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Sunday, September 28, 2008


Exciting changes to the channel (108) go on air this month (September).

DStv’s Hallmark Channel in South Africa has unveiled a fresh new look which is set to make its television viewers into television stars!

The exciting changes to the channel (108) go on air this month (September) and feature South African people with a passion for the unusual in its new channel idents and fillers.

“We’re renowned for our absorbing and compelling shows on Hallmark and we wanted to find local people with absorbing and compelling lives so we can tell their story,” said Gunn Haglund, Head of Channels for the NBC Universal-owned Hallmark Channel.

“We didn’t realise what extraordinary lives some people lead – and have been overwhelmed by their talents and skills. We feel we’ve captured the amazing diversity of this beautiful country by revealing their hidden depths! We’re also very proud to feature local areas and hope our viewers will enjoy spotting some familiar landscapes.”

Hallmark Channel, which broadcasts award-winning shows including Numb3rs, Cane and NCIS, will showcase 20 South African characters from a whole host of backgrounds but who share a common goal – making the very most of their free time!

These include slender Ntombikayise Masilela who is a systems analyst by day and devotes her free time to car racing and taking on challenges like the Castrol Chicken run.

Then there’s the story of Darryl Shaff, the married electrician from Lindhurst in Johannesburg who plays poker at least three times a week. Shaff, 36, plays one live session at a casino where he spends up to eight hours and then he hopes to get a good hand while trying his luck on online gambling websites. His wife is not too pleased about his “so-called” hobby because it deprives them of family time but “it does bring home a little extra bacon”.

The highlight is undoubtedly Gregory da Silva who has taken busking to another level altogether. Known as Cape Town’s Famous Eggman, he is a comedic artist, dancer and actor. With his distinctive headdress of about 300 eggs and wearing an outfit adorned with feathers, raffia and shellwork, he appears at many festivals and conferences and his work has been featured on numerous worldwide television channels. He was one of the finalists of the Best of Cape Town Awards 2008 in the performing arts category and runs a developmental arts programme in the townships.

Sophia Phirippides, the Modern Times producer and director of the local inserts, said they searched intensively throughout South Africa for amazing individuals whose lives had a touch of the unusual.

“What is so great about this 100 minutes of local production is that it’s not been done before on this scale. It shows the diversity of South Africa and really it is about ordinary people doing extraordinary things,” she said. “This is all about Hallmark Channel using the fabric of South Africa to showcase their passions from car sales to belly dancing to dune boarding. So expect the unexpected.”

Hallmark Channel is broadcast on DStv channel 108, Monday to Sunday.