What Now

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This article is about the New Zealand children's TV program. For other uses, see What Now (disambiguation).
What Now
Created by Rex Simpson
Presented by
  • Chris Kirk
  • Ronnie Taulafo
  • Bianca Seinafo
Opening theme What Now 2013
Country of origin New Zealand
Production
Camera setup Multi-Camera
Running time 120 minutes
Release
Original channel
Picture format PAL
Original release 1981 (1981) – present
External links
Website

What Now is a long-running New Zealand children's television program that premiered in 1981. It is filmed before a live studio audience at Whitebait Productions in Christchurch.

The show airs every Sunday at 8 am on TV2 and has segments such as Game On, Phone and Away, Super Circuit and Target Ya Teacher. It has no adverts, due to the Broadcasting Act 1989 which states that no advertising can be shown on New Zealand television between 6 am and noon on Sundays.

History[edit]

What Now? was created by Rex Simpson before he left to head up his own production company, Kids TV.[citation needed] It originally screened on Saturday mornings on TV ONE between 7:30 and 10 am. Hosted by Steve Parr, he introduced segments covering morning keep-fit exercises, sketches involving recurring characters such as complaining old man Clive Grumble, simple recipes by Alison Holst, trivia from Frank Flash, law and safety with Constable Keith and Sniff, interspersed with regular cartoons. The theme song was Get Out of Your Lazy Bed, by Matt Bianco.[1]

When Steve Parr left the show after a couple of years, the format changed to live broadcast. The hosts increased in number, usually to three, beginning with Danny Watson (from Spot On) and Michelle Bracey added, and Frank Flash (Alasdair Kincaid) given a more central comedic manic role. When Michelle left the show, she was succeeded by Michele A'Court. Comedy sketches, interactive phone calls and competitions with the viewing audience, plus magazine-style segments going out and about, all became a more central part of the format.[citation needed]

The style remained this way for many years, as hosts evolved and were replaced, until today where the format now involves live audiences of crowds of children, but still is closely faithful with the core concept established early on.

In 1989 the show moved to TV2 and then in 1996 to Sunday mornings. An after school version of What Now, What Now PM, also ran on TV 2 during the week between 1997 and 2002.

The weekdays version of What Now? became its own separate show known as WNTV. First hosted by Carolyn Taylor and a face in a computer screen played by Mikey Carpenter. Later the show changed dramatically but kept the same WNTV name. It became a drama showing behind the scenes of a children's afternoon magazine show. This was hosted by Antonia Prebble and Tom Herne, and featured several other characters. Anna Allbury and Jo Tuapawa featured as reporters.[citation needed]

The What Now show was moved to TVNZ's Avalon studios in Lower Hutt in 1999 until TVNZ shut down its Children's Department at the end of 2003. What Now the show was then brought back to Christchurch in 2004 to be produced by an independent company Whitebait Productions, headed by Janine Morrell-Gunn and Jason Gunn. What Now? has been funded by NZ On Air since NZOA's inception in 1989; prior to that it was funded by TVNZ.

In 2004 the afternoon show WNTV was cancelled and replaced with the current children's afternoon TV show Studio 2 produced by Ian Taylor (Taylormade Media Ltd).

Various programme partnerships over the years have seen What Now? promoting ‘healthy eating healthy action', water safety and old-fashioned letter writing amongst many other things. What Now? has a long-standing association with the Weetbix Kiwi Kids Tryathlon, and with Sport and Recreation New Zealand whose ‘Push Play' message encourages children to be physically active.

Early What Now? presenters were also credited as writers. They were people like Michelle A'Court, Danny Watson, Al Kincaid, Michelle Bracey, Simon Barnett and Catherine McPherson, some of whom have gone on to roles as directors and writers. A more recent presenter who made a significant behind-the-scenes contribution was Anthony Samuels, who also trained as a director.[citation needed]

Off-screen personnel who have shaped What Now? over the years are many. They include camera operator and director Alan Henderson (also secretly rumoured to be the brains behind Jason Gunn's sidekick Thingee), Directors Keith Tyler-Smith, Bill de Friez, Peter Verstappen, Mike Rehu, Brian Wickstead, Mark Owers, Mike Ritchie, Jason Gunn and Richard Hansen. Producers include Richard Driver, Mike Rehu, Tony Palmer, Anne Williams, Reuben Davidson, and Janine Morrell-Gunn. Emma Gribble got her start opening the mail for the fan club and 10 years later became producer of the show.[citation needed]

Current presenters[edit]

Host Role Duration
Ronnie Taulafo Studio Host 2011–present
Chris Kirk Studio Host 2015–present
Bianca Seinafo Studio Host 2015–present

Previous presenters[edit]

  • Steve Parr 1981 - 1983 - Parr hosted the New Zealand edition of Sale of the Century alongside Jude Dobson in the late 1980s and early 1990s, before moving on to a career in real estate and elevated photography.[2][3]
  • Jim Hopkins (as Clive Grumble) 1981 - 1987
  • Alasdair Kincaid, A.K.A. Frank Flash 1981 - 1988 and The Answer Guy (in the 90s)
  • Eddie Sunderland (arts and crafts) 1984(?)-1992
  • Danny Watson 1984 - 1987
  • Michelle Bracey 1982 - 1984
  • Michele A'Court 1985 - 1987
  • Darren Young 1991 - 1994
  • Fifi Colston (arts and crafts) 1987 - 1993
  • Catherine McPherson 1988 - 1992
  • Simon Barnett 1988 - 1992
  • Thingee 1989 - 1997 (puppet who also co-hosted Son of a Gunn show and Chatterbox)
  • Jason Gunn reoccurring guest/presenter since the early 90s. Creative writer
  • Carlos Miller in a cooking segment "Let's Cook" 1989-1990
  • Steven Zanoski 1994 - 1995
  • Fiona Anderson 1994 - 1998
  • Stacey Morrison (Daniels) in a cooking segment 1995 - 1997
  • Karl Jeno Schmid 1995 - 1998
  • Anthony Samuels 1995 - 2004
  • Jason Fa'afoi 1995 - 2004
  • Eugene Blick (What Now‍ '​s first DJ) 1996 - 2002
  • Shavaughn Ruakere 1997 - 2001
  • Richard Hamond 1999 - 2001
  • Carolyn Taylor 1999-2004, 2005–2006 and on WNTV (2008)
  • Danny Talbot 2002 - 2004
  • Soheel Ali 1984 - 1985
  • Antonia Prebble 00's (WNTV)
  • Tamati Coffey 2005 - 2007
  • Vicki Lin 2005
  • DJ Vinyl Richie (Richie Mills) 2005 - 2007
  • Steve Joll 1996 - 1998
  • Tim Allen (as the character Props Boy) early 00's
  • Virginie Le Brun 2005 - 2006
  • Serena Cooper-Rongonui 2006 - 4 July 2010
  • Camilla the Gorilla 2006-2013
  • Charlie Panapa 2006-2011
  • Tumehe Rongonui (Roving Reporter/Slam Host) 2007 - 2010
  • Johnson Raela 2011-2012
  • Adam Percival 2011-2015
  • Gemma Knight 2010-2015

Regular segments (past and current)[edit]

  • Serial Stuff - Serial comedy/drama, with outdoor scenes realised in Chuckimation style. Late 1990s - early 2000s
  • Celebrity Traffic Island - Satirical take-off of Celebrity Treasure Island. Written by Andy Gunn - Jason Gunn's brother.
  • Pie-in-Yer-Ear House - Satirical take-off of Pioneer House. Written by Andy Gunn.
  • Game Zone
  • The One
  • SLAM!
  • Foul's Kitchen
  • Stars in Dusgise
  • Da Apprentice - Based on The Apprentice
  • Balls Of Fortune
  • Splat Cave
  • Live in Your Living Room
  • Fairytales Got Talent
  • LOL
  • Wobblies - Satirical take-off of children's music group The Wiggles.
  • Phone and Away - Satirical take-off of Australian soap opera Home and Away.

Gunge[edit]

Throughout the years, What Now has maintained the use of gunge and slime. Children, celebrities, parents and sometimes the presenters are often the subject of embarrassment in various gunge games. Examples include Fill Ya Pants, Foam a Friend, Flushed Away, Gunge on the Run, Gunge on the Road, Weekly Gunge Games, The Gunge Machine, Tank of Terror, Super Circuit, Brain Freeze, and general gunging.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "What Now? Christmas Special 1991". Video. NZ On Screen. Retrieved 25 September 2012. 
  2. ^ Russell Brown (2001-01-29). "Scale of the century". Unlimited Magazine. 
  3. ^ Steve Parr IMDb entry

External links[edit]