Writing has been a lifelong passion for Aucklander Kim Harrop. As a child she wrote plays, and enlisted kids in the neighbourhood to help act out her creations.
In her 20s, Harrop's love of putting pen to paper morphed into a job writing radio adverts. She was also working with a group of upcoming comedians, writing award-winning syndicated radio shows like Starship Cortina and News in Briefs.
Her first foray into television was trying to sell sketches for comedy series Pete & Pio. Around 2001, her ex radio boss Harriet Crampton became a producer on Shortland Street, and offered Harrop a trial as a story liner, helping think up plots for the show. Harrop ended up spending eight years (over several stints) on the Street, ultimately becoming head writer. The hours occasionally stretched to 4am, but there was often laughter around the writing table. "Working at Shorties is the best education any TV writer can have," says Harrop. "You learn so much about story, character and structure, as well as working with other departments."
Harrop left Shortland Street several times to write and develop both scripted and non-scripted shows. She was a storyliner on season one of TV2's long-running series Go Girls, and helped develop a wide variety of projects for production company Eyeworks NZ. In 2005 she was a story producer on Satellite Media reality show The Ultimate Challenge, which saw her joining a team of rookie yachties sailing from Invercargill to Suva. "No one really watched the show, but it was the best of times/ worst of times and a total life-changer." After three months at sea, at the mercy of weather, she developed a deep respect for nature.
Harrop began as Head of Development at Eyeworks in 2013, shortly before the company became the local arm of Warner Brother's television empire. She helped create factual shows — including historic series First Crossings, architectural show The NZ Home and police series Women in Blue — before moving into a more drama-focussed role.
In 2017 Harrop joined award-winning documentary maker Briar March to write and produce hit short The Coffin Club, for online platform Loading Docs. The film celebrates real life members of the Kiwi Coffin Club, as they sing about how they make their own coffins. The result won over six million views on website Upworthy, screened at famed American festival South by Southwest, and inspired the birth of new coffin clubs overseas.
Harrop began developing black comedy Fresh Eggs with fellow writer Nick Ward (Stickmen), soon after she joined Warner Brothers. In 2018 the series moved into production. Harrop produced alongside Britta Hawkins (Outrageous Fortune, Go Girls), who was also the show's lead director. Fresh Eggs stars Claire Chitham and Cohen Holloway as small-town newbies who find themselves face-to-face with a number of bad eggs and accidental deaths. Harrop calls it "a real change in direction for local telly, and the show we’ve all been wanting to make forever – anarchic, funny and extremely wrong on many levels."
Harrop joined TVNZ as Scripted Commissioner in August 2018. The job sees her commissioning drama and comedy shows for the network.
Profile written by Natasha Harris
Published on 31 July 2018
'Kim Harrop' LinkedIn website. Accessed 31 July 2018
'The Coffin Club - Producer Kim Harrop' Loading Docs website. Accessed 31 July 2018
'Cast announced for TVNZ's black comedy series Fresh Eggs' (Press Release) TVNZ website. Loaded 22 April 2018. Accessed 31 July 2018