02 November 2013

TV flashback 1986

As the past two instalments of my Listener TV flashbacks have been popular, I thought I'd split the difference. After a glimpse at the viewing fare on offer on 15 April 1981 and 15 April 1991, the best option seemed to be to split the difference. So here then is a snapshot of the television on offer on the two Television New Zealand channels broadcasting on 15 April 1986.
Listener cover, 15 April 1986

The Listener's cover story highlights the premiere of a new television live-action adaptation of Stephen Ballantyne and Bob Kerr's graphic novel Terry & the Gunrunners (clip). This popular series is a reminder of New Zealand's now-waning proficiency in producing kidult dramas - back in the 1970s and 80s this was a niche in which TVNZ excelled. The politics page also ends with a brief nod to the biggest story of the day, the cowardly French secret service bombing of the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior in Auckland in July 1985:

Do French spies Dominique Prieur and Alain Mafart know something we don't? Seeking a splash of colour in their drab prison lives, each has taken out a subscription to the Listener. Not for the usual year, but for six months only. Are they planning on going somewhere later this year?

It seems they did have travel plans - in June 1986 the New Zealand government was heavied into accepting a payout from France in return for allowing the two agents to depart their New Zealand jail and reside for three years on the French Pacific island, Hao Atoll. France breached the agreement, and both agents were back living in France before the three years was up. 

C128 ad, Listener 1986
The standout advertisement from the April 1986 Listener was the full-page ad for the Commodore 128 home computer, the stepping stone between the hugely popular Commodore 64 and the imminent Commodore Amiga. According to the ad, the 128 offered peerless computing flexibility:

Using the Z80A microprocessor the 128 transforms into a business computer running CP/M Plus version 3.0, the latest version of the most popular business operating system for 8-bit micro computers. Famous programs such as dBase II, Wordstar, Calc-star and all of the most used applications together with many specialist packages; 80 columns. The C128 CP/M mode reads various 5 1/4" CP/M disk formats.

ONE - 15 April 1986

3.00 Sesame Street - 'Today presenting the letters H and Q, the number 3, and wearing glasses - relax, you're not alone. Also Te Whakapiri Maori with Jimmy McLean and Anahera Bowen'.
4.00 After School - with Olly Ohlson
4.05 Hans Christian Andersen Fairy-tales: Little Ida's Flowers
4.30 Video Dispatch: 'Lloyd Scott presents news & current affairs for younger viewers, with reporters Vicki Wilkinson-Baker, Kerre Woodham and Hannah Wallis'.
5.00 The Flintstones - Hanna Barbera's stone age cartoon (1960-66, 166 episodes)
5.30 Dr Who - Frontier in Space (2/6, from 1973) - 'Accused of being Draconian spies, Jo and the Doctor (Jon Pertwee) are taken back to Earth' (BBC, 1963-89, 2005-present, 798 episodes) 
6.00 Happy Days - ever-repeated 1950s comedy (1974-84, 255 episodes)
6.30 News
7.30 Then Again - 'Annie Whittle asks the question: "Whatever happened to...?" Following up the forgotten files are Kevin Milne, Judy Callingham, Caroline McGrath and Warwick Burke'.
8.00 Family Ties - Michael J Fox-featuring family sitcom (1982-89, 176 episodes)
8.30 Miami Vice - Swish Floridians popularising white dress jackets* (NBC, 1984-89, 111 episodes) -  'Tale of the Goat: Tubbs gets an inside look at voodoo worshipping which covers up big business'.
9.30 Return to Eden - Australian drama featuring Rebecca Gilling (miniseries 1983, 22-part series 1986).
10.30 Brass - ITV 1930s 'oop north soap satire - 'There's a gathering of clans in Utterley village, which will settle old scores in a final reckoning (Final)' (1983-84, later revisited by Channel 4, 1990).
11.00 News
11.05 Mackenzie - BBC drama series from 1980 including supporting role from Tracy Ullman.
12.05 Closedown

TWO - 15 April 1986

3.30 The Mary Tyler Moore Show - Ground-breaking CBS comedy (1970-77, 168 episodes)
3.55 Eight is Enough - Over-fecund family comedy (1977-81, 111 episodes)
4.55 Country Calendar - TVNZ's perennial rural magazine show (1966-present)
5.15 Small Wonder - Robot family comedy (1985-89, 96 episodes)*
5.45 News
5.50 Te Karere - Maori news (1983-present)
6.00 Sons & Daughters - Australian soap. 'An unexpected arrival at Fiona's property augurs well for her future' (1981-87, 972 episodes)
6.30 The Young Doctors - Australian soap. 'Life at the Albert Memorial Hospital' (1976-83, 1396 episodes)
7.30 Who's the Boss? - Sitcom. Spawned the 2nd-best misheard lyric ever** (1984-92, 196 episodes)
8.00 Wild South - NZ wildlife doco, on Lake Ellesmere's swans.
8.30 Tuesday Documentary: Conquest - celebrating the history of the world's space exploration programmes.
9.30 Eye Witness News - 'The latest news and background stories with Angela D'Audney in Auckland and Lindsay Perigo in Wellington'.
10.00 Freud - 6-part BBC serial on the life, work and ideas of Sigmund Freud, with David Suchet in the title role.
11.05 Mission Impossible - CBS thriller (1966-73).
12.00 Closedown

* Having left acting in 1991, Small Wonder's Tiffany Brissette, who played V.I.C.I. the android, is now a nurse in Boulder, Colorado.

See also:
TV: Justine Bateman - Interview (1983)
TV: Dr Who - Frontiers in Space (clip)
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