Back Benches

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Back Benches
Back Benches logo.png
Directed byJim Curry
Presented by
Country of originNew Zealand
Original language(s)English
No. of series3
No. of episodes102 (list of episodes)
Producer(s)Caroline Hall Bruner
Production location(s)Backbencher pub, Wellington
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time44–50 minutes
Production company(s)TVNZ
Original networkTVNZ 7
Picture format1080i (16:9)
Audio formatStereophonic
Original release2 April 2008 (2008-04-02)
External links
Production website

Back Benches was a New Zealand political interview show, presented by Wallace Chapman and Damian Christie. It was primarily filmed at the Backbencher pub, across the street from Parliament Buildings in Wellington. The show was previously aired live on Wednesday nights on the Television New Zealand channel TVNZ 7 and was rebroadcast on Thursday mornings, Friday nights, and Saturday mornings. Currently Prime TV has picked up the broadcast rights for the show which is still recorded live on Wednesday nights at 6:30pm but actually goes to air delayed at 10:30pm.

On 1 July 2009, the two Freeview-only channels (TVNZ 6 and TVNZ 7) were made available for viewing on SKY TV. On this date the Back Benches episodes became 44–50 minutes long (up from 22–25 minutes previously).

The show was cancelled on TVNZ 7 in July 2012 when the station was shut down, being replaced with TV ONE +1, a timeshift of TV ONE. The final three episodes were filmed at the Shepherd's Arms Hotel after an after-hours kitchen fire at the Backbencher pub rendered it unusable.[1]

In August 2012 Prime TV expressed interest in reviving the series[2] with a similar format. On 13 September 2012, it was confirmed that Prime would be bringing the show back in February 2013 by one of the show's hosts, Wallace Chapman.[3] On 27 March 2013, the start date for the new series was confirmed as 10 April 2013 by Wallace Chapman[4] and Damian Christie.[5] The show will be aired on the same night as recording, with the broadcast four and a half hours later.

On 28 September 2017, it was announced by the producer Caroline Brunner on Twitter that Back Benches had aired its final show.


Each episode a panel of about three to five people are present on the show. The panel members are usually sitting MPs There is usually one from each of the National and Labour parties, and one from each of two other parties with seats (that is, Green, Māori, Mana, ACT, United Future and New Zealand First, parties).

There is also a summary of political news during the preceding week (from both New Zealand and internationally), a small (10 person) poll of a current issue or controversy, and a 'Who am I?' game where customers present at the pub can guess which sitting MP clues read out are about.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Hunt, Tom (9 June 2012). "Puppets to rise from the ashes". Fairfax Media New Zealand. Retrieved 23 September 2012.
  2. ^ "Prime in line to pickup Back Benches", The Dominion Post, 14 August 2012. Retrieved 14 August 2012.
  3. ^ "Facebook". Wallace Chapman. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
  4. ^ "Facebook". Wallace Chapman. Retrieved 2013-03-27.
  5. ^ "Twitter / damianchristie: So I can now announce the return..." Damian Christie. Retrieved 2013-03-27.