydiard who got Halberg back on track after Melbourne and oversaw his conversion to the longer distances.

Snell was a different story. He started with Lydiard in 1958 as a promising, fast 19-year-old who needed to work on his stamina. The latter was Lydiard's forte and Snell's first training run with the great coach was on one of his famous 35km Sunday training runs in the Waitakeres. Snell was in tears at the end of it. But it paid off in the end.

When: Sunday, 8.30pm
Where: TV One
What: The story of our greatest day at the Olympics

Adventure pick: First Crossings

Tapping into that Kiwi love for the great outdoors, new series First Crossings follows two modern-day New Zealand adventurers, Kevin Bigger and Jamie Fitzgerald, as they recreate the journeys of pioneer NZ explorers. Over the past 10 years, Kevin and Jamie have taken on some tough adventures, from rowing across the Atlantic to walking unaided to the South Pole. Together, they will attempt to cross the Southern Alps, navigate Fiordland's hanging valleys, and stay afloat on the treacherous seas of the Open Bay Islands. But they're not only following in the footsteps of pioneers, they'll wear the same clothing and footwear, eat the same food, and use the same equipment. Exploring the wild without hiking boots, gore-tex and a handy gasburner? Now that's intrepid.

When: Tuesday, 8.30pm
Where: TV One
What: Truly intrepid adventures

Crime pick: Body of Proof

Dr Megan Hunt (Dana Delaney from Desperate Housewives) was flying high as a top neurosurgeon, but then there was that major accident, so she switched occupations to become a medical examiner - one with a reputation for being difficult. The second series continues with the pattern of Dr Hunt solving a case each episode, with the help of her junior medical examiners, who accept her unorthodox practices, and her colleagues, like investigative partner Peter Dunlop and FBI Agent Derek Ames (Cliff Curtis) - who's a potential love interest now that Dr Hunt is getting over her divorce. In the first episode, a suspicious accident in a quiet cul-de-sac makes a sly nod to Delaney's Desperate Housewives background and guest stars former LA Laker, Rick Fox.

When: Tuesday, 9.30pm
Where: TV2
What: Dead bodies can still tell stories

Food pick: My Kitchen Rules

Reality cooking competition shows are aplenty on the box these days, but Australian series My Kitchen Rules has a point of difference: competitors go through the entire competition as a pair. They hedge their bets on being able to show off their best culinary flair with their chosen partner, and in this new season that may be their spouse, mother-in-law, colleague, sibling, flatmate or friend. Eleven teams represent various Australian states, and with a pair representing New Zealand, we can look forward to some transtasman rivalry, as judges Manu Feildel and Pete Evans put them through their paces. First, each team must take turns to transform an ordinary home into an instant restaurant and serve up a three-course menu.

When: Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, 7.30pm
Where: TV2
What: It could be Our Kitchen Rules

Doco pick: Grand Prix: The Killer Years

Last year's striking documentary film Senna gave great insight into the thrilling but dangerous world of Formula One racing.

Fans of that film should find some more insight in this BBC doco, which delves into the decades before Ayrton Senna's rise to fame and how in the 60s and early 70s it was common for drivers to die on the track - with mechanical failure, lethal track design, fire and incompetence all responsible.

The film features driving legends such as Sir Jackie Stewart, Emerson Fittipaldi and John Surtees, and follows how drivers implemented changes to improve safety, which included boycotts of the Belgian and German Grand Prix.

When: Sunday, 9.35pm
Where: Prime
What: Triumph over tragedy

- TimeOut

- NZ Herald

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