NZOA Gets In Deep With Big Blue

NZ On Air is bankrolling another series of the HD spectacular, Our Big Blue Backyard, for nearly $2.1 million.

The Natural History NZ commission rated strongly for TV1 and the second series of six hour-long episodes will explore the farthest reaches of our oceans, up to the Kermadecs and down to the Antarctica.

News of its funding through NZOA’s Platinum documentary fund comes the same week TV1 announced filming was under way of its two-part telefeature, Abandoned.

It’s a dramatisation of the sinking of the Rose Noelle trimaran en route to Tonga in 1989, when the crew were given up for dead — only to survive 119 days at sea before being cast ashore on Great Barrier Island.

The four survivors underwent a fresh ordeal on terra firma when their story was suspected of being fabricated.

NZOA is investing $2.6 million into this two-hour adaptation of the book, The Spirit of Rose Noelle; heading the cast are Dominic Purcell (Prison Break), Greg Johnson (Agent Anna), Peter Feeney (Black Sheep) and Owen Black (Shortland Street).

The nautical theme continues with Coast New Zealand, a local version of the enduring BBC hit that went into production last month with host Neil Oliver and four New Zealand experts exploring the formation and evolution of our nation (NZOA is contributing $1.75 million).

It’s not yet clear if another of NZOA’s commissions, TV3’s six-part stand-up comedy show Chopper’s Line Up ($90,080), which already is making headlines for its Australian connection, will be in HD.

But TV3 has confirmed Paul Henry Live will be in HD — just not for its April 7 launch.

A spokeswoman says the network’s latest bid to win the breakfast news show ratings will transition to HD later in the year when, presumably, we can expect 3News to go HD, too.

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