As we celebrate 60 years of television in New Zealand we asked some of our famous small screen faces to reminisce about TV's early days.

Robyn Malcom

I have many strong memories of watching TV on Sunday evenings when I was young. I don't think we were allowed to watch TV during the school week, so Saturday and Sunday were appointment viewing nights in our house.

One of my earliest memories is of being about 3 years old and sitting on my potty while I watched the moon landing on our very small black and white TV, very early in the morning. It must have been a pretty profound moment for me to still remember that from such a young age. We were one of the very last families among my friends to get a colour TV, so that was a pretty big deal when it finally happened.

Mum's favourite show was a BBC drama called Family at War, which was a show about a family living through World War II. We always had cheese on toast and tomato soup on a Sunday and we'd all get to sit and watch the show with Mum and Dad. I was really bemused by the fact that Mum got so emotional while she watched that show. We all used to watch Country Calendar on a Sunday night too and it's incredible to think that show is still going after all this time.

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As I got a little bit older, I remember feeling very important when I was given permission to stay up (again on a Sunday!) to watch Radio with Pictures. All my siblings had to go to bed as they were too young, but I got to stay up late and watch it. I felt very important to be given this privilege. Another very profound memory is when Lindsay Wagner, the Bionic Woman died. I was inconsolable.


* Robyn will next be seen in This Town, coming to cinemas in July.

Michael Galvin

Michael Galvin for Weekend celeb hideaways.
Michael Galvin for Weekend celeb hideaways.

My favourite TV memory would be sitting around as a family watching the Dave Allen Show. It was my dad's favourite show, so that kind of influenced the rest of us. Dave Allen was a lovely, clever, wry Irishman, who liked a cigarette and a whiskey, and so was my dad.

It was a comedy show with sketches and monologues and we'd all laugh along with Dad, even the rude jokes the younger family members (me and my little brother) didn't get.

This was the 70s, when there were only two channels and most of it was mind-numbingly awful for kids, so thank God for Dave.

* Michael plays Dr Chris Warner in long-running soap Shortland Street on TVNZ 2.

Antonia Prebble

Antonia Prebble
Antonia Prebble

One of my favourite TV memories is watching Friends with my family each week. It was the only time we all watched something together. We were also allowed to share a bag of Salt and Vinegar chips while we watched, which was almost as exciting as the show itself.


* Antonia Prebble stars in popular drama Westside, the sixth season of which is coming soon to Three.

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Tristram Clayton

Tristram Clayton
Tristram Clayton

In the 1984 classic Footloose, Ren McCormack, played with energetic vim by Kevin Bacon, moves from Chicago to the small town of Bomont, Oklahoma, only to discover the city council has banned dancing and rock music. In 1984 Belmont, Lower Hutt, my siblings and I grew up in a household where, despite owning a TV, we were pretty match banned from ever watching it.

While this did help cultivate incredible tree-fort and trolley construction skills (and, ironically, a career as a TV reporter), the appeal of the forbidden was always going to prove irresistible.

So while I don't have a single memory of the whole family gathered around the box on a Sunday night, I recall plenty of stolen viewing sessions when adult supervision was either absent or distracted.

Scooby Doo straight after school before Mum got home was a favourite and I'd watch The Six Million Dollar Man at a super-low volume whenever the folks entertained guests in the living room. Strangely, Brideshead Revisited on a Sunday night was a favourite that I'd sneak out of bed to watch, peeking in from the doorway at the back of the room, while Mum and Dad watched unknowing from the sofa.

* Tristram was the Campbell Live reporter who broke the driving dogs story, one of NZ On Screen's 60 iconic TV moments. See the full list at nzonscreen.co.nz