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Hyundai Country Calendar


Producer's Diary - autumn 2016

Producer's Diary autumn 2016

It's great to be back on air with an increased number of programmes.

As well as the one-hour Special celebrating the shows 50 years on screen, we're bringing you 40 regular episodes, so we'll be on air till December. That means a lot of shooting. We've budgeted to have a crew on the road for close to 250 days this year and before winter starts we will have done nearly 200 days of that.

As well as putting more footage to air than at any time in the shows 50-year history, we're also involved in other events to celebrate our birthday.

Comedian John Clarke has generously allowed us to run his original Fred Dagg Country Calendar spoof  on TVNZ OnDemand till April 3.

The show has never been seen since 1974, but it's still as funny as when it first went to air. There's more info here including a poem John has written for the occasion.

He has also lent us The Dagg Sea Scrolls, in which he talks about how he developed the Fred Dagg character. The documentary also features highlights from the many other movies and TV shows that John went on to make.

There's more info about those at

The Fred Dagg episode is part of a new OnDemand collection that brings together all the seven spoofs that Country Calendar has made in the past. There's some very good viewing here but, like the Fred Dagg spoof, its available only till early April.

Waikato Museum is staging an exhibition looking back over 50 years of Country Calendar.

It opens in time for the Agricultural Fieldays in June and I'll include more info in a future blog. Two books are being published this year that are linked to Country Calendar. One, celebrating the show's birthday, will be released in September and I'll blog more about that later, but the other is now in bookshops.

It's the second time one of New Zealand's best-known cooks, Allyson Gofton, has joined forces with our show, inspired by the scenery and the people she's seen on the programme. As she travelled around to make the first book, she loved the wonderful farmhouses and homesteads she saw and the new book focuses on those.

After sharing recipes in many rural kitchens, the result is Country Calendar Homestead Baking with Allyson Gofton. The title may sound like a bit of a mouthful, but it's beautifully illustrated and, like the result of the recipes themselves, it slips down very easily. With all these additional events, it would be easy to get distracted from our real job, which is to bring rural New Zealand to the screen.

Trust me, we haven't forgotten about that and I feel the new series is possibly our best yet.

I hope you enjoy it.