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12:16  Libertine Pictures' Richard Fletcher making high-end drama under Covid

Two weeks ago we talked with New Zealand Film Commission CEO David Strong about the challenges - and some rewards - facing the whole industry.  But what's it like at the sharp end?

One of our most successful production companies is Libertine Pictures, set up by writer Neil Cross and producer Richard Fletcher.  Right now they specialise in TV co-productions.  So how hard is it making a big-budget TV series under Covid restrictions?  

Libertine is riding on two big successes.  The Rebecca Gibney romcom Under the Vines, co-produced with Acorn TV, is about to start shooting Series Two in Otago.   And family action-adventure Mystic made with the BBC and based on Stacy Gregg's popular books Pony Club Secrets  is currently shooting Series 3 in Auckland.   

Simon Morris talks with Libertine Pictures producer Richard Fletcher. 


12:36  Sculptor Denis O'Connor

Sculptor and social historian Denis O'Connor has created a love letter to his home of five decades, Waiheke Island, in the form of a bright red post office.

The Last Post Office houses PO boxes for dozens of local of people and places of interest. including Marxist HQ, The Marmite Tree and Menthol Jim.

Inside the building are a treasure trove of pictures, also relating to the island's rich social history.

It's part of Waiheke Island's upcoming Sculpture on the Gulf event.  .

Denis O'Connor tells Lynn Freeman that it's also an acknowledgement of the many stand-alone post offices that once operated on the island.

Waiheke Island's Sculpture on the Gulf opens on the 4th of March.

12:47  Making screen comedy for your phone!

The usual way to try and attract that all-important young audience is by offering something they might like.   But a new series prefers to go to where they are - and that often means looking at their phones!

So here's a new Instagram comedy series called I got you, designed to be watched on your mobile phone.   The story is simple:  a young Pasifika woman starts a side hustle giving relationship advice - despite never having been in love herself!

I got you is what's called a "vertical show", the creation of brother and sister Stallone and Abba-Rose Vaiaoga-Ioasa, in partnership with star and co-writer Sieni Leo'o Olo .  

Until now their company Cadness Street has been best known for popular, self-funded movies like Three Wise Cousins and Take Home Pay.  Lynn Freeman talks with Stallone Vaiaoga-Ioasato find out what drew the siblings to the ultra-small screen - and what exactly is a vertical show?

I got you is best watched on the app on your phone if you have it.  You can also watch the first three episodes on Facebook or on Instagram.


1:10 At The Movies

This week Simon Morris reviews Norwegian rom-com The worst person in the world, C'mon C'mon, starring Joaquin Phoenix, and Uncharted, based on the popular video game.


1:35  Keith and Faith Martin's Dolls' Hospital

This is the age of not only the high-tech, but also of the disposable.   These days the stuff we buy is so technogically complex that it's not only too expensive to mend, but it's hardly worth the trouble.  We can simply go and buy another one.   

So why is the BBC TV series The Repair Shop - where heirlooms are repaired by experts - so popular?

The skill of the craftspeople is certainly breathtaking.  But often it's the story behind the objects that's really at the heart of the show.

So this year, Standing Room Only will feature repairers around the country whose skills are salvaging precious objects.   They may be musical instruments, books and furniture, or in this case, teddy bears and dolls.

We go to  Palmerston North with Keith and Faith Martin who run The Dolls Hospital.  Their patients including die-cast scale models and dolls prams as well as a wide range of toys.

Lynn Freeman first asks Keith how he and Faith came to open a hospital for toys:

Standing Room Only is keen to hear from you about someone who's worked on one of your heirlooms and brought it back from the brink..from silversmiths to ceramic repairs and bookbinders.  Text us on 2101 or email standingroomonly@

2:06 The Laugh Track - Advait Kirtikar

Advait Kirtikar

Advait Kirtikar Photo: supplied

The last year or so have been challenging ones for the Laugh Track - and not just because Covid often closes down the usual venues for comedians.  But the range of performers is getting wider, more diverse and less predictable.

Today's guest is no exception.  Advait Kirtikar is not just an award-winning up-and-coming comedian.  His new show says it all.  It's called The Awkward Indian Guy Act.  As he says "Awkward by neurology, Indian by ethnicity and Guy by anatomy"!

Lynn Freeman welcomes Advait to the Laugh Track and asks can an autistic South Asian Man fit in New Zealand?  

Advait Kirtikar's picks include Mitch Hedberg, Aziz Ansari, Bill Burr, Nick Gibb and Nate Bagartze.

2:28  Thriller writer Tina Clough

Tina Clough

Tina Clough Photo: supplied

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Photo: supplied



A new novel invites us to fast forward four years.   State surveillance is everywhere in Aotearoa, and if you dare to search for evidence of government corruption you could end up on the Kill List.

That's the premise for Tina Clough's new thriller, The Shadow Broker.

When Minnie finds a burner phone and starts to read suspicious coded messages, she turns to her friend Rumble to help her to make sense of them.

Lynn Freeman asks Tina why she set the story just four years in the future, and how scarily prescient the plot seems to be.

The Broker is published by Lightpool Publishing.



2:43   Reading advocate Sarah Forster

Sarah Forster

Sarah Forster Photo: supplied

All children deserve to see themselves in a book, but in Aotearoa this isn't always happening.

That's the key point made in the acceptance speech by the country's most recent winner of the Storylines Betty Gilderdale Award for outstanding service to children's and young adult literature and reading, Sarah Forster.

Sarah gave her speech yesterday online, using it to call on publishers to work more closely with authors and to bring out a much more diverse range of books for young readers.

She's currently the senior communications advisor for Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington.  But her CV also includes writing about and reviewing children's literature.

She's the founding editor of The Sapling website,  she's been a judge for the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults and she's also worked for Booksellers New Zealand and Read New Zealand Te Pou Muramura.

Lynn Freeman talks with Sarah Forster about her call to arms on behalf of young readers..


3:06 Drama at 3 - No science to goodbye by Annabel Wilson

Today's Classic drama was originally recorded live by RNZ at BATS Theatre in Wellington in 2017, as part of the "Live on Stage Now!" partnership between BATS and RNZ. 

Elsie has returned from Berlin to the Southern Lakes to be with her ailing brother, Sam.    But she meets up again with her long-time ex Frank, who is now a glaciologist.  

The mountain landscape of the Southern Lakes looms large in this story where which music and poetry underscore a trio of unravelling lives 

Music played in this show

Artist: Divine Comedy
Song:  My Lovely Horse
Composer:  Hannan-Linehan-Mathews
Album: Venus, Cupid, Folly and Time
Label:  Divinecomedy
Played at: 12.16

Artist: K T Tunstall
Song: Black Horse and the Cherry Tree
Composer:  Tunstall
Album: Eye to the Telescope
Label:  Relentless
Played at: 12.33

Artist: Scissor Sisters
Song: Only the horses
Composer: Ghost-Hoffman
Album:   Magic Hour
Label:  Polydor
Played at: 12.58

Artist: Patti Smith
Song: Land: Horses
Composer:  Kenner-Smith
Album:  Horses
Label: Arista
Played at:  1.07

Artist: Taylor Swift
Song: White horse
Composer:  Rose-Swift
Album: Fearless
Label:  Bigmachine
Played at: 1.31

Artist:  Rolling Stones
Song: Wild Horses
Composer:  Jagger-Richards
Album: Sticky Fingers
Label:  Virgin
Played at: 1.58

Artist:  The Osmonds
Song:  Crazy Horses
Composer: Osmond-Osmond-Osmond
Album: Best Of
Label: Polydor
Played at: 2.05

Artist:  Chubby Checker
Song:  Pony Time
Composer:  Donald-Bobby
Album: Dancing Party
Label:   Fantastic
Played at: 2.39

Artist:  Luke Buda
Song:  The Stallion
Composer: Buda
Album: Special Surprise
Label:  Archhill
Played at: 2.58

Artist: Theme
Song: The Lone Ranger
Composer:  Rossini
Album: All Time Top 100 TV Themes
Label: TVT
Played at: 

Artist:  Randy Newman
Song:  Rider in the Rain
Composer: Newman
Album:  Tell it like it is
Label: DG
Played at: 3.58