Julien Neaves, Caribbean Head Writer
Hey folks. Editor Jules here. My home country Trinidad and Tobago is celebrating 60 years of Independence on August 31, 2022. So I thought what better way to celebrate than to have a series of six articles celebrating Trini content. For our sixth and final part I will be listing the best classic TV series.
So this is it. The final list. We celebrate Trinidad and Tobago’s 60th Independence with the Top 6 TV Shows Ever. Now a couple caveats. I don’t claim to have seen every local series so this list will only be based on what I have seen. And I will be not be ranking the entries but rather listing the best in a particular category. With those caveats let’s proceed to my highly subjective ranking of the Top 6 Classic Trinidad and Tobago TV Shows OF ALL TIME!
#1 TV: Best News Programme – Panorama
There something about being the first, and there was just something special about the Panorama nightly news programme on national (and then only) television station Trinidad and Tobago Television (TTT). Even as a child watching I could recognise the talent on show and the authority with which the news was presented.
#2 TV: Best Talk Show – Community Dateline
The late great Allyson Hennessy was truly a national treasure and talk show Community Dateline, which she co-hosted with Judy Alcantara, Majorie, Lisa Wickham and Wilbert Holder, was a master class. With segments on a variety of topics including Carnival, fashion, youth and disabilities Community Dateline was a show that kept you in the know.
#3 TV: Best Adult Talent Show – Scouting for Talent and Mastana Bahar
How could I choose between the late Holly Betaudier (aka Holly B) and his pioneering talent competition Scouting for Talent (which we in our household teasingly called “Scrunting for Talent”) and the late Sham Mohammed’s pioneering Indo-Trinidadian talent show Mastana Bahar? I really could not, because both shows were such a fantastic showcase for local talent. Who say rotten aloo?
#4 TV: Best Urban Talent Competition – Party Time
Any Trini child of the 90s will fondly remember Nescafe Party Time at Upper Level Club which featured groups of teens with colourful names like Painted Faces and Baby Lords competing in dance and lip synching. These was so much creativity on display here and I remember looking forward to each episode.
#5 TV: Best Children’s Talent Show – Twelve and Under/Teen Talent
While the adults had Scouting for Talent and Mastana Bahar the children had Twelve and Under and Teen Talent hosted by the incomparable Hazel Ward-Redman. Aunty Hazel and Uncle Maurice (on the piano) would showcase some of the best young talent of the nation. If you got on either show your parents would be prouder than a peacock.
#6 TV: Best Soap Opera – Westwood Park
Trinidad and Tobago has had a few soap operas over the years, from Sugar Cane Arrows (which was before my time) and No Boundaries (whose theme song I can still sing most of the lyrics too). But the best of the best has to be Westwood Park, which ran for an impressive six seasons from 1997 to 2004.
Created by Danielle Dieffenthaller, Westwood Park centred on the affluent Du Soleil and Gunn-Munroe families and featured an ensemble cast including Dennis McComie, Debra Boucaud-Mason, Natacha Jones, Simone Harris, Richard Ragoobarsingh, Learie Joseph and Theresa Awai. Outside of TT the show has also aired in the Caribbean, North America, London and elsewhere. Besides featuring a who’s who of local acting talent the series also ran the gamut of genres. It could be dark and gritty at one point and utterly ridiculous at another. Storylines ranged from murder plots, evil twin sisters and two idiots trying to become recording artistes. No matter what happened it was always entertaining and remains beloved to this day.
Julien “Editor Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”. Read more.
So that’s my list. Which of these are your favourites? Any classic TV shows that I missed out? And you can check out Part 5 of this series below: