Looking back with pride and passion
Despite the terrible quake fate suffered by CTV, a 20th birthday series will screen, writes James Croot.
CTV, Canterbury’s longrunning regional television station, is celebrating two decades of operation with a four-part highlights series beginning on Saturday night (8.30pm) and continuing for the following three Saturdays.
CTV: We Are 20 series producer Ian Cumming – who has been with CTV on and off since its inception in 1991 and boasts almost 50 years of television experience – says the hour-long episodes are a celebration of regional television in Canterbury.
‘‘The first programme is entirely highlights from the opening night’s transmission on June 17, 1991. The remaining three are a potpourri of clips varying from one to eight minutes of programmes produced from the studios in Gloucester Street, Manchester Street and Madras Street.’’
Given the terrible fate suffered by CTV in the February earthquake, many would find it amazing such a show is possible.
But Cumming says his colleagues’ VHS and DVD collections provided a wealth of footage.
‘‘Among others, Sue Wells had a shopping bag full of tapes from the beginning, and the Green family provided highlights from their CTV days.
‘‘There was quite a number of Beta tapes I would have liked to have used, too, but the cost of viewing and transferring them would have been prohibitive.’’
While disappointed he wasn’t able to source memorable programmes such as the first concert transmitted live from the Christchurch Town Hall to Scott Base (complete with return video) and a schoolboy Andrew Mehrtens playing Press Cup rugby, he was glad to have obtained footage of Santa Parades and Classical Sparks past and the opening of the Art Gallery.
‘‘Viewers will also enjoy, I’m sure, Jim Hopkins’ interviews with Robert Muldoon and Alex Wyllie. And my favourite clip is a Hopkins’ ‘‘vox-pop’’ in which he asked his ‘‘victim’’ – a rather large and jolly lady – how she would feel about appearing as a centrefold in a man’s magazine. It caused much hilarity!’’
Cumming says one of his highlights of working at CTV was the 1993 telethon, which raised more than $600,000. He is also proud they were able to produce a professional product even as the number of control room staff was halved.
‘‘Each new version of CTV thought smarter, with the biggest changes being the move from film and massive (by today’s standards) video tape machines to digital.’’
CTV programme scheduler Sacha Stevens says the future is looking bright for the Christchurch-based station.
‘‘Next year will be a huge year for CTV programming, with some amazing shows coming to the channel, including the everpopular Nip/tuck, a gardening reality show, a late-night music quiz show, new kids’ cartoons and much more.’’
CTV: We Are 20, 8.30pm, Saturdays, CTV (replayed on Sundays at 2pm).