We’re looking back at our columnists most popular pieces from 2015. Today, the final half hour of this daily current affairs show rose above its remit to become an event, writes Karl Puschmann.

Where were you when the credits rolled on Campbell Live for the last time? This final half hour of daily current affairs had risen above its remit to become an event.

Not like the joyous festivities of a Telethon or a replay of Seinfeld, but more comparable to a depressing moon landing or presidential assassination.

Going into the show I had so many questions: Would host John Campbell blub like a little baby? Would I? After all I'm a sucker for a slow jam montage and the safe money was on the show's editors piecing together a pretty bloody powerful one near the end.

Or, more accurately, near The End.


He first appeared in a pre-recorded moment of jocularity during TV3's main bulletin, sandwiched between the news and the ads - a rock and a hard place.

JC - and never has his messianic initials felt more appropriate - stood flanked by his news making disciples. Just as he had throughout the facade of his review he asked the viewers to please watch his show. How many times has he fought for others? This time he was fighting for himself.

He wanted to go out on top, even though he'd already managed that. Number one for six weeks. It wasn't enough. He wanted to go out in a blaze of glory. Leaving an unassailable number behind him: 500,000 viewers. The crusader, crusading to the last.

The blubbing began before Campbell Live even started. Hillary Barry - well, we all knew she wouldn't get through dry eyed - smacked him with a teary "big sloppy kiss from everyone out there". The usually stoic Mike McRoberts voice cracked as he delivered the "breaking news" that he would too.

"Kia ora," John Campbell said. "Welcome."

And then he began to choke up ...