NZ may be next in line for 'Coast'

Scottish television personality Neil Oliver films with cameraman Jeff Aldridge on the Queenstown...
Scottish television personality Neil Oliver films with cameraman Jeff Aldridge on the Queenstown lakefront at the weekend. Photo by Philip Smith
Scottish television personality Neil Oliver has filmed a promo in Queenstown for a potential New Zealand spin-off of long-running BBC series Coast.

Fresh from filming a second series of Coast Australia, Oliver told the Otago Daily Times he was visiting the resort as part of a South Island holiday with his wife and children.

While here, he had taken the opportunity to film the promo on the lake shore with Queenstown-based television and film producer Philip Smith.

''Based on what I've seen, we're looking at the possibility of doing some television in New Zealand.''

Smith said Foxtel Australia had commissioned his company, Great Southern Television, to make two eight-part Coast Australia series.

The first series, which screened on Foxtel Australia's history channel over two months  from last December, had been ''hugely successful'', scoring the highest ratings ever for a factual programme on Australian cable television.

It had also just finished screening to more than two million British viewers a week on BBC2, and he hoped to get a New Zealand broadcaster interested in a local version.

''If we can get it on BBC2 for two million people to watch on prime time every week, then that's an exceptionally good promotion for New Zealand.''

Oliver, an archaeologist and writer who also presented BBC documentary series A History of Scotland and Vikings, said he hoped to return to film the series next year.

It would use the same template as the other Coast series, but draw on the knowledge of New Zealand academics and experts in natural and social history.

''There's a kind of Coast family of shows now and there are clear physical resemblances between them, but each has a unique character that's dictated by the landscape and by the stories that are here.''

He had spent time in Queenstown a fortnight ago, and spent the weekend in the ''gorgeous'' resort before returning to Australia.

''My wife says the scenery here in Queenstown is uplifting.

''She says it makes her feel better just being here, and it is. It's good for the soul.''


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