The Listener's very first Paul Holmes interview

by David McGill / 01 February, 2013
The year was 1973 when the Listener first met Paul Holmes - an energetic young broadcaster with a haircut as unbridled as his ambition.
NZ LISTENER, December 22, 1973, p15

Holmes in 1973/ photo Bill Beavis


Paul Holmes looks like the kind of guy who's good to have at parties. A genial fellow, he is big and friendly, with befreckled face and hair unknown to the hairdresser and he's full of chatter. That's probably why the 23-year-old unknown was chosen to follow Paddy O'Donnell and Lindsay Yeo running the all-night commercial radio show, The Real Thing Show with Paul Holmes from Christmas Eve for 20 non-stop nights from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.

He doesn't know how he landed the job; luck, perhaps, being in the right place at the right time. He was contract announcing when They asked him. He finds it all very weird. There he was, all set to take off last July with his brother for the compulsory Kiwi global trek - meet a few characters, see what happens, no return ticket, know what I mean? But he had a motorbike accident. Fractured his neck. Friends didn't know if he would live. Five weeks in hospital. Due to leave New Zealand in October however, he was asked to do a television series in Wellington. He did that and then he was asked to do this.

"I've only been an announcer 18 months," he says in the tones of casual amazement with which he has greeted all recent events. "I'm hardly even known in Christchurch, where I was on 3ZM. They must have heard the tapes I did there. Perhaps They feel They are taking a risk."

The tapes must have helped. There he was, a fledgling announcer, doing a weekly comedy spot, out seeking the Abominable Snowman on Mount Cook and getting sunk by the Rangitira in Lyttleton harbour - doing all his own sound effects. He reckons that humour is the X ingredient needed to be a successful announcer.

His enthusiasm has to be another. "As long as I can remember," he bubbles, "I've played deejays with the records. When I was a kid I used to get up on the table and pretend to be the auctioneer my father took his market garden produce to. Racing commentators have always appealed. I was a horrible little showoff, always dressing-up. I've always been excited by radio studios, all those lights and dials and records, the tension and drama of sitting in front of a little piece of metal talking and raving on and never wanting to stop. I imagine these six hours non-stop are going to be a ball."

A good keen young man, he definitely does not lack confidence. He sees the show being a bright, breezy party, cheering up those alone and adding zest to all-night parties. He will chat on the phone to listeners, to celebrities overseas, perhaps Coronation Street characters or stars like Nyree Dawn Porter, and to sportsmen. He will be on the phone to where things are happening, commenting on news and sports and talking to people who have come out with something controversial. And there will be lots of party music. He wants the show to be "contained irresponsibility", to be irreverent.

Holmes has favoured the irreverent in his own life, while he was growing up in Hastings and when he was not getting a degree at Victoria University of Wellington. He likes the company of jokers and wits, such as Roger Hall, who has written two of his television comedies, and John Clarke, who was in the film The Adventures of Barry McKenzie.

When he was in hospital he got to know a young fellow of 18 who had both legs badly smashed. What impressed Holmes was that this guy was still laughing. "I think the most important thing," says Paul, "is to be able to laugh... from the bottom of your tongue."

It looks as if They have picked just the guy for an all-night party.

More on Paul Holmes
Interview with Paul Holmes from 2012
Interview with Paul Holmes from 2006 Subscriber contentIcon definitionSubscriber content
Paul Holmes leaves TVNZ Subscriber contentIcon definitionSubscriber content
Paul Holmes faces criticism after “cheeky darkie” comment Subscriber contentIcon definitionSubscriber content
Paul Holmes: a terrific vulnerability
Kim Dotcom goes to Sir Paul's place - in pictures
From our achive: Paul Holmes: the running man


MostReadArticlesCollectionWidget - Most Read - Used in articles
AdvertModule - Advert - M-Rec / Halfpage

Latest

The Christchurch-born architect behind the Sagrada Família completion
80437 2017-09-24 00:00:00Z Urbanism

The Christchurch-born architect behind the Sagrada…

by Sally Blundell

Christchurch will get back its cathedral at roughly the same time as another celebrated religious building is finally completed.

Read more
Māori Party demise signals end to Te Ururoa Flavell's career
80472 2017-09-23 22:40:08Z Politics

Māori Party demise signals end to Te Ururoa Flavel…

by Craig McCulloch

Māori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell has signalled an end to his political career after voters ousted him and his party from Parliament.

Read more
Clarke Gayford on Jacinda Ardern's meteoric rise:  'A hell of a ride'
80469 2017-09-23 22:07:45Z Politics

Clarke Gayford on Jacinda Ardern's meteoric rise: …

by RNZ

Jacinda Ardern's partner Clarke Gayford has described what the last seven weeks have been like since she took over the leadership of the Labour Party.

Read more
Election 2017: Don't mention the war!
80400 2017-09-23 00:00:00Z Politics

Election 2017: Don't mention the war!

by Jane Clifton

Here is a piece in which the political editor avoids any discussion of politics.

Read more
Broadcaster Brian Edwards on the media, politics and his chef son Olly
78688 2017-09-23 00:00:00Z Profiles

Broadcaster Brian Edwards on the media, politics a…

by Sharon Stephenson

Brian Edwards has spent a life immersed in politics and media, while his son Olly is a restaurateur. At dinnertime, there's bound to be an argument.

Read more
Philosopher AC Grayling on our age of political uncertainty
80408 2017-09-23 00:00:00Z Profiles

Philosopher AC Grayling on our age of political un…

by Diana Wichtel

The prolific writer and philosopher AC Grayling says democracy is noisy and chaos can be productive.

Read more
Does political correctness really exist?
79474 2017-09-23 00:00:00Z Psychology

Does political correctness really exist?

by Jenny Nicholls

A term of abuse with a usefully academic veneer, it closes down debate while appearing to do just the opposite.

Read more
Top picks of New Zealand chardonnay's 2016 vintage
80453 2017-09-23 00:00:00Z Wine

Top picks of New Zealand chardonnay's 2016 vintage…

by Michael Cooper

Wine columnist Michael Cooper lists some of the best New Zealand chardonnays of 2016.

Read more