Weekend Rewind: Famous TV catchphrases

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Inspired by the “skux-as” Hunt for the Wilderpeople, NZ On Screen’s Nicky Harrop goes in search of classic New Zealand catchphrases and digs up some TV gold.
Easily NZ's biggest TV catchphrase bonanza, in the unlikely form of an anti-drink driving campaign. Photo / NZOS
Easily NZ's biggest TV catchphrase bonanza, in the unlikely form of an anti-drink driving campaign. Photo / NZOS

New Zealand's screen history would not be what it is, without those magic moments where one person saying a few choice words reached inside the viewer, and held on tight - like the hook to a great song. Sometimes the magic is about unexpected comedy. Sometimes it is about community; often it is about the comfort of the familiar. Here are some TV catchphrases that have stood the test of time.

For nearly 15 years, Selwyn Toogood travelled the country with quiz show It's in the Bag, cementing his place as our king of TV catchphrases along the way. "By Hokey!" (plus optional "Hokitika"), and "What'll it be customers, the money or the bag?" have become part of our folklore. While many a TV game show host has since tried to claim his throne, few have come close.

Watch an episode of It's in the Bag here:

It's in the Bag - Dunedin (1974)

Nice One has become iconic in New Zealand children's TV, with the show's signature theme tune ('Nice one Stu-y!') and Stu's thumbs-up salute becoming the stuff of local pop culture legend. Screening from 1976-78, the programme was hosted by Stu Dennison, playing an irreverent cap-wearing schoolboy who delighted children and infuriated adults in equal measure.

See excerpts from Nice One here:

Nice One - comedy excerpts

A virtual babysitter for a later generation of Kiwi kids, Olly Ohlson hosted afternoon TV show After School right throughout the 80s. The programme broke ground in its use of te reo Māori on screen, and is also well remembered for Ohlson's catchphrase, "Keep cool till after school", delivered with accompanying sign language.

Watch an excerpt from After School here:

After School - Māorimind (Episode)

Weeknights for more than 15 years, the late Paul Holmes closed his show with the same signature sign-off. "Those were our people today, and that's Holmes tonight" anchored content ranging from Dennis Connor's famous walkout, to heart wrenching coverage of Eve van Grafhorst; a common thread uniting the issues of the day.

Watch highlights from 15 years of Holmes here:

Holmes 15th Anniversary

2009 saw reality crime show Police Ten 7 strike catchphrase gold, in the form of Sgt Guy Baldwin. Investigating a potential car thief, events seemed routine, until conversation shifted to the suspect's intent to purchase a service station pie. Clearly one to take "Safer communities together" to heart, Sgt Baldwin was quick to offer advice that would soon spread across the globe: "What must you do?....Always blow on the pie."

Watch Always Blow on the Pie here:



Where to start with Ghost Chips? Easily our biggest TV catchphrase bonanza, in the unlikely form of an anti-drink driving campaign. From the grabbing of the aforementioned supernatural chips, to "Monique says you're dumb," to "I've been internalising a really complicated situation in my head" - 60 seconds of pure unadulterated virality.

Watch Ghost Chips here:



You can see more famous NZ TV catchphrases here in NZ On Screen's Spotlight

- NZ Herald

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