Toni Warner

Last updated
Toni Warner
Toni Warner.jpg
Shortland Street character
Portrayed byLaura Hill
Duration2001–2008, 2020–2021
First appearance5 March 2001
Last appearance11 January 2021
Created by Jason Daniel
Introduced bySimon Bennett (2001)
Oliver Driver (2020)
Classification Former; regular
Profile
Other namesAntoinette Warner
Occupation Nurse
HomeWarner Mansion

Antoinette "Toni" Warner (née Thompson, formerly McAllister) is a fictional character on the New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street who was portrayed by Laura Hill from 2001 until 2008.

Contents

In 2008, Toni became the first character on the show to give birth, get married and die on screen.

Creation and casting

Following the departures of Rachel McKenna (Angela Bloomfield), Ellen Crozier (Robyn Malcolm), Kirsty Knight (Angela Dotchin), Jenny Harrison (Maggie Harper) and the axing of David Kearney (Peter Elliott), [1] [2] in 1998 and 1999, ratings for the show dropped dramatically in 2000 and producers decided to reinvent the show to boost audience interest. [3] Jason Daniel was hired as a consultant to drastically alter the show, making it more representative of the social climate of the time. [4] This included eliminating several characters, redesigning the hospital, toning down make up and clothing choices, and introducing a new cast. [5] One of the characters created by Daniel was 'Melanie Thompson', who would be renamed 'Toni' by her debut in early 2001. [6] Laura Hill was cast in the role. [7] Toni was the first of the new cast to appear. [5]

In 2007, Hill took 6 months leave to appear in a play in Christchurch. However Toni's exit on screen was left ambiguous so as to appear she may have left permanently. Hill published an open letter assuring her fans that this was not the case and pressed her imminent return. [8] Hill returned to the show in late 2007 but acknowledged that, "they weren't going to have too many options with the character". [9] Instead of using the show as a "net" and under the desire to expand her acting resume, Hill quit the show. [9] She cited health reasons under her resignation and stated, "Shortland Street’s been a big part of my professional life and a time of enormous change and growth for me. That has been great and, although I was ready to leave, it still was a passing of an era." [10] Hill felt lucky to have had the ability to choose to quit, having seen colleagues written off without an option. [11] The character was killed off in June 2008 after coming down with norovirus. [12] She became the first character to get married, give birth, and die on-screen. [13] Hill reprised her role for a cameo as a hallucination on 17 December 2020. [14] [15]

Storylines

Following the conversion of Shortland Street clinic into a public hospital in early 2001 at the hands of Chris Warner (Michael Galvin), several new nurses were hired including Toni Thompson. Toni quickly made her mark on the social scene at the hospital, forming a tight bond with Donna Heka (Stephanie Tauevihi). After a series of one-night stands, she started a relationship with Matt McCallister (Roy Snow) but quickly moved on with Adam Heywood (Leighton Cardno). When Adam left her, Toni rebounded to a purely sexual partnership with senior surgeon Chris Warner. She fell pregnant and was unsure whether the baby was Chris' or Adam's but following the birth in May 2002 of Harry (Joshua Thompson), Chris proved to be the father. Toni continued an on-off relationship with Adam which looked to be long-term when she nursed him following a stabbing. However the following year Toni realised she still loved Matt and the two eloped.

Chris' mother Margot Warner (Dinah Priestley) returned to Ferndale and believed that Toni was the result of an affair Chris' father had, meaning Toni and Chris' previous relationship was deemed possibly incestuous. This was dispelled but Toni's brother Dominic (Shane Cortese) developed a deep jealousy of Chris as a result that bordered on obsession. Toni divorced a cheating Matt and got back with Adam, only for him to leave her later that year. She briefly dated Logan (Peter Muller) but he proved psychotic and kidnapped Harry. Visiting Fiji on a work placement, Toni and Chris decided to do what was best for their son and start a relationship. Shortly after, Dom died while trying to murder Chris, resulting in the two getting engaged and Toni falling pregnant. Toni and Chris married in 2005 but Toni fell down some stairs and miscarried. The stress lead the two to separate and Chris moved on to Greta Saunders (Meryl Maine). When Toni and Chris reunited, a vindictive Greta attempted to poison Toni and nearly succeeded in murdering her.

In 2007 Toni discovered Chris had cheated on her multiple times and rediscovered the party lifestyle with Chris' brother Guy (Craig Parker). The two decided to leave Ferndale and they fled with Harry (Henry Williams) and Guy's daughter Tuesday (Olivia Tennet). Chris tracked them down 6 months later, but in the resulting escape Toni and Guy got into a serious car crash. Toni survived but lost a kidney and returned to work at Shortland Street. Nursing Guy through his drug addiction, the relationship ended when Toni and Chris decided to try again for the sake of Harry. Shortly after reconciling with Chris, Toni fell sick and suddenly died. The post mortem revealed that Toni had succumbed to norovirus. Toni's best friend Sarah Potts (Amanda Billing) later discovered the pills she had been taking for her kidney were faulty and had contributed to her death.

In December 2020 Chris hallucinated Toni whilst grieving for his son Phoenix (Geordie Holibar). Chris later dreamt of his and Toni's trip to Fiji when undergoing surgery.

Character development

Upon arrival, Toni was labelled a "good time girl", [5] and it was said she, "throws herself into the hurly-burly of a wild social life." [7] The character was written so as to establish relationships with the other characters quickly and thus was shown to make friends and enemies equally. Her romance storylines were numerous and short-lived, with Hill describing her character as a "commitment-phobe". [7] She noticed throughout Toni's 7 year stint on the show that she underwent a sharp character change, going from a "party girl" to a hard working mother quite dramatically. [10]

Reception

The character of Toni was popular with audiences however actress Laura Hill noticed a decline during her later storylines in what she attributed to a change in character development. [10] Toni's death was remembered as one of the show's most shocking, [16] though Hill's on-screen husband Michael Galvin confessed to confusing the scene with her falling down the stairs and miscarrying. [17]

Related Research Articles

Chris Warner

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.

Guy Warner Fictional character

Guy Warner is a fictional character on the New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street who was portrayed by Craig Parker in a guest role in 1992 before returning as core cast from 1993 to 1996. Guy returned for the shows 15th anniversary in May 2007 and again from December 2007 to April 2008.

Adam Heywood

Adam Heywood is a fictional character in the New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street who was portrayed by Leighton Cardno from early 2001 until mid-2003.

Rachel McKenna

Rachel McKenna is a fictional character from the New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street, played by Angela Bloomfield and who made her first appearance in early 1993. Bloomfield left the role in late 1999, before returning in early 2001 and departing in early 2003. She returned in a guest role in mid-2007 and again in a full-time role in late 2009 before departing once again in late 2016.

Harry Warner (<i>Shortland Street</i>)

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Dominic Thompson

Dominic "Dom" Thompson is a fictional character on the New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street who was portrayed by Shane Cortese from 2003 to 2004.

Lionel Skeggins

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.

Ellen Crozier

Ellen Rosemary Crozier is a fictional character on the New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street, who was portrayed by Robyn Malcolm for nearly six years in the mid to late 1990s.

Minnie Crozier

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David Kearney (<i>Shortland Street</i>)

Dr. David Kearney is a fictional character on the New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street, who was portrayed by Peter Elliott from early 1996 to late 1999 and for a guest appearance in 2020.

Donna Heka

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Tama Hudson

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Te Hana Hudson

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References

  1. Whiteside, Andrew (14 September 2009). "Peter Elliott – 2009 Qantas Film & TV Award winner". NZ On Screen. NZ On Air.
  2. "Peter Elliott - Getting to the Art of it". The New Zealand Herald . APN News & Media. 14 February 2000.
  3. Cleave, Louisa (October 2000). "TV: Familiar face comes back to the Street". The New Zealand Herald . Fairfax Media.
  4. Dunleavy, Trisha (June 2005). "Ourselves in Primetime: A History of Television Drama in New Zealand". Auckland University Press.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  5. 1 2 3 Cleave, Louisa (5 April 2001). "Shortland Street gets real". The New Zealand Herald . APN News & Media.
  6. Shortland Street Trivia Book. Penguin Publishers. May 2007. ISBN   978-0-14-300717-3.
  7. 1 2 3 Cleave, Louisa (5 April 2001). "Shortland Street's new faces". The New Zealand Herald . APN News & Media.
  8. "The return of Toni Warner" (Press release). Television New Zealand. 24 July 2007.
  9. 1 2 "Laura Hill exits stage right". stuff.co.nz . Fairfax Media. September 2008.
  10. 1 2 3 "Life after death - Laura Hill talks about life after Shortland Street". New Zealand TV Guide. Fairfax Media. June 2008.
  11. Nealon, Sarah (31 May 2017). "Former Shortland Street actress Laura Hill on why she now writes for local soap". stuff.co.nz .
  12. "Shock death of Toni Warner" (Press release). Television New Zealand. June 2008.
  13. Harvey, Kerry (17 January 2019). "Former Shortland Street actress Laura Hill on why she now writes for local soap". stuff.co.nz .
  14. Sills, Ethan (17 December 2020). "Shortland Street cliffhanger 2020: Chris Warner fights for his life". The New Zealand Herald .
  15. Harvey, Kerry (31 December 2020). "Chris Warner's fate to be revealed as Shortland Street returns for 2021". New Zealand TV Guide.
  16. "Shortland Street's most shocking deaths". The New Zealand Herald . 21 January 2016.
  17. "Shortland Street star on filming socially-distanced sex scenes". Otago Daily Times . 1 July 2020.