Chris Thomson, one of the founding directors of the burgeoning New Zealand film and television industry in the 1960s, died in Sydney after a sudden stroke on July 1. He was 70.

Born in Wellington, Thomson directed the first ever drama to air on New Zealand television, A Game for 5 Players, followed by the series The Alpha Plan.

After relocating to the UK in the early 1970s, he worked as a director with the BBC before returning to Australia to direct acclaimed miniseries 1915, Waterfront and The Last Bastion and the feature films The Empty Beach, The Perfectionist and The Delinquents.

He also directed the first ever episode of A Country Practice in 1981. During his long career he worked closely with some of Australia’s finest performers and crew including Jack Thompson, Jacki Weaver, Bryan Brown, Greta Scacchi, Bill Hunter, Sigrid Thornton, Kylie Minogue, Ray Barrett, Andrew McFarlane, Bill Kerr, Lorraine Bayly, Noni Hazlehurst, Chris Haywood, John Seale, Andrew Lesnie, Mac Gudgeon, Pat Lovell and John Edwards.

Chris is survived by his partner Janet Thomson, daughter Kirsty Thomson and son-in-law Matt Day, and grandsons Jackson and Rufus.

The funeral is 2pm on Friday July 10, at St John's Anglican Church, Balmain.

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  1. As a contemporary of Chris, this is sad news. I haven’t seen him for many years. We met at the WNTV1 studios in Wellington where I was on the studio crew for both his Induction Course productions and A Game for 5 Players. I always remember him as such a warm and wonderfully impish spirit. It was great to see his successful career.

  2. It is sad to hear of Chris’s passing. I first worked with him on “The Challenge” mini-series and then later on “The Perfectionist.” Chris was a skilled director with a good knowledge and grasp of craft. I enjoyed working with him – he challenged his crew and actors at all times and made the shoot professional, enjoyable and fun. Years later I caught up with him when we were both working in Los Angeles and he became a friend and continued to inspire. It was recently I was thinking of saying hello to him and now this sad news.

  3. I have only just learnt of Chris,s passing . I am so sad to hear this as he was a truly beautiful man I had the pleasure of working with him on The Delinquents and it was an absolutely delightful experience . He was one of life’s beautiful creative souls and an absolutely gentle man . My love goes to his family as he leaves a void in this world . He gave me a beautiful shell broach that I still treasure now it will be more special💜

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