|Shortland Street episode|
|Episode no.||Series 1|
|Written by||Wendy Jackson|
|Produced by||Caterina De Nave|
|Original air date||25 May 1992|
Episode 1 of the New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street was first broadcast on 25 May 1992.
The episode starts with paramedics Tom Neilson and Sam Aleni driving down a road with their siren on. Tom's wife Marjorie Neilson answers the phone and hears of a car crash involving a young couple by a construction site. Tom and Sam arrive at the scene to find a teenager in labour having received head injuries. Tom is surprised to find his teenage son Stuart at the scene. Against protocol, Tom and Sam decide to take the woman to Shortland Street Clinic as a result of her brain injury.
Meanwhile, the new doctor Hone Ropata arrives at the clinic. Director of nursing Carrie Burton welcomes him and begins to give him a tour of the building. Nurse Alison Raynor attends to a young aggressive teenage hoodlum who refuses help.
The paramedics arrive at the clinic and ask for a doctor. Carrie asks receptionist Kirsty Knight to call for Dr. Chris Warner. Meanwhile, Chris is seducing his aerobics instructor who has turned his pager off. Hone decides he has to deliver the baby and goes against protocol to do so. Carrie advises him not to and reminds him (in a memorable line) that "you're not in Guatemala now, Dr. Ropata", which Hone ignores. Stuart is denied entrance to the room the girl is giving birth as he is not family, to which he proclaims he is the baby's father. Tom and Marj are shocked that their highly religious son has had sex before marriage.
The teenage hoodlum Alison is seeing, Tara, apologises for her behaviour and Alison tells her it helps to be polite, while her back is turned, the girl goes into Alison's handbag and steals a wad of cash.
Kirsty finds Chris and tells him that he is needed. Carrie informs CEO Michael McKenna of Hone's unorthodox procedure to which Michael insists something will be done. Alison talks to Sam about her flat she is moving into but is shocked when she finds her money gone.
Hone checks out his exam room and is surprised to meet male nurse Steve Mills who badmouths Chris Warner to Hone, leaving him with a bad impression. Steve is later shown to have a crush on Alison.
Chris arrives back to the hospital and meets Hone. The two are stopped by Michael McKenna who questions Hone's methods and why Chris was gone the whole day.
The word placenta was not allowed in the first episode of the show as it was considered to be too risque for a 7pm timeslot. Given that a major storyline of the first episode revolved around a woman giving birth, this was a tricky word to avoid. The line "you're not in Guatemala now, Dr. Ropata" was also originally cut from the first script because it was deemed "too silly", but then it was put back in at the last minute - and is now an iconic piece of New Zealand television history. The line was originally written as, "You're not in Central America now" but a script editor decided that "Guatemala" sounded better.
Before the show was launched, it was called The Shortland Street Project because the plan was to shoot the show in a studio TVNZ owned on Shortland St in central Auckland. However, after working out an initial floor plan, the production crew realised that the space in Shortland St was going to be far too small to accommodate the sets that they required and they moved to a warehouse space in Browns Bay. After running through several name options, including A&E, the network execs agreed that the original idea was the one to go for and Shortland Street was born.
The episode was met with mixed reviewswith reviewers stating “New soap has dead-end feel to it” and “Soap gets thumbs down”. Many also predicted the soap would not last long before cancellation. The Sunday news stated the soap was full of; "Over-acting, under-acting, cliched characters, corny scripts, sluggish editing, dated camera shots and tediously drawn-out scenes." However other reviews stated much to the contrary with headlines such as; "Just what the doctor ordered", "Fine pedigree behind new medical soap", and "Quick pace sets new soap apart".
The original cheesiness of the episode and several ideas have become historically significant in New Zealand pop culture history. The phrase "You're not in Guatemala now Dr. Ropata" instantly became Kiwiana and even came 31 in the top 100 Pop culture stories on Rocked The Nation 2.
Chris' raunchy sex scene with his aerobics instructor also became instantly famous as the show aired at such an early timeslot it was subjected to children viewing.
Shortland Street is a New Zealand prime-time soap opera centering on the fictitious Shortland Street Hospital, first broadcast on TVNZ 2 on 25 May 1992. It is New Zealand's longest-running drama and soap opera, being broadcast continuously for 7,000 episodes and over 28 years, and is one of the most watched television programmes in New Zealand.
Christopher Alexander Warner is a fictional character on the New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street who has been portrayed by Michael Galvin since the show's first episode, making him the longest running original character. Galvin quit the show in 1996, but returned to the show four years later when the show underwent a revamp. In total he has been with Shortland Street for 23 of its 27 years.
Steve Mills is a fictional character on the New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street. He was portrayed by Andrew Binns and was part of the original core cast.
Darryl Neilson is a fictional character on the New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street. Appearing sporadically, Darryl made several recurring appearance from 1992 to the characters death in 1995. He was portrayed by Mark Ferguson.
Dr. Hone Ropata is a fictional character on the New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street who was portrayed by Temuera Morrison as part of the original cast. Morrison maintained the role for three years before briefly reprising it in 2008 to commemorate the show's 4000th episode.
Dr. Stuart Neilson is a fictional character in the New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street who was portrayed by Martin Henderson as part of the original cast until early 1995. The character returned after 22 years off screen to celebrate the show's 25th anniversary episode which aired on the 25th of May, 2017.
Marjorie "Marj" Brasch is a fictional character on the New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street. Being part of the original cast, she was portrayed by Elizabeth McRae from the show's first season in 1992 up until 1996. She returned as a guest character in 1998, 2002, as part of the show's 20th anniversary in May 2012 and again for the show's 25th anniversary in 2017.
Sam Aleni is a fictional character on the New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street who was portrayed by Rene Naufahu as part of the original cast from 1992 to 1996. Naufahu reprised his role 18 years later from March 2014.
Jamie Forrest is a fictional character on the New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street. The character was portrayed by Karl Urban for a guest stint in mid-1993 before returning later in the year for a 6-month recurring stint. The character is remembered as the first openly gay character on the show.
Lionel Skeggins is a fictional character on the New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street who was portrayed by John Leigh. His casting on the show began in late 1993 as a guest role and ended in early 1999 as a fan favourite regular. Lionel returned for a cameo in the show's 25th Anniversary in 2017.
Tom Leslie Neilson is a fictional character on the New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street. Part of the original cast, Tom was portrayed by Adrian Keeling from the shows first episode until May the following year when the character starred in a high profile storyline where Tom went missing. He returned later in the year to finish the storyline off.
Carla Leach is a fictional character on the New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street, who was portrayed by Elisabeth Easther from early 1995 to mid 1996. The character debuted as the sister of established character Ellen Crozier and gained notoriety as the show's first ever on screen murderer.
Te Rangitahi "Rangi" Heremaia is a fictional character on the New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street who was portrayed by Blair Strang from 1995 to 2001.
Finbar "Finn" Warner is a fictional character on the New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street. Born onscreen, Finn was originally played by an uncredited baby actor in 1993 before Lukas Whiting took over the role in 2016.
Frank Warner is a fictional character on the New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street. Born on-screen, Frank was originally played by an uncredited baby actor in 1993 before Luke Patrick took over the role in 2016.
Sarah "Sass" Warner is a fictional character on the New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street. Born onscreen, Sass was originally played by an uncredited baby actor in 1993 before Lucy Lovegrove took over the role in 2016. Her early storylines focused on her casual relationship with Hawks Logan and marrying Mason Coutts before the relationship turns disastrous and ultimately leading to his death. Sass proved popular amongst the viewers as a "beloved" character.