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InterviewsJuly 5, 2015

Word Association: A Quick-Fire Round With Westside Creator James Griffin

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Alex Casey runs through James Griffin’s extensive television biography with the man himself, gauging his first response on everything from The Strip to Bro Town

A few weeks ago I had a sit-down interview with James Griffin for our My Life in TV series. It’s a tall task to get through his entire biography in one sitting, so I took him through some word association with TV shows that he has been involved in.

Here are his quick-fire responses to every job he’s had outside of Outrageous Fortune and Westside (you can click here for the juice on those):

Maddigan’s Quest?

I wrote three episodes and it was good fun, I like fantasy stuff

The Strip?

I wrote one episode and then they completely changed the story and asked me to rewrite the episode for free. I walked away.

City Life?

After City Life it was reported to me that the TVNZ said “James Griffin would never write for television again” He’s gone, and I’m still here.

Serial Killers?

This was based on my play, it was a tiny production with me and a friend. We got a cast that we loved, it was so fun but we got shafted by TVNZ. It’s still sitting there in my psyche, maybe one day it will come out again.

Almighty Johnsons?

This is probably one of my favourite shows I’ve been involved it. I still get people coming up to me asking if we can make more. It’s sold well overseas, I’ve got the rough cut Russian version of it which is hilarious

The Blue Rose?

That was a difficult one for me. I had to walk away from it halfway through because my mother wasn’t well. It’s a shame we didn’t more because I think Antonia and Siobhan are two of the funniest actresses around.

Street Legal?

Wrote one episode. I remember a very awkward meeting with them. My episode involved a Samoan family and TVNZ came back and asked if i could change the family to a palagi family because there were enough Samoans on the show already. It was very uncomfortable.

Being Eve?

Did I? I’m told I wrote a few episodes of this show but I don’t remember it.

Bro Town?

I had a fancy fake title like Executive Script Producer, which basically meant that I was the go-between between TV3 and the Bro Town boys. I’d go to TV3 and say “nah it’s cool, they’re doing it”, and then I’d go to the boys and say “come on, write, write”.

Diplomatic Immunity?

This is in the three favourite shows I ever did. Loved the cast, loved the concept, I just think that it deserved a lot better reception that it got. It got buried at 10pm.

Step Dave?

I wrote one episode as a guest writer, and tragically won a script award for it. I was rather embarrassed about that.

The Brokenwood Mysteries?

I really liked writing that guest episode. It was telefeature length so I ended up with all these charts and lists to count the red herrings and real clues. It was an intellectual exercise.


The finale of Westside ends tonight at 8.30pm on TV3, click here to read Alex Casey’s time warp visit to the set

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