Yo, Nightliners

Nightline – 20th Birthday Special
One of my strongest memories of the seventh form is being tired in class. The sort of tiredness that can be relieved by a walk around the block or, well, an interesting school lesson.

I was always tired because I used to stay up late (11pm!) watching Nightline, TV3’s late news. Back then it was hosted by the power duo of Joanna Paul and Belinda Todd. Belinda was utterly fierce and managed to offend people all the time.

I mean, there are the infamous moments of offence – the Russell Rooster pash, the “69 positions in 60 seconds” clip – but she also managed to offend a viewer by taking an elaborately carved watermelon and biffing it over her shoulder. Because, um, that’s disrespectful to the watermelon carver.

I also loved the digs Nightline took at “state television”. One time Belinda and Joanna donned dark bob wigs, the then universal TV One lady newsreader do. And TV One was running a feel-good promo featuring a shaggy dog and Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World”. Nightline did their own version – one of those yappy dog toys, set on fire, and with Primus’ stonking tune “Too Many Puppies” as the soundtrack.

The golden days of Nightline have come and gone. Television in New Zealand is a very strange place at the moment, and it will be very interesting to see what the state of things will be in the next decade.

But those late nights, the sleep deprivation, the half-arsed seventh form wasn’t for nothing.

Watch the Nightline 20th anniversary special.