TV's Tolkien fever hits airwaves

JANE BOWRON
Last updated 09:00 30/11/2012
john campbell
LAWRENCE SMITH/Fairfax NZ

ON AIR: TV3's John Campbell at Wellington airport waits for Hobbit cast and crew to arrive.

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If you rang in sick on Wednesday struck down with a bad case of Tolkienitis and couldn't make it to the red carpet in Courtenay Place there was plenty of hobbit porn blitzing TV One and TV3.

Breakfast was right into it with Tamati Coffey delivering the weather half in English and the other half in elvish, predicting a good day for travellers. TV3 kicked off its Hobbit coverage at 4pm, anchored by Carolyn Robinson looking strangely glam, hair up in a bun and wearing a strapless silver gown.

Down on the carpet Samantha Hayes, slapped with more foundation than a post-quake rebuild, dealt masterfully with a volley of dwarfs, hobbits and the "gross goblin" Barry Humphries, who pawed her arm and told her that Sir Peter Jackson was a genius, while roving reporter David Farrier ferreted out the more outlandishly dressed Hobbit fans.

John Campbell, stationed at the end of the line, bailed up several of the stars who Hayes had already processed and committed the cardinal cringe sin of interrogating overseas celebrities about what they really thought of little old NuZillid.

When they dutifully waxed lyrical about special place special Wellington, New Zealand, the South Island and Sir Peter Jackson was/were – James Nesbitt even praised the education system – Campbell asked if they were just people-pleasing or did they really, really mean it.

Viewers were invited to text, tweet and email in their thoughts and how they were spending this special day, with some amusing contributions, including: "Peter Jackson could turn a trip to the dairy into a trilogy"; "I hate every person in Wellington right now"; "Shaved cat and glued fur to feet".

The temperature was 22 degrees Celsius but anyone would have thought it was in the 30s, with Auckland reportage raving about tropical roasting temperatures.

John Key, wearing a St Patrick's Day green bow tie and donning one elf ear, took the huge crowd turnout personally, interpreting it as a mandate from the electorate to change employment law.

The Air New Zealand Hobbit plane flew dam-bustingly low overhead, the six o'clock news bulletins on both channels came and went heavily freighted with Hobbit coverage.

All that was missing was Big Daddy–Gandalf (Ian McKellen) who stayed away.

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- The Dominion Post

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