• The Listener
  • North & South
  • Noted
  • RNZ

What's the point?

Who better than an Australian drama queen to be a script consultant on TVNZ's new soap opera.

The Australian script consultants for The Point, TVNZ's G-rated soap opera due next year, are a mother-and-daughter act, Coral Drouyn and Kelly Lefever. Log on to Drouyn's bizarre lolly-pink website, titled Drama Queen, Australia's TV Drama and Soap Monarch, and read a staggeringly boastful mini-bio of the writer's life and times.

Drouyn recalls the time that as a drop-dead cute four-year-old with a mass of blonde curls she acted in a movie with Cary Grant. When Grant saw her precocious talents in the rough cuts, he was said to have cried, presciently: "Bubbles is stealing the scenes, cut her!" The list of Aussie soaps that Drouyn has written for include Prisoner: Cell Block H, Blue Heelers, Pacific Drive, Neighbours and Home and Away, the TV3 soap currently leading the 5.30pm ratings.

The drama queen's flair for writing soap is reflected throughout the website as she dishes the dirt on colleagues and praises herself to the skies. Lefever, who worked with her mother on Blue Heelers, is referred to glowingly as her number one daughter and an "award-winning scriptwriter". If TV1 audiences don't get The Point, which has been given an extraordinary three-year commitment, they can always drop into the Drama Queen website for something more stimulating.

*

TVNZ senior drama commissioner Kathleen Anderson has been holding meetings in Melbourne with Drouyn and Lefever, but no one's revealing the identity of the New Zealand scriptwriter/creator of The Point whom Tony Holden (TVNZ general manager of commissioning and production) keeps talking about. Other production houses suspect that there is no such animal, though local writer Joss King has been brought on board late in the piece to add a Kiwi into the mix. Holden's claim that soaps are the answer to the network's 5.30pm problem-slot seems odd when you consider that three Aussie soaps - Echo Point, HeadLand and Breakers - have been cancelled.

*

Some reckon it will be Shaun Brown, whereas others pick Andrew Shaw, but the strongest rumour so far is that Jeff Latch will be the new head of television for TVNZ. The former general manager of sales left TVNZ in 2001 to become the director of Sportsworld Media Group, then moved to Sports Inc Touchdown. The TVNZ gig is an enormous one because it has both content and programming reporting to it.

*

This just in: the full transcript of what TVNZ news chief Bill Ralston allegedly said in his infamous outburst to a hapless Herald on Sunday reporter asking questions about Ralston's homeless cousin.

Some imagination is required on the reader's part.

"You're a f---ing scum-bag and you're a c---. F--- off. I'm f---ing pissed off with you, you f--ing low-down dirt [sic] scum-bag. Everyone has someone who is sick in their family and you can't do anything about it. Nah, f--- ya, you're a f---ing dog. You're a low-down, mother-f---ing, scum-sucking c---. F--- off."

According to expert tirade analysts, the balance of probability is that Ralston was telling the reporter to go away.

*

Oops. Clarification of an earlier item (August 26): John Drinnan is leaving NBR to join the NZ Herald's Business Herald, replacing Georgina Bond and covering the retail sector.

*

The Commercials Approval Board has given the green light to two out of three of MTV's raunchy Pure NZ Goodness campaign ads. The campaign, made by Lowe Hunt, centres on a New Zealand dairy factory where bikini-clad babes suggestively milk the cows and playfully squirt each other. The milk is picked up by an MTV van and delivered to homes where citizens drink it and start behaving like P-fuelled monsters, stabbing one another till they spurt milky leaks. In the other ads, trios of girls in bikinis writhe round the lawn smearing bloody steaks all over one another, and a youth licks a cactus before straddling it meaningfully. The cactus ad had to be re-cut and was given separate ratings of AO and G. Other agencies have protested that the ads (view them on www.mtv.co.nz) are a rip-off of the Bikini Bandits and the Brucetta ads in which a brewery is run by comely young females in skimpy clothes.

Email: mediacolumnist@listener.co.nz