Doug Coutts: Lost & Found

Lost & Found guide David Lomas

TV Preview: Lost & Found | TV3, 8.30 Thursday

A PERSON VIEW By Doug Coutts

By Doug Coutts

It sounds like a great idea – people who’ve been separated from their kids or their parents for years finally get a chance to meet them, thanks to the munificence of a television company who ask nothing more than a chance to be there when it happens.  

Oh, and shoot it from five different angles but since there’s only one camera, would you mind doing that long walk three times? And answering the same interview questions in several locations? Not to mention putting up with a presenter who could give Dominic Bowden lessons in stringing things out.

At least they don’t have to put up with music lifted from Border Patrol or Piha Rescue, or the wallpaper footage padding a half-hour show out to an hour. That’s reserved for us viewers.

The first episode of Lost & Found deals with a woman whose father didn’t know he was in fact her father, a woman given up for adoption and a man who went to pick up his daughters at their mother’s house 25 years ago to find they’d moved. He never saw them again.

Lost & Found uses sophisticated tracing techniques – in the case of the missing daughters even going through the Auckland phone book – to achieve the desired effect, which is tears in close-up.

The human side is not lost on this reviewer but it’s buried beneath too many layers of reality formatting – music, wobbly cam and back cuts of concerned presenter to name but 20 minutes’ worth.

All power to the subjects – it takes a lot of courage to confront issues that have been festering away for years. It’d be better if the journey weren’t presented in such a voyeuristic and tabloid way.

Doug Coutts has had a career in and around television for close to 40 years. He spent 13 years as a floor manager at Avalon Studios before going freelance and never earning as much again. His writing has spanned TV genres — from Shortland Street dialoguery and quiz shows to documentaries and comedy — while a lengthy stint as TV reviewer in the Auckland Star earned him two mentions in Metro magazine’s Hot List and an angry letter from Jon Gadsby. You can read more of Doug (the satirist) at: Weakly Whirled News.
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