Friday 6 June, 7pm
When Shortland Street first hit New Zealand television screens on May 25, 1992 it was met with mixed reviews. But headlines like “New soap has dead-end feel to it” and “Soap gets thumbs down”, didn’t seem to dampen the spirits of TVNZ’s new prime time serial drama. Sixteen years on and Shortland Street is celebrating another milestone – the 4000th episode – with the return of original cast member Dr Hone Ropata (Temuera Morrison), tonight at 7pm on TV2.
Over the years, Shortland Street has proven it’s more than just good luck that has kept the show consistently popular. In the last year Shortland Street achieved some of its highest ratings on record, at its peak, commanding the attention of more than 600,000 viewers on a daily basis.
Despite the initial misgivings the show faced in 1992, Shortland Street has been the training ground for some incredibly successful New Zealand talent, both on and off screen, such as Martin Henderson, who is arguably one of New Zealand’s most well known international success stories.
Back in 1992 when Henderson was playing fresh faced school boy Stuart Neilson, a journalist from The Dominion Sunday Times referred to him as an actor “with the looks and style to become New Zealand’s answer to Luke Perry”. Since then Henderson has gone on to star in Torque, Little Fish, The Ring, Bride And Prejudice, and Fly Boys, and stared with Britney Spears in her music video for smash hit song Toxic.
The list continues with other familiar faces including Karl Urban (The Chronicles Of Riddick, The Bourne Supremacy, Out Of The Blue, Pathfinder), Martin Csokas (The Bourne Supremacy, Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring, Star Wars: Episode II – Attack Of The Clones, Kingdom Of Heaven), Kieran Hutchinson (Charmed, Spin City, One Tree Hill) and Temuera Morrison (Barbed Wire, Speed 2, Star Wars: Episode II – Attack Of The Clones).
Meanwhile, behind-the-scenes, crew members who got their training on Shortland Street have gone on to work all over the world in a variety of roles in the film and television industry.
After 4000 episodes, Shortland Street shows every sign that it will continue to capture the imaginations and hearts of the New Zealand public for years to come.
South Pacific Pictures chief executive John Barnett says the company is extremely proud of Shortland Street: “Not only has it entertained audiences for over 16 years, but it has also become part of the back bone of the New Zealand film and television industry, creating career opportunities for many New Zealanders. We look forward to the next 4000 episodes!”
Shortland Street – 7pm weeknights on TV2.