Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Director and actor Adrian Alper dead at 51 after complications from tuberculosis.

by Thinus Ferreira

The director and actor Adrian Alper has died from complications with tuberculosis. He was 51.

On 14 May Actor Spaces announced that Adrian Alper had died.

After working as an actor, writer, comedian, presenter and voice-over artist, Adrian Alper moved into directing.

He studied at the United World College of the Atlantic from 1989 until 1991 and performed on stage in Wales after which he returned to South Africa where he continued to appear in plays, after which he transitioned to TV and film.

On TV, Adrian Alper had roles in series ranging from Gaz'lam and 7de Laan, to Generations, Isidingo, Isithembiso, Rhythm City, Plek van die Vleisvreters, Gwarra-Gwarra MunisipaliteitSterlopers, Trackers, Terug an EgipteSuidooster, Vetkoekpaleis, Roer Jou Voete and koelpixels to Zero Tolerance

In film he appeared in Seconds, Susanna van Biljon and Droomman.

Besides voiceover work and TV commercials he directed episodes of soaps and sitcoms like Isidingo, Backstage, Madam & Eve, Shado's and's Scandal!.

IN IMAGES. 2024 Suidooster Stormsterk: See the cast behind the concert in 34 photos.

by Thinus Ferreira  

Under the strobe lights the air was electric. And I was behind the scenes with kykNET's Suidooster soap cast recently on a Saturday afternoon just before the third Suidooster Stormsterk concert in Cape Town's Artscape.

For the third time, the cast of the hugely popular Suidooster soap on kykNET & Kie (DStv 145) took to the stage to wow the audience inside the Artscape as the absolute highlight of 2024's Suidooster festival.

On the Saturday afternoon the Artscape was packed with 1 500 people. 

With not an empty seat in the house, the Suidooster cast - with the help of backup dancers - dazzled the audience as they sang and danced their way through a carefully rehearsed repertoire of popular hits.

In between the actors gave the Suidooster audience exactly what they needed: Jokes, teasers about what will happen to characters in upcoming episodes, solos, duets and group numbers, all while entertaining the crowd with what they love most - simply seeing the well-known faces they see on television but in-person.

Just before the curtain lifted, I got exclusive access backstage as the cast arrived in their dressing rooms, got their makeup done, got dressed and did a final full-show rehearsal before this year's show-stopper.

From Jill Levenberg and Denise Newman to Annelisa Weiland, Richard September, Eden Classens, Simone Biscombe, Marco Spaumer and Irvine van der Merwe, to Theresa Sedras, Esther von Walsleben and Gantane Kusch were all there. 

"Nie, mar die Wade is lekker kwaai," said a dad as he filed out and walked out and down the Artscape steps at the end with his wife and kids in tow - speaking about Dean Smith who was the master of ceremonies. "Our tickets for next year moet ons sommer nou gaan koop."

Monday, May 6, 2024

South African fans slam Netflix SA's 'very embarrassing' Bridgerton Tour: 'Dear Gentle Reader, South Africa does it again, doesn’t get it right'.

by Thinus Ferreira

South African viewers again slammed Netflix's second tryout at doing a "Bridgerton Tour" on Saturday night, with those who looked and followed the spectacle, overwhelmingly dissing the lack of effort that South Africans who attended had put into the event - as well as their lack of knowledge and having not watched the show on Netflix.

After a "Bridgerton Affair activation" in South Africa two years ago that was widely pummelled by the public and the press for being off the mark and its lack of Indian representation, Netflix and Netflix South Africa tried again to get more traction for the upcoming third season of Bridgerton which will release in two parts starting in mid-May.

Like two years ago, Netflix once again flew people from elsewhere in Africa like Nigeria and Botswana to South Africa to play dress-up in old English outfits. Many however seemed clueless about what Bridgerton is, opting to over-focus on simply the fashion and photos.

Adjoa Andoh who portrays the character of Lady Danbury in Bridgerton, was also flown to Johannesburg and attended Saturday's event at the Memoire Events and Wedding Venue in Muldersdrift.

The PR company of Netflix South Africa, Eclipse Communications, didn't respond to media queries about the Bridgerton Tour in South Africa made last week and over the weekend.

On Saturday fans and viewers told Netflix South Africa in no uncertain terms that the people and what they saw as part of the Bridgerton activation on the night once again failed to impress - especially the lack of South African effort.

"Dear Gentle Reader, South Africa does it again, doesn't get it right," said Zamo Shangase. 

"The most known of society were in attendance but know the show, they did not. It's a shame that the creators and fans of the show were not in attendance. I wonder why? Anyways, I've heard that this was not the first, nor will it be the last where the people behind-the-scenes just miss the spot. Imagine Gentle Reader, meeting a DIY creator at a Maybelline event. Scandalous!"

Lazolala said it's embarrassing that Netflix SA "keep gatekeeping this event for celebs who don't even watch it and fans are left out in the cold".

Mtrinnisha told Netflix SA "the live was embarrassing. Most of the people there didn't know anything about Bridgerton", with Natasha Leigh who said "Half the people didn't even know the characters names or quotes. 

Talia Jadegov said "Just stop bringing this event to South Africa if you are only inviting people that don't even watch Bridgerton. How embarrassing!", while Kwezi Mshengu noted that "This is proof when South Africans go to an event they're going for food and alcohol".

Lucritia G said Netflix SA's Bridgerton event was "non-inclusive and people who seem not to have watched Bridgerton. Maybe listen to the feedback from your Dear Readers for once? Bridgerton is a global following and frankly this is very embarrassing for our local scene".

Nomkhosi Sabela said "That's what you get for inviting content creators instead of inviting fans - people who have watched the show. There's no way they were going to ace the looks because they know nothing about the show".

IamGrace said Netflix SA's event "was absurd. Most people couldn't answer the questions, indicating that they likely hadn't seen the series". 

Mitchie remarked: "Shout out to the Netflix team member who thought this was a good idea doing a live event - showing us what we had assumed with most Netflix events: Inviting a bunch of John Snow influencers who never truly appreciate the event that is organised".

M-Net's Queen Modjadji for Mzansi Magic - first offered to SABC multiple times - starts filming in secret location.

by Thinus Ferreira

Filming has started for M-Net's Queen Modjadji drama series which will broadcast on Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) from July this year, with cameras that are rolling in a secret location in South Africa.

The Mzansi Magic drama series is inspired by the Balobedu legend of rainmaker Queen Modjadji whose bloodline ruled Southern Africa's Lobedu clan for centuries. The series is produced by Rhythm World Productions and Duma Ndlovu responsible for Muvhango on the SABC's SABC2 channel.

The City Press newspaper, which had a journalist who was part of a set visit by M-Net to the Queen Modjadji film set in late April, reported that produced Duma Ndlovu said he pitched Queen Modjadji to the SABC several times which didn't want to do the show.

Regarding the Balobedu royal family, Doma Ndlovu says "They are still very secretive - there are still certain things that we can't touch but the story is a universal story of a queen who could make rain and that's not a secret".

Rhythm World Productions wanted to film Queen Modjadji in South Africa's Limpopo province but couldn't find a suitable location. Set construction of a village started in January this year and took two months, after which filming started in March.

Some of the Queen Modjadji cast include Ndavi Nokeri, Shudufhadzo Musida, Helen Lepebe, Ngelekanyo Ramulondi, Thabo Bopape, Wiseman Zitha, Masutang Rasekele who is also one of the language advisors and script writers on the production.

Sunday, May 5, 2024

Actor Mpho Sebeng dead at 31 after Potchefstroom car accident.

by Thinus Ferreira

Actor Mpho Sebeng died on Sunday morning after a car accident in Potchefstroom in South Africa's North West province. He was 31.

"The family of the South African entertainer, Mpho Sebeng, are saddened to confirm,to the public and media, that their son has indeed passed away," the family confirmed in a media statement on Sunday.

"Mpho met his untimely death in the early hours of Sunday 5 May 2024 due to a tragic car accident in Potchefstroom. Whilst the family appreciates the immense outpouring of love and condolences, the family requests some space to process the news," Oupa Morake, family spokesperson said.

"The details of his home-going celebrations will be communicated in due course and we request that you continue to hold the Sebeng family in prayer."

Born in Soweto on 1 December 1992, growing up in Witpoortjie, Randburg and studying politics and philosophy at the University of Witwatersrand, Mpho Sebeng became known for TV roles in series like Zero Tolerance, gang leader Slay in SABC1's Soul Buddyz, Justice for All, and M-Net's The Queen on Mzansi Magic (DStv 161). 

On he appeared in the drama series Z'bondiwe in 2015 and a year later in the telenovela Ring of Lies for which he got a Best actor nomination at the South African Film and Television Awards in 2018.

 Appearances in other's series included both its soaps Rhythm City and Scandal!

Appearances in other TV series included Bay of Plenty, Hush Money, Kokota, Saints and Sinners, The Throne, and M-Net's The Estate.   

In Netflix series he had roles in Savage Beauty, The Brave Ones and Miseducation.

In film Mpho Sebeng appeared in Mngani Wam', Thando, Man in Crisis, The Jakes are Missing, and 2011's Winnie Mandela.

In 2019 he tried to venture into rap music and released a debut hip-hop song, "Phuso Phala Anything".

The SABC in a statement said the public broadcaster "is saddened by the untimely passing of the actor Mpho Sebeng. His immense contribution to the entertainment industry will never be forgotten. The SABC extends its heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and fans".

The streaming service Netflix South Africa said "A life well lived. Rest in peace Mpho Sebeng".

Saturday, May 4, 2024

TV REVIEW. The SABC’s 18th Metro FM Music Awards was once again a shockingly bad trash telecast.

by Thinus Ferreira

The SABC's 18th Metro FM Music Awards was a shockingly bad, highly embarrassing, ineptly produced and mistake-riddled live TV broadcast done by amateurs who either can't or won't do what's required to fix ongoing, glaring issues that do a disservice to artists, the industry and viewers.

A dad taking video on a cellphone at a kid's primary school concert will come back with better or the same fail-level footage as the SABC's 2024 Metro FM Music Awards, which was a cringe-inducing trash telecast on SABC1 on Saturday night.

Many of the problems, outright mistakes, overlooked oversights, bad and wrong production decisions, impractical setting and stage issues, production blunders due to a lack of planning and mapping, and mistakes due to inexperience from runners to directing and from camerawork to sound, can all easily be avoided by doing a post mortem after its conclusion. 

Yet again, the SABC and the production companies clearly ignored the multiple messes of the ghastly 17th Metro FM Music Awards which was also staged in the impractical Mbombela stadium, and decided to once again gaslight viewers with another awfully shoddy live awards show on TV that would get a failing grade if done and handed in as a student group film project. 

Yet, the SABC, Metro FM and SABC1 fully produced and dished up this televised trash-TV and had the audacity to tell presenters to keep telling viewers that it's "trending" - oblivious or in denial that viewers are talking about it because what they're seeing and being subjected to,  was so deplorably bad.

Does Nada Wotshela, SABC radio boss and Lala Tuku, acting head of video entertainment, truly think what the SABC radio division and SABC TV did and showed with the 18th Metro FM Music Awards on Saturday night is standard-level fine television? 

What was learnt from, and implemented, from last year's Metro FM live awards show disaster? Instead, it comes across as nothing but a massive waste of money and resources.

This year's awards show - with hosts Tebogo Thekisho known as "ProVerb" and Luthando Shosha known as "LootLove" - looked even worse than 2023 on screen and yet again there was also the telling sign of a badly produced live televised event: The broadcaster, channel and producers failed to bring the bloated awards show in one time.

Unnecessary talking heads, waiting for winners to get to stage, waiting for sponsor add-ons to be rambled off, and sitting through multiple ad breaks, meant that the awards show, done from an uninspired stage design and that was supposed to end at 22:00, once again ran over time - 49 minutes this year.

Bonngoe TV and Dzinge Productions produced the egregious TV travesty which was marred by technical, sound, stage, live editing, directing, presenter and camerawork mistakes as well as very bad and shocking pre-production choices. 

The solemn In Memoriam segment for instance was turned into a crass Assupol funeral cover commercial and the inclusion of other sponsor-filler like Santam also seriously detracted from the pace of the show.

Pepsi Pokane and Letitia Masina from Bonggoe TV were the executive producers of the 18th Metro FM Music Awards, with Lesego Moleofane-Chemane as line producer and Fortune Masina as creative director. Letitia Masina also did duty as technical director. Shandu Nesengani was Dzinge Productions' EP on the project. 

The Mpumalanga provincial government paid to once again have the Metro FM Music Awards hosted there - a massive waste of money.

Sadly the subpar standard of this live broadcast once again achieved the exact opposite: Making Mpumalanga and the Mbombela stadium look like a place not conducive, or not having the capacity, to successfully pull off a live outside broadcast of this nature.

Overall the sound TV viewers heard from the Metro FM Music Awards was very bad throughout. 

Multiple times, instead of the mic sound channel, viewers heard the unmistakable, echoey and hollow second-hand sound piped through from the house mix. 

At 09:40 it happened the first of multiple occurrences throughout. Multiple times there was no sound at all - just lingering silence. No background music, no audio - except for sometimes people talking whose mics were not muted at the sound desk.

Multiple times cameramen were wrongly positioned and final mix control vision controllers were either too lazy, too late or too incompetent to switch to the right camera feed as the outgoing live cam. The result: Awkward angles and awkward scenes. Add into the mix amateurishly done shaky and patchy Steadicam camerawork.

Multiple times presenters just stood and seemed as if they didn't know what to do, or what to read. Autocue off? Autocue slow? Autocue non-existent? Were the stage director(s) non-existent or just not briefed? 

Multiple times presenters for categories waited very long for winners - who were no-shows (like the very first award). It looked extremely unprofessional and disorganised.

This happens when the SABC and producers either don't know whether winners are locked-in within the location and present and that they have physically arrived, where they are seated or located. Precious time is wasted, waiting, only to awkwardly go: "We will accept the award on their behalf", or "it's all right, we'll hand it to him".

Were spotters empowered to do their jobs?

And talking about seating, once again viewers were subjected to a litany of empty seats with no seat fillers.

Rows of empty seats constantly popped on screen since each empty one had a big white A4 page with a seat number printed on it attached to the backrest. 

It sends the message to viewers - rightly or wrongly - that this isn't something worth their own time or worth watching since the people in attendance aren't bothering either.

Those shown seated, are shown looking down and being on their phones. 

Multiple times people are seen just standing around, milling about, or in front of the stage looking like last year's unorganised chaos. Other times, people took too long to get to the stage since they were obviously seated too far away. 

No professional seat-fillers were employed and the cameras constantly showed empty seats.

Multiple politicians and representatives were unnecessarily included as presenters who didn't know how to speak properly on stage within an awards show format and made mistakes - likely due to not having practised speeches or keeping to prepared speeches, making for extremely cringe-embarrassing errors and spouting things like "And the various winners are" instead of saying "nominees" for instance.

Several didn't understand, or didn't adhere to (or maybe wasn't told) the need to stand directly behind, and close to the stage mics when speaking. The result: Many couldn't be heard or were too soft. 

During the In Memoriam segment, shockingly an Assupol logo for funeral cover was plastered over the segment, turning something that should be solemn and professional looking, into a tacky, unprofessional commercial cash grab for attention.

Even after it was over, the unprofessionalism of the 18th Metro FM Music Awards wasn't over.

Adding insult to injury, multiple media complained that they didn't receive the winners list or a basic press release on Saturday night (which is an unnegotiated must from an awards show) from the SABC or an outside PR company which was again contracted this year. 

This was only emailed out on Sunday at 13:00 by Bluecloudai, and only after requested by which time it was too late.

South Africa's music industry, artists, agents and record labels, South Africa's broadcast and film industry, the Mpumalanga provincial government, as well as ordinary viewers subjected to this bad television and forced to sit through sit, all deserve better TV than the failing standard of the SABC's Metro FM Awards.

Friday, May 3, 2024

eNCA adds The Dan Corder Show as its first satirical late night news show in almost a decade.

by Thinus Ferreira

After exiting the SABC 5FM last week Friday, radio DJ Dan Corder is joining eMedia's eNCA (DStv 403) where he will host a biweekly show of his own from Monday.

The South African TV news channel is adding The Dan Corder Show on Monday and Tuesday nights at 21:00. 

It comes after the rising star did well at the SABC's commercial youth radio station for three years and branched out recently by rapidly expanding his own social media presence through things like his podcast, The Issue with Dan Corder over the last six months.

eNCA declined to say for how many episodes The Dan Corder Show has been commissioned for but Siyabonga Mposula told TVwithThinus that "Dan Corder is part of eNCA's future growth strategy".

While Nick Archibald, the presenter of Top 40 on 5 is replacing Dan Corder on 5 Breakfast on an interim basis, Dan Corder is gearing up for eNCA's first return to a humouristic current affairs commentary show in 9 years.

In 2015 when eNCA cancelled Late Nite News with Loyiso Gola produced by DiPrente Productions, the channel said it would replace it with a new satirical late night news and interview show but nothing came from the promise.

According to eNCA, Dan Corder will "share his quick wit, captivating storytelling and blunt analysis in the stories that cut to the heart of South Africa". Like LNN, The Dan Corder Show is described as "a blend of comedy, insight, satire, daring interviews and topical deep dives into the country's most controversial moments".

Norman Munzhelele, eNCA managing director, says eNCA is "excited to bring in a fresh and exciting addition to our late night news".

"Dan will be a great way of transitioning into a new sphere of how news is told, and how different audiences can be united in a fun and innovative way. We hope to grow and reach new heights and change how news is told - one joke at a time."

On his podcast yesterday, Dan Corder said "my lifelong dream has always been to host a satirical new show in the American style best done by a Jon Stewart or a John Oliver".

"I never thought that I'd be able to do that because there's no culture of that in South Africa - it's not something that channels or networks option and something that they do - which I've always found completely insane because South Africa is the perfect country for this kind of show. It is wild."

"Unbelievably, we got a call from a network. And not just any network but the most trusted, reputable news network in South Africa - eNCA. And they said 'guys, how about you do what you've been doing on YouTube, for us."

"We've now got a late night show for you - a political and late night satire news show for you for South Africa because of what we've built here together on YouTube - because of what we've done on TikTok."

Dan Corder said "you're also going to be able to catch it online in full if you can't catch it at that time or if you don't have DStv or the option that gets you channel 403."

The Issue with Dan Corder will also continue independently on YouTube as a podcast.

Thursday, April 25, 2024

South African creators abandon Comic Con Cape Town over talent exploitation.

by Thinus Ferreira

Local South African creators who say they have been exploited by Comic Con Africa have decided to pull out of appearing at Comic Con Cape Town starting this weekend, angered by what they say is the organisers' dismissive attitude, having promised access passes revoked, as well as being required to appear for free with "payment" coming in the form of exposure.

Over the past two weeks, South African creatives who initially agreed to appear at Comic Con Cape Town, starting this weekend at the Cape Town Convention Centre in the Mother City, told the organisers they're pulling out from panel discussions at the Pop Culture stage.

According to Comic Con Cape Town's press releases, the Pop Culture stage is one of its top main attractions luring many people to attend.

The Comic Con conflict comes after South Africa creators were asked to appear for free with no payment, while overseas talent are getting paid. Local creators also balked after they were promised to get free access passes for the multi-day duration of Comic Con Cape Town, only to discover they would have to buy tickets and would only get a one-day pass.

Comic Con Cape Town organisers also told creatives they won't get paid for their appearance, time and expertise, with email stating "Obviously you know how these things go, there is no payment".

International actors Sean Gunn from Guardians of the Galaxy and Veronica Taylor who voiced Pokemon are set to appear at Comic Con Cape Town and are paid appearance fees.

Local creatives had similar complaints about Comic Con Cape Town last year.

TVwithThinus reached out to Comic Con Cape Town organisers to ask about the angered South African creatives who decided they no longer wanted to be involved with the event, why creatives were originally told they would get multi-day access passes which then got rescinded, why South African panellist are not being paid appearance fees for an event where tickets are sold, and what international stars like Sean Gunn are paid to appear.

Comic Con Cape Town was also asked for comment about creators who say the communication from the festival was unprofessional, and whether the Pop Culture stage is run at a loss. 

Comic Con Cape Town organisers didn't respond with answers to any of the specific questions with Calvin van den Berg, marketing manager saying "Thanks for reaching out. Comic Con Cape Town has no further comment available on this situation as we are communicating with the parties directly".

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

2024's 18th Metro FM Awards announces ceremony and black carpet presenters.

by Thinus Ferreira

The 18th Metro FM Awards taking place on 27 April at the Mbombela Stadium in Mpumalanga for a second consecutive year will have Luthando "Lootlove" Shosha and Tebogo Thekisho, known as ProVerb, as the hosts.

The SABC radio station says the music awards ceremony's black carpet coverage will be done this year by SABC1 presenter Nomalanga Shozi and DJ Sabby. 

TV personality Lamiez Holworthy and the 5FM presenter Zanele Potelwa will co-host the Green Room where they will interview category winners.

The theme of 2024's Metro FM Awards is "Back to the Future" with the Mpumalanga provincial government once again pouring millions of rand into the awards show to promote tourism to the province. The Motsepe Foundation is also a sponsor.

The 18th Metro FM Awards will be broadcast live on SABC1 and the public broadcaster's streaming service SABC+ on Saturday 27 April from 20:00. 

It is preceded on 26 April by a pre-party on the Friday evening at The Prestige Lifestyle Grand, and followed the day after on Sunday 28 April by the Metro FM Love Movement taking place at the Lowveld National Botanical Gardens.

"I'm thrilled and deeply honoured to be hosting the 2024 edition of the Metro FM Music Awards," says Luthando Shosha in a Metro FM statement.

"It's also a monumental career moment, as I step into the role of hosting my first awards ceremony. I'm eager to bring joy, laughter, and unforgettable moments to the awards show, alongside Proverb. Here is to creating magic together on screen."

Kina Nhlengethwa, Metro FM business manager, says "South African music is thriving, attracting new audiences globally and inspiring black excellence. It was only fitting that this year's theme be carried by some of the industry's best presenters, who bring a wealth of knowledge about diverse facets of the South African arts and entertainment scene."