ED­I­TOR’S LET­TER

The TV Guide - - CONCERT - With TV Guide Deputy Ed­i­tor Chris Bush [email protected]

View­ers’ opin­ions about TVNZ weath­er­man Dan Cor­bett (be­low) are as vari­able as the weather on a New Zealand spring day. He seems to bring out ex­treme re­ac­tions in peo­ple and is one of the most po­lar­is­ing pre­sen­ters on lo­cal TV. We cer­tainly re­ceive a wide range of views about him through our Mr Telly pages. But whether it’s a hail of crit­i­cism or a tor­rent of glow­ing praise for his an­i­mated an­tics and de­scrip­tive phrases, Dan Cor­bett is a dif­fi­cult man to ig­nore. Dan seems to take all the feed­back in his stride and al­ways comes up smil­ing. One thing we can’t blame Dan for is the ever-chang­ing na­ture of the weather. But, amaz­ingly, it seems that some peo­ple think a rainy, bleak day is all his fault

Dan Cor­bett, who is known fondly as Dan the Weath­er­man, lives and breathes me­te­o­rol­ogy. He is the flour­ish at the end of TVNZ 1’s nightly news bul­letin that can make even a rainy day sound like a bar­rel of laughs. He worked as a me­te­o­rol­o­gist at ma­jor broad­cast­ers across the US and UK be­fore mov­ing to Welling­ton with his wife, He­len, in 2011. Three years later he was re­cruited by TVNZ in Auck­land and the rest is his­tory. He talks to Cass Mar­rett about life be­yond the weather, mother na­ture and whether cli­mate change is worth wor­ry­ing about.

What brought you to New Zealand?

A change of lifestyle and the fact that, my wife and I, we love the place. We’d been here on hol­i­day vis­it­ing rel­a­tives and it was at that typ­i­cal mo­ment – we were up at North­land, we were sit­ting on the beach and I re­mem­ber we looked at the weather back in the UK. It was Fe­bru­ary and it was just cold, it was grey, it was dis­gust­ing when we got back. So we just said, ‘We want to come here (New Zealand)’ and so, many years later, we did.

Are there any English tra­di­tions that you’ve held on to since mov­ing here?

Well, ob­vi­ously, Ki­wis as well love cups of tea. I think we still like to have that nice English roast – par­tic­u­larly on those cold, win­try days. We’ll sit there and have a nice fire and get it all to­gether, you know all the trim­mings. Some­times my wife will make York­shire pud­dings.

Do you like a Kiwi sum­mer Christ­mas or an English white Christ­mas?

That’s funny be­cause when we first came here it was like, ‘Oh this is very strange, ev­ery­one’s gone to the beach’. I re­mem­ber our first Christ­mas we spent sit­ting on the beach at Ori­en­tal Bay in Welling­ton. In the UK ev­ery­one comes round but then, of course,

you’ve got the cold, you’ve got the wet ... ev­ery­one in the UK longs for a white Christ­mas – it usu­ally rains. Whereas here you go to the beach or we’ve got the long evenings and you can just be out­side bar­be­cu­ing, so in that re­gard I think it’s bet­ter.

We all know you as Dan the Weath­er­man, but what does life out­side pre­sent­ing the weather look like for you?

Where my wife and I live we’re up very close to nice beaches so we like go­ing to the beach. On our week­ends we will sit there and just pot­ter around the gar­den. It could be cut­ting the grass, veg­eta­bles – what­ever it might be and once we’ve got all the chores out of the way then we hop in the car and head up to the beach, take a pic­nic or just go for a hike or some­thing – laid­back stuff.

How did you de­velop your pre­sent­ing style over the years?

I’ve been re­ally lucky be­cause I’ve worked in so many dif­fer­ent places. I’ve worked in the States. I started do­ing tele­vi­sion in the States – ev­ery­where from the east coast of Amer­ica to Texas to Ari­zona. And, of course, work­ing at the BBC for 10-15 years, you get to ex­pe­ri­ence not only dif­fer­ent styles of weather fore­cast­ing but also the styles of the pre­sen­ta­tion and the com­mu­ni­ca­tion and you never want to sit there and mimic some­one else, but you learn how to be com­fort­able and how to more or less tell the weather story.

How do you come up with all your vis­ual cues?

I’ll look at all the weather maps all day, have the weather pic­ture in my mind. All my weather is just ad-lib. I don’t have any scripts or any­thing. So when they tell me how long I have – four min­utes, five min­utes – I just talk to the time. When I start, it’s more or less what pops into my head – that vis­ual. So I might be talk­ing about a rot­ten week­end and it might just pop into my head, ‘Well this week­end’s go­ing to be a bit ugly. You might be sit­ting in­doors sit­ting with Grandma. It’ll be one of those week­ends where you bake cook­ies as op­posed to sit­ting on the beach.’ It just pops into my head.

You talk about mother na­ture a lot. If she was a per­son, what do you think she would be like?

It de­pends on what sort of weather she’s giv­ing us. I al­ways joke around. Some­times I’ll say, ‘Be care­ful’ be­cause if she’s in a bad mood or hav­ing a bad hair day she can re­ally be a bit of a bois­ter­ous sort. But then in other cases she might just be a won­der­ful thing with flow­ers in her hair on a lovely sunny day type of thing.

Has any­one ever blamed you for bad weather?

Oh yeah. They say, ‘Oh you’ve ru­ined it. I had a bar­be­cue all planned.’ Some­times I have a laugh and I just say, ‘Look, I do have mother na­ture’s email ad­dress. Let me have your name and I’ll send a mes­sage next time.’

What are your thoughts on cli­mate change?

You can never make a com­ment about it be­cause ev­ery­one will have an opin­ion on ev­ery­thing. But what I al­ways tell peo­ple is that when I was in univer­sity learn­ing about it, we were taught that in so many years – and this is go­ing back 30 years, hence all the grey hair – these things would hap­pen to the at­mos­phere, to the weather. These ex­tremes, storms that do this, storms that do that ... it’s hap­pen­ing. We learned it in school and it is hap­pen­ing. I deal with it ev­ery day.

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