HD Heads-Up: April 25-May 1

Lest we forget TV1 used to fly the flag for public broadcasting, the network will commemorate Anzac Day’s centenary with all guns blazing.

In the last few years its April 25 coverage has been overshadowed by Maori TV’s.

But not this year. On April 25 it will screen wall-to-wall Anzac specials, a mix of drama, documentary and live broadcasts in HD, starting with the dawn ceremony from the recently completed Pukeahu National War Memorial Park in Wellington.

Primetime highlights include:

  • a special episode of Hyundai Country Calendar (7.00 Saturday), about the farming heritage of a World War I general who led Kiwi troops;
  • the network movie premiere of War Horse (7.30 Saturday);
  • the double-episode premiere of the NZ drama, When We Go to War, which follows the fortunes of two families in The Great War (8.30 Sunday); and,
  • Descent From Disaster: A Gallipoli Special (8.30 Wednesday), in which Zinzan Brooke examines one of our worst military disasters.

TV1 will also air in HD the NZ Memorial Service from Chunuk Bair but, ironically given its commemoration commitment, will be pipped by TV3’s live coverage starting 15 minutes earlier. (TV3 also  has wall-to-wall Anzac programming from 6am-5.30pm but only the memorial service in primetime.)

TV1 has another new period drama series starting the same week as When We Go to War with a similar theme.

Our Zoo (8.45 Thursday) is the true story of a wounded WWI vet who set up his own zoo in 1930s England and would seem better suited to an early evening slot, say 7.30 Saturday, than mid-week in a less family-friendly slot.

However, Britain’s The Guardian took the opposite tack when the six-part series aired Sunday evenings on the BBC.

It said Our Zoo was “better than it sounds” while The Telegraph called it “winningly warm, with heaps of charm, lump-in-throat moments and adorable wildlife”.

But The Times wasn’t as moved: “The first episode of this pre-knackered period drama could hardly be more sentimentally Sunday school, or more childish.”

Also new for the week starting April 25 are the 2015 Old Mout Cider Comedy Gala (TV3, 8.30 Sunday) and the network movie premiere of 2 Guns (TV2, 8.30 Friday).

Other HD coming attractions include: Cats & Dogs 2: Revenge of Kitty Galore (TV2, 6.50 Saturday), Due Date (TV2, 11.05 Saturday), Last Night (TV2, 3.05am Sunday), The Waterboy (TV2, 8.30 Sunday), The Collector (TV2, 11.15 Sunday), Pitch Perfect (TV3, 8.30 Wednesday) and It’s Complicated (TV3, 8.30 Thursday).

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