9:25pm Wednesday, February 22 on Prime


Pete and Sue find themselves in every parent’s ultimate nightmare – trapped in a foreign airport with three bored young children (and an increasingly bewildered granddad). Six-year-old Karen grills her Dad about Al Qaeda, and security staff grill eight-year-old Ben about the worrying objects in his bag. How many hours will it take them all to run the gauntlet of delays, security checks and endless games of I-Spy? How many times will they lose Grandad? Will they end up in Guantanamo Bay? Will Ben find the Spanish for ‘Can I play with your machine gun?’ and what idiot let the kids drink double espressos?

9:30pm Wednesday, February 15 on Prime


It’s another celebration of parental incompetence as Pete and Sue attempt to ban TV and have an old-fashioned Sunday, with traditional parlour games like Pellmanism and Scissors-Paper-Velociraptor. To make life more complicated, Grandad has come to stay with them as he recovers from an unfortunate accident involving a tin of baked beans. Meanwhile, Dad grasps the nettle of sex education. But does his son know more than him? And how will they all survive an afternoon of Karen making up lovely tunes on her recorder? And most worrying of all, why is the headmaster suggesting that Ben take the next few days off school?

Wednesday 15th February 22.10pm



The always popular Stephen Fry hosts the Rose d’Or winning comedy panel show, Q.I, full of quirky facts, where contestants are awarded points if their answers are ‘Quite Interesting’ rather than being correct. The subject matter of Q.I is unique because it doesn’t take familiar material like the news, sport, television and pop music, but whatever takes their fancy from the entire universe.

9:35pm Wednesday, February 8 on Prime


More uncannily realistic comedy as six-year-old Karen mourns the death of a mouse (killed in a trap by her mouse-murdering parents), eight-year-old Ben stands for election as class rep (using tactics that would make many blush) and older brother Jake triggers his mum’s she-tiger instincts by bringing a girl home for tea. To make matters worse for the parents, they must grapple with money worries, unsettling chest pains, a supermum next door and a friend who is using them as a babysitting service. What can they do? And why is their daughter suddenly talking like Gordon Ramsay?

9:30pm Wednesday, February 1 on Prime


It’s raw family life as the hit comedy series returns with a wedding. It’s cousin Julie’s big day. But first she’ll have to survive a grilling about previous boyfriends from six-year-old Karen, who has appointed herself ‘Executive Bridesmaid’. Meanwhile, her brother Ben is asking the vicar complex theological questions involving the baby Jesus and lasers. For the parents it soon turns into that all-too-familiar struggle to control your kids and, if possible, get through the wedding day without decking any relatives. Containing elements of improvisation, this show portrays the chaos of life with small kids like nothing else on TV.

Wednesday 1st February 22.10pm



The always popular Stephen Fry hosts the Rose d’Or winning comedy panel show, Q.I, full of quirky facts, where contestants are awarded points if their answers are ‘Quite Interesting’ rather than being correct. The subject matter of Q.I is unique because it doesn’t take familiar material like the news, sport, television and pop music, but whatever takes their fancy from the entire universe.

Downton Abbey to be shortened

Season three episodes of Downton Abbey will be cut in length by 15 minutes, down to an hour. Only the season opener will run for the usual 90 minutes.

M*A*S*H actor passes away

Former M*A*S*H actor Harry Morgan has died, aged 96. The actor was most well known for playing the role of Colonel Sherman Potter in the popular army series.

Glee pays tribute to MJ

An upcoming episode of Glee will feature a tribute to the music of Michael Jackson.  The musical series will feature up to 12 songs from the singer in the episode.

Outnumbered may not return

UK comedy series Outnumbered may not return for another full season due to the fact its actors are getting too old. 14-year-old actor Tyger Drew-Honey says the family sitcom may not work for much longer because the kids are now too old to fit the style of the show.

Prime held their New Season launch for 2012 on Tuesday at the Langham in Auckland and of the three networks, it was by far the flashest.  Themed around their hit Emmy Award winning series Downton Abbey, guests arrived to high tea complete with curtsying help at the door.

The Great Room at the Langham is an excellent venue at any time and it definitely suited the theme.

And the food was divine.

Unless you worked in advertising though, you weren’t really there for the food and the excuse to get out of the office for a couple of hours.

Before we were introduced to what was in store for Prime in 2012, Karen Bieleski, Prime’s programmer got up to say a few words.  Her speech was priceless and started off with a quote from Fox’s head of scheduling about what a programmer does.

Our job is to build the house so you can change the furniture once in awhile. You don’t want the furniture to get stale, worn and unattractive but nor do you want to buy a complete new set every few months.

It was a quote that set the tone for what was coming next; the not so subtle mocking of recent programming decisions at TVNZ.

Bold scheduling moves get all the media attention, yet I would argue that the best schedule is one that features the least amount of change: predictability is an audience’s best friend

One couldn’t possibly imagine what Karen was referring to.

Once we find a show and slot that work together, our preference is always to stick with it.  New Top Gear plays Sunday at 7.30.  Cooking shows play Tuesday 7.30 and 8.00.  Murders play Saturday 8.30.  If we start Torchwood Thursday 9.30, the series will finish its run Thursday 9.30.  If Downton Abbey performs well Tuesday 8.30 for series one, you can be pretty sure that’s where series two will be.

If we ever find something that works at 7.00, you know we’ll be sticking with it till the end of time!

And then there was the final dig at recent changes to Sunday and Monday nights on that other channel.

Without Prime, free-to-air viewers would have much more limited choices – like whether to sit down with the family to enjoy Embarrassing Celebrity Aircrashes or to switch over just in time to catch the premiere of Oh No! My Fat Pet Can’t Dance.

Very entertaining indeed.  But let’s take a look at what is coming to the Prime schedule in 2012.

Wild Boys


Downton Abbey
Paul Merton in Europe
Expedition Impossible
Junior Masterchef Australia
Case Sensitive: The Point of Rescue

Arctic with Bruce Parry
The Sinking of the Laconia

Case Histories

True Blood
Boardwalk Empire


New Tricks
DCI Banks

Upstairs Downstairs

Silent Witness
Midsomer Murders
Prisoner Wives
History Under the Hammer (Local Series)
Australia’s Got Talent
Masterchef USA
The Restaurant Inspector

Country House Rescue

Antiques Roadshow
Top Gear USA
Shearing Gang (Local Series)


Deal or No Deal
Who Wants to be a Millionaire?
Vacation, Vacation, Vacation
The Grand Plan (Local Documentary)
A Shocking Reminder (Local Documentary)
Secret War
True Stories
Prime Rocks
Prime Presents
Prime News: First at 5:30
The Crowd Goes Wild
London 2012 Olympic Games
Man vs Wild
Top Gear
Doctor Who
America’s Got Talent

Boardwalk Empire different to The Sopranos

Sopranos writer Terence Winter has distanced his upcoming gangster
drama Boardwalk Empire from the James Gandolfini series , saying: “The
’70s felt a little too close to Tony Soprano’s world [and] the ’50s sort
of felt like Tony’s dad’s world,” he explained. “And the ’20s, for many
reasons, [is where] I ended up, but it just felt [right]. People
looked… and sounded different and the music and pop culture were
different, and yet it was still accessible. It was still modern enough
that it felt like you and I could watch it and… relate to these

Handler crticised for MTV Video Music Awards

have panned Chelsea Handler for her performance yesterday as host of
the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards, with the New York Times stating “She
was among the worst in the show’s history” with the Washington Post
agreeing “…a string of flat punch lines felt a few degrees below crass.”

Meat Loaf for Glee

Meat Loaf is set for a turn on the second season of Glee alongside former Rocky Horror Picture Show cast-mate Barry Bostwick. The pair will feature on the Rocky Horror-themed episode as two television station managers.

Americans planning Outnumbered remake

American network Fox is planning on remaking UK comedy series Outnumbered, which screens here on UKTV. Fox has greenlit the series, which will be “inspired” by the BBC original.

It’s a well-known adage: never work with children or animals. But for Hugh Dennis and Claire Skinner, stars of new comedy series Outnumbered, there are small children at the very centre of every story – and they are allowed to improvise into the bargain!

Three small children in fact – Karen, a regal five-year-old girl with an interest in nits, Ben, a seven-year-old boy who could out-fib Jeffrey Archer, and Jake, an 11-year-old who is gearing up for his scary first day at secondary school.
Skinner, who is a mother herself, says that the show’s producers went to great lengths to make sure that the children didn’t get bored or fed up. “As far as the kids were concerned, most of the time they were just playing about and having fun. It was great to be surrounded by happy children which made it a really fun shoot.”

She also believes that allowing the children to come up with their own lines made the show: “Outnumbered has got some lovely, natural performances from the kids, and Hugh and my reactions to them are very fresh as we were never quite sure what they were going to do from take to take.”

The little girl, Ramona, plays Karen, who has quite a talent for interrogation: “She came up with some really hilarious lines. She was trying to remember insults and she came out with words like ‘ponk’ and ‘tight bum’ which were my two personal favourites! She still makes me laugh whenever I think of her!”

Hugh Dennis describes the Dad, Pete, as “Slightly hopeless in some ways. He’s a bit confused and life seems to have taken him rather than him dictating the direction in which it goes. I can sort of relate to that, as one of the problems with being a parent is feeling constantly tortured by the idea that you’ve probably done the wrong thing. Dad is trying his absolute best, but the two parents are struggling and the kids are trying to run rings around them.”

Dennis admits that he himself is a bit of a soft touch as a dad: “I find my children very, very entertaining. I’d like to think I’m tougher than the dad I play in this, but I can’t be cross with my daughters, which is something my wife gets quite cross with me about!”

Dennis is, however, a hands-on dad, taking part in the school run and watching “those helicopter parents who hover above their children and are overly solicitous.” He was also able to show the girls the pilot for Outnumbered: “They found it very strange, because now that they are ten and eight, they understand about acting. There was a stage when they were much younger and Meg thought that I lived in the television for a while. I think it must be very strange for them to see me in a different family set-up and with another mum as well!”

Friday 22 February at 10.05pm on TV1

Friday 8 February, 10.05pm

Outnumbered is a new comedy series about the daily chaos of family life; about two parents and three young children, locked in an unequal contest.

Three small children in fact – Karen, a regal five-year-old girl with a talent for interrogation and an interest in nits; Ben, a seven-year-old boy who could out-fib Jeffrey Archer; and Jake, an 11-year-old who is gearing up for his scary first day at secondary school.
Starring Claire Skinner and Hugh Dennis (Mock the Week) and containing strong elements of improvisation – this show portrays family chaos in the raw, as we’ve all experienced it, and in a way that you will not have seen before on TV.

“This isn’t your average comedy! Claire Skinner and Hugh Dennis play the parents wrapped around the little fingers of three precocious terrors in a fabulous new six-part series, much of which is improvised. Both are fantastic and believable (the little monkeys must have run rings round them on and off camera!) and the kids are adorable, with more one-liners than the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.” TV Times, August 25 2007.