After countless romances, breakups and revelations — plus the odd psycho and crashing helicopter — Shortland Street turned 25 in May 2017. Made on the run, sold round the globe, the Kiwi soap opera juggernaut has provided a launchpad for dozens of actors and behind the scenes talents. Alongside best of clips, the very first episode, musical moments and favourite memories from the cast, Shortland star turned director Angela Bloomfield writes about how the show has changed here, while Mihi Murray backgrounds how it began — and how it reflects New Zealand.
Anna Kingston (Outrageous Fortune's Robyn Malcolm) isn't having a good year: her husband has left her and their two teenage daughters, forcing her to relinquish a pampered lifestyle to return to work. Devised by Robyn Malcolm, this TV One comedy-drama follows Kingston as she tries to sell real estate and live with her parents. Her rich friends give her the cold shoulder, and her sleazy work colleague Leon Cruickshank (Adam Gardiner from movie Hopeless) proves he can't be trusted. Rejected by everyone, Kingston turns to self-help CDs for inspiration: "I deserve to win".
Recorded after their new label Mushroom Records Australia demanded ballads, 'Last Night In The City' is a moment of a departure from the hard rock that Knightshade were known for. But the song proved to be their biggest hit, clawing its way to number nine on the New Zealand singles chart in December 1989. The video has the band playing in a moodily-lit recording studio and features a double neck guitar à la Jimmy Page, a mystery woman, and lead singer Wayne Elliott lamenting lost love. The song was produced by American recording veteran Jim Faraci (Ratt, Poison).
Viewable in full, comedy/drama Hopeless is a portrait of Wellington 20-somethings attempting to get along with crushes, exes, and never weres. Well-meaning Ben (Phil Pinner) finds himself becoming relationship therapist to two friends, despite possessing a dangerously unstoppable mouth. Hamstrung by an advertising campaign highlighting Pinner sitting on a toilet, Hopeless won warm reviews. It also offered impressive movie debuts for Mia Blake (No. 2), Scott Wills (Stickmen) and a hilariously unhinged Adam Gardiner (Agent Anna). Spin-off TV series Lovebites followed.
Every Moment sees a hypothetical date taken to the extreme as a young would-be couple plan the life they might lead together. Aaron McGregor (Choice Night) plays the young hotel worker trying to mend — and win over — the broken heart of his workmate (Bree Peters — the murderous Dr Pania Stevens on Shortland Street). Based on a section of Thomas Sainsbury's play Hotel and shot in a single night in a working hotel, Every Moment was awarded the top prize at Tropfest 2015, and was also voted viewers' favourite. Peters won for best actress.
This black and white music video features Chong-Nee and guest vocalist Niki Ahu encouraging a neighbour to drop her two-timing boyfriend. The song peaked at number 17 on the New Zealand charts in early 2006. The video was one of three directed by Martha Jeffries for John Chong-Nee's debut album Just Getting By On Love. Jeffries later relocated to the United States, where she directed episodes of Emmy award-winning climate change series Years of Living Dangerously.
Dave Dobbyn formed DD Smash with legendary drummer Peter Warren and others in 1981, following the breakup of Th'Dudes. The new band released their debut album Cool Bananas in 1982. It became the first Kiwi album to debut at number one, and stayed in the NZ charts for 24 weeks. The following year classic single 'Outlook for Thursday' almost equalled that number, with 21 weeks in the chart. DD Smash won many NZ Music Awards and were a popular live act in both NZ and Australia. After the release of third and final DD Smash album The Optimist in 1984, Dobbyn began an extended solo career.
Following the breakup of The Mint Chicks, singer Ruban Nielson moved to Portland, launching his new career with an anonymous on-line single in 2010. His subsequent psych rock, funk and soul influenced endeavours have been released as The Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Pitchfork hailed the “unique immersive and psychedelic quality” of UMO's debut album, which was awarded the 2012 Taite Music Prize. Nielson won Best Male Solo Artist at the NZ Music Awards and UMO follow-up II was voted Best Alternative Album in 2013. Third album Multi-Love was released in 2015 to strong reviews.
Lydia Cole's understated yet heartfelt breakup song is accompanied by an equally understated music video. Cole performs in a darkened room which is home to a number of mirrors...plus a man and a woman (possibly the woman who got the guy?). 'Dream' was one of five finalists for the 2016 APRA Silver Scroll songwriting award, after making it through from an original list of 20. The song was released ahead of Cole's second album The Lay of the Land; after she launched a crowd-funding campaign in September 2015 to help fund it, her target was met in only five days.
Released in April 1977, 'It Doesn't Matter Anymore' became Mark Williams' second number one single. The singer funks it up in bell-bottoms and afro, while circled by cameras on the set of long-running music show Ready to Roll. Abandoning the violins of the Buddy Holly/Paul Anka original in favour of percussion and horns, producer Alan Galbraith's arrangement demonstrates that breakup songs can be catchy indeed. By the end of 1977, Williams and Galbraith had decamped for Australia. Williams would ultimately take over vocals for Dragon.