Colin Hogg on television

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Colin Hogg: Shows serve up an outdoor feast

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Hunting and gathering the staple diet for weekend viewers with a good dollop of cooking and some home truths, writes Colin Hogg.

Geoff Thomas knows how to catch his core hunting-and-fishing audience.
Geoff Thomas knows how to catch his core hunting-and-fishing audience.

There was a lot of killing done on the television I turned to over the weekend, though unusually for TV these days, none of the victims was human and all of the dead were put to good use afterwards. Eaten, in fact.

Well, no eating was actually done in the first episode of Outdoors With Geoff (TV3, Saturday, 5pm), which is back for another series, pretty much targeting its hunting-and-fishing core audience and relentlessly filling all available corners with ads for the show's several fine sponsors.

Still, it's an amiable show delivered with a laidback sort of gusto by Geoff Thomas, a man who somehow looks safe with a rifle in his hands and a glint in his eye.

On Saturday, it was all outdoorsy fun as Geoff and his mates, who had names like Gonzo and Rat, went off across the Wairarapa after goats, deer, pigs, paua - almost anything you could eat or hang on your rumpus room wall.

What with all the hunting and gathering they got up to in that first action-packed episode, they ran out of time to actually cook and eat, but Geoff promised to be back to scoff the paua next Saturday. Lucky devil.

There was a lot more of the cooking and eating and a lot less of the hunting and slaughter on Kai Time on the Road (Maori TV, Sunday, 6pm), the food-loving series, which has returned with a new host, Rewi Spraggon.

He did a good opening piece, waving his big knife and promising to lay waste to our taste buds with the kai moana of the Leigh region.

Presented mostly in te reo and subtitled, Kai Time delivers the goods without much raising the game.

Spraggon's a lot better at mugging for the camera than getting anything interesting out of people, but the show has all its parts in the right places and can hopefully move beyond this early awkwardness.

Later on Sunday night on TV One, there was nothing remotely awkward about Topp Country and this latest episode - the ninth - was a gem, somehow combining some killing, some cooking and quite a lot of eating with great dollops of the unique rustic charm of the series' presenters, Lynda and Jools Topp.

They infest everything with a loving touch, which is an unusual thing to see on TV.

The various rural types they meet up with in their search for "the true food heroes of New Zealand" seem to fall under the Topp spell and spill all sorts of personal beans. In Sunday's episode, a woman called Daphne told Jools the secret to her 50-year marriage was "the kisses and the cuddles", which she may live to regret mentioning. And at least one large leathery man got teary talking about his lucky life.

My only worry with Topp Country is that the girls might run out of snacks, having covered a great deal of the meat, the fish and even the vegetarian sectors of the nation.

On Sunday, they kicked off the show with Lynda enthusiastically blasting pheasants out of the sky and ended chowing down on an apple pie.

I'm not sure what's left to eat, but here's hoping they find enough for another series after this one.

- NZ Herald

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