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After School (TV series) facts for kids

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After School
Created by Ian Cumming
Presented by Olly Ohlson (1981-1986)
Richard Evans (1986-1987)
Annie Roach (1986-1988)
Jason Gunn (1987-1988)
Country of origin New Zealand
Original language(s) English, Te Reo Māori, Sign language
Camera setup Multi-Camera
Original network
  • TV One (1981–1986)
  • TVNZ 2 (1987–1988)
Picture format PAL
Original release 2 March 1981 (2 March 1981) – 16 December 1988 (16 December 1988)

After School was a New Zealand children's television programme that aired weekday afternoons on TVNZ from March 1981 to December 1988. Olly Ohlson was the original presenter and would host links between various segments and programming. He was the first Māori presenter on New Zealand television to anchor a children's show, and the programme was also one of the first New Zealand shows to incorporate Te Reo, the Māori language, as well as Sign language into its scripts. In the mid-1980s Olly was joined occasionally in the links items by Richard Evans and Annie Roach, who eventually took over the hosting roles, and towards the end of its run the show featured the birth of the puppet alien Thingee and the introduction of Jason Gunn as a presenter. After School was ended in December 1988 and the following year in February 1989 the mid-afternoon programming block was split up into two separate links shows, After 2, for younger children (which had Jason Gunn and Thingee carrying over as presenters), and 3.45: Live! for the 10-14 age group (initially hosted by Fenella Bathfield and Nigel Hurst).


The concept of After School came from TVNZ head of children's programming Hal Weston, who wished to have more Māori programming on the air. Ohlson was chosen by producer Ian Cumming to be the anchor for the show in order to be a male role model for viewers and because of his knowledge of Te Reo Māori. After School was made and recorded at the TVNZ Christchurch studios and the opening titles were created with stop motion by award-winning animator Ken Clark.

Cultural impact

The show was groundbreaking in using Māori and Sign language on the show, and Ohlson's sign-off – "Keep cool till after school" (a phrase from his daughter), with accompanying sign language – became part of national vernacular.

The puppet Thingee hatched out of an egg on the show. The character was a regular feature on the show and would go on to be featured in After 2, The Son of a Gunn Show, What Now and Jase TV.


  • 1982 New Zealand Feltex Awards: Best New Talent (Olly Ohlson)
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