Shortland Street turns 25: Are all our old faves coming back?

Ricardo Simich,
Spy News,
Publish Date
Saturday, 1 April 2017, 3:24PM
L-R: Temuera Morrison, Elizabeth McRae, Karl Urban, KJ Apa, Danielle Cormack and Claire Chitham.
L-R: Temuera Morrison, Elizabeth McRae, Karl Urban, KJ Apa, Danielle Cormack and Claire Chitham.

On May 25 Shortland Street will celebrate its 25th anniversary — a significant occasion and a milestone reached by no other New Zealand serial drama.

Principal photography for the feature-length anniversary episode was shot this week.

With Shorty being no stranger to cliffhanger stunts, including burning down the hospital, a siege, an exploding bach, helicopter and plane crashes, as well as the Ferndale serial killer, Spy can reveal these exclusive behind-the-scenes shots and it certainly has us wondering what is going to happen — an Ebola outbreak or some kind of explosion perhaps?

Dangerous stunts and life-changing events are all on the menu, but although the birthday storylines are held closely under wraps, viewers of Shorty are guaranteed to be on the edge of their seats.

“It is such a privilege being at the helm of Shortland Street for this history-making anniversary,” producer Maxine Fleming told Spy.

“The anniversary episode is shaping up to be one of the most spectacular in its long history and we’re all really excited about it. The cast and crew are pulling out all the stops to make this happen.”

Spy understands a number of past stars will make cameos in the special, including one who’s made it big overseas since Shorty.

So who could that be? The expat alumni includes Martin Henderson, Karl Urban, Danielle Cormack, Marton Csokas, Frankie Adams, KJ Apa and Kimberley Crossman — but Henderson is our pick as an original cast member to represent the 25-year cycle.

We also think Temuera Morrison, who played Dr Hone Ropata, is a must. He’s part of the show’s folklore with one of the most famous lines in the show’s history: “You’re not in Guatemala now, Dr Ropata,” directed at him.

Spy reckons Elizabeth McRae, who played beloved receptionist Marjorie “Marj” Brasch (previously Neilson) and Claire Chitham, who played everybody’s friend Waverley Harrison (nee Wilson), must come back. McRae recently made a cameo in Shortland Street — The Musical and Chitham has returned from the US and we’ve seen her out and about at industry events.

Award-winning actress and environmentalist Robyn Malcolm’s character Nurse Ellen Crozier was one of the show’s most successful and well-received figures. It would be remiss of producers not to remind viewers of the character Malcolm portrayed before she became Cheryl West in Outrageous Fortune.

Last but not least is Lionel Skeggins, played by the still-popular John Leigh. Lionel was washed off a rock in 1999, while trying to escape his murderous wife. His body was never recovered...