Brian Edwards has been a familiar face on New Zealand screens for close to 50 years. The seasoned broadcaster began his television career in regional programming before quickly gaining a reputation as one of our toughest current affairs interviewers. Since then, he's gone on to settle nationwide disputes, champion the rights of consumers, advise prime ministers and much more.
Edwards first made his name in television in the late 1960s, his breakout role coming as a hard-hitting interviewer on current affairs show Gallery. In this famous episode from 1970, he became an on-screen peacemaker in a long-running industrial dispute. Following a breakdown in wage negotiations, Post Office workers had imposed a go-slow. Interviewing the Postmaster General and a representative from the Post Office union, Edwards forced an agreement between the two men to stop union action and go back into mediation. The programme subsequently won him a Feltex Award for "Best Performance as Frontman".
Watch Gallery - Post Office Go Slow here:
In 1977, another big television break arrived for Edwards - one that he remains known for to this day. He and producer Pete Morritt created the consumer affairs series Fair Go, with Edwards hosting the show for eight of its, to date, 40-year reign. Made for Fair Go's 30th anniversary, this programme features a flashback to the debut episode, with Edwards sporting the makings of a pretty decent afro, and a dangerously wide tie.
Watch Fair Go - 30 Years on Television here:
Edwards also hosted 1979's Sons and Daughters, in which he interviewed children of famous New Zealanders. In this episode, he questions John Kirk - son of the late Prime Minister Norman Kirk - about the demands placed on his family by his father's career.
Watch Sons and Daughters: Brian Edwards interviews John Kirk here:
In this interview, part of a TVNZ Heartland series to mark the 50th anniversary of television in New Zealand, Edwards switches roles, becoming the interviewee. Reflecting on the 70s, he speaks to Andrew Shaw about changes in TV political interviewing styles, the impact of former leader Rob Muldoon, and the secret to Fair Go's success.
Watch From the Archives: Five Decades - Brian Edwards here:
Edwards' career has gone on to span almost every aspect of the media. In addition to his television positions, he has been a radio host, and continues to work as an author, blogger, commentator and media adviser. In this clip from documentary Helen Clark: The Road to Power, he speaks both as one of Clark's biographers, and as someone involved in helping to shape her public image.
See an excerpt from Helen Clark: The Road to Power here: