Irushed through Auckland traffic to get to the Shortland Street 25th party last week, but the special screening of the featurelength episode was already underway. I snuck into the back row in the darkness, asking a guy to let me squeeze past, and did a double take when Lionel (aka John Leigh) said “Sure, Sido” – the first of many bizarre moments of an unforgettable evening.
Wow, it was an explosive episode – a volcanic eruption sending the lives of those we know and love on Shorty into absolute chaos – all on the very day Chris Warner, who has been diagnosed with leukaemia, was having a party to celebrate making it to 50. The mayhem that unfolded was so intense, culminating in final scenes that had me reaching for my tissues.
But in true Shorty style, the heartbreak of the worst day in Ferndale’s history was beautifully balanced with humour and warmth. It was lovely to see the return of beloved Marj, Nick, Waverley and Stuart (swoon!). What a treat. And I loved Lionel’s cameo! Nick’s one-liners were a welcome relief from all the panic. He had some absolute pearlers – who will forget, “Yes, I’m a sperm volcano!” I’m sure that line contributed to darling Marj’s dicky ticker giving way. But her final words, “Life’s too short and wonderful for regrets”, were just beautiful.
All of us at the party – including past and present cast – felt huge pride as we celebrated the 25-year milestone.
Reality TV is hot these days – and our cover story with sweethearts Zac and Viarni marks the success of The Bachelor this year – but for me, there is nothing that compares to the thrill of great drama on television. And Shortland Street may be a soap, but the 25th episode proved what a fabulous drama series it is. Congratulations, Shorty!
s s, SIDO WITH CLAIRE CHITHAM, THERESA HEALEY & TEUILA BLAKELY