Hong Kong TV producer legend Robert Chua sees multimedia as future of industry

December 2, 2017
Industry News
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Yujing Liu
yujing.liu@scmp.com

Recalling rich entertainment career that began when he was 18, the Singapore native reflects on what audiences want

Ask Hongkongers to name just one programme they fondly remember watching on TVB over the last half-century, and chances are high many a local resident will single out a programme from the station’s early golden days, Enjoy Yourself Tonight.

Etched in Hong Kong’s collective memory, the variety show was hugely popular, airing on what continues to be the city’s longest running free-to-air broadcaster. It was also the first local show to broadcast live and in colour.

On five nights a week from November 20, 1967 to October 7, 1994, it still boasts the distinction of being the longest-running live variety show in Asia.

Behind every good show toils a mastermind, and in the case of Enjoy Yourself Tonight, that person was Robert Chua Wah-peng. At the tender age of 21, Chua was and remains TVB’s youngest production executive in the history of the broadcaster, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last Sunday.

By producing one of Asia’s most successful live variety shows, the Singapore native, now 71, helped build the fledgling TV station into an international broadcast pioneer.

But before coming to TVB, Chua gained extensive knowledge working at Australia’s ADS channel when he was only 18. Colin Bednell, TVB’s first general manager, recognised the young man’s talent and gave him an opportunity to create the variety show.

With a touch of innovation, Chua fused different programme concepts to create Enjoy Yourself Tonight, incorporating performances, comedy sketches, short dramas and games. He invited the renowned martial artist Bruce Lee to appear, and Lee obliged by showing his signature flying kick. He also brought many popular singers from abroad to Hong Kong, including the Taiwanese star Teresa Teng.
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