Irishman lifts lid on NZ

The best way to evaluate the success or failure of your life is to imagine how it might look on television.

Would you look fabulous on the small screen, or would a rightly judgemental audience see through the thin facade of acceptability to view the desperate reality; the petty concerns and sordid thoughts that urge you on, from the shameful desires with which you wake to the sullen misery that slinks into your bed come night?

Which would it be?

Prime shines a harsh light on our people on April 13, and that may give some idea of how we scrub up come dawn, when the cruel early light magnifies every crease and wrinkle the blunted knife of care has cut though the flesh of our once youthful visage.

And how do we look?

Terrific actually - or at least the countryside does, when Irish actor James Nesbitt, who was here for a few years filming The Hobbit, shows off James Nesbitt in New Zealand.

James Nesbitt, of course, is the Irish fellow who seemed to pop up in every UK television drama or comedy for years.

He was in the 2007 Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde recreation Jekyll, had a role in Woody Allen's Match Point, starred in the ITV medical drama series Monroe, and then, of course, starred as the dwarf Bofur in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit trilogy.

James Nesbitt in New Zealand runs on Prime this Sunday week at 8.30pm.

We learn that ''on the other side of the world, over 11,000 miles from Britain, lies the remote island of New Zealand''.

''Whilst filming The Hobbit here for the last two years, New Zealand has been my home from home,'' he claims.

We learn New Zealand is the world's third most peaceful nation.

Shot number five in the introductory sequence is a lovely view of Otago harbour.

We see the result of filming during a visit to Wanaka in May last year, when Nesbitt, an international film crew and a bar full of enthusiastic onlookers got a taste of the ''Perfect Woman'' contest at the Bullock Bar.

He interviews ''leaay-dees'' (Irish for ladies) who explain the intricacies of ''this bizarre annual title''.

He also visits Sam Neill and talks vineyards.

''The cool climate here is just like central Europe,'' he explains.

He visits Sir Peter Jackson.

''We just go ahead and do it,'' Sir Peter tells him.

James Nesbitt in New Zealand makes the country look nice, and the people look harmlessly quirky.

And harmlessly quirky is something, I'm sure, most of us aspire to.

It's better, God knows, than the dark truth.

- Chalres Loughrey

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