Monthly Archives: November 2013

Erik Thomson from Packed to the Rafters

‘Packed to the Rafters’ is drawing to a close and one of its most loved characters Erik Thomson (who plays Dave the Dad) tells us about a movie called ‘Justin Brown.’

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$50 says you won’t know this actor’s name


You should because he’s been around a long time. In fact, looking through his IMDB profile would suggest he’s starred in every TV show since YEAR DOT. Star Trek, Remmington Steele, Moonlighting, Macgyver and The Simpsons. Not to mention movies. His roles in Con-Air, Under Siege and Die Hard 2 would suggest he has a penchant for hijacking plots, but he also plays wonderful down-to-earth characters inspired by Roddy Doyle’s Barrytown Trilogy: The Committments, The Van and The Snapper.

This morning on our radio show we spoke with him about ONE CHANCE, the true life story of phone-salesman-turned-singer Paul Potts. Having never watched an episode of Britain’s Got Talent, the man pictured initially thought he be whisked off to Cambodia to play the former leader of the Khmer Rouge. Alas, he would stay in Britain and become Paul’s father Roland, a man set in his ways and very much against any son of his becoming a singer. This wasn’t a stretch for the Irishman in the photo as his own father reacted similarly when he said he was set to become an actor. ‘(You f-cking what?).

So, do I keep my $50?

A. Legendary Irish actor Colm Meaney.

But you knew that…


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The day R2D2 threw me into a wheely bin


I could barely sleep the night before Kenny Baker (the man who played R2D2) was set to join us on our radio show. And what a gentleman. 3 feet 8 inches tall, Kenny was a circus and cabaret performer before getting a phone call from George Lucas in 1977 that would change his life. Who knew there were two R2s? In the original Star Wars films, there were two models, one that was remote controlled and rolled on three wheeled legs, and another which was worn by Kenny and walked on two legs. Also a surprise was discovering Kenny’s lesser known role as Paploo the Ewok.

Most interviews have at least one awkward moment and the one with Mr Baker came when he asked if I might lift him onto a chair in the studio. It should be said the chairs we use for radio are relatively high, designed to almost fall onto from a standing position. But not when you’re 3 feet 8 inches. I thought lifting Kenny might be similar to lifting a toddler. Wrong. I gingerly put my hands underneath the armpits of a 76-year-old sweaty, muscular man and hoisted him onto the seat. He laughed and gave out a satisfying grunt. What a strange Tuesday.

‘Kenny, could we have a quick photo before you leave?’

‘Great, you jump in the wheely bin.’



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Kids always find the rudest page

Kids always find the rudest page

And in The Dog That Ate The Bathroom it happens to be this page. Then again, I’m old and I still find it funny. (Click on image if you’d to see the ebook.)

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Why you can’t win at being a new parent

There should be no reason to complain when you have a new baby. Life is great. Life means something. But it can also be tiring – and therein lies the problem. When something so incredible happens, is there any excuse to moan? And who can you moan to?

If you moan to non-parents they’ll give this answer:

‘You signed up for it. Quit your complaining! Get a dog next time.’

If you moan to another parent they’ll say this:

‘Yeah? And? You think it’s bad now, wait till they can actually walk! And you’d better get your shotgun ready etc.


How to become a top author: Read 7 Harry Potter books in a day


‘The Bone Season’ author Samantha Shannon is pretty damn busy. Having been to three Australian cities the day previous, she joined us in our Auckland studio before getting ready to fly to London that afternoon. Here are some highlights.

How Samatha feels being compared to JK Rowling:

I can understand ‘The Hunger Games’ similarities as both stories are Distopian novels, but I think J.K Rowling is a shallow comparison. I’m a huge fan and any comparison also suggests she is passe in some way, which is untrue as she’s still writing. The only similarity is that we both happen to have seven books with Bloomsbury.

Who she’d like as lead role in ‘The Bone Season’ movie:

We haven’t had casting yet, but we do have producers. I’d choose Benedict Cumperbatch as a lead. He’d be perfect as Paige’s boss, a Crime Lord who uses flowery language.

On being the 10th most famous Samantha on a Google search:

There aren’t too many Samanthas! I’m a 90s girl – my favorite Samantha is Samantha Mumba.

How she feels during a day of no writing:

If I can’t write I feel anxious. Most writers have to pour their creativity into something. For me, it started with short stories when I was 13. I wrote my first novel when I was 15. I also remember reading all the Harry Potter books in one day because I didn’t want anyone to ruin it for me.

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You kill it you eat it


Or so said hunter and businessman Davey Hughes, whose memoir (Untamed) we wrote together a few years ago. Clearly Melissa Bachman, who produces programmes on the American outdoors, had never heard the saying normally reserved for kids when they think it a good idea to shoot a small bird, or any other defenseless animal. Look at that beautiful, big old cat. What a waste. And what a sad grin on the perpetrator.

The Lorde of the literary world?

The Lorde of the literary world?

How cool. Tomorrow morning on Classic Hits Auckland (7.50am NZ time) we’ll be speaking with Samantha Shannon, the girl who began writing at age 15, before crafting The Bone Season at age 18. Lorde, what’s in the water these days?

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Death in the City of Life

During our life-changing journey that became the bestselling book Bowling Through India, it was somewhat ironic the Black Craps (as our five man cricket side was known) should end up playing cricket in a cemetery in Varanasi, otherwise known as the City of Life. The tombstones were used as stumps and a Catholic caretaker tried his best to keep games to a minimum – until we turned up. Thanks to The VC and photographer Brendon O’Hagan for providing this slideshow of our unforgettable match.