Notable shows from the past 50 years

To mark 50 years of television in NZ, TVNZ has trawled back through the archives and compiled a list of the most notable programs to have graced our screens over the past five decades.

Divided into decade blocks, this list features some cracker shows but also one or two that should never have made it to TV in the first place.

Check it out below.

1960s Programmes:

Sportsroom – fronted by lan Richards


Boyd Q.C

Have a Shot – Auckland talent programme hosted by Ian Watkins

The Stranger – first drama production

I Love Lucy

Perry Mason

On Safari

Children’s Corner – with Judy-Ann and Fergie Fang the snake puppet

Entertaining with Kerr – Graham Kerr cooks cordon bleu

Club Columbus – begins with 19 year old Ray Columbus.

The Flintstones

Clutch Cargo


Dr. Kildare

The Loretta Young Show

Note for Note – John Daly compares this music quiz show

Z Cars


Steptoe and Son

Mr. Ed

Compass – fronted by Alan Morris

The Dick Van Dyke Show

Petticoat Junction

Dr Who

Huckleberry Hound

New Faces – John Daly compares a variety show featuring up and coming NZ talent

Night Sky – Fronted by Peter Reid, a monthly astronomy show.

Golden Disc Awards – Loxene Golden Disc Awards Shows

Peyton Place

Town and Around – begins a long running season in all 4 centers.

Get Smart

The Avengers

The Dean Martin Show

The Man from U.N.C.L.E

The Andy Griffith Show

On Camera – Presents topics of particular appeal to women

Forsythe Saga

Rolf Harris Show


Big Valley

Studio One – a talent quest for performers involving viewer participation

Rugby Racing and Beer – episode of Looking at NZ, item looking at average man set to music

Mission Impossible

Black and White Minstrel Show

The Frost Report



The Seekers


The Untouchables 

1970s Programmes:

Happen In – Music show hosted by Peter Sinclair

Ngaio Marsh Television Playwriting Competition

Do Re Max – Max Cryer fronts children’s programme

Tank Busters – features Bruno Lawrence, Geoff Murphy University students break into a safe

Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau

Marcus Welby M.D

Softly Softly

Column Comment – fronted by Hamish Keith

Personality Squares – hosted by Les Andrews

Name of The Game

This Day – examines issues of the day, fronted by Rhys Jones, Craig Little, Karen Jackman, John Bowler and Ian Watkins

Dad’s Army

Monty Python Flying Circus

The Two Ronnies

Onedin Line


Alias Smith and Jones

All In The Family

Black Beauty

Tangata Whenua – by Michael King, produced by Pacific Pictures, endeavours to help Pakeha understand Maori

Tom Brown’s School Days


Upstairs Downstairs

Barlow at Large

Close to Home – locally produced regular drama

The Inventors – features both Australian and New Zealand inventions

Opportunity Knocks  – local talent show

Fred Dagg: The Wonderful World of Fred Dag

The Pallisers


The Six Million Dollar Man


The Basil Brush Show

It’s In the Bag – rates as the top entertainment show

Bon Appétit – Des Britain’s cooking show

Friday Conference – with Gordon Dryden is the first current affairs show to regularly use studio audiences

Bill and Boyd – Variety show featuring well known NZers

Top Town


Starsky and Hutch

Benson & Hedges Fashion Awards – fashion design awards

A Week of It

The Generation Game

The Muppet Show

George and Mildred

The Planet of The Apes

The Invisible Man

When the Boat Comes In

Question Mark – presented by Sharon Crosbie & Gordon Dryden

The Rise and Fall of Reginald Perrin

Are You Being Served?

I, Claudius

Rumpole of the Bailey

Children of Fire Mountain – the third ‘Kidult’ series from South Pacific Television

The Professionals

Who Pays The Ferryman

Happy Days


George and Mildred 
1980s Programmes:

Mortimer’s Patch – NZ’s first police series starring Terence Cooper as Detective Sergeant Doug Mortimer

Beauty & The Beast

Mork and Mindy

Fawlty Towers


Dukes of Hazzard


To The Manor Born



Billy T James/|Radio Times

Gliding On

University Challenge

Morecombe and Wise

Hill Street Blues

Battlestar Galactica

Ready To Roll

Radio With Pictures


RTR Video Releases

After School with Olly Olsen

Hudson & Halls

Brideshead Revisited

Not The nine O’Clock News


The Sullivans


Country GP

Auf Widersehen Pet

The Outsider

The Love Boat

Threes Company

Hogans Hereos

The A Team

Night Rider

With A Bucket On Your Head – Nick Tansley hosts an amateur talent show

Blind Date

Alison Holst’s Microwave Cooking

A Week of It

Dig This

Inside Straight 
1990s Programmes:

Te Karere

Play School

The Bugs Bunny Show

Wheel of Fortune


Sale of the Century

Foreign Correspondent

Funny Business – Homegrown comedy series

Shark In The Park – Police Drama Series

What Now

A Dogs Show

NZs Funniest Home Videos

Tagata Pacifika

Praise Be



Crimewatch – with Carol Hirschfield, Ian Johnstone

Magic Kiwis – presented by Neil Roberts

On The Mat

Son of a Gunn Show

Face The Music – Simon Barnett hosts a musical knowledge game show

Counterpoint – Lindsay Perigo, Kim Hill, Maggie barry host regular guests to discuss topical issues

Open House – Susan Wood & Dave Cull look at houses of notable NZers

Benson & Hedges Fashion Awards


Counterpoint – Kim Hill, Barry Soper and Ian Fraser

Tux Wonder Dogs

Waka Huia

Eyewitness – national and International current affairs show hosted by Ali Mau

Mountain Dew: On the Edge

Placemakers Home Front

Assignment – Susan Wood presents an investigative doco series

Maggies Garden Show

Mai Time

Letter to Blanchy – comedy series about trio of kiwi jokers

Showcase – Ian Fraser presents a NZ talent show

Who Dares Wins

Garage Sale – Suzanne Paul, Anthony Ray Parker & design guru Brett Schwilters go bargain hunting

Aprils Angels

Queer Nation

Corbans Taste of NZ – Peta Matthias

Mitre 10 Changing Rooms

Asia Dynamic

Location Location Location

Ralston Live

Weddings – presented by Jayne Kiely

Unichem Medical File – with Hine Elder and Pharmacist Peter McSweeny

Epitaph – NZ stories from beyond the graveyard

5:30 With Jude – Jude Dobson


Santa Barbara

Allo Allo!

Beyond 2000

The Flying Doctors

LA Law

Keeping Up Appearances


Police Rescue

The Young Ones


48 Hours

The Bill

The Simpsons

Married With Children

Rescue 911

The Comedy Company

It Ain’t Half Hot Mum

The Fresh Prince of Belair

The Thunderbirds

Dastardly & Mutley



Hard Copy

Dad’s Army

Hill Street Blues


Family Ties

Miami Vice

Magnum PI

Star Trek

Night Court

Doogie Houser


The Cosby Show

Kate and Allie

The Jetsons

Candid Camera


Beverly Hills 90210

Saturday Night Clive

21 Jump Street



E Street

Ren & Stimpy

Totally Hidden Video

American Gladiators

Darling Buds of May

Sally Jessy Raphael

Sylvania Waters


WKRP in Cincinnati

Antiques Roadshow

Home and Away

Bananas In Pyjamas

Whose Line Is it Anyway?


Absolutely Fabulous

Stars in Their Eyes



The Nanny


The X Files

Chicago Hope

Spin City

All Rise For Julian Clarey

French and Saunders

Ally McBeal


Everybody Loves Raymond


2000s Programmes:

Private Practice

Third Watch

Police Ten 7

Band of Brothers

Brothers and Sisters

Ghost Whisperer

Ugly Betty

Celebrity Treasure Island

Game of 2 Halves

Burying Brian

Mercy Peak

Go Girls

Shortland Street

The Zoo

Matthew and Marc’s Rocky Road



Intrepid Journey

Ends of the Earth

Extreme Make Over

Desperate Housewives

Grey’s Anatomy

Sensing Murder

The Apprentice

Masterchef NZ

American Idol

NZ Idol


Two & a half men

The Osbornes

McLeod’s Daughters

Piha Rescue

Fair Go

Coronation Street

Criminal Minds

Cold Case

The F Word

Unauthorised History of NZ

Eating Media Lunch

Dancing with the Stars

Mucking In

Animal House

Wild Vets

Big Brother

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