Growing up in Aotearoa, I watched What Now at 8am every Sunday. The live studio audience children’s programme was chaotic in the best way, with green gunge and a lipstick-wearing Gorilla called Camilla.
Inspired by last week’s Nostalgia Issue, I woke up early to see if the show still holds up. What Now calls itself “your morning wake-up”, and the aggressive horn and fart sounds ensured I was fully alert. This episode was a blast from the past, featuring former presenters Serena Cooper-Rongonui and Jason Gunn. I was surprised to see the skit “Serial Stuff” still running. I can confirm the skits are still weird, but I appreciated the dig at Mike Hosking.
The most exciting part as a kid was calling up to win prizes, although I never did. I decided to try my luck at age 20; they assumed I was a parent calling for a child, and I didn’t correct them. They still have teenagers operating the phones, called Telly-Ops, who provided better customer service than any other hotline I’ve ever called (looking at you AskAuckland). The big prize of this episode was an “Eden Park experience”, and kids were encouraged to pester their parents to bid on eBay.
Overall, while I was disappointed Camilla got the boot, watching the show was enjoyable. I won’t be tuning in again anytime soon, but it’s still pretty iconic.
“I was disappointed Camilla got the boot.”