The Shadow Trader was the first television drama shot in New Zealand solely on single camera video, à la film style. Before that, series such as Gloss were all shot multicam in the studio, and single camera with an OB (Outside Broadcast) van on location.
1988 saw more cranes on the Auckland skyline than ever before (27 I think — the opulent 80s), which was ideal for the ‘Arcadian rebuild’ storyline. The name The Shadow Trader comes from the ancient Greek rite of a man selling (or being robbed of) his shadow upon which the first foundation stone of a building was laid, with his shadow sacrificed to the building. The mini-series was originally going to be called The Arcadian Factor.
It was bought by French distributor Canal+ (who had it edited down to fit their ‘Movie of the Week’ slot), and played to good reviews and ratings.
The Shadow Trader has a very European quality about it. Deliberately. UK conspiracy series Edge of Darkness [directed by New Zealander Martin Campbell] was fresh in mind. It was a brilliant series to do; such a rewarding and happy event, with a great cast featuring some of New Zealand’s finest actors.
It was beautifully produced by Finola Dwyer (who of course went on to the UK to produce An Education and the Dustin Hoffman-directed Quartet). I developed it with Caterina De Nave (the original producer), who handed it over to Finola. The original writer was Debra Daley, and Finola and I signed up Sue McCauley to craft the teleplay for screen.
- Wayne Tourell has won awards for directing TV drama (Hanlon, which he pitched for over a decade), documentary (Landmarks) and big screen romance Bonjour Timothy. He has also helmed 500+ episodes of Shortland Street.