Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Shortland Street is a soap opera set in a modern metropolitan hospital in the fictional suburb of Ferndale in Auckland City, New Zealand. It is New Zealand's longest running soap opera, and began screening on 25 May 1992. It is broadcast on TV2, one of TVNZ's free-to-air channels, five evenings a week at 7pm. According to the official website the show has a viewership of 700,000 per night.
Many New Zealand actors' careers have been launched by, or included a role on Shortland Street. The most recognisable (to New Zealanders, at least) is probably Temuera Morrison (Dr. Hone Ropata) who has since had roles in Once Were Warriors, Speed 2, and Star Wars: Episode II.
The show debuted to much fanfare on 25 May, 1992. The first episode was notable for having a sex scene between Chris Warner (Michael Galvin ) and an aerobics instructor, Jill (played by guest star Suzy Aiken). The show was also panned by critics at first, who criticised the bad acting and storylines. However, the show was praised for its sensitive portrayal of teenage suicide storyline later on in its first year. While ratings were initially high, within weeks they had fallen considerably. However, the show was saved from cancellation by the fact that TVNZ had pre-ordered a years 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 1994. Since then, ratings have fallen somewhat, but the show remains in the overall top twenty highest rated New Zealand television shows, and still regularly rates number one in the 18 - 49 demographic, the target audience that advertisers most desire.
Over the years there have been a number of cast changes, with only Chris Warner ) being the two remaining original cast members. In 2001, the show receieved much media attention in New Zealand when 14 castmembers were either let go from their contracts or decided to leave on their own. 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 time that a Maori family had been introduced onto the show).
The producers of Shortland Street have tried to make the show reflect the current trends in New Zealand health services. As a result, the hospital featured on the show was originally under private ownership, which reflected the increasing privitisation of the New Zealand health services in the early 1990s under the National Government. After the current Labour government was elected into office in 1999, there was a renewed focus on public health services. As a result, in 2001 the producers of the show decided to have the hospital come under government ownership in order to reflect the renewed focus on public health. This change was part of the shows revamp in 2001, and coincided with the cull of 14 characters mentioned above.
In 2003–2004, the show introduced its first serial killer with the Dominic Thompson (Shane Cortese ) storyline. Dominic was the brother of nurse Toni Thompson (Laura Hill ), and was believed to be the illegitimate half-brother of Dr. Chris Warner, but after this was revealed as a lie, he and Chris became bitter enemies. His love affair with 17 yr-old Delphi Greenlaw (Anna Hutchinson ), also created controversy and eventually saw the teenager leave town to escape him. Dominic also killed two characters, Delphi's brother, Dr. Geoff Greenlaw (froze to death in chiller) and PA Avril Lucich (drowned in bathtub), who threatened to get in his way, before being killed off himself in an explosion after trying to kill Chris. The storyline created immense popularity that saw the show ranked once again in the top ten highest rated shows in New Zealand.
Current Cast Members (2005)
- Michael Galvin (Dr. Chris Warner)
- Laura Hill (Nurse Toni Thompson\Warner)
- Donogh Rees (Nurse Judy Brownlee)
- Renato Bartolomei (Dr. Craig Valentine)
- Amanda Billing (Dr. Sarah Potts)
- Paolo Rotondo (Dr. Andrew Solomon)
- Kirstie O'Sullivan (Nurse Robyn Stokes)
- Tim Foley (Dr. Mark Weston)
- Li Ming Hu (Dr. Lei Mei Chen)
- Jacob Tomuri (Norman Hanson)
- Pua Magasiva (Nurse Vinnie Kruse)
- Anna Jullienne (Nurse Maia Jefferies)
- Jamie Passier-Armstrong (Jay Copeland)
- Alison Quigan (Yvonne Jefferies)
- Jeffrey Thomas (Ian Jefferies)
- David Waikaira-Paul (Tama Hudson)
- Amber Curreen (Shannon Te Ngaru/Hudson)
- Calum Gittins (Jake Valentine)
- Nicole Thomson (Scarlett Valentine)
- Emily Robins (Claire Solomon)
- Issac Bell (Eti Kawaka)
- Callum Campbell-Ross (Harry Thompson-Warner)
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