Tomorrow marks 30 years since the debut episode of Gloss stilettoed its way on to our screens. NZ On Screen's Nicky Harrop revisits our very own 80s "glitter soap".
"Oh, it's the gilt on the gingerbread, the icing on the cake. It's monuments and mirror glass, the city's on the make. Devil take the hindmost so no one counts the cost. Such a sweet seduction ... GLOSS"
To those of us of a certain age, those lyrics (sung by the late songstress Beaver), will forever be associated with a brief yet glorious time in local television. Made by TVNZ, Gloss ran for three seasons between 1987 and 1990, injecting a weekly high-voltage shot of bitchiness and glam into the living rooms of the nation. The show was New Zealand's answer to US soap Dynasty, with the Carrington oil scions replaced by the wealthy Redferns and their Auckland magazine empire. The series epitomised 80s excess, with plenty of giant hair, giant shoulder-pads, and giant egos on display.
Episode one introduces us to the Redferns: Matriarch Olivia, prodigal son Brad, evil brother Rex, Brad's ex-wife Maxine - Anna Wintour-esque editor of Gloss magazine - and their wayward offspring, Alistair and Chelsea. Over at Gloss HQ, we also meet Gemma, whose transition from wide-eyed rookie journalist to manipulative sophisticate will prove central to the series. Meanwhile, back at the Redfern's Remuera mansion, things are starting to unravel.
Watch the debut episode of Gloss here, in full:
The sharemarket had crashed by the time the second season of Gloss went to air, but the champagne-fuelled drama raged on. This July 1988 episode sees the Redfern family deal with a tragedy - one that generates an unlikely cameo from future weatherman Jim Hickey. In these excerpts Hickey plays a policeman, responding to the mysterious death of Brad Redfern ("another poor sod who couldn't hack it") and tossing for the opportunity to take the deceased's Jaguar for a spin.
You can see Jim Hickey on Gloss here:
The third series of Gloss saw more notable cameos and appearances, two of which are captured in this short clip. In it, Kevin Smith makes his television debut (in a speaking role), playing smirking DJ and man-about-town Damien Vermeer. Also featured are recently reformed Auckland rockers Push Push, led by frontman (and bFM breakfast host) Mikey Havoc.
See a clip from season three of Gloss here:
Gloss was responsible for launching the careers of many notable New Zealand actors, among them Lisa Chappell. Chappell began her career playing spoilt rich kid Chelsea Redfern, before going on to find international fame on McLeod's Daughters. In this ScreenTalk interview she reflects on the role, remembering being the "baby" of the show and eating the props.
Watch Lisa Chappell's ScreenTalk interview here:
Miranda Harcourt also got her screen break on Gloss, playing Gemma. Here she remembers the journey as her character transitioned from being a "really nice girl from Hamilton" to someone altogether different - and the extreme reactions of some viewers.
Watch Miranda Harcourt's ScreenTalk interview here:
One of our most experienced local actors, Ilona Rodgers, had clocked up plenty of screen time before taking the role of Gloss's Maxine Redfern. Even so, 30 years on, it's still the role she's best known for. Here she recalls the joy of being paid to be a "well-dressed bitch".
Watch Ilona Rodger's ScreenTalk interview here:
You can learn more about Gloss, here in NZ On Screen's special edition of ScreenTalk.