'Astonished' by city's sophistication

The food, the warmth, the food. Sir Tony Robinson could not speak highly enough of his time in Dunedin.

Sir Tony had always been curious about Dunedin so was very glad when it was decided to film part of his television series Tony Robinson's Tour of Duty in the city this week. 

''I was astonished at how sophisticated it is. I thought it would be flat. Obviously, it's not.''

He was most taken with the food available and the number of restaurants around the city.

Still on his mind late on Sunday was Saturday night's five-course oyster dinner at St Clair's Pier 24.

''It's extraordinary.''

For his show's producer, Anne Maree Sparkman, ''Sparky'', the trip was a chance to revisit one of her favourite cities.

She spent three years in Dunedin in the late 1970s after leaving her Melbourne home aged 18 to start a journalism career at The Evening Star newspaper.

A year later, she got a job on what is now TV One and then went on to a Sunday news programme.

''It was incredible training and a great grounding.''

She returned to Melbourne, where she is still based working for independent television production company WTFN. Among her credits is series Bondi Vet.

She said while Dunedin had changed over the years, it still retained its architecture and ''easy living'' feel.

''You can park right outside your coffee shop.''


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