Screenwriter behind Kiwi favourites including Outrageous Fortune recognised in honours list

The screenwriter behind some of New Zealand's most iconic television series has been recognised as part of the Queen's Birthday honours list. 

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In the times of Covid-19, screenwriter James Griffin says the honour came as a welcome “piece of good news”. Source: 1 NEWS

James Griffin, the mind behind the likes of 800 Words and Outrageous Fortune, will become an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for his contributions to the television and feature film industry. 

With a career that has spanned the past 30 years, Griffin, who is currently the head writer at South Pacific Pictures, says the news came as a welcomed suprise.

"Well, to start with it was a bit of a surprise. I mean, especially now in these weird old times it's kind of nice to have a piece of good news."

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Queen's Birthday Honours 2020 - the full list

He has had a hand in creating some of the country's most loved shows, from co-writing Sione's Wedding, producing bro'Town and creating the likes of The Almighty Johnsons and Westside.

Griffin is most proud of Outrageous Fortune, which went on to be both mega successful at home and overseas, but he says the shows that got away still hold a special place in his heart. 

"To be totally honest it's the ones that got away. The one hit wonders that weren't actually hits so they didn't come back but I still love them."

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New Zealand gained five new dames and knights today, including two health researchers. Source: 1 NEWS

For the next generation of aspiring young film and television creators, Griffin says they shouldn't "be afraid to go and try your hand at the crazy stuff" when it comes to finding work. 

"I once wrote Judy Bailey's opening monologue for a telethon, I've written columns, I've written books. Just try everything and hopefully someone will notice you."