Must see TV: Dotcom, Bain, and Tamihere pull in the punters

Hats off to some great gets in tellyland recently. John Campbell kicked it off on Thursday 1 March with a brilliant interview with Kim Dotcom. The interview garnered world wide attention, and was picked up by international networks Rtl Germany, NBC America, and Reuters. Then on Sunday both David Tamihere and David Bain broke their silence for the first time in a night of must-see TV. Both did time… but did they do the crime?

A one-minute extract of the interview – the first with Dotcom since his arrest, played on Campbell Live last Wednesday night, with the full interview broadcast on Thursday evening, before the story was posted online. By Monday morning, Nielsen figures showed a record 191,606 streams of the full interview, the highest published ondemand figure for a single programme in the New Zealand market, although still falling well short of Nek Minute’s 2.5 million hits and Ghost Chips’s 1.8 million views.

Director of news and current Affairs, Mark Jennings says it was a major coup for Campbell and his team to get the first interview with Kim Dotcom (unpaid, Campbell said on Twitter).

“Broadcasters around the world are lining up to interview the man the FBI seem to want so badly. John again showed why he is one of New Zealand’s best interviewers, and the item on Dotcom gave viewers a fresh insight into the man at the centre of this remarkable story.”

Kim Dotcom himself came across surprisingly well. Watch the interview here or read the full transcript here. The exclusive covered everything from Dotcom’s thoughts on his impending trial, to why he moved his family to New Zealand, to his time in remand and concerns for his pregnant wife, to why he believed he was protected from charges by the law itself.

Tv3 followed up Kim Dotcom with another great get, David Bain. Melanie Reid spoke with Bain on Sunday night’s 60 Minutes, in his first real interview since his release from prison. Bain was given a fairly easy ride in return for this exclusive. Reid gave him free reign to talk about his trial, his jail time and his adjustment into the real world as they rode horses together on Auckland’s west coast.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion on Bain. Reid portrayed him very sympathetically, and he came across as an intense young man trying to make a new life for himself in the face of much adversity. He revealed how hard the trials were to endure, and told Reid he had survived 13 years in prison only by taking it five minutes at a time.

“I was not there. It has been proved I was not there.” Bain repeatedly says, convinced. I believe he believes he is innocent. On the plus side, Bain seems to be getting a lot of attention from the ladies these days.

But TVNZ came out fighting with a great get of its own, with Sunday’s Janet McIntyre interviewing David TamihereLike Bain, Tamihere has served time for murders he says he did not commit. The legal system did everything it could to resolve the murders of seven people, to almost no avail. There are still more questions than answers. Now it was time to sick the best journos in the country onto the accused, and see if they had any luck, and it must be said McIntyre gave Tamihere a bloody good going over.

Tamihere was found guilty of the murder of two Swedish tourists back in 1991 and spent two decades in jail, despite there being no material evidence tying him to the tourists. Like Bain, Tamihere has protested his innocence all along. But McIntyre wasn’t afraid to put Tamihere on the spot, and it was riveting. She outright asked him where Heidi Paakkonen’s body was, and whether he had killed the Swedish tourists, all the while looking like butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth. But it didn’t faze Tamihere, who remained totally unruffled throughout loaded questions like “so, you do know how to use a knife?”

In an ironic twist of fate, or just an example of the small country we live in, Sunday‘s Janet McIntyre had to contend with her husband Keith Slater producing rival TV3’s story on Bain. Awkward. Would love to know what channel they were watching Sunday night.

David versus David. Both an incredible watch. If innocence is equal to personality, humour, and gift of the gab, then both Davids have it in bags. Both men are very convincing, charismatic speakers. They’ve had a lot of time to practice. And some good support. There is little doubt that major mistakes were made during the prosecutions of both men, but does this in itself mean they are innocent? Both men want your sympathy, Bain seemed desperate to come across as a warm and likable person. Tamihere couldn’t have cared less.

Make up your own mind David Bain and David Tamihere.

Ratings-wise the battle of the two David’s was won by Bain on TV3. 60 Minutes had 149,400 viewers, compared to 124,000 choosing to watch Tamihere on TVNZ’s Sunday (Nielsen all viewers 18-40).

Journalistically speaking, John Campbell’s interview with Kim Dotcom was outstand-amazing in terms of balance, fairness and objectivity. It was both fascinating and enlightening. He wins by a long shot. McIntyre vs Tamihere was absolutely mesmerising. Reid on Bain’s treatment left me felling slightly nauseous and needing a hot shower. But, by golly, it was the best Sunday night on telly for ages and will be hard to beat. It’s heartening to see the bar being set so high.

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