TVB quits the haunted house

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 02 May, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 02 May, 1993, 12:00am

THE six fung shui palm trees on the roof at TVB's complex at Broadcast Drive will not be making the journey to the new TV City studios in Clear Water Bay.

After 15 years of successfully deflecting the bad influences emanating from a curving traffic overpass, the trees are being replanted elsewhere.

The trees are but a part of TVB's 25 year history - a history which includes celebrities of local and international stature, and perhaps a ghost or two.

And while TVB's recently-completed move to the TV City location offers the latest in technology as well as considerably more space, it will be some time before it attains the character and mystique of Broadcast Drive.

The brainchild of Sir Run Run Shaw, TVB's first day of broadcast was November 19, 1967. Today TVB commands an 80 per cent share of Hongkong's viewing audience on its two channels, the Cantonese-language Jade and the English-language Pearl.

One reason for that success is undoubtedly Enj oy Yourself Tonight. A programme featuring singers, comedians, chat and audience participation, it made its debut in 1971 and is one of the world's longest running television programmes.

One of the hostesses and someone who has been associated with Enjoy Yourself Tonight since its inception is Lisa Wang Ming-chun.

Though known to be a serious, pragmatic person, Wang admits to being a little sentimental about leaving Broadcast Drive.

''I think that it's an event that we are moving from a small station to a big complex in Clear Water Bay. It's a good thing. But I remember when the Broadcast Drive location was first built and the surrounding area was all rural. We used to refer to itas going to work in the fields. There are a lot of memories like that.'' In the early '70s, she was visited at TVB by kung fu star Bruce Lee. Not knowing what to say, she blurted out: ''Why do the English use Rolls-Royces as taxis in London?'' Wang had mistakenly assumed that because London's taxis were large they must all be Rolls-Royces. But Lee was taken aback by Wang's straight-faced delivery. He spent the rest of the day asking others whether this was true.

Yigo Yau is the executive producer of Enjoy Yourself Tonight and began working on the show as a production assistant. He remembers some of the things he encountered during the live broadcasts of the early days.

''Because it was live, the dress rehearsals were very important. But there was a mahjong fad going on and the artists would leave the building, go to someone's home nearby, and forget to come back. We were forever chasing after them,'' he said.

''And some of the artists used to sleep in the corridor outside the studio. The comedian Yu Chi-ming was asleep and he'd laid down his eyeglasses beside him. Someone put a red filter over his glasses and then yelled 'fire'. He ran from the building. For a comedian, he was very angry.'' Apparently, there is also a ghost haunting Broadcast Drive. From time to time, a long-haired apparition has appeared in the mirror in the women's bathroom. While Yau has never seen the ghost, he has seen several women run screaming from the bathroom.

Both Yau and Wang profess to believe the power of fung shui has played a big role at TVB.

''I think it is just a psychological feeling,'' Wang said.

''People believe in it so I believe in it as well. Not because it is necessarily true but because it makes you feel comfortable. It allows you to feel natural.'' Yau said: ''I believe in fung shui. We believe that in every location there is something invisible to which we must show some respect. It is a very serious thing.'' Enjoy Yourself Tonight will broadcast its final show from the Broadcast Drive location on May 14.