Hudson and Halls

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Peter Hudson and David Halls
aka Hudson and Halls
Hudson and Halls.jpg
Peter Hudson (L) and David Halls (R) in a January 1985 television programme.
BornPeter John Hudson:
(1930-11-08)8 November 1930
Toorak, Melbourne, Australia
David George Halls:
(1936-10-14)14 October 1936
Epping, Essex, England
DiedPeter Hudson:
September 1992(1992-09-00) (aged 61)
London, England
David Halls:
24 November 1993(1993-11-24) (aged 57)
London, England
NationalityPeter Hudson:
David Halls:
Occupation(s)Television presenters, TV chefs
Years active1976–1993
EmployerSPTV / TVNZ / BBC
TelevisionSpeakeasy, Hudson & Halls (SPTV/TVNZ), Blankety Blank (Halls), Hudson & Halls (BBC), Bazaar

Peter John Hudson (8 November 1930 – September 1992)[1] and David George Halls (14 October 1936 – 24 November 1993) were a television chef duo, whose cookery show, Hudson & Halls, ran on New Zealand television from 1976 to 1986. They gained a cult following when the pair moved to produce their show on the BBC in the United Kingdom in 1987. The duo were noted for bringing a camp humour, together with an element of slapstick, to the usually staid television cookery genre.

Early lives[edit]

Peter John Hudson was born in Toorak, Melbourne, Australia, on 8 November 1930. He was adopted and did not know his parents. Hudson's adopted mother, Mary Ethel Hudson, was a trained midwife who ran an adoption agency and arranged abortions. At the time, abortions were illegal in New Zealand, and she was charged and tried for murder, along with the doctor she employed at her clinic to treat the clients who wanted a termination.[2] Peter's mother died when he was 10 years old, and her daughter, Biddy, took over the maternity business. Hudson referred to Biddy, 21 years his senior, as his mother in later years. At 17 years old, Hudson left school and got his first job at George's department store, in the soft furnishings department. He was then sent to England, before returning to Melbourne to work as a shipping agent.[3]

David George Halls was born in Epping, England, on 14 October 1936, to parents Hilda (née Manley) and George Taylor Halls. His parents married on 13 June 1936 at St. Barnabas Church in Woodford Green, Essex. During Halls' childhood, his mother spent time in hospital, and he took on the role of cooking Sunday lunch for the family. His parents were in service, and when Halls was 10 years old, they became the caretakers of a large house, Theydon Hall. The owners, Mr and Mrs French, treated Halls and his sister, Anne, as part of the family. At the age of 15, his parents left Theydon Hall, returning to live in a council flat. Halls left school and worked at the local Coop store. Initially considering a move to Canada, he emigrated to New Zealand in 1959, after a spell working as a footwear salesman.[3][4]

In 1962, Hudson and Halls met at a party in Parnell, Auckland, New Zealand where Halls, by then a shoe designer, was living. Hudson, considering a move to England, had flown in from Melbourne to visit a friend. Hudson moved to Auckland, and they were soon living together, initially in Halls' flat in St Stephens Avenue, before they bought a small one bedroom cottage (with two single beds) with a swimming pool at 103 Brighton Road, Parnell.[5][6] The pair held parties at their home and became known for their hospitality and cooking.[3]


Hudson and Halls opened a women's shoe shop, Julius Garfinkle's, in 1971 in the Strand Arcade, Queen Street, Auckland. Later, in the same stretch of shops, they opened one of Auckland's first ice-cream parlours, Quagg's.[4] By 1975, the pair had sold their businesses and they auditioned for the cookery slot on the TVNZ afternoon magazine programme Speakeasy by cooking a beef wellington. The audition, and the beef wellington, were successful, and they were offered six 10 minute segments at $20 per programme.[3][7]

In 1976, Hudson and Halls debuted on South Pacific Television (SPTV), in New Zealand, with a 30 minute cookery show, Hudson & Halls, featuring cooking and a celebrity guest interview. The programme, which was popular in its original afternoon slot, was soon extended to an hour and moved to prime-time evening viewing. The show was consistently ranked in the weekly top five programmes, and the duo were awarded a Feltex Best Entertainer of the Year Award in 1981.[7]

Unlike other entertainers, Hudson and Halls did not use a script, and their volatile temperaments were part of the act. The publicity material introducing the programme explained that the pair were unmarried and shared a house but their relationship was never specified. When asked about their sexuality, the network said "We don't know if they are gay, but they certainly are merry".[3][8]

The programme took a break between 1978 and 1980. During this period, the duo opened The Hudson & Halls Oyster and Fish Restaurant in Ponsonby, Auckland. The restaurant, known for its outside garden area, was only open at lunchtime and not in the evening.[3][7] As their popularity grew, they demanded more money from TVNZ. Hudson and Halls bought a 17 acre farm in Leigh, Auckland (where they filmed their 1984 series) and a 1962 Bentley, despite neither of them having a valid driving licence.[3][4]

Hudson and Halls appeared on TV telethons, endorsed products, and were cover subjects for women's magazines. They hosted a morning radio show on Radio Pacific and Halls also briefly presented the television gameshow Blankety Blank.[3][4] The pair published cookbooks in 1977 (Hudson & Halls Cookbook), 1978 (Hudson & Halls Gourmet Cookbook), 1985 (Favourite Recipes from Hudson & Halls) and 1988 (Hudson & Halls: Beginnings, Middles And Ends). Their TVNZ television series, Hudson & Halls, ran until 1986 when, after more than 300 programmes, it was abruptly cancelled.[5]

In 1987, they took Hudson & Halls to the BBC in England, while continuing to live in New Zealand. However, reviews of their first series were universally hostile, with one critic commenting "if the BBC wanted a couple of ageing chorus boys who can open a can of lychees they could have found them closer to home". The Daily Star called them "pathetically unfunny", Spike Milligan described them as a "failed Laurel and Hardy combo" and The Independent wrote, "They think they're such fun, so camp. You'll think they're naff on roller skates."[3][7]

Despite this criticism, the first series of their BBC programme attracted three million viewers, rising to 10 million by the end of the second series. The show followed the same format; cooking and celebrity guest interviews, including personalities such as Thelma Barlow, Barbara Windsor, Pam St Clement, Bonnie Langford, Dora Bryan, Gorden Kaye and Christopher Biggins. Hudson and Halls had ambitions to use their BBC programme as a stepping stone to the USA. However, this did not materialise despite the series being sold to many countries in Europe. The BBC cancelled the programme after four series, with the last episode being broadcast in December 1990.[3][7][9]

By now, Hudson's health was failing, and the duo were struggling to find work. However, they made occasional appearances in the cooking segment on the BBC1 afternoon magazine programme Bazaar between January 1991 and June 1992. Hudson and Halls were subject to a Gotcha, a hidden camera practical joke, on Noel Edmonds' Noel's House Party, under the pretence of filming a children's cookery programme with Mr Blobby. The segment was filmed in 1992 and broadcast after Hudson's death, on 6 February 1993.[10]

Personal lives and deaths[edit]

Hudson and Halls moved from New Zealand to the United Kingdom in 1990 and lived in a flat at 60 Jermyn Street, London.[3]

After thirty years, their long-term professional and personal relationship ended when Hudson developed prostate cancer and died in September 1992 in London, aged 61, with Halls at his side. The death was announced on 20 September 1992. A devastated Halls changed his surname by deed poll to Hudson-Halls in January 1993, and continued to make some solo television appearances.[4][11]

Halls, grief-stricken and in dire financial straits, committed suicide the following year, taking an overdose of Hudson's morphine pills.[2][4] Halls was found dead in the back bedroom of his London flat by two friends on 24 November 1993, with a picture of Hudson held tightly in his hand, and a note in his diary, which read "I don't want to grow old and alone, without Peter I don't want to go on – he was my life, and I have no regrets. I love him now as much as I always did and I want to be with him for all eternity."[4][7] He was 57.

Halls, who had arranged and paid for his own funeral, had written the date of the service in his diary.[11] Halls' niece, Mandy Putnam, was the police officer on duty that night, and it fell to her to inform her mother and father that Halls had died.[3] Halls' brother-in-law, Alan Putnam, told Westminster Coroners Court, "David was very upset. They were partners in the homosexual sense."[12]

BBC television series[edit]

The first episode of Hudson & Halls was broadcast on BBC1 on 12 October 1987. The programme, typically 25 minutes in length and broadcast on Monday afternoons, ran for four series between 1987 and 1990.

Each programme followed a similar format of cooking three dishes featuring a celebrity guest who would assist in the preparation of one of the dishes before being interviewed. Hudson and Halls would cook in a tuxedo and bow tie, and argue throughout. After the dishes had been cooked, the duo would don their dinner jackets and take the food to the table, where they interviewed their guest while sampling their culinary creations.

Repeats of the first three series were broadcast on BBC1 in the mid-morning slot over the summer of 1990, and series four repeated in autumn 1992.

Series 1 (1987–1988)[edit]

Episode Original air date Celebrity guest
1 Monday 12 October 1987 Roger Whittaker
2 Monday 19 October 1987 Karen Kay
3 Monday 26 October 1987 Henry Cooper
4 Monday 2 November 1987
5 Monday 9 November 1987 Basil Brush
6 Monday 16 November 1987 Marti Webb
7 Monday 23 November 1987 Timothy West
8 Monday 11 January 1988 Grace Kennedy
9 Monday 18 January 1988 Ray Alan
10 Monday 25 January 1988 June Brown
11 Monday 1 February 1988 Vince Hill
12 Monday 8 February 1988

Christmas specials (1987)[edit]

Episode Original air date Programme information
1 Monday 30 November 1987 Hudson and Halls present a selection of their favourite festive recipes.
2 Monday 7 December 1987 Hudson and Halls go home to New Zealand to begin their Christmas celebrations with a party on a friend's boat.
3 Monday 14 December 1987 Hudson and Halls invite friends to their Auckland home for a festive New Zealand style Christmas dinner.

Series 2 (1988)[edit]

Episode Original air date Celebrity guest
1 Monday 5 September 1988 Dora Bryan
2 Monday 12 September 1988 Bonnie Langford
3 Monday 26 September 1988 Pam St Clement
4 Monday 3 October 1988 Christopher Biggins
5 Monday 10 October 1988 Thelma Barlow
6 Monday 17 October 1988 Faith Brown
7 Monday 24 October 1988 Gorden Kaye
8 Monday 31 October 1988 Cheryl Baker
9 Monday 7 November 1988 Marti Caine
10 Monday 14 November 1988 Eve Ferret
11 Monday 21 November 1988 Barbara Windsor
12 Monday 28 November 1988 Stephanie Lawrence

Series 3 (1989)[edit]

Episode Original air date Celebrity guest
1 Monday 4 September 1989 Ernie Wise
2 Monday 11 September 1989 Lynda Baron
3 Monday 18 September 1989 Harlem Globetrotters
4 Monday 25 September 1989 Lynsey de Paul
5 Monday 2 October 1989 Rima te Wiata
6 Monday 16 October 1989 Peggy Mount
7 Monday 23 October 1989 Sheila Ferguson
8 Monday 30 October 1989 The viewers
9 Monday 6 November 1989 Gordon Jackson
10 Monday 13 November 1989 Sandra Dickinson
11 Monday 20 November 1989 Lizzie Webb
12 Monday 4 December 1989 Paul Jones and the Blues Band, Paul Simon

Series 4 (1990)[edit]

Episode Original air date Celebrity guest
1 Monday 1 October 1990 Frank Bruno
2 Monday 8 October 1990 Liz Smith
3 Monday 15 October 1990 Vicki Michelle
4 Monday 22 October 1990 Bernie Winters
5 Monday 29 October 1990 Lorna Dallas
6 Monday 5 November 1990 Leslie Crowther
7 Monday 12 November 1990 Mark Rattray
8 Monday 19 November 1990 Patrick Moore
9 Monday 26 November 1990 Jill Gascoine
10 Monday 3 December 1990 Wendy Richard
11 Monday 10 December 1990 Lorraine Chase
12 Monday 17 December 1990 Christmas special

Selected filmography[edit]

Year Title[9][13] Channel Role Notes
1975 Speakeasy SPTV (New Zealand) Chefs / Co-presenters Six 10 minute segments
1976–1986 Hudson & Halls SPTV / TVNZ Chefs / Presenters 10 series[citation needed]
1976 Telethon 1976 SPTV Performers
1978 Telethon 1978 SPTV Performers The telethon set a Guinness World Record

of $3 million in donations from a per capita of 3 million people

1979 Telethon 1979 SPTV Performers
1981 Royal Variety Performance TVNZ Performers Performed at St James Theatre, Auckland
1982 Blankety Blank TVNZ Presenter Halls presented solo
1986–1990 Hudson & Halls BBC (UK) Chefs / Presenters 4 series
1988 Wogan BBC Guests
1990 Holmes TVNZ Guests Hudson & Halls were interviewed by Paul Holmes
1990 Tonight with Jonathan Ross Channel 4 Guests Series 1
1991–1992 Bazaar BBC Chefs / Co-presenters 9 episodes
1993 Noel's House Party BBC Guests Subject of a 'Gotcha' with Mr Blobby.
1993 Good Morning with Anne and Nick BBC Guest Chef Halls appeared on his own, credited as David Hudson-Halls


Hudson and Halls were the subject of a 2001 documentary, Hudson & Halls – A Love Story,[14] as well as a 2017 play, Hudson and Halls Live![15] A book, Hudson & Halls: The Food of Love, written by Joanne Drayton, was published in 2018.[5]


  • Hudson & Halls Cookbook, Hamlyn (ISBN 978-0868660004, 1977)
  • Hudson & Halls Gourmet Cookbook, Hamlyn (ISBN 978-0868660257, 1978)
  • Favourite Recipes from Hudson & Halls, Century (ISBN 978-0712619110, 1985)
  • Hudson & Halls: Beginnings, Middles And Ends, Sphere (ISBN 978-0747404170, 1988)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 15; Page: 1760. England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007 [database on-line].
  2. ^ a b "NZ Biography: Joanne Drayton on Hudson & Halls". RNZ. 6 June 2019. Retrieved 1 August 2022.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Hudson and Halls - A Love Story (Television production). 2001.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Tan, Rosabel. "Hudson & Halls, Histories Intertwined". Pantograph Punch. Retrieved 29 July 2022.
  5. ^ a b c Herkt, David (19 October 2018). "A Kiwi blind spot: New Zealand's intolerant love for Hudson and Halls". Stuff. Retrieved 29 July 2022.
  6. ^ Drayton, Joanne (25 March 2019). "Hudson and Halls in Parnell". The Spinoff. Retrieved 1 August 2022.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Bruce, Greg (4 November 2015). "Hudson loves Halls". Stuff. Retrieved 29 July 2022.
  8. ^ Herkt, David. "Kiwi Queer Screen (Part One) - From 'Hudson & Halls' to 'Squeeze' • Notes & Queries • Public Address". Retrieved 6 August 2022.
  9. ^ a b "BBC Programme Index". Retrieved 3 August 2022.
  10. ^ "Des and Mick Online - TV & Radio - Noel's House Party". Retrieved 29 July 2022.
  11. ^ a b "Grieving TV chef died from overdose". The Birmingham Post. 6 January 1994.
  12. ^ "Gay chef's last hours of grief". Daily Record. 6 January 1994.
  13. ^ Screen, NZ On. "David Halls | NZ On Screen". Retrieved 3 August 2022.
  14. ^ Frances Grant (2 May 2001). "Cheesy Peasy cooking with Hudson & Halls". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 23 November 2018.
  15. ^ Charlie Gates (7 September 2007). "Theatre review: Hudson and Halls Live! is a real gem". Stuff. Retrieved 23 November 2018.

External links[edit]