Dion

Shortland Street

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Thought I might as well start a thread on Shortland Street since there isn't one here already.

Nothing much on the news front though aside from the fact that Adam Rickitt is

leaving the show. His final airdate is August 2 and to mark the occasion his final episode will be 90 minute TV movie.

Edited by Dion

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Is he so popular that he gets his own big goodbye? What I saw of him on Corrie he was dull, if handsome -- now he seems kind of emaciated.

I've heard of this but mostly in regards to their gay and lesbian characters, like a lesbian couple who caused some controversy over getting married. Are they still on the show?

They also have an asexual character, Gerald. Does he have a story?

There seem to be a fair amount of episodes online -- do you think it's worth getting into right now?

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Yeah bizarrely he is quite popular in New Zealand, I'm not exactly sure of the reasons why. I partly put it down to lingering traces of cultural insecurity (the "oh look, an actor from the UK's longest running soap has decided to grace us with his presence and keeps on saying our country is wonderful" factor), the fact that much of the bad press he used to get in the UK never made it here and the fact that he is a lot better in Shortland Street than he was in Corrie (in fact most of his fans would have never seen him on Coronation Street as while both shows are usually in the Top ten, they appeal to different demographics). Even the shoplifting incident a few years back did nothing to affect his popularity.

The lesbian couple you are referring to is Maia and Jay. Their wedding on Valentines Day 2006 (actually technically it was a civil union) came at the tail end of years of debate over the civil union issue (which was passed late in 2004).

Their relationship only lasted 18 months. Merely six months after their civil union, there was this really bizarre and awful story about Jay sleeping with a man who hated Lesbians, followed by an equally bizarre but really good story about Maia and her sister's husband (a sex addict who had only settled for Maia's sister because he couldn't have Maia) conspiring to artificially inseminate Maia behind everyone's back. This ended Jay and Maia for good and Jay was all set to leave when she ended up being murdered by the Ferndale strangler. Maia then had her baby boy, left the show for six months (actress went on holiday with her boyfriend), came back, fell in love with Jay's straight best friend Alice, murdered Alice's evil boyfriend, confessed after having a mental breakdown, got off on a technicality (they ruled that her confession was invalid due to her mental instability!) and has since led a somewhat quieter life with her new girlfriend Nicole and her now almost three year old son (whom she predictably named Jay).

Gerald hasn't had much of a story this year but is featured quite regularly. Last year though he did have an interesting arc in which he married his ex girlfriend Morgan (They'd broken up originally when Gerald realized he was asexual) who was pregnant with triplets (a surrogacy deal that was going sour) in order to strengthen morgan's case for getting custody. The marriage came unstuck when Morgan had a change of heart and gave the babies to the genetic parents. Gerald and Morgan decided to try for a baby of their own, but of course Gerald wanted to do it through artificial insemination rather than sleeping with Morgan. Morgan then became attracted to another man and despite resisting temptation, she eventually realized that she wasn't willing to fore go a sexual relationship so she and Gerald ended the marriage. By the end of the year they had patched up their friendship, but then Morgan was killed in a hit and run in the 2009 season finale (Kieran, Adam Rickitt's character was the driver and is yet to be found out because his brother confessed instead).

The show seems to be just plodding along at the moment but 2007 and 2008 were really good. Most of the episodes on youtube are from the Irish broadcasts (I think every single episode from late 2003 up to early 2007 is on there with closed captioning because the uploader is partially deaf and doing it for his/her other deaf friends) which are three years behind. I don't know if anyone is doing the current episodes though.

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Thanks so much. I guess the Gerald clips I'd seen online (there haven't been any uploads in six or seven months) were NZ paced?

That story about the man who hates lesbians sounds bizarre. Is any of that online? It sounds like a car crash. What did he think he was going to turn her or something?

They certainly don't seem to hesitate at killing popular characters.

So are the ratings pretty good?

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Yeah, I don't think Gerald has appeared in Irish episodes yet (he joined the show in August 2007). I'm guessing the clips you have seen were maybe from 2008 or 2009. Speaking of Gerald a scene he was in led to Shortland Street's first ever fine from the Broadcasting Standards Authority in 2008. This scene involved a male childhood friend of Gerald's coming to town and revealing he was gay. Gerald who was confused at the time decided that he might be gay (or rather everyone else assumed he was gay but in denial and encouraged him to try things out with his old friend) and somewhat awkwardly decided to sleep with his friend. The two hopped into bed and the friend put his head under the covers to obviously give him a blowjob but Gerald who wasn't too comfortable with this ended up kneeing his friend in the face! Not too risque really until you realise that the show screens at 7pm!

Actually the man who hated Lesbians didn't actually know that Jay was a lesbian (at first). Jay was looking for finance for some business venture and met Dylan. After Dylan had made his homophobia clear, Jay decided not to tell him about her sexuality and ended up having an affair with him. Of course Dylan ended up finding out that Jay was a lesbian and I believe he vindictively videotaped their last sexual encounter before sending it to Maia, who saw it and had her first breakdown (with the whole first act of one episode being shot entirely from Maia's POV as she had her breakdown). These episodes should be available on Youtube as Ireland would have screened them some months ago. When I get time I'll huntout the episode numbers for you.

This was not actually the first time that Jay had cheated on Maia with a man (she'd slept with another man almost a year before the civil union) despite the fact that Jay was not bisexual (but at least the first time made sense because she was trying to get pregnant, the guy was her male best friend who'd already agreed to be her donor and they were wasted after drinking too much which led them to try getting pregnant through sex rather than artificial insemination).

The show certainly has no qualms about killing off popular characters, this was particularly evident during Jason Daniel's run as producer (hence that comment I made about him in the Home And Away thread). He was behind the infamous Ferndale Strangler storyline (and in fact, Jay's actress wanted to leave at the beginning of 2007 but Jason Daniel persuaded her to stay on for an extra six months so she could be killed off).

The show actually rates quite well (It's regularly rated in the top ten and often beats Coronation Street). The current audience ranges between 500,000 and 700,000 (which in a country of 4.3 million is amazing). The peak year for the show was in 1994 when the show peaked around the 900,000 mark, and then dropped off to around 500,000 by 1998 staying somewhat consistent until 2007 when the Ferndale strangler storyline caused a ratings resurgence which the show is still currently enjoying.

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Looks like Living will be airing the show in double bills starting August 23. They're going back 4 years, apparently?

Living was recently bought by Sky. The only thing I've heard of Living is their reality shows with Jade Goody and now Katie Price, so perhaps this is a move towards soaps, possibly even making one of their own someday.

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Hopefully they start with a season return episode. The first episodes of 2005, 2006 or 2007 would be excellent starting points as each preceding season finales provided more resolution than cliffhanger. My personal preference would be for the first episode of 2005 as that pretty much was a transition period for the show that set up stories and characters that ran for several years, but that's probably a bit too long ago now, even with double bills.

The first episode of 2007 would be another good place to start as you still have 9 characters on the show from that period with no major characters leaving until the serial killer storyline kicks in about six months in.

As for Kieran's exit and the 90 minute special, well I'll have to leave that for another day as its actually 3am right now lol.

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I've been reliving this show on Youtube over the past couple of days with loads of stuff that aired when I was a kid.

I'd forgotten how truly soapy and addictive it could be! Carla murdering her husband and framing Ellen for drug abuse, Guy's gay stalker, the truck driver ploughing into the front of the clinic and killing Carmen. :lol: It's made me do some reading up on how the show's progressed because I think I stopped watching around the time Ellen and David's baby died.

Despite my tortured love for Neighbours and appreciate for some of Home and Away, SS really puts them to shame when it comes to melodrama. They don't seem hostage to censorship like those two shows so they can be both as gritty or outrageous as they please. Severely underrated.

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Part of the show's mandate when it was commissioned to receive funding from NZ on Air (the governments local content funding agency) was to "push the boundaries of New Zealand drama" which they did with gusto. The complaints about the content not being suitable for the timeslot poured in for a few years (Until 2008 the NZ broadcasting standards authority always ruled in Shortland Street's favour) but eventually died down.

The 90 minute episode was interesting, and had what was probably the longest ever pre-episode recap as they recapped many of the main events from Kieran's run on the show. Thankfully the entire episode wasn't just about him otherwise it really would have gotten tedious watching him get kidnapped and escape several times. In the end Kieran fell off a cliff and is now presumed dead, but before that happened they did manage to resolve most of his characters arc so it was a very satisfying end to the character. The B plots in the episode were also quite interesting, with one major subplot (downgrading the Shortland Street hospital into a satellite of another) that has been brewing since the beginning of the year being wrapped up and Chris Warner (the sole remaining original character) learning that he has a somewhat SORASed son by an old love.

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Kinda old news now but it seems Adam Rickitt's departure in the 90 Minute special on August 2 scored an Impressive 837,000 viewers, making it one of the highest rated episodes of Shortland Street since it began! (and also it was the highest rated episode of any show that week) And since then the show has rated quite well, remaining in the 500,000 to 700,000 range. Fridays often do relatively poorly with figures down in the low 500's but on other nights the show can get more than 600,000 or even 700,000.

Here is a link to NZ ratings on Throng.co.nz

NZ Ratings

Edited by Dion

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Tonight was Gerald's last episode. His exit storyline involved him marrying his best friend Libby (who left the show back in March but returned for a guest stint to wrap up Gerald's storyline) as Libby needed to get a US green card and Gerald conveniently turned out to be an American citizen! (I would have bought that particularly detail if they'd mentioned it when his parents came on during one of their recurring stints). Oh well, at least this marriage is heavily implied to be based on real feelings (a strong friendship that will actually turn into true love) and not just a scheme to defraud the INS! Just a shame we won't get to see their relationship play out onscreen! But it is a somewhat fitting end to the arcs of both characters (Gerald gets a wife who won't mind the whole asexuality issue and accepts him for who he is and Libby finally got a wedding and a husband).

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Shortland Street's back for 2011 and at the moment it seems Maia's about to cheat on her partner Nicole with the relatively new Doctor, Jennifer. Should be sure to stir up some controversy.

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True...although it does mean that once again Maia's attracted to someone who may not be totally confident in their sexuality (Jennifer has only dated men up until now and is also recently divorced, though to be fair she only joined in September and it's clear that she's never felt any spark in any of her relationships with men, including her marriage).

Maia's partner Nicole is bisexual, but Maia was her first relationship with a woman as well (though unlike Jennifer, Nicole has always known that she was Bi but she just hadn't met the right woman yet).

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