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Colin Hogg: Fair Go showcases TVNZ at its best

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Quality show with perfect presenters proves madness hasn't completely taken over at state broadcaster.

Presenters Pippa Wetzell and Gordon Harcourt are a match made in a cheesy heaven.
Presenters Pippa Wetzell and Gordon Harcourt are a match made in a cheesy heaven.

It seems TVNZ just can't do a thing right lately, stumbling from one internal investigation to another in the wake of an outbreak of high-profile idiocy in the news and current affairs zone.

It was bad enough when it set out to dumb down the nation's knowledge with the invention of the forever awful Seven Sharp every weeknight at seven.

But that was just the beginning of the madness, which has lately featured political compromise and even fake tweeting.

What might strike it next, you could ask - Jim Hickey aligning his nation-gripping TV One weather reports with the Act Party?

Still, it would be a cruel critic who overlooked some of the good things TVNZ still does. For instance, there's the eternal Country Calendar and then there's Sunday, TV One's big weekly stab at current affairs, though it has been shamelessly hacked back to half an hour to make way for the channel's huge and endless singing and cooking shows.

And there's Fair Go, which wheeled back for its 37th series, on Wednesday on One at 8pm, now fronted - as it was last time - with a great deal of zest by Gordon Harcourt and Pippa Wetzell.

They're a match made in a cheesy heaven and they still seem a perfect fit for this show in its endless battle for the Kiwi consumer. On Wednesday, they took to the bottled water business with taste tests and a hairy scientist or two.

"I'm happy just to drink out of the garden hose," shouted Gordon at the end.

Then there was the story of a crazy clamper and a fuzzy-faced encounter with a man selling fake branded make-up to a suspicious buyer. The reds were too red and the browns, yes, too brown. It was an eye-opener.

The show ended marvellously with Gordon chasing a car down a road, waving his big microphone. God bless Fair Go, I say.

And, going to the other side, a blessing should go out too for TV3's The Nation, which returned on Saturday morning at 9.30 with a temporary frontline after the departure of the estimable Rachel Smalley.

Patrick Gower and Simon Shepherd made an interesting frontline combination - like woodland creatures caught in the light. Gower, with his wild eyes and his angry teeth, is one of those operators who insists on being bigger than the job at hand, though that doesn't always get in the way.

After a good field piece on the Labour Party leader by reporter Torben Akel, David Cunliffe was in the studio for trial-by-interviewer with Gower, who started out relatively calmly.

"What's gone wrong?" he asked and gave the poor politician the wild eyes. Cunliffe gulped and danced sideways. There were the inevitable mentions of humble beginnings, the rolling up of sleeves and even growing up in a state house.

Later in the show, Shepherd interviewed the new Act Party leader Jamie Whyte and somehow managed not to mention the dangers of voting for men with shaved heads.

After a great deal of silly talk, Whyte came across as a nice man who should have stayed out of politics and Shepherd as a bit too earnest for his own good.

The news that Lisa Owen, lately of TVNZ, will be shortly presenting The Nation is excellent. Bring it on.

- NZ Herald

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