Colin Hogg on television
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Colin Hogg: Play it again, Sam... but let's have some more stories

'3rd Degree' co-presenter, Samantha Hayes.
'3rd Degree' co-presenter, Samantha Hayes.

I didn't watch last night's first episode of the new series of 3rd Degree, TV3's flagship current affairs show, because of its feature story. I watched because of Samantha Hayes, its new co-presenter.

Hayes is certainly more comely than her co-star, Duncan Garner, who last night was adjusting to being without his old presenting partner, Guyon Espiner, who has left the show for a five-days-a-week job with National Radio.

But that two-man frontline was always a bit odd and certainly at odds with the usual thing in news and current affairs these days - Mike and Toni on Seven Sharp, Mike (the other one) and Hilary on 3 News, Simon and Wendy on One News, Paul and Janika on The Paul Henry Show.

Anyway, Garner and Espiner didn't dance easily together. Too many suits, and you never knew which one was leading.

It makes much more sense now with one of the stars wearing a fetching yellow dress.

Well, as much sense as any show with dancing presenters can make.

In line with caring so much about presenters, Garner and Hayes managed eight link pieces in a mere hour, never adding that much to the stories at hand.

"It beggars belief," Garner offered in the midst of the feature story and, announcing the second piece, it was, "Good story, this".

Hayes is more measured and, like Garner, unchallenged in a role like this.

And, oh yes, there were stories - two of them. The first, a solid, somewhat epic inquiry into the cause of the 2010 Fox Glacier tourist plane crash that killed nine.

The official probe blamed overloading. Last night's story, by reporter Michael Morrah, suggested mechanical failure and a failure to investigate properly. It was compelling but inconclusive.

The second story was a heartwarming one starring reporter Phil Vine and an unstoppable double-amputee athlete called Liam Malone. They raced each other - Vine lost; they swam with sharks.

With a trim and three or four fewer links, 3rd Degree could have fitted in another story. After all, it is still about the stories, isn't it?

What: 3rd Degree
When: 8.30pm Wednesdays, TV3

- NZ Herald

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