Shortland Street

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Shortland Street is a New Zealand soap opera/drama television series that was first broadcast on Monday, 25 May 1992. The show is set in a modern metropolitan hospital in the fictional suburb of Ferndale in Auckland City, and is produced by South Pacific Pictures. According to hints by TVNZ, the name may be associated with the former Shortland Street television studios in Auckland City, a mainstay for TVNZ in Auckland until the end of the 1980s.The real Shortland Street, in the central business district of Auckland City, has no connection with the program.

In New Zealand, the show screens on Television New Zealand's TV2 weeknights, with an omnibus edition on Sunday mornings and repeats on weekday afternoons. The series is now the longest running soap opera in New Zealand.


Shortland Street is mainly set in and around Shortland Street Hospital, a fictitious Auckland City public hospital (which had been a private clinic until 2001 when it was sold to the government by Dr Warner). The hospital gets its name from its location on Shortland Street in the fictitious suburb of Ferndale. The hospital also houses the Shortland Street Primary Care Clinic, and its own café.

There are several other locations, including The IV, a bar and restaurant, located opposite the hospital; Sugar, a café located somewhere in Ferndale; and Ferndale High School, the local state secondary school.

The exterior views of the houses featured on the programme are located around the North Shore, West Auckland and Auckland City - the interiors are filmed on sets in the studio. Camera angles suggest that Ferndale is somewhere on the North Shore looking towards the Sky Tower and port of Auckland city. Other shots are views of Henderson and other parts of Auckland.

From 29 June 2009, TVNZ 6 has started airing the 1992 episodes, dubbing it Shortland Street: In the Beginning [1]


Original Core Characters

Dr Michael McKenna (Paul Gittins) Dr Chris Warner (Michael Galvin) Dr Meredith Fleming (Stephanie Wilkin) Dr Hone Ropata (Temuera Morrison) Nurse Carrie Burton (Lisa Crittenden) Nurse Jackie Manu (Nancy Brunning) Nurse Steve Mills (Andrew Binns) Nurse Alison Raynor (Danielle Cormack) Tom Neilson (Adrian Keeling) Stuart Neilson (Martin Henderson) Marjorie Neilson (Elizabeth McRae) Kirsty Knight (Angela Dotchin) Jenny Harrison (Maggie Harper) Nick Harrison (Karl Burnett) Gina Rossi (Jo Davison) Sam Aleni (Rene Naufahu)

Story lines

Story lines are planned five months before they are due to be screened. Shortland Street has had a series of dramatic and scandalous storylines over the years.


The concept and format of the show was developed largely by NZ writer Ken Catran working with Fremantle Pictures. His scripts established the characters, setting and tone of the series. His first episode became infamous for having a sex scene between Doctor Chris Warner and an aerobics instructor, Jill (Suzy Aiken). The first episode also included the line, "You're not in Guatemala anymore, Dr. Ropata" which has since become one of the most widely recognised lines in New Zealand television.

While the show was initially criticised for bad acting and poor storylines, it was praised for its sensitive portrayal of a teenage suicide storyline later on in its first year. Ratings were initially high, but within weeks they had fallen considerably. However, the show was saved from cancellation by the fact that TVNZ had pre-ordered a year's worth of episodes. By May 1993, the show was rating high enough that it was renewed, and later became the highest rating programme in the country for a brief period in August 1993. Since then, ratings have fallen somewhat, but the show remains in the overall top 10 highest rated New Zealand television shows, and still regularly rates number one in the 18-49 demographic, the key target audience for advertisers.

Over the life of the series there have been many cast changes, but Michael Galvin, who plays Chris Warner, still remains from the original cast.


In 2001, the show received much media attention in New Zealand when 14 cast members were either let go from their contracts or decided to leave. This was part of the revamp on the show which saw many new characters introduced, most notably the Hudson family, who were Maori. While Maori characters had always been featured on the show, the Hudsons were the first Maori family introduced into the show.

In 2003–04, the show introduced its first double killer with the Dominic Thompson storyline. Dominic was the brother of nurse Toni Thompson and was believed to be the illegitimate half-brother of Dr. Chris Warner, but after this was revealed as a lie, the pair became bitter enemies. Dominic's love affair with 17-year-old Delphi Greenlaw also created controversy and eventually saw the teenager leave town to escape him. He also killed two characters, Delphi's brother, Dr. Geoff Greenlaw (froze to death in chiller) and PA Avril Lucich (drowned in a bathtub) who had threatened to get in his way, before being killed off himself in an explosion after trying to kill Chris in an attempted murder-suicide. The storyline created immense popularity that saw the show ranked once again in the top ten highest rated shows in New Zealand. Martin Delaney also joined the cast as Samuel Whittaker for a brief period. The Irish actor played the loveable Scottish chef for a period of six months and left Delphi in search of broader horizons.

2005 saw the departure of the show's longest-serving cast member, Karl Burnett, who played Nick Harrison, after almost 13 years. Burnett was the only cast member who had been with the show since its inception (although the character and the actor did take a sabbatical from the show in 2002). Burnett still has links with Shortland Street, behind the scenes as a sound operator. Original cast member Michael Galvin is currently with the series as of 2009 however he has not appeared continuously, having been absent for a four year break from 1996 until 2000.

During June 2006, Shortland Street celebrated its 14th birthday and 3,500 episodes. In November 2005, Shortland Street was the winner of Woman's Day TV Choice Award for Favourite New Zealand show at the 2005 Qantas TV Awards. They won the same award again in the 2006 Qantas TV Awards.

On 22 November 2006 it was announced that actress Laurie Foell had decided to leave and that her character Justine Jones would be recast with Lucy Wigmore. This marked the first instance of multiple actors playing the same role in the programme, excluding child characters such as Lucas Harrison and Harry Warner. Another character that was recast was Dame Margot Warner who was first played by Glynis McNicoll during 1992-1997, then in 2003 Dinah Priestly assumed the role of Dame Margot for the character's death.

In May 2007 Shortland Street celebrated its 15th birthday, as a result there were many changes that have occurred such as a refurbished hospital, new uniforms, and a new logo. A television special celebrating 15 years was screened on 13 May 2007, and on Shortland Street's actual 15th birthday (25 May 2007), the episode featured photos of previous characters and settings, which "were found in the renovations", and a reworded edition of the infamous line from the first Shortland Street episode: "You're not in Hyderabad now, Nurse Kumari." (referring to Nurse Shanti Kumari's Hindu origins and reluctance to drink alcohol).

A serial killer known as the Ferndale Strangler was introduced in 2007 became a well-known storyline as five women associated with the Shortland Street Hospital became his victims. The killer's identify was revealed in the season's finale as nurse Joey Henderson as he set about attacking Tania Jeffries. Other attacks on his female colleagues failed including a random attack on a woman walk in a park. Joey's final abduction involved nurse Alice Piper on whom he performed surgery and then tried to kill. The strangler's reign came to end at the start of 2008 when he committed suicide by plunging to death from a storage building he had used for his macabre operation. The storyline resulted in a viewership rating surge, which at one point in November reached 60%.[3].[3].

Episode 4000 saw the return of series original Dr. Hone Ropata for a six week stint in 2008. The most significant storylines over the past few years related to a corrupt pharmaceutical company Scott-Spear and their involvement in the murders of CEO Huia Samuels killed in a car bombing and long-serving character Dr. Craig Valentine who was beaten to death by thugs and placed in his car which was torched. The dodgy drug company was also responsible for the death of another long-standing character, Toni Warner who died as a result of renal failure, contributed to a drug distributed by Scott-Spear. The storyline eventually saw the departure of Dr. Justine Jones who used a bomb placed in her car to fake her death and flee to Australia where she is currently in witness protection.

Midway through 2008 Ethan Pierce joined Justine Jones' surgical team but soon replaced her when she was put under police protection. Pierce was appointed Head of Surgery by Callum McKay against the advice of Chris Warner. Ethan's hostile relationship with Brooke Freeman was not known as he set about to date Alice Piper. Ethan was overconfident as a surgeon which lead to him falling out with his theatre team. On several occasion Chris Warner was called in to continue an operation he wasn't able to complete. Ethan detested Maia which resulted in her attack on him and her being stood down from duty. The hospital were unaware that Ethan Pierce was harvesting bone tissue from cadavers in a funeral home, this was inadvertently discovered by Keiran Mitchell who like Callum McKay had bought shares in Pierce's company. Pierce forced Mitchell to drive an elderly woman to the funeral home on the premise that she was to view to her husband unaware that Pierce had killed her. Several patients became ill due to faulty bone tissue among them a child and Yvonne Jeffries lead to an investigation of Pierce's company.

As the series finale drew to a close Pierce abandoned a patient in the middle of an operation and was challenged by Callum McKay who was knocked to the ground. Ethan fled to the funeral home where he killed his associate and stuffed him in the boot of a car. Ethan Pierce then went home and calmly packed his bags only to be confronted by an unseen assailant who fired three shots causing him fall to the ground. The Who shot Ethan Pierce? storyline lead viewers into 2009 season, which premiered on January 19 2009. To keep viewers interested in the storyline during the summer hiatus, TVNZ created an imaginary website dedicated to finding Ethan Pierce's killer: This site, Webisodes featured never before seen interviews that were uploaded on certain days of possible suspects and the audience are again left to decide who Ethan's killer is. Photo evidence also been uploaded of Ethan's Beach Road home where he was murdered, the gun and blood on the floor of his home where he fell, and where Ethan's body ended up (Ethan's body was not found inside his home, After being shot, he stumbled out to the beach not far from his home).

Also in the season finale for 2008 Tania Jefferies and Kingi Te Wake who were kidnapped by The Whitetails gang leader, Kane Harvey.


As 2009 began seven people came under police observation. Tania Jefferies and Kingi Te Wake made their escape from the Whitetails gang leader, Kane Harvey who was arrested. Kingi then left for Australia. Alice Piper who was a suspect underwent hypnosis with Luke Durville and on 28 February a voice that played in her mind lead to her discovered that Ethan's killer was Maia Jeffries. Morgan's surrogate pregnancy for the Watsons plays on her mind found herself without the support of boyfriend Hunter McKay whereas former boyfried Gerald Tippet has offered morale and financial support. Cindy Watson has joins the hospital as an agency nurse which disturbs Morgan while Cindy's estrange husband tries to woo Morgan. Maia Jefferies guilt is getting the better of her and lashes out at staff members who she accuses of reading her emails as is chatter between colleagues and her constant inference in Alice Piper's life leads Alice to leaving the hospital. Libby's attraction to Chris Warner begins badly and she flees overseas returns with a besotted surfer who is told by Kieran Mitchell that Libby is his partner to put him off and he in turns asks for a second chance.

The Ethan Pierce murder was resolved with a confession by Maia Jefferies who had a mental breakdown and had been sectioned by her sister Tania. While in the mental health unit Maia began seeing and talking to Ethan Pierce's ghost.

In July 2009 Justine returned for the trial of Scott Spears was placed in a safe house. Brooke Freeman followed Callum to the safe house discovered Justine who opened the door. Brooke arrived at the IV and told Kieran Mitchell was overheard by a Scott Spear thug who text Grainger. Later thugs pretending to be police came to McKay home wanted Hunter to accompanied them - suspicious he phoned the police. As a result the children moved to the safe house. The day before the trial the family including Brooke were place in lockdown as Grainger's thugs were looking for them. On trial day Justine, Callum and the children were to travel to court together but Brooke's tantrums meant that Callum travelled together. Don Lennox laid in wait in bushes near the court aimed his rifle at a confusing target as he couldn't which of the two blonde women was Justine. However when he saw Brooke embrace Callum, Lennox fired. Brooke was admitted to hospital for treatment. Later Justine told Callum that she would return to Australia alone and she could see that he loves Brooke and should remain with her. Brooke and Callum's relationship is brought to an end in September 2009, after Callum finds out that Brooke has been supporting Sophie in her relationship with the much older, Kieran.

Current characters

Main characters

Michael Galvin Dr. Chris Warner 1992 - 1996, 2001 - present Anna Jullienne Nurse Maia Jeffries 2004 - present Amanda Billing Dr. Sarah Potts 2004 - present Ido Drent Daniel Potts 2004-2005, 2007, 2009 - present Alison Quigan Yvonne Jeffries 2004, 2005 - present Faye Smythe Nurse Tania Jeffries 2005 - present Fleur Saville Libby Jeffries 2005, 2006 - present Benjamin Mitchell Dr. TK Samuels 2005 - present Peter Mochrie Dr. Callum McKay 2006 - present Lee Donoghue Hunter McKay 2006 - present Kimberley Crossman Sophie McKay 2006 - present Kiel McNaughton Nurse James "Scotty" Scott 2006, 2007 - present Adam Rickitt Kieran Mitchell 2007 - present Harry McNaughton Gerald Tippett 2007 - present Nisha Madhan Nurse Shanti Kumari 2007 - present Sarah Thomson Nurse Tracey Morrison 2007, 2008 - present Bonnie Soper Nurse Morgan Braithwaite 2008 - present Beth Allen Dr. Brooke Freeman 2008 - present Virginie Le Brun Dr. Gabrielle Jacobs 2009 - present Robbie Magasiva Dr. Maxwell Avia 2009 - present Geneva Alexander-Marsters Nurse Aroha Reed 2009 - present Shaun Edwards-Brown Paramedic Ben Goodall 2009 - present

Recurring characters

Robyn Worthington Nurse Carol Beckham Long-serving Senior Nurse 2001 - present Reid Walker Harry Warner Son of Chris Warner and the late Toni Warner 2004 - present Gerald Urquhart Dr. Luke Durville Anaesthetist 2007, 2008 - present Liam Farmer Jay Jeffries Son of Maia Jeffries 2007 - present Marise Wipani Rebecca Scott Scotty's sister 2008;2009 Apeal McNaughton Jesse Scott Scotty's nephew 2008;2009 Vavaki McNaughton Amy Scott Scotty's niece 2008;2009 Monish Anand Sunil Kumari Shanti's brother, Rebecca's friend 2007,2008,2009 Mauri Oho Stokes Tupac Evans Former member of Whitetails, attended bootcamp 2008, 2009

Returning and new characters

Sally Martin Nurse Nicole Miller Debuts September 2009 Mark Warren Dr Oliver Ritchie Debuts September 2009


Shortland Street is produced by South Pacific Pictures, with assistance from FremantleMedia and Television New Zealand. In the first few years, the production was also assisted by New Zealand on Air.


Today, most of the filming for Shortland Street occurs at South Pacific Pictures Waitakere City studios, with Ferndale High School scenes being filmed at the nearby Waitakere College.The exterior shots of the North Shore Hospital is Central Hospital which is the other hospital mentioned in the series as the place where patients are sent. Location scenes are usually filmed in Auckland, but other locations, including Fiji, have been used.

Originally, Shortland Street was filmed in North Shore City at South Pacific Pictures Browns Bay studios until their relocation to purpose built studios in Waitakere City in 2000. The original Ferndale High School was played by a North Shore college until the studio relocated.

Also behind the scenes

Jason Daniel departed as producer at the end of 2008, he had overseen the 2007 Ferndale Strangler storyline which saw a surge in the ratings to over 60%. Casting Director, Andrea Kelland also has small guest roles on screen. She has also appeared on Outrageous Fortune. Katherine McRae (who played murdered nurse Brenda Holloway) has become a Shortland Street full-time director Renato Barlotomei who played Dr Craig Valentine retained his off-screen status of Director.

International screenings

ITV scheduling of Shortland Street Shortland Street has been shown in Ireland on RTE One since 1996. It is broadcast in a morning slot usually around 11:30am and repeated late-night at around 2:30am.

In the UK Shortland Street is no longer shown, but was screened in various areas for a lengthy period from 1993.

From 29 March 1993, Central Television were the first ITV region to screen the soap, beginning in an afternoon timeslot, 1520-1550. From 1994 to 2000, it was shown in an early evening timeslot, at either 1710-1740 and, later at 1730-1800.

Other ITV regions also screened Shortland Street at their own pace, usually during daytime although some (HTV and Granada) followed Central's early-evening example for a short time. Scottish Television have never shown Shortland Street. Central eventually moved the serial to a lunchtime slot, 1300-1330 from September 2000 and it remained here for over two years.

From January 2003, the Carlton-owned ITV regions including Central, Westcountry, HTV and Carlton-London networked Shortland Street in an afternoon slot, 1430-1500, Monday to Wednesday, with a Thursday episode added a few months later. A special programme was aired (presented by Michael Galvin and Angela Bloomfield) introducing new viewers to the show whilst viewers in other regions had to endure a massive jump in storylines to join up with Central who were considerably ahead (up to 5 years in some cases). Meanwhile, the Granada-owned regions, such as Yorkshire Television and Meridian dropped the series entirely, opting for local programming instead. However, Shortland Street failed to attract a significant audience in its new afternoon slot and it was axed completely by ITV and was last shown on 28 August 2003, finishing at episode 2367.[1] Central had shown the serial consecutively for over 10 years, leaving many fans in the Midlands very disappointed. So far, no other UK broadcaster has picked up the rights to screen Shortland Street despite its small, but loyal audience across the country.

The show is also viewed on Cook Island Television 8-8.30pm weekdays and is one of the most popular shows in the Cook Islands.

In previous years, South Pacific Pictures publicity has claimed the show was sold to Bophuthatswana, which journalists have used to demonstrate Shortland Street's interracial appeal.


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