Jaquie Brown

by Sarah Barnett / 29 July, 2006

As a photography student at Unitec, Jaquie Brown was bitten by the on-air bug after a mate covering bFM's graveyard shift let her introduce the odd song - "Probably something really naff like Bros." George FM and Channel Z followed, then she landed a gig with Dominic Bowden on TV2's lamented late-night music show Space. "And then Andrew Szusterman, the programme director at C4, was the PD at Channel Z, so C4 started up and he said, 'Come and audition for that', so I went from there to here, then John [Campbell] and Carol [Hirschfeld] went, 'Come and work for us', so I went, 'Wicked.'" Now 30, Brown reports for Campbell Live as well as presenting C4's music trivia show Pop Goes the Weasel.

It says in your bio for Campbell Live that this is your "grown-up job". It's grown-up because I come to work at reasonable hours and work with John and Carol, who are grown-ups. But I end up doing ridiculous things like dressing up in costumes and being injected with collagen. It's kind of like I'm having a bit of a laugh and one day they'll say, "Can you do some real work now?"

Do you miss the live stuff? Absolutely. I love live TV, I love radio. The joy of working on Campbell Live is having tons of time to make the stories, get the graphics, the facts, really think about them - it's great. But then I get a real kick out of just saying things on the spur of the moment.

There was an interview on Space with a crazy musician under a piano - That's right!

How do you deal with that kind of situation? I'm normally thinking, "I want this to make great entertaining television - I hope this translates as insane as it is." You just go with it. And he was a nut bar! In rehearsal, he was great. He said, "I'll play this bit here and then we'll do the interview", and we're like, "Thanks, Andrew WK." But then the camera rolled and off he went. The thing about being live is that you never know what's going to happen and it's quite exciting.

What's stood out on Campbell Live? I got a really nice response to a story on parking wardens in the city. It sounds really boring, but I spent the day with this really lovely guy called Raguel Motupalli, who told me how, on the street, people will go past him and yell, "Get a real job!" And he was like, "I get really depressed about it." My heart just broke doing that story. I guess we showed a more sympathetic side to parking wardens. And then he wrote to me and said, "Dear Jaquie Brown, thank you so much, since the story's aired, people are now saying, 'You're doing a good job!' And thank you for what you've done for parking wardens." And I just about cried. I thought that was really lovely. Which is why I like doing things that make people laugh, because I know what it's like at the end of the day when you switch on the TV and you're just confronted with people trapped in mines, and wars and depression.

How's the new series of Pop Goes the Weasel? It's good. We filmed it in one big bunch, three episodes a day over two weekends. You can imagine how hard it is getting musicians into the studio at seven in the morning. We ply them with beer, so that's why some of the episodes are a bit nutty. I've had Andrew Fagan smearing chocolate sauce all over my cleavage, and me just not knowing what to do. I kind of lost the plot - I don't know where you draw the line between sexual harassment and great entertaining telly. So I'm going, "Stop - Have you got a good angle? - Get off! This is filthy! - Did you get that?"

How do you feel about it now? Oh, I think I do need some sort of electrical device that I can just prod him with -

A Taser? Yeah, a Taser. He means well. He's like Andrew WK in many ways, 'cause backstage he's like, "Okay, what do you want from us?", and I'm just like, "Just go for it - do whatever you want" - not expecting he'd lurch for my norks.

Would you ever go on a celebreality show? "Celebreality"? That's great! Well, one, I can't dance. I was asked to do some stuff for a programme here and I didn't want to; it made me feel uncomfortable. New Zealand is a beautiful and small country, and if you do every women's magazine, every television programme and you're in everyone's face, it's very similar to when you're in a relationship and you start saying "I love you" too much. It just cheapens it.

Do you have more plans? I'll stick around Campbell Live for now, and keep doing Pop Goes the Weasel. I would like to do more interesting things for TV, but it just depends what comes my way.

Like what? All sorts of things. Travel, cooking, live shows. I loved working on Space. I loved that late-night live element. They took a real gamble on Dominic and me, putting us in that position, because we didn't know each other and we were quite crap to start with, but I think we got quite a bit better after a while.

Does acting appeal? I was the lead rat in The Pied Piper of Hamelin, you know. It's hard to come down from that kind of level. From the lead rat, where would I go? Um, I don't know, I don't think so. Probably not, I don't think I'd be any good at it. I can do tantrums and storming off, silly things like that, but, no, probably not.

Campbell Live, TV3, weekdays, 7.00pm; Pop Goes the Weasel, C4, Friday, 10.00pm


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