HD Heads-Up: March 20 – 26

➢➢ Outbreak: The Virus That Shook The World (TVNZ 1, 7.30 March 25) “left viewers utterly horrified” when it aired on ITV in January, reports the Mirror. “The documentary tracked the story of the Covid-19 virus, which has now killed more than two million people, from the day it was first transmitted to a human, and claimed the Chinese authorities tried to cover up that it could spread from human to human. Chinese healthcare workers and journalists revealed on the programme that they had been forced to stay silent or lie about the nature of the virus. Heartbreaking footage of wet markets played on the screen with live animals crammed in cages, and the documentary reminded viewers that they are still operating, meaning a new virus could be created any day” …

➢➢ Has anyone had a longer farewell tour on TV than Billy Connolly? His latest tribute special, Billy Connolly: It’s Been A Pleasure (TVNZ 1, 8.30 March 22), was made to mark his retirement from stand-up. It includes contributions from Paul McCartney, Elton John, Lenny Henry, Dustin Hoffman, Russell Brand, Whoopi Goldberg, Aisling Bea, Armando Iannucci and Sheridan Smith. And don’t expect this to be the last Connolly bash — Billy Connolly at the BBC has just aired in the UK …

➢➢ The good news is critics reckon It’s been a Pleasure is better than most of its ilk. “Normally programmes that wheel on famous people to say what a great bloke another famous person is make me reach for the sick bucket,” said The Times. “But Billy Connolly: It’s Been a Pleasure was special, not just because of the calibre of talking head — Paul McCartney, Dustin Hoffman and Elton John don’t often do this sort of thing, let’s face it — but because they nearly all had something intelligent to say” …

➢➢ The Guardian trumpeted Saturday Night Fever: The Ultimate Disco Movie (Prime, 8.30 March 25) as “a deep dive into the making of a low-budget, possibly world-changing film, with contributions from its cast members, producers and one of its directors. What promised to be an over-the-top fan letter from [Strictly Come Dancing judge Bruno] Tonioli was, in the end, an entertaining examination of the making of an accidental blockbuster” …

➢➢ Three will re-run Westside from season one late-night Tuesdays, starting March 23 …

➢➢ Prime will air the rescheduled Halberg Awards live from 8.30 on March 24, following a red carpet hour at 6.00 …

➢➢ Kate Winslet, Stanley Tucci, Orlando Bloom, Aisling Bea, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Silk City and Ellie Goulding will appear on the March 25 broadcast of The Graham Norton Show (Three, 8.30) …

➢➢ Ending their runs that week will beTravel Guides NZThe WalkersCasualty 24/7, Fear Factor and Big Fat Gypsy Weddings 

➢➢ There will be a raft of network movie premieres in the week starting March 20, including Sherlock Gnomes (Three, 7.00 Saturday), The Girl In The Spider’s Web (Three, 8.45 Saturday), The Sisters Brothers (Three, 11.05 Saturday), Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (TVNZ 2, 7.30 Sunday) and Overboard (Three, 8.30 Sunday) …

➢➢ Other HD coming attractions will include:

  • Jack the Giant Slayer (TVNZ 2, 6.30 Saturday)
  • The Spiderwick Chronicles (Maori TV, 7.00 Saturday)
  • Predator (Duke, 8.30 Saturday)
  • Deepwater Horizon (TVNZ 2, 8.35 Saturday)
  • Paterson (Maori TV, 8.45 Saturday)
  • Syriana (TVNZ 2, 10.45 Saturday)
  • Fantastic Four 2: Rise of the Silver Surfer (TVNZ 2, 1.15am Sunday)
  •  This Means War (TVNZ 2, 2.50am Sunday)
  • The Prince and Me (TVNZ 2, 12.00 Sunday)
  • Monsieur Lazhar (Maori TV, 8.30 Sunday)
  • Young Guns (Duke, 9.30 Sunday)
  • Alien Resurrection (TVNZ 2, 10.10 Sunday)
  • Now You See Me: The Second Act (Prime, 8.30 Monday)
  • Aeon Flux (Duke, 8.30 Tuesday)
  • RoboCop (Three, 7.30 Friday)
  • Team America – World Police (Duke, 8.30 Friday)
  • Rush (Maori TV, 8.30 Friday).
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