Celebrating 25 years of Shortland Street on our screens, current cast members reflect on their favourite Ferndale storylines – from stalwart Michael Galvin to relative newcomer Tash Keddy. The Ferndale Strangler is a standout, plus there is mention of helicopter crashes, unexpected triplets and moments of comedy. Death, drugs, disease, disasters – and a little bit of devotion – that about covers it.
Asked to pick her favourite Shortland Street storylines, Shortie longtimer Sally Martin starts with one of the show's most dramatic episodes — the 20th anniversary special from 2012. On board a helicopter when it crashed in the hospital grounds, Martin's character Nicole Miller was trapped in the wreckage. Martin has good memories of shooting the chopper scenes, which required overnight shoots. She also mentions a sickbed scene surrounded by admirers, and her struggles not to laugh while trying to teach first aid to an uncomprehending Bella (Amelia Reid-Meredith).
Chris Warner (Michael Galvin) debuted in Shortland Street on the very first episode, when the young doctor got sweaty with an aerobics instructor. Over 25 years the character has been through his share of drama (including five marriages and counting, by 2017). In this short interview, Galvin reflects on his favourite storyline while playing Warner: the shock 2016 arrival of three adult children (triplets!) that he fathered as a sperm donor in the show’s second year. In the accompanying Shortland St clips, Sass Connelly (Lucy Lovegrove) tells Warner that he was "the Dad I never knew".
In March 2016 actor Laurel Devenie debuted on Shortland Street as nurse Kate Nathan, with her transgender child Blue in tow. In this interview, filmed for Shortland's 25th birthday, Devenie marvels at the intricacy of the show's writing, and its ability to develop, obscure and reveal villains over time. A short montage features clips from the plotline she refers to involving evil surgeon Victoria Anderton (Laura Thompson) — including the chilling moment Anderton admits to Mo (Jarod Rawiri) that she tried to murder her boss Drew McCaskill.
Tash Keddy made history in March 2016 as the first transgender actor to play an ongoing transgender role on New Zealand television — joining Shortland Street to play Blue Nathan, a teenage girl who identifies as a boy. Keddy trained in fine arts at Elam before winning the role. In this short interview and accompanying clip from the show, Keddy recalls Blue's dramatic onscreen arrival in the corridors of the hospital. “I really liked my entry storyline ... Blue came in in this huge bundle of energy and stole stuff and punched someone, and had a scuffle".
In March 2015 teenager Pixie Hannah (Thomasin McKenzie) arrived on Shortland Street, and after initial clashes with Harry Warner, began dating him. Reid Walker, who plays Harry, talks about the "bittersweet" storyline involving Pixie and her death, calling it the favourite story he’s been part of. Pixie was diagnosed with cancer; her immune system weakened after chemotherapy, she contracted pneumonia after rescuing Harry from a river. Reuben Milner, who plays Pixie’s brother Jack, also discusses the Pixie storyline. The second clip shows him joining the haka at her funeral.
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.
Shortland Street receptionist Leanne Miller (Jennifer Ludlam) provided many magic moments during her time on the show. Prone to mispronunciations, homophobic comments (although she later had a change of heart) and meddling in her daughter Nicole's relationships, Leanne also endured muggings, a drowned partner and surgery without anaesthetic. When Shortland actor Grace Palmer is asked for her favourite moment from the show, she chooses the time Leanne took health supplements laced with speed. The clip ends with a brief glimpse of Leanne after the event.