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Career

'Our terrible TV moments': Four local celebrities reveal their on-screen screamers

The Weekly talks to four Kiwi TV personalities who aren't afraid to admit that, sometimes, it really can go horribly wrong!

Just because you're on telly, doesn't mean you're always happy about what you see yourself do!
For many of our on-screen celebs, life in front of the camera can mostly be fun, always entertaining and occasionally a bit embarrassing.
The Weekly talks to four TV personalities who aren't afraid to admit that, sometimes, it really can go horribly wrong!

Suzanne Paul - Infomercial host & television presenter

"I have never watched myself [on TV] even from the first advert I ever did because you never look and sound how you think you will.
Right from the start I was highly criticised for my accent. Everywhere I went people would say, 'Oh my God, you're the lady with the strange voice and the weird accent.'
When I saw myself on the telly I had to agree. I do sound terrible and I don't like the look of myself.
When I did Dancing with the Stars my dance partner, Stefano Oliveri, and I sat down after the first week to watch the episode and I was mortified. I didn't look how I felt.
In my head I was young and slim and gorgeous. When I saw myself I was distraught. Oh, look at my stomach! Oh, look how short my legs are!
Even though I won the competition and everybody said I looked gorgeous I just couldn't see it.
I completely lost my confidence and thought I looked like a complete idiot. Stefano said I wasn't to watch myself anymore because it wasn't good for my confidence, so I didn't.
With my adverts, the problem is I never know when they're coming on. I was in a Sydney hotel room last year and always have the TV on in the back-ground (I don't like being in an empty room by myself) and an advert came on. I realised it was me and panicked.
I was trying to change the channel as quickly as I could but there I was on that channel selling something else. Oh my God, it was a nightmare, so I switched again and there I was for a third time. I broke out in a cold sweat and had to switch the telly off in the end.
I know I am too rough on myself. I did an interview with Anika Moa last year and every-one said it was hilarious but I've still never watched it.
My lovely partner, Patrick, keeps saying to me, 'Watch it, you'll love it!' But I'm not ready yet.
Funnily enough, now, nearly 13 years later, I can watch myself on Dancing with the Stars. And when I look back at the show I don't know what I was worried about. I looked lovely, I was amazing! I don't know what was wrong with me."

John Hawkesby - Broadcaster & author

"Most of the telly I did was live, the sort where you can see yourself out the corner of your eye and watch your own slow death.
When I hosted It's in the Bag, I worked with Hilary Timmins as my co-host for six years. As you will recall, the show was about taking the money or the bag − which could include a brand new washing machine, a trip to London or a booby prize, such as a voucher from the Two Dollar Shop.
I was in full flight one time, trying to really ramp up the enthusiasm and shouting at the top of my voice, 'The big prize hasn't gone, I'm offering $1200, a trip to London for two or you could finish up with one of Hilary's boobies.'
There was a thunderous silence. Hilary just about fell out of her gear and could not sober up. I just wanted to kill myself. We were filming live though so I didn't stop and kept on going, warts and all.
Another time, when I was doing Top Half in the early 1980s, I was all set to interview a punk rocker called Wreckless Eric who'd had one hit called Whole Wide World.
It was a live interview and in walks Eric during the commercial break, the archetypal punk rocker with more stuff in his nose, eyebrows and ears than I'd ever seen.
He was a disgusting looking person and I don't think he knew what deodorant was because the whole studio stunk. He looked at me with venom, as if I was the enemy. I thought I'd go straight to the heart with this guy, no pussyfooting around.
He sat on the couch between me and Judy Bailey and when the commercial was over I leapt in and welcomed him to the studio, then said, 'Tell me, is it all drugs and sex on the rock'n'roll road?' There was a pause as he looked at me, then replied, 'Well if it was I wouldn't be here would I?' He then spat on the carpet and walked out.
My favourite story is another day on Top Half with Judy.
The Rubik's cube was the big new craze in the early 1980s, and some kid in Norway got the world record by doing it in 13 seconds. It was Judy's story and she was holding up a cube, explaining how it all worked.
She started turning it to demonstrate and every time she turned it, a piece flew off. There were bits flying off everywhere and I'm sitting next to her, off camera, wetting my pants as this thing disintegrates. Lovely Judy is all prim and proper trying to do it correctly and kicking me out of [view of the] camera to stop me laughing.
Finally the thing is almost completely demolished and she beams down the camera, 'My co-host John Hawkesby will continue to demonstrate,' and hands me what's left of the Rubik's cube. I had to hold that damn thing until we could end the show and re-join the network."

Kerre McIvor - Newstalk ZB radio host

"Celebrity Squares was not a great show for me.
You may remember it was based on the game noughts and crosses, and in each box was a different celebrity. The host would ask each celebrity a question and the contestant had to guess whether the answer was right or wrong.
I was cast as the dumb, blonde bimbo. The host was Richard Wilkins, who is a really handsome New Zealand-born, Australian celebrity. In those days game shows gave away a lot of household stuff, and in this case it was a lovely queen-sized bedroom suite with a headboard and matching bedside tables.
Richard announced it and then said, 'Here's something Kerre would love, you must have worn a few of these out over the years Kerre.'
I replied, sitting up in my little square, 'Ha, ha, ha Richard.' There were no hard feelings because all our lines were scripted, so he wasn't being mean − he was just doing his job. It was a different time in the early 1990s − what are you going to do?
I turned up for the gig and played the dumb blonde, that wasn't really me. I was waitressing at the time and got $600 for doing it, so it was very useful.
Another show I worked on was Ready Steady Cook, which I actually hosted in the late 1990s. It was one of the first cooking-game shows and we worked really hard, filming five shows in one day.
On this one day cricketer Martin Crowe was busily chopping tomatoes when I realised, with horror, that he had chopped the tops of his fingers off.
I was looking at them and saying, 'Gosh, these tomatoes look nice and juicy,' and then noticed all this blood spurting everywhere and he was looking really pale. Like a trooper, Martin kept talking to the camera but I eventually had to tell them to stop filming. It was too much.
I have done so much terrible TV in the past, such as turning up for the Pascal Celebrity Challenge dressed as Wonder Woman and sliding down poles. Horrendous. Jude Dobson was very good at all that!
But I've escaped the worst TV humiliation because I said no to Celebrity Treasure Island every year from the age of 32 to 54. I say no to quite a few reality shows. I'm not great real − I'm much better packaged."

Brian Edwards - Broadcaster & author

"Curiously, the worst thing I remember of my early TV appearances on the Christchurch edition of Town and Around was my really (really!) strong Belfast (Northern Ireland) accent.
I recall [publisher] Christine Cole Catley in an early review referring to me as 'a newcomer' and singling out my 'intriguing Irish accent'. To me, this intended compliment was an insult and a slap in the face. I hated my accent and, over the years, worked hard to lose it.
I think I was reasonably successful in that effort. I'd like to think of my current accent as more of a 'brogue' − soft and lilting.
In the 1960s I headed off to the West Coast of the South Island to file some stories for Town and Around. I discovered they had a new PR officer so I thought, 'This is a good idea, who better to talk to for a story.' We thought we'd do some colour stuff, maybe in a pub.
Down I go to the West Coast, and the weather is unbelievably awful, pouring with drenching rain. The new PR man was happy to do an interview so I did it outside.
There was an unbelievable amount of rain coming down and this man was wearing an English-style hat which had a rim. He's standing in the rain and could barely see me, and the rim of his hat kept gradually collecting water so that every time he leaned forward the water would pour down his face and his front.
All the while, I'm saying, 'So tell me, what is so good about this place?' It was awful and so naughty and evil and bad to do to the poor fellow, who'd only been there a few days.
That night we went down to the pub in Greymouth for the second story and there was a marvellous woman there who got up to sing. She had a fantastic voice and sang this song which was so plaintive, with the words, 'It's dark as a dungeon down in the mine,' and she was standing on the table, having had a few drinks.
So my two stories were the crucifixion of the new PR man down on the West Coast and the drunken woman singing dark-as-a-dungeon-down-in-the-mine on a table.
The people on the West Coast didn't like it and wrote unpleasant letters to me saying extremely nasty things and making extraordinary suggestions about what I could do with myself.
I felt I could never go back there for fear of what they would do to me. But last year my wife, Judy, and I did venture there and had a lovely time in lovely weather."

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