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Fred Dagg hits top spot in Aussie TV ratings

Fred Dagg hits top spot in Aussie TV ratings

Thirty years on and Fred Dagg is top of the pops across the ditch and again scoring rave reviews at home.

The 1970’s character returned to TVNZ last year in the Dagg Sea Scrolls, a laugh a minute retrospective of Fred Dagg’s considerable contribution to New Zealand’s comic library.

The Scrolls then enjoyed a successful outing in Australia where it claimed the number one rating spot in its ABC timeslot, attracting over 1 million viewers.

The Scrolls, along with several other highlights of Fred Dagg creator John Clarke’s illustrious career as general commentator on all things, has been packaged into an authorised Daggography; Fred Dagg All Purpose DVD. And it’s finding critical favour in New Zealand already acclaimed by Listener DVD reviewer Alexander Bisley and The Lumiere Reader critic Andy Palmer.

In this week’s Listener, Bisley described the Fred Dagg All-Purpose DVD (Astronought) as:

“…a cracker overview of the Taihape titan.” Bisley said he “laughed like a drain” watching Dagg’s riffs and praised the “prime satire clips”, “hilariously erudite spiels” and live poetry readings.”

Equally delighted, Palmer said:

“On hearing Fred Dagg/John Clarke had released a DVD I knew I had to get my hands on it. It’s pretty funny – pretty bloody funny actually.”

“Clarke can be seen as inspiration for many local ‘comedians’ that followed, from Billy T. James to Havoc and Newsboy”

“I’m sure there’s more Dagg out there to be recovered and seen, and I can hardly wait for further installments. In the meantime this is a great introduction to the immense talents of John Clarke.”

The reviews and renewed success has delighted Clarke and his business partner Jay Cassells.

“Fred Dagg is one of the great comedy inventions. His ‘Greatest Hits’ album is still the biggest selling record in New Zealand history. John Clarke (Fred Dagg) is an incredibly prolific artist who has spent decades getting audiences internationally to laugh at themselves with his irreverent brand of politically and culturally motivated humour. It was refreshing for people to revisit John's beginnings in the Dagg Sea Scrolls and delightful that New Zealanders can now get hold of this work on DVD.” said Queenstown based Cassells. “Incidentally, now that we have the capacity to do it, we can land Mr Dagg’s fine work to any address, anywhere in the world. All you have to do is place the order and we can bring joy to some distant Kiwi, dropped behind enemy lines and deprived of true culture”.

The Fred Dagg All-Purpose DVD is available through (ask nicely and it’ll be autographed) or you can place an order at your friendly Paper Plus shop. is a distribution website established by Clarke and Cassells to promote and distribute their projects and those of other, likeminded artists. promotes a more direct connection between artist and audience.


About Dagg Sea Scrolls
A New Zealand show, made for New Zealanders, playing on New Zealand television?

They said it couldn’t be done. But all went well one Monday evening in March 2006 with a small miracle witnessed across the nation. A tasteful, high-end Kiwi documentary featuring well-known rural identity Mr Frederick Dagg, was broadcast on TVNZ.

There was much rejoicing in The Plough and Chequebook; not just because the patrons share a love of quality televison. But because they did it. They took on the system, they ran hard and they won.

Here’s how it happened.
Some time ago, dismayed at the standard of broadcast television and buoyed by the recent development of the digital shearing handpiece by Bruce Bayliss, a group of citizens wrote to TVNZ to express their concern (copying in Te Papa and anyone else who would listen). They laid out their grievances and suggested a solution. As time went by and they received greater support from others in the district, they sensed victory and through persistence and good judgement, they prevailed and the Fred Dagg retrospective was screened on March 6, 2006 at 9.30pm.


© Scoop Media

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