Hard News by Russell Brown


Really good, actually

As I have noted before, one great shame of the likely death of TVNZ 7 is that it will happen at a time when the channel's flagship shows have reached a real maturity. Case in point: last night's The Good Word, which you can see here.

It opened with an intelligent discussion of Tim Wilson's already much-talked-about Their Faces Were Shining. Although I could have heard more from Steve Braunias, who, as a friend of Wilson's, seemed to have a very good fix on where the writer is coming from.

I also understood Steve's comment that Their Faces Were Shining distinguished itself among New Zealand novels by being "well-written and funny" -- which was clarified by his subsequent characterisation of the writing as "epigrammatic". I suspect that it's the same reason I, as daily writer and a virtual non-consumer of fiction, enjoy Chad Taylor's books -- for the clarity and economy of the prose.

Good on Jennifer Ward Lealand for reading the book twice -- but couldn't someone have edited out that spoiler? And there was a remarkable omission from the discussion -- how can four people discuss a novel about The Rapture without alighting on the Left Behind series, which must surely have been in the author's mind?

Thereafter, James Griffin was a pleasure as always, and Finlay Macdonald's look into the story behind The Little Yellow Digger had our whole family sat down in front of the TV. Yes, our sons left their noisy digital entertainments to come and watch, because they remembered that book. It was a lovely piece of television.


On the same bat-channel this week, Media7 is looking at the reality of the CSI Effect with forensic scientist Dr Anna Sandiford, Donna Chisholm (whose story on the unsolved murder of Chattrice Maihi Carroll in the current Metro is a reminder of what a great journalist she is) and defence lawyer Marie Dyhrberg.

Garth Bray will also come in to talk about reporting from the disaster zone in Japan.

The show screens tomorrow night at 9.05pm, but if you'd like to come to this evening's recording, we'll need you to come to the Victoria St entrance of TVNZ between 5.15 and 5.40. Do try and drop me a line to let me know you're coming.

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