Navigation for Standing Room Only

This week on Standing Room Only, English star of stage and screen, Celia Imrie, talks about her new movie Love Sarah, and Australian TV and film producer Tony Ayres thinks our success in tackling Covid-19 could be our secret weapon when it comes to attracting overseas productions.  Canterbury Museum is looking for Government support for its "shovel-ready" redevelopment plans, while Archives New Zealand is in a race against time to preserve National Library treasures.  A new photography exhibition about civilisation in the 21st century has been overtaken by recent events, while poet Kevin Ireland assures us that rumours of his demise are grossly exaggerated!

All this and At The Movies, the Three O'Clock Drama and, on the Laugh Track, tips from the New Zealand Comedy School's Neil Thornton. 


12:37  British actress and novelist Celia Imrie

Celia Imrie

Celia Imrie Photo: supplied

Celia Imrie is best known as a staple of English film comedies - notably Calendar Girls, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and the upcoming Love Sarah.  But she's been equally prolific on television - from the classic Victoria Wood sketch show to her latest - American hit comedy drama Better Things.   

Along the way Celia has been a welcome presence in everything from Star Wars and Doctor Who to Bridget Jones and Doc Martin!  And she's also found time to have a side career as a best-selling novelist.  Her books include Not Quite Nice, Nice work (if you can get it) and the irresistible The Happy Hoofer.

Celia Imrie tells Lynn Freeman she was filming a new series of popular Welsh series Keeping Faith when the pandemic struck.


12:50 Anthony Wright, Canterbury Museum 

Anthony Wright

Anthony Wright Photo: supplied/Canterbury Museum

Canterbury Museum hopes to persuade the government that its proposed 200-million-dollar redevelopment should be treated as a shovel-ready project to help stimulate the post-Covid-19 economy.

The museum's already raised well over half the money it needs.  But it will need central government support to get it over the line.

Museum Director Anthony Wright tells Lynn Freeman that the museum also wants the public to have a say in the redevelopment, which he says is vital to protect the historic buildings and the more than 2 million objects inside.

1:10 At The Movies

This week Simon Morris returns and reviews Resistance, In Fabric and Burden


1:32  Civilisation, Photography, Now

Tightly packed crowds, busy streets and skies filled with planes feature among the more than 200 photographs from around the world taken for an exhibition that was launched before the Covid-19 era of social distancing.

In fact the opening of Civilisation, Photography, Now at Auckland Art Gallery had to be postponed because of lockdown.  But now we're at Level One we finally get a chance to see the exhibition.

But in fact, the exhibition has gained a new meaning.   Many of the images are very pre-Covid-19.   We've seen what that world looks like when it starts to fall apart - when the systems of modern civilisation presented a huge risk to us

Curator William A Ewing had planned to be here for the opening, before that option was closed to him.  Instead, Lynn Freeman talks to him in Switzerland.


1:44 Covid-free New Zealand - the answer to the film industry's prayers?

Tony Ayres

Tony Ayres Photo: supplied

Still with life after Covid, a leading Australian screen industry figure says New Zealand's Covid-free status gives it a huge advantage when it comes to enticing high-value overseas film and TV productions.

The high-profile production of the Avatar sequels has been getting all the headlines - not all favourable - but according to producer and film-maker Tony Ayres that's just scraping the surface.   There's untapped money to be made from worldwide film and television projects currently in desperate need of safe and versatile locations, with experienced crew available.

Tony Ayres is a screenwriter and  director, as well as showrunner on several TV series including The Slap.  He's also the Executive Producer on a yet-to-be announced project to be filmed here.  

Script to Screen recently invited him to confer with Kiwi film makers about the logistical challenges they face at the moment.  Tony tells Lynn Freeman that the New Zealand government should invest more in the screen industry here as part of its economic recovery plan...

2:06 The Laugh Track - comedian and teacher Neil Thornton

Neil Thornton

Neil Thornton Photo: supplied

For people who think the secret to being a great comedian is just "funny bones", forget it.  Natural talent will only get you so far.  After that, it takes hard work, professionalism and plenty of useful advice from expert mentors.  You need the help of the New Zealand Comedy School!

That's the pitch of Comedy School teacher and pro comedian Neil Thornton.  He talks with Lynn Freeman about what you can and can't teach budding comedians, and how to apply for "diversity scholarships", open to people who want to contribute to the growing diversity of voices in New Zealand comedy and performing arts. To apply click here.  

Neil's Laugh Track clips include Margaret Cho, Joan Rivers, Emo Philips, Chris Rock and four of the Comedy School's recent pupils - Ashleigh Hume, Jay Jain, Mai White and Severin Gourley.


2:25 Poet Kevin Ireland

Kevin Ireland

Kevin Ireland Photo: supplied

No caption

Photo: supplied

Rumours of writer Kevin Ireland's death were - thank goodness - unfounded, but they did make their way into his latest poetry collection.

In Shape of the Heart, he also reflects on getting older, on decades-long friendships, he offers advice to other writers and he addresses his 86 year old heart in his latest poetry collection.

Kevin Ireland has published 25 other collections since his first, Face to Face, came out in 1963  He's also written novels, non-fiction and two memoirs.  Shape of the Heart is his 37th book.   Kevin talks to Lynn Freeman about a life of poetry.

Shape of the Heart is published by Quentin Wilson.



2:36  Treasure hunting in the vaults of the National Library

The vaults of the National Library are a labyrinth of historic files, films and documents - labelled, colour-coded, and many in urgent need of preservation before they deteriorate beyond saving.

Archives New Zealand is the guardian of this material, though it's been racing against time to fulfill its brief with clearly inadequate resources.

Just before the country went into lockdown, Lynn Freeman met the staff charged with preserving this taonga. Her guides in the first of a two-part documentary, were Richard Foy, Archives NZ Chief Archivist, Conservator Sarah Drake and Stefanie Lash, Principal Advisor Strategy and Planning.   

Shortly after Lynn's visit there was good news - a budget announcement of more than 190-million dollars for the Tāhuhu (Preserving the Nation's Memory) project.   The plan is to cover a new Archives New Zealand building linked to the library, as well as the first stages of a shared repository for heritage materials.

But that's years away.   Until then, this is the reality for the Archives New Zealand conservators.


3:06 Drama at 3 - Broken China by Elspeth Sandys

What in life makes us do the things we do? What is it that prompts us to follow any given path? These two questions lie at the heart of Elspeth Sandys' absorbing play Broken China.

It tells the story of  a woman and her mother, and how their shared history shaped them.  It stars Denise O'Connell and Cathy Downes, and is produced by Duncan Smith.

Music played in this show

Artist: Beverly Sisters
Song: Long Black Nylons
Composer: Raye-Burke
Album: Bouffants Beehives and Backcombing
Label: Rockhistory
Played at: 12.31

Artist:  Stevie Nicks (and Dion Henley)
Song: Leather and Lace
Composer:  Nicks
Album: Belladonna
Label: Atco
Played at: 12.58

Artist: Carl Perkins
Song: Blue Suede Shoes
Composer: Perkins
Album: Original Sun Greatest Hits
Label: Sun
Played at: 1.07

Artist: Velvet Illusions
Song: Velvet Illusions
Composer: Velvet Illusions
Album: Pebbles
Label: AIP
Played at: 1.44

Artist: Imogen Heap
Song: Canvas
Composer: Heap
Album: Ellipse
Label: Epic
Played at: 1.58

Artist: The Chiffons
Song: He's so fine
Composer: Mack
Album: Best of the Girl Groups
Label:  Rhino
Played at: 2.04

Artist: Count Basie
Song: Silks and Satins
Composer: Mundy
Album: The Complete Atomic Basie
Label: Roulette
Played at: 2.58

Artist: Rednex
Song: Cotton Eyed Joe
Composer: Rednex
Album: Massive Party Hits
Label: Timelife
Played at: 3.04

Artist: Bent Fabric
Song: Alley Cat

Composer: Bjorn
Album: The very best of...
Label: Taragon
Played at: 3.58