He plays a detective who may or may not have a girlfriend on The Brokenwood Mysteries, but in real life comedian and actor Nic Sampson is busy prepping for his wedding to real life fiancee, Kiwi journo Alice Harbourne.

Sampson wrapped filming of season 6 of the murder mystery series and headed back to the UK, where he and Alice are now based. He's doing a stand-up comedy show in London and working on writing projects.

The pair are soon to marry in the UK and Harbourne has been making jokes about their wedding planning being so ambitious - with ideas like a petting zoo for their guests - that they might end up like the disastrous Fyre Festival.

The Brokenwood Mysteries is now on 21 channels in 17 countries, including the UK where it screens on Drama TV to large and very enthusiastic audiences. Last year's series was one of the channel's top five rated programmes.

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Nic Sampson and Alice Harbourne Sourced from the twitter account of @Alice_Harbourne January 2019 Spy
Nic Sampson and Alice Harbourne Sourced from the twitter account of @Alice_Harbourne January 2019 Spy

Lead actress Fern Sutherland is based in Canada and says she is constantly surprised by Canadians who recognise her from the show.

"Weirdly enough, I get recognised all the time over here, which is very surprising because I feel so far away from home and it's hard to believe that a little show we make down at the bottom of the planet has such global reach, let alone appeal. One lady approached me in the subway here and started speaking to me in passionate French, as she was Quebecois and had watched the French dub that airs there," says Sutherland.

The new season launches in New Zealand tonight on Prime with an episode Sampson conceptualised and co-wrote about Steampunk.

"I got to co-write the first episode with Tim Balme, the head writer. So just purely selfishly getting to go on set and see the things you have written are brought to life was incredible. You don't really imagine how much work is going to go into something when you're writing it. And to see all the set and the costumes with incredible detail is just awesome," says Sampson.

The ensemble cast is a who's who of NZ actors with the likes of Blair Strang, Matt Whelan, Geraldine Brophy, Amanda Billing and Teuila Blakely featuring in this series, as well as acting legend Elizabeth McRae reprising her role as nosey Brokenwood neighbour, Mrs Marlowe.

Blakely has recently been seen out and about with traditional Malu leg tattoos, which were created by master tattooist Peter Suluape.

"I feel so honoured to have received my Malu from renowned Tufuga, Su'a Peter Suluape. It was a small miracle aligning our schedules, so I took the plunge on the one day we found aligned, to have it done," says Blakely.

Teuila Blakely tattoo Sourced from the instagram account of @teuilablakely 5 November 2019 Spy
Teuila Blakely tattoo Sourced from the instagram account of @teuilablakely 5 November 2019 Spy

"The traditional method of receiving the Malu is not for the faint-hearted. It's a ceremony that requires the utmost strength and endurance. I can truly say I feel proud of myself and prouder still to wear the marks of my ancestors. It's the greatest way to acknowledge and honour my culture, my people, my family and also myself as a proud Samoan woman."

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And if the famous faces on screen aren't enough, there are also many well-known people featuring in the music for the show. Westside actress Esther Stephens who is also a singer has created an amazing rendition of Banks of the Ohio for the series and country star Tami Neilson continues her long-lasting relationship with Brokenwood. Soul singer Marlon Williams also lends a couple of tracks for this series too, so it's set to be a goodie.