Diplomatic Immunity

At which point do you decide that you’ve seen too much of an actor?  Is it when they’ve played the same character for 20 odd years on a soap?  Is it when they’ve played two different characters on two different shows on two different networks in the space of two weeks?  Where is that line?

While drama schools appear to be full of aspiring actors and actresses there only seems to be an elite few who manage to land the lead roles in our locally-produced TV dramas.  While one could argue that the talent pool is vast with those seeking a career in acting, for those that actually do have a career, the options in New Zealand aren’t.

With season runs seemingly getting shorter, landing a role on The Almighty Johnsons is really only a 10 week gig in broadcast time which leaves a lot of space for the other 42 weeks of the year. Other than asking if you’d like some fries with that, what other options are there but to audition for every other show going into production?

Next month, TV One will start screening their new drama Nothing Trivial. Its lineup of stars includes Shane Cortese (Burying Brian, Outrageous Fortune, Shortland Street, The Almighty Johnsons), Tandi Wright (This is Not My Life, Out of the Blue), Nicole Whippy (Outrageous Fortune, Jacksons Wharf), Blair Strang (Go Girls, Shortland Street, Kaitangata Twitch) and Debbie Newby-Ward (Legend of the Seeker, The Pretender).  

Particularly for Shane, this is his fourth new character since his villain days on Shortland Street – the third in the space of twelve months.  Shane is a much loved actor but does it get a little too much when we see him in so many different roles in such a short space of time?

We had similar questions here when Booke Williams, who played the love of Van West in Outrageous Fortune suddenly looked to be Axel’s long-lost love Frigg on The Almighty Johnsons.  (Thankfully, the casting folk for Go Girls managed to do a fantastic job in finding some great new talent for their show.)

So where is the line?  How many characters should an actor play in any given time?  Or should we not worry about this and just celebrate talented actors staying in work on our screens?

According to wikipedia, in comedy, a Roast is:

an event in which an individual is subjected to a public presentation of comedic insults, praise, outlandish true and untrue stories, and heartwarming tributes, the implication being that the roastee is able to take the jokes in good humor and not as serious criticism or insult, and therefore, show their good nature. It is seen as a great honor to be roasted, as the individual is surrounded by friends, fans, and well-wishers, who can receive some of the same treatment as well during the course of the evening.

It’s a term that some folk need to become accustomed to.

On Wednesday night at the inaugural Radio Roast, Dave Fane took to the stage with a task at hand and delivered.  However, some have missed the point of the event and labelled him racist and homophobic among other things following his “roasting” of Jews, HIV sufferers and those in the advertising industry.

The “racist outburst” as claimed by the New Zealand Herald’s Rachel Glucina, Joseph Barratt and Barry Clarke featured in a story titled “TV3 star attacks Jews”.  The story, taken completely out of context, suggests it was a drunken tirade when in fact it was in line with the theme of the night.  Anyone who may have taken offense to the content probably wouldn’t have understood what the night was about.

Of course, Dave Fane has been forced to apologise.  His statement to the NZPA reads

“I wish to formally apologise for my offensive remarks, and am deeply troubled by the association of TV3 and my employers to the statements. I was quoted out of context in the article.”

As you’d expect, as part of their beat up the NZ Herald has obtained comment from the NZ Jewish Council and NZ Aids Foundation who were outraged.

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Here’s a summary of how the new Kiwi shows of 2009 have fared based on episodes screened to date…

Go Girls and 7 Days have been picked up for a season season.

Scroll across to see more shows.

Data sourced from AGB Nielsen, showing average total NZ viewer numbers (5+).
Averages to date do not include the premiere episode viewership figures.
Data for episodes screened to date: October 24, 2009.

So, I have been watching that Maxshop TV ad where the models are lip syncing to Blondies “Call Me”.

When I thought the blonde model looked a lot like Sierra from the last season of Survivor.

So I went over to IMDb to see if there was any info to my pondering.

When I noticed THIS!…


Scroll down a tad to her acting credits.

She wasn’t in DI was she? I watched all the episodes and I don’t remember an American actress.

Can someone confirm I am wrong?

And does anyone know who the models are on the Maxshop TV ad just curiously?




It’s all about the return of Outrageous Fortune on June 2 in View this week.  There’s a recap of what’s happened to date and why the show is dubbed “the best television New Zealand has ever made.”  The show averages 770,000 viewers – the second-highest-rating-peak-time series after Desperate Housewives.

The West Family Album will be published in August which includes a drinking game, quiz, photos, interviews and all sorts of little details.

Season 5 has Eric back, more babies, wedding bells and Detective Sergeant Gerard will shake things up.  Gary won’t be back but there will be new character called Angel, a Suzanne Paul cameo and some very traumatic moments.

NZ on air is yet to make a decision on funding a sixth season of the show but James Griffin has confirmed a sixth season would be the last.


Kiwi celebrities are getting behind Greenpeace’s “Sign On” climate change campaign including Lucy Lawless, Rhys Darby, Robyn Malcolm, Bonnie Soper, Harry McNaughton and Sarah Thomson.

Mike King is under fire by media commentators for not paying back the money he earnt while fronting the TV commericals for NZ Pork after his expose on the industry last week on TV ONE’s Sunday.

Jeremy Wells is under fire for being endorsing Meridian Energy in their TV and online ads after Meridian was found to be overcharing their customers.

Ben Boyce (Pulp Sport) is in the running for the Mt Albert by-election:  “I’m not interested in a motorway or a tunnel for Mt Albert, I’m planning on introducing a log flume instead.  I’m currently devising a complex pulley system so we can pick up the entire suburb of Mt Albert and move it to Remuera.  A very costly initiative but I believe it will pay off as once the Mt Albert homes are in Remuera, their value will skyrocket.  Being on a sports comedy TV show will help me get the male vote and being more feminine than the last Mt Albert MP will help with the females.”

There’s more re-hash of old news in the ongoing Tony Veitch saga – this time a 358-page police report has been released publicly.

Reviews + Interviews

Sunday interviews Lesley-Ann Brandt who plays Leilani in Diplomatic Immunity.  The article covers the mixed reviews of the show and outrage that a South African (Brandt) plays the role of a Pacific Islander.  Brandt started her career in modelling before moving into IT recruitment and doing TV work on the side.  Her next role is playing Naevia in Spartacus: Blood and Sand – a handmaiden to Lucy Lawless’ character.

SST goes behind the scenes of Maori Television’s Code – often their #1 rating show. Matua Parkinson says “A lot of people can related to us; we’re not asking the generic, boring-arse questions. [The players] know we are probably going to take the piss out of them, but we will take the piss out of ourselves first.  That breaks the ice.  We try to laugh with our guests.”  He turns up less than an hour before the show goes to air and says he doesn’t know who’s on the show, he doesn’t read his emails and just turns up.  He doesn’t want to look too rehearsed. The show gets about 38,000 viewers a week and 100 TXTs and episode.

View talks to Phil Keoghan of The Amazing Race.  Last year he flew an estimated 650,000km and is talking to various NZ companies about marketing opportunities overseas.  The Amazing Race takes up about a quarter of his work.  He also promotes his book No Opportunity Wasted.

SST reviews Doctor Who and profiles the new doctor, Matt Smith.

Deborah Hill Cone reviews SVU: Special Victims Unit.


Gok Wan says “I’m actually a little bit sexually obsessed with Tamati at the moment… You know, his beautiful olive skin went bright red when I said I had a crush on him.  Bless.”

Chase Crawford (Nate in Gossip Girl) will star in the upcoming Footloose movie remake. 

Sarah Jessica Parker speaks out about her surrogate mum:  “I am incredibly outraged by the sort of extraordinary and unprecedented invasion of her privacy.  The most unsavoury things have been done.  SHe’s had her phone hacked, her personal computer information hacked, she’s had threats against her and true harassmehnt.  She’s had friends threateed and family threatened and she’s had family of freinds threatened.”

New Zealand’s Next Top Mode judge Colin Mathura-Jeffree tells SST about his past week where he celebrated his birthday with family and The Edge (who invited two strippers) and then at the Gin Room.  He’s reading “Pony Club Secrets” by Stacy Gregg. 

TVNZ Breakfast producer Sarah Bristow accidentally spat on Gok Wan.  He laughed and took it well. 

Jowl McHale
(The Soup) says he likes to watch Deadliest Catch, Dirty obs, Bizarre Foods, Discovery Channel, Flight of the Conchords, Mad Men, Battlestar Galactica, 30 Rock, The Office and yes, American Idol.

Blind items

“Which very high-profile TV stars are hiding a sensational secret that, if exposed, would not only ruin their good girl personas and their marriages, but would disappoint their thousands of fans who buy into their happily married working-mum images?  If their secret life as lipstick lesbian partners was ever exposed, that’s it.  The end.  Careers gone; marriages over; celebrity star power permanently tarnished.  Though there’d be nothing stopping them flogging another women’s rag story.”

“Which ex of which TV star was once a lesbian heroin addict in London?”


Win Nickelodeon prize packs in this week’s Sunday News.  TXT WIN NICK to 389 or email giveaways@sunday-news.co.nz with NICK in the subject line.

Who’s advertising?

3 News

For once, it is Kiwi diplomat Leighton (Craig Parker) who must try to save the Fe’ausians from their own greed in local comedy Diplomatic Immunity (tonight at 10pm on TV ONE). The Fe’ausians plan to sink all the money they have made from phosphate mining Kakapu Atoll into an extremely dodgy West End musical.

Of course, most of the staff at the Auckland embassy of The Most Royal Kingdom of Fe’ausi get bitten by the theatrical bug and want roles in the musical, whose show-stopping numbers include, naturally, a big fat finale called Knocked The Bugger Off.

If that isn’t bad-taste enough, Ed! The Musical takes shameless liberties with the established facts about New Zealand’s greatest bee-keeping mountain-climber, making it all the more important that Leighton prevent this abomination from ever reaching the stage. The problem is that the Fe’ausians are deaf to everything but the theatre maxim, “the show must go on”.

Jonah (Dave Fane), the charming and effusive (but also cunning and amoral) head of the consulate, is less than impressed at Leighton’s interference in his money-making ideas and makes his annoyance plain. “After Ed! The Musical we’ll be so rich we’ll buy New Zealand and have it towed to Antarctica, just so we don’t have to look at it!”

If you’ve been thinking that Fane’s role fits him like a glove, you’d be right – series creator James Griffin, one of the writing duo behind Outrageous Fortune, wrote the part especially for him. And that felt pretty good, says Fane, whose television credits include Outrageous Fortune and bro’Town.

In fact, the feeling was “sort of like the first day you turn up to school. You feel pretty special and you feel like you’re pretty damned hot – and you feel honoured that someone the calibre of James thought of you.

“It’s like in the words of [the 1967 Sidney Poitier movie] To Sir With Love: “how can you thank someone who’s taken you from crayons to perfume?”

In this week’s WW, Dave Fane (Jonah, Diplomatic Immunity) announces his engagement to Bronwyn Bradley (Gwen, Go Girls).

The pair have three children, have been together 15 years and will marry later this year.

Dave says he “wanted [the proposal] to happen while Bron was doing the most mundane, boring thing… so it would be memorable!”  so he asked her while she was folding washing!

“For me, having a wedding is a way of saying to Bron that there are lots of things I love about her, and that I’d like us to be this way forever.”

Pouring over the Sunday papers so you don’t have to and condensing their TV coverage down to:

The two big TV stories:

Shortland Street:

  • Shortland Street has been filming in Rarotonga for the last three weeks.
  • Robbie Magasiva (The Strip, Sione’s Wedding) will be appearing on the show.
  • Bonnie Soper (Morgan) talks to the Herald on Sunday about her role as surrogate mother.

Dancing with the Stars:

  • Quotes from the contestants
  • Spy says Josh Kronfeld and Rachel Burstein’s dance moves last week were “bordering on porno. We loved it! It was TV gold. Shameless Paul Henry loved it too – and surprise, surprise – he wasn’t afraid to play it on Breakfast in slow motion. We want more.”

Steve Braunias in Sunday magazine says James Griffin is “smearing his usual wacky slapstick dross over every square inch of the rotten Diplomatic Immunity“.


Blind items:

“Which self-conscious TV star has no issues of insecurity in the bedroom?  Just ask the three women he’s been secretly bedding.” 

“Who embassingly begged producers of Dancing with the Stars and NZ’s Next Top Model for a starring role only to be politely declined?”

“Which two TV faces bonded over air kisses and A-list drugs at which schleb party house?”

TV developments:

Gordon Ramsey has just signed up for another season of Kitchen Nightmares and possibly another season of Hell’s Kitchen.

Eurovision 2009 to screen in NZ!

No Doubt have recorded a cover of “Stand and Deliver” for an upcoming Gossip Girl episode.

Dominic Bowden has a cameo role on Go Girls on April 23.


Pippa Wetzell’s new baby Cameron Jade (8lb 9oz) was born yesterday and both mum and baby are doing very well.  Pippa will return to work in October.  Co-host Paul Henry says he knew it would be a girl and says “it’s a great name, but is it a boy’s name, I wonder?”


Mischa Barton (The OC) poses nude in Cosmopolitan magazine

Mike Hosking is spotted cycling in Remuera (who knows why the papers find this so fascinating)

Rebecca Hobbs and Aaron Gilmore were Spy-ed having lunch together


There’s all sorts of commentary on Sky getting the rights to the Rugby World Cup.

Sunday News has photos from Underbelly as a figure involved in the 1970s Mr Asia crime ring is facing a serious criminal charge.

Supernanny‘s discipline methods are debated in the Herald on Sunday after a lecturer said they were unprofessional teaching tactics in preschools.

Brendan Telfer is expected to be home from hospital any day now.

Mucking In releases a book.

Jono Pryor shares a fishing story from his childhood with Sunday magazine.


Well episode two is supposed to be on at 10pm tonight, but i’m guessing it won’t start until about 10:12 like last week. Anyone else else want to make a guess before it airs.

Diplomatic Immunity

If you had tried to record the pilot of Diplomatic Immunity on Tuesday night you would have been frustrated to find the beginning of the show being delayed due to Dancing With the Stars running over time resulting in the last 10 minutes of the show being cut off.

Many have vented their frustration at missing the ending of what is looking to be New Zealand’s first comedy series that hasn’t been generally slated by everyone in a very long time.  Despite this, TVNZ haven’t committed to rescreening the show which still won its time slot in both rating and share.

If you missed the ending or just want to find out what all the fuss is about, the pilot episode is available on TVNZ Ondemand here.