Actors Tane Williams-Accra and Ngahuia Piripi joined Shortland Street in 2015, as ambulance driver Ali Karim and Nurse Esther Samuels. Here they introduce their favourite Shortie storyline: the one involving Ferndale Strangler Joey Henderson (Johnny Barker). Cut from a longer clip which is viewable on NZ On Screen, the finale has the formerly sympathetic nurse and recently discovered serial killer escaping to the rooftop, where he is tackled by flatmate Kieran Mitchell (Adam Rickitt). When the police show up and make Kieran let go, Joey takes fate into his own hands.
Trapped in a storage locker, shorn of her appendix, nurse Alice Piper (Toni Potter) turns the tables on her captor: psycho Joey Henderson (Johnny Barker). When Doctor Craig Valentine encounters Henderson, he finds himself caught between anger and duty. Finally marking the end of the Ferndale Strangler's reign, this March 2008 Shortland Street episode climaxed an eight-month long plotline which saw five members of the cast falling victim. Earlier three leaked videos each revealed a different killer (none of them Joey), upping the suspense as to the strangler's real identity.
Johnny Barker began acting in musicals at high school. Since then his career has balanced acting and playing music. In 2003 he starred as one of two heroes caught up in very strange doings in Greg Page horror film The Locals. Four years later Barker joined the cast of Shortland Street for his second stint, winning infamy (and Qantas award nominations) after being revealed as the Ferndale Strangler. Earlier on, his former band Jester provided the opening song for teen hit Being Eve.
After studying performing arts at Unitec, Toni Potter got busy in a run of stage plays. Guest parts on TV soon led to an ongoing role on police drama Interrogation (2005), before four years on Shortland Street. Potter played memorably straight-talking nurse Alice Piper: "a bit bogan, a bit loud-mouth." 2008 saw a Qantas nomination, after her character endured abduction by the Ferndale Strangler, and unexpected pregnancy.
Katherine McRae’s first acting role was as a child, in an adaptation of Katherine Mansfield story The Doll’s House. Thirteen years later, she was part of the main cast on TV's The Marching Girls, before her first movie, Send a Gorilla. After winning acclaim on stage, she became a regular on Shortland Street in 2006, then moved into screen directing — including Go Girls, Nothing Trivial, and short film Abandon Ship.
Short film Decaff (1994) marked a hyperactive and energetic screen debut for director Greg Page. In 2003 he wrote and directed his first feature, horror movie The Locals. Page continues to be a prolific director of television commercials and music videos.
Orewa-raised Emily Robins began acting and singing as a child. Later she juggled high school with acting on Shortland Street. Playing spoilt rich girl Claire Solomon, her character survived strip clubs and morphine, before being murdered by the Ferndale Strangler. Robins then headed for Australia to star in two seasons of The Elephant Princess, playing a musically-talented teen who learns she is princess of a magical kingdom.
Actor Hannah Marshall did four seasons on Australian TV hit Packed to the Rafters; she was nominated for a 2011 Logie Award for Most Popular New Female Talent. The ex-gymnast began acting at high school in Auckland. Later she appeared in The Amazing Extraordinary Friends, was a victim of Shortland Street's Ferndale Strangler, and showed her comic touch on Diplomatic Immunity. In 2014 she co-starred in acclaimed Aussie sci fi film The Infinite Man. After time in the United States, Marshall and partner David de Lautour returned home to create Alibi, a whodunnit whose episodes can be watched in any order.
South African-born Faye Smythe immigrated down under with her family aged 11. In 2005 she joined the cast of Shortland Street. Five years as nurse Tania Jeffries saw her character beat an addiction to prescription drugs, an abusive relationship and a marriage derailed by a partner who got her lesbian sister pregnant. In 2011 Smythe made her movie debut in comedy Love Birds, playing the woman who dumps Rhys Darby’s character.
During seven years playing Shortland Street party girl Toni Warner, Laura Hill survived miscarriage, murder attempts and romance with Chris and Guy Warner, before death from kidney failure in mid 2008. Hill, who moved to NZ aged five, is daughter of UK actor Helena Ross. At Victoria University she got first class honours in English literature; her many stage roles include starring as Jane Eyre at Dunedin's Fortune Theatre.