Shortland Street's 25th anniversary episode will feature 'cataclysmic event'
For months, rumours have been swirling about which former Shortland Street stars will be returning to Ferndale for the soap's 25th anniversary episode.
So far it has been revealed that Nick (Karl Burnett) and Waverley (Claire Chitham), two popular characters who left the show more than 20 years ago, will be making an appearance. But other details are being kept a closely guarded secret.
Not surprisingly there are hopes former Shorty stars such as overseas-based actors Martin Henderson (Grey's Anatomy), Karl Urban (Dredd) and Danielle Cormack (Wentworth) will also be on screen to celebrate our local hospital's quarter century.
"There might be someone special and important who flew in from overseas," says Shortland Street producer Maxine Fleming.
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"(There is) more to come on that closer to the date. Watch this space."
The anniversary episode is 90 minutes long and it includes 50th birthday celebrations for Dr Chris Warner (Michael Galvin).
And much like the soap's Christmas cliffhanger - where, typically, lives are lost or hang in the balance – this episode also aims to be unforgettable.
"We have a cataclysmic event in our 90-minute feature," says Fleming.
"We've really gone and pulled out all the stops for this one and that event will put all our characters' lives at risk and the entire Ferndale (population) at risk but, naturally, our characters will pull together as they always do."
Fleming reveals that lives will be lost and that Dr Warner's birthday will be interrupted by the "major event which has everyone scrambling and fighting for their lives".
"It's big and ambitious," she says. "The cast and crew worked incredibly hard to pull it off and I'm absolutely delighted with the result and I hope the audience is too.
"It's a 90-minute feature-film-length movie and, at times, I'd thought we'd bitten off more than we can chew but I just have to take my hat off to the writer, director, the cast and the crew.
"Everyone just got completely behind it. It was chaos and bedlam for a few weeks there while we were shooting it. But it was all worth it I think.
"The general buzz from people who've seen it already is it's the best feature-length episode yet."
Shortland Street (25th anniversary episode), TVNZ 2, Thursday, May 25, 7pm.
- TV Guide