The triumph of hope over experience

03:28, Feb 25 2014
Chris Warner
Michael Galvin: has spent nearly half his life playing Dr Chris Warner on Shortland St. Wedding memories: Chris' earlier marriages to Tiffany...
Chris Warner
Chris Warner
and Toni.

As Shortland St's Chris Warner prepares to head down the aisle again this week, actor Michael Galvin takes us on a walk through the character's previous ''big days''.

I missed Chris's first wedding.

This was to Melanie, played by Tina Regtien. It was over and done with before Shortland St even started - part of Chris's backstory.

The marriage lasted approximately three months, or one year, depending on which episode you watch. It was short enough for Chris to get through it without cheating, so it ended amicably.

No one would have known this wedding had happened at all except for the fact that Chris proposed to Alison - played by Danielle Cormack - while he was still married to Melanie.

But Chris wasn't going to let a minor detail like being married stop him from getting married.

What stopped him was the evil Daryl Neilsen, played brilliantly by Mark Ferguson. Daryl prevented Chris from making his own wedding by drugging him, taking off his clothes, tying him up and locking him in a barn. Why Daryl chose this exact method of detaining Chris was never explained, but it worked, and the wedding never happened.


I don't really remember wedding number 2, to Tiffany, played by Alison James. This means it was probably a happy one. I think it took place in a church somewhere in Devonport. But I could be mixing this up with Nick and Waverley's wedding, interrupted by Fergus at the last minute. Unless that was Fergus and Waverley's wedding interrupted by Nick at the last minute.

In any case, looking at the archive photo, Chris and Tiffany seem to be wearing the same outfit. Or at least two different outfits made form the same curtains.

I also missed wedding number 3, to Alison. This happened while I was off the show for four years. Chris was living the high life in LA performing cosmetic surgery and I was in London in the depths of poverty not performing at all.

Chris was with his new wife Tiffany when he came across his old fiancé Alison and decided it would be a really good idea to marry her as well.

Had he been in Salt Lake City this would have been fine, but since they were in Los Angeles, Chris had to choose. He chose Alison, because she missed out earlier and fair's fair. Tiffany died tragically a few years later when she fell off the Sky Tower.

Unfortunately Chris's marriage to Alison also didn't last. The exact reason is lost to time but it was probably the usual reason. Chris would be reminded of this marriage with the arrival of their son Phoenix on his doorstep 14-years later,

Alison having died tragically doing something dangerous on a South Island farm, probably quad-biking. 
I remember wedding number four, to Toni, played by Laura Hill, because I had terrible wedding anxiety on the actual day. Chris didn't - I did.

As is often the case, the woman playing our celebrant was a real celebrant. TV weddings are a lot like real weddings: both have costumes, rehearsed lines, audiences, caterers.

I was overwhelmed with the irrational fear that the presence of the licensed celebrant meant that if I was to accidentally call Laura, Laura, and not Toni, and if she was to accidentally call me Michael and not Chris, then we would actually become man and wife.

This would have been much worse for Laura than me, but nevertheless I just wasn't ready for marriage.  
If you re-watch the footage of the episode (though I'm guessing you won't) you will notice two anxious and unnaturally long pauses in my line, ''I. ..  Chris, take you. ..Toni, to be my lawful wife.''  

Toni died tragically a few months later when she fell down the stairs in the Warner house.

And now we've just had wedding number five, to Rachel, played by the wonderful Angela Bloomfield. Rachel is showing great courage in becoming Chris's wife, and not just because the last three died tragically. The recently brain-damaged Chris is still a little bit nuts, and he's having regular sex with another woman.
But nevertheless this wedding was an extremely happy occasion. Nothing went wrong in either the real or pretend worlds and Chris (and I) got to meet some very special guests, which we were both very excited about.

And Angela is great to work with, so I'm hoping wedding number six is at least a good couple of years away.

Shortland St 7pm, weeknights, TV2.