On Breakfast, there’s a gaping hole where there should be commentary on the issues of the day

by Diana Wichtel / 01 February, 2017

Jack Tame and Hillary Barry. Photo/TVNZ 1

Nothing says the holidays are over like Hilary ­yelling at you at 6.00am.

Until TV3’s The AM Show arrives, TVNZ 1’s Breakfast team have the slot to themselves, if only they can figure out what to do with it. The first morning featured camp mother of the nation Hilary Barry, co-host Jack Tame, newsreader Daniel Faitaua and new weather guy Matty McLean in a grinning row. The punishing theme: the weather has been bad. “Can you believe it? Snow in January? Really?”

This is the show to put our crap weather in perspective with something off the internet about cold elephants having to wear leg warmers in India, and tobogganing on dunes in the Sahara. “How mad is that!”

No madder than what passes for news here. I’ve always liked Matty, who once brought a playful, elephants-in-leg-warmers vibe to the business of reporting from the regions. His first morning in front of the weather screen had its highs, lows and a couple of unexpected squalls. “Sorry, first-morning jitters,” he admitted, to sounds-off of unkind mirth from his colleagues.

Tame helped ease him into the new role by ­mercilessly teasing him at every opportunity. After old weather guy Sam left, “we needed to go to plan B”, said Jack. “I’ve spent my career being plan B,” sighed Matty. When Tame started ­mimicking the English accent his colleague had allegedly acquired during nine months in London, it was too much. “The thing about Jack is he never lets the truth get in the way of a good story,” said Matty through gritted teeth. He seemed to go a little red, but that might just have been our colour settings. No one teased Faitaua when he reported a bus crash ­carrying passengers from “Hungaria”.

The star was the dangerously perky Brodie Kane: “Sport! Let’s crack into it!” She decided what a morning news show needs is a rugby shoelace-tying contest with Sevens stars DJ Forbes and Scott Curry. She certainly puts an original spin on the ritualised tedium of sports-speak. “You know how a dog is 10 in human years, but 110 years in dog years. How old are you in Sevens years?” she demanded of Forbes. “Not 110 dog years,” he replied.

All mindless fun. The problem is the gaping hole where there should be commentary on the issues of the day. “Chaos erupted on the streets of America!” cried Hilary, of the women’s marches. Well, no, it didn’t. US correspondent Rebecca Wright beamed in to report on “just the really kind and calm nature of the marches”.

As for the Monday chat with the Prime Minister, next time just read a press release. One of Breakfast’s news headlines was Israel’s intention to build more settlement houses in East Jerusalem. Given this country’s role in the UN resolution demanding an end to settlement building in occupied territories, you might have thought it would come up. Bill English did talk about Ratana, extolling, pointedly, the event’s “respectfulness and hospitality, warmth and often humour”; an open invitation, surely, to raise his decision to skip Waitangi.

Also in the news was Donald Trump’s senior adviser Kellyanne Conway’s deployment of the ­terrifyingly Orwellian term “alternative facts” to describe press secretary Sean Spicer’s fanciful claims about the size of the ­inauguration crowd. Alternative facts: here was a concept ­brist­ling with zeitgeist for the presenters and Breakfast Club commentators to get their teeth into. It wasn’t raised, unless I missed it when I nodded off. Back to a man on the internet who looked like Leonardo DiCaprio. “Give the people what they want,” said Tame at one point. That would be nice, but I’m not holding my breath.

Breakfast, TVNZ 1, weekdays, 6.00am.

This article was first published in the February 4, 2017 issue of the New Zealand Listener. Follow the Listener on Twitter, Facebook and sign up to the weekly newsletter.

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

Latest

Jacinda Ardern pregnant: Politicians past and present lend their support
86105 2018-01-19 15:45:44Z Politics

Jacinda Ardern pregnant: Politicians past and pres…

by RNZ

Politicians from at home and abroad are reaching out to offer congratulations to the Prime Minister mum-to-be.

Read more
Jacinda Ardern is going to be a Prime Minister AND a mum
86091 2018-01-19 12:36:44Z Politics

Jacinda Ardern is going to be a Prime Minister AND…

by Katie Parker

New Zealand’s newly minted PM and bizarrely cool and normal lady Jacinda Ardern has announced that she and partner Clarke Gayford are expecting a baby

Read more
Jacinda Ardern announces pregnancy
86074 2018-01-19 11:11:36Z Politics

Jacinda Ardern announces pregnancy

by RNZ

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that she is pregnant, with the baby due in June.

Read more
What the media silly season taught us
85933 2018-01-19 00:00:00Z Politics

What the media silly season taught us

by Graham Adams

To the eternal gratitude of media chiefs, each holiday period seems to throw up at least one minor scandal that runs in the absence of anything newsy.

Read more
Richard Prebble: Jacinda Ardern will face the tyranny of events
86009 2018-01-19 00:00:00Z Politics

Richard Prebble: Jacinda Ardern will face the tyra…

by Richard Prebble

I predicted Bill English would lose the election and the winner would be Winston Peters. But no forecaster, including the PM, predicted her pregnancy.

Read more
Aokigahara: More than just the ‘suicide forest’
85966 2018-01-19 00:00:00Z World

Aokigahara: More than just the ‘suicide forest’

by Justin Bennett

It's known as a 'suicide forest', but Justin Bennett found Aokigahara's quiet beauty outweighed its infamous reputation.

Read more
Truth and Lye: New perspectives on the brilliance of Len Lye
85816 2018-01-19 00:00:00Z Arts

Truth and Lye: New perspectives on the brilliance …

by Sally Blundell

New essays on New Zealand-born US artist Len Lye elevate him to the status of Australasia’s most notable 20th-century artist.

Read more
Brain activity may hold the secret to helping infertile couples
86046 2018-01-19 00:00:00Z Health

Brain activity may hold the secret to helping infe…

by Nicky Pellegrino

For about a third of infertility cases in New Zealand, there is no obvious reason why seemingly fertile couples struggle to conceive.

Read more