HD Heads-Up: March 27 – April 2

➢➢ TVNZ 1 will fast-track the latest season of Top Gear to screen 8.30 Mondays from March 28 on a double-bill with the return of 20/20. Highlights will include the trio driving the vehicles their fathers drove when they were children, an off-road special featuring jumping G-Wagens and the new Land Rover Defender, and a 007 episode. The new series went to air this week in the UK, where the Telegraph headlined its review: “Don’t tell Jeremy Clarkson, but Top Gear now ambles in the slow lane – and it suits it” …

➢➢ Continued the review: “Top Gear has been written off as out-of-touch and in need of a paint job for almost as long as The Stig has been popping up on BBC on Sunday nights. But having swapped Jeremy Clarkson for Matt LeBlanc and now moved on to Flintoff and McGuinness (with Harris clinging on from the LeBlanc era) there is a case that Top Gear has found a new niche. It’s no longer a celebration of fuel-injected, cyclist-hating late middle-age machismo. Instead, Top Gear has become ‘slow TV’ for the fluffy dice set” …

➢➢ The same audience may want to check out Prime’s The Truck Files – A New Zealand Story (7.30 Saturdays from March 26). According to the blurb, it “nostalgically traces the development of New Zealand’s road transport industry”, starting with how trucks complemented other heavy haulage methods of the early 20th century …

➢➢ Prime’s also picking up the SoHo thriller The Undoing. The overwrought HBO mystery is a juicy potboiler than ultimately comes undone but is worth a look for Hugh Grant’s teasingly ambiguous turn as Nicole Kidman’s murder-accused husband. It will open with a double-episode on April 2 and continue on April 3 and 4 as a stripped long weekend Easter special …

➢➢ Bill Bailey fans will get a double-Bill of the comedian ahead of his hosting the Easter premiere of new Kiwi panel comedy Patriot Brains. Bill Bailey Standup: Limboland will premiere on March 28 (TVNZ 2, 8.30) and Bill Bailey Weekend! Qualmpeddler on April 2 (Duke, 8.30). The former was recorded in 2015 and explores our expectations of happiness; the latter was recorded at the Hammersmith Apollo two years earlier and has been out on DVD for just as long …

➢➢ Not quite as dated but still less than timely will be The Diana Interview: The Truth Behind the Scandal (TVNZ 1, 7.30 Thursday), which premiered four months ago in the UK. It’s billed as “a deep look at the fallout from the inquiry into Martin Bashir’s 1995 BBC Panorama special with Diana, Princess of Wales, with new revelations and reflections”. The Telegraph thought it “pointless” save for “a compelling interview with the Princess’s former private secretary, Patrick Jephson” …

➢➢ Free-to-air sports for the last week of March include live coverage of T20 match between the White Ferns and Australia (TVNZ 1, 7.00 Sunday) and Live: King in The Ring (Duke, 8.30 Saturday), in which eight top welterweight fighters go head-to-head in a survival series on Auckland’s North Shore …

➢➢ The same week Maori TV will premiere three documentary series: Skindigenous (7.30 Monday), which traces indigenous tattooing traditions around the world; Home, Land and Sea (8.00 Tuesday), which highlights and promotes Māori success within the greater farming sector; and the Sir David Attenborough-narrated Wild City Singapore (8.30 Tuesday) …

➢➢ Back for new seasons will be Extreme Love Stories (Prime, 9.45 Wednesdays from March 31), Motorway Patrol (TVNZ 2, 7.30 Thursdays from April 1) and Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby (TVNZ 1, 8.30 Thursdays from April 1) while ending their runs will be Taskmaster UK, The Bachelor NZWellington Paranormal, WatergateWe’re Here and The Late Cut Cricket Show

➢➢ Duke also will belatedly air re-run Taskmaster’s New Year Treat on April 1 at 11.30. It features actors John Hannah and Nicola Coughlan, news anchor Krishnan Guru-Murthy, presenter Rylan Clark-Neal and Strictly Come Dancing head judge Shirley Ballas …

➢➢ Vicky McClure, Adrian Dunbar, Daisy Ridley, Bryan Cranston, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Imelda May will guest on the April 1 broadcast of The Graham Norton Show (Three, 8.30) …

➢➢ There will be two network movie premieres in the week starting March 27: Missing Link (Three, 7.00 Saturday) and Kumiko The Treasure Hunter (Maori TV, 8.30 Sunday). Other HD coming attractions will include:

  • The Emoji Movie (TVNZ 2, 7.00 Saturday) 
  • Collateral Damage (TVNZ 2, 8.30 Saturday)
  • Hell or High Water (Maori TV, 8.40 Saturday)
  • Blackhat (Three, 8.50 Saturday)
  • Broken Arrow  (TVNZ 2, 10.40 Saturday)
  • The Watcher (Three, 11.20 Saturday)
  • Superman Returns (TVNZ 2, 12.45am Sunday)
  • Captain America – Civil War (TVNZ 2, 7.30 Sunday)
  • Ghostbusters (Three, 8.30 Sunday)
  • Grimsby (Duke, 9.30 Sunday)
  • Alien – Covenant (TVNZ 2, 10.20 Sunday)
  • Enemies Closer (Prime, 8.30 Monday)
  • Gangster Squad (Duke, 8.30 Tuesday)
  • Red Riding Hood (TVNZ 2, 8.00 Thursday)
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Three, 7.25 Friday)
  • The Education of Little Tree (Maori TV, 8.30 Friday).
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2 Responses to “HD Heads-Up: March 27 – April 2”

  1. If I’m remembering correctly, Taskmaster’s New Year Treat aired back in January before Duke began airing S10.

  2. Thanks for the update, Sam. I don’t follow the show and was simply going by TVNZ’s billings, which don’t list it as a repeat.

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