Waverley Harrison

Last updated
Waverley Harrison
Waverley Harrison 2001.jpg
Shortland Street character
Portrayed by Claire Chitham
Duration1994–1995, 1998–2005, 2017
First appearance5 July 1994
Last appearance25 May 2017
Introduced byTony Holden (1994)
Simon Bennett (1998)
Maxine Fleming (2017)
Book appearancesNick's Story - Shortland Street Books (1996)
Classification Former; regular
Profile
OccupationReceptionist

Waverley Harrison (also Wilson, previously Wallasee) was a fictional character on the New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street. She was portrayed by Claire Chitham and was introduced as a love interest for Nick Harrison who she eventually married 8 years after her arrival to the show. The character returned along with Husband Nick for the show's 25th anniversary episode that aired on 25 May 2017.

New Zealand Country in Oceania

New Zealand is a sovereign island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses—the North Island, and the South Island —and around 600 smaller islands. It has a total land area of 268,000 square kilometres (103,500 sq mi). New Zealand is situated some 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long period of isolation, New Zealand developed a distinct biodiversity of animal, fungal, and plant life. The country's varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks, such as the Southern Alps, owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand's capital city is Wellington, while its most populous city is Auckland.

A soap opera is a radio or television serial dealing especially with domestic situations and frequently characterized by melodrama and sentimentality. The term soap opera originated from radio dramas being sponsored by soap manufacturers.

<i>Shortland Street</i> New Zealand television soap opera

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 the country's longest-running drama and soap opera, being broadcast continuously for over 6,000 episodes and over 27 years, and is one of the most watched television programmes in New Zealand.

Contents

Creation and casting

Waverley arrived as a love interest for Nick Harrison (Karl Burnett) and as part of the McKenna family unit. [1] Sixteen-year-old Claire Chitham auditioned for the role and ended up winning it. [2] After several months on the show, producers decided the character of Waverley had run her desired course and she was written off. Chitham believed her time on the soap was over and finished school, started a degree and began acting in other jobs. [2] However, in 1998 Chitham was contacted by the show with a pitch that would see Waverley return in a 3-month stint. Chitham was hugely surprised as nothing of that calibre had happened before in the show and she happily accepted. [2] She stated, "It’s good to be back. When you know how the system of this place operates it’s very easy to slip back in, so it feels like I never was away." [3]

Nick Harrison fictional character on the New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street

Nicholas John Harrison is a fictional character on the New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street who was portrayed by Karl Burnett from the show's second episode in 1992 to 2005, making him the original character to stay with the show the longest in one stint. The character along with wife Waverley returned for the show's 25th anniversary that aired on the 25 May 2017.

Karl Burnett is a New Zealand actor best known for his portrayal of Nick Harrison on the long-running New Zealand soap opera, Shortland Street.

Claire Chitham is a New Zealand television actress. Claire rose to fame as Waverley Harrison in the New Zealand TV show Shortland Street, from 1994–1995 and 1997–2005 and Aurora Bay in Outrageous Fortune from 2006-2007.

In 2004 the character of Waverley was axed from the show, [4] alongside husband, Nick. [5] [6] [7] The Harrison family made their last appearance on 17 March 2005. Chitham found it unusual leaving the soap having worked on it for 8 years, "I understood at that point I was living in a very extreme world. After eight years in the job I was earning great money, with good opportunities and time to spare. Yet I knew I was perfectly capable of coping with reality, and having been there since I was 18, I didn’t know what my reality was." [4] Following her exit, Chitham was asked to reprise her role but at the time believed she was, "on my way to other things". For the soap's 25th anniversary, Chitham and Burnett were asked to reprise their roles for a feature-length episode. Chitham described returning as, "weird" and compared it to being asked, "to have sex with an ex". [8] Chitham made her reappearance on 25 May 2017.

Storylines

Waverley arrived to stay with her aunt Alex McKenna (Liddy Holloway) and quickly landed a job at the reception of the clinic. She developed a crush on Stuart Neilson (Martin Henderson) but realised she was too inexperienced sexually and so lost her virginity to Nick (Karl Burnett). But it was not long before Waverley fell for Nick and they became a steady couple. Waverley discovered that Nick had married her cousin Rachel (Angela Bloomfield) in a student protest and fled the country in tears. Waverely returned more than two years later and asked Nick to return to her. However, by the time Nick realised Waverley was the girl for him, her husband Roger (Brett Coutts) arrived and a frustrated Waverley fled town again. She returned several months later and reconciled with Nick and the two got engaged. Waverley discovered that her marriage to Roger was invalid as it was bigamous, but nonetheless, slept with him when he returned. Nick forgave her but when she cut his hair off in his sleep, the relationship ended. Waverley rebounded with his professional rival, Josh Sinclair (Philip Patston) but the relationship was short lived, Waverley dumping Josh after Nick discovered Josh was a part-owner of Waverley's competition, Coffeeteria and that Josh was trying to stoop to dishonest measures to take Waverley over.

Elizabeth Brenda "Liddy" Holloway was a New Zealand actress and television scriptwriter.

Stuart Neilson

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.

Martin Henderson actor

Martin Henderson is a New Zealand actor, best known for his roles on the ABC medical drama Off the Map as Dr. Ben Keeton, the ABC medical drama Grey's Anatomy as Dr. Nathan Riggs, and for his performance as Noah Clay in the 2002 horror film The Ring, while remaining known in his home country for his teenage role as Stuart Neilson in the soap opera Shortland Street.

Waverley began to date Fergus (Paul Ellis), but the two broke up and she briefly dated Jed Ferris (Johnny Barker) before she reunited with Fergus. The two prepared to marry, but on the wedding day police arrived to arrest Fergus for his part in an illegal immigration and he fled. Waverley moved on to Adam Heywood (Leighton Cardno) but realised she still loved Nick. The two finally reconciled and married. However the happiness was brief when Waverley discovered she had breast cancer. Nick supported her through the ordeal and she fell pregnant, only to suffer a miscarriage. Waverley eventually fell pregnant again and gave birth to a daughter named Tina-Anne (Libby Reber). When Waverley and Nick's house was broken into, the family decided to leave Ferndale for Taranaki. Waverley discovered Nick had misplaced the marriage certificate on their wedding day and their marriage could be invalid as Nick made a copy but subsequently Nick organised a vowel renewal shortly before the Harrison's left Ferndale.

Fergus Kearney

David Fergus Kearney is a fictional character on the New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street who was portrayed by Paul Ellis for numerous recurring stints from 1995 to 1999 before becoming a regular character until 2001. The character returned briefly in 2002.

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.

Nick and Waverley returned for Chris' 50th birthday and revealed that they had since had 3 more children since Tina-Anne. Arguing over Waverley's wish for Nick to undergo a vasectomy, the couple helped out as Ferndale was hit with a volcanic eruption. The two were shocked to discover that Waverley was again pregnant but came to be happy following wisdom from Marj (Elizabeth McRae) before she died moments later.

Marj Brasch

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.

Elizabeth Helen McRae is a New Zealand actress, best known for her portrayal of Marjorie Brasch in the television soap opera Shortland Street.

Character development

Relationship with Nick Harrison

Waverley was introduced to the show as a love interest for established character, Nick Harrison (Karl Burnett). [2] Waverley at first used Nick to get to Stuart Neilson (Martin Henderson), but it was not long before something more serious developed. [9] [10] In 1995 the couple had a pregnancy scare and Nick nervously proposed to Waverley before they found out it was a mistake and he retracted his action. [10] Waverley was devastated to learn Nick had married her cousin Rachel (Angela Bloomfield) during a protest on student allowance and she fled the country. [11] Chitham and Burnett got on well, something which benefitted the couples onscreen relationship, Chitham stated, "Karl’s lovely. He’s very good to work with... I think we’ve got a really good rapport going – you have to if you’re playing a couple on screen." [3] Upon returning after 3 years in 1998, Waverley hoped that Nick had made a substantial change, Chitham stated, "Waverley wants him to have grown up and sorted himself out, have a respectable job and be a man – a suitable man to be her partner and she won’t settle for anything less. She sticks to her morals really strongly and that is one of the aspects in which I think she’s grown up a lot." [3] Speaking of Nick's attempts to meet Waverleys demands, Chitham said, "He makes an effort to meet her requirements. We get there in the end." [3] The two became engaged but Nick was devastated when Waverley cut his trademark hair whilst they slept and they broke up. [10]

Just over a year later, Nick's partner Angela Weaver (Katherine Hubbard) died, leaving him with the care of their son, Lucas (Joshua Adams). Waverley looked after the baby alongside Rachel. [12] As 2001 came to an end, Nick announced his love to Waverley. [13] Waverley turned him down and Nick left Ferndale for England so that Burnett could take a sabbatical. [14] When he returned, Nick and Waverley finally reconciled and got engaged. [15] The wedding was cancelled however when Waverley's ex fiancé, Fergus Kearney (Paul Ellis) kidnapped her on the day of the ceremony. [16] She was rescued however and the two finally married in an episode marked by the return of original characters, Jenny Harrison (Maggie Harper) and Marj Brasch (Elizabeth McRae). [15] [16] [17] The following year Waverley was diagnosed with breast cancer and did not tell Nick. [18] [19] Waverley recovered and soon fell pregnant, giving birth to a daughter, Tina-Anne Harrison (Damikah Chancher) on the shows 3000th episode. [20] A fire at Nick and Wave's bar, 'The Dog's Day Inn', nearly saw an end to Lucas and Tina-Anne, but both were rescued by Wave's cousin Eltham Wilson (Kip Chapman). [20] In 2005, the couple's home was struck by a home invader and an increasingly paranoid Nick mistook Wave for a burglar and shook a gun at her. As a result of their insecurities, the Harrison's left Ferndale for Taranaki. [15] [21]

Reception

Waverely received a hugely positive reception, being labelled one of the shows most; "enduringly popular characters". [22] She has been named as one of the show's most successful comedic characters. [23] The declaration of love made by Adam Heywood (Leighton Cardno) towards Waverley in 2002 was praised by audiences due to its unpredictability, producer Harriet Crampton commented, "People love those sorts of unexpected moments that come out of nowhere." [24] In 2004 a reviewer compared Waverley and Nick's relationship to that of the iconic Coronation Street couple, Ken and Deirdre Barlow. [18] Waverley's run of storylines have been described as "spectacular". [25] Following her axing, Chitham expressed her joy of playing Waverley, "I loved playing Waverley. She was easy to fall in love with, and to play. She had a heart of gold and was harmless. And the best thing was she was this really great comic character. I was grateful that Waverley was a Character with a capital C, and I would love to have a career filled with characters like that." [4] In 2017 Ricardo Simich expressed his desire for Waverley to return for the soap opera's 25th anniversary saying it was a "must" she be reunited with Marj Brasch. [26]

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References

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  2. 1 2 3 4 "Claire Chitham interview". Street Talk. 2004. Archived from the original on 16 October 2008.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Craig, Kate (17 July 1998). "Clair on crest of a wave". New Zealand TV Guide. Fairfax Media.
  4. 1 2 3 "New Wave - The reinvention of Claire Chitham". The Herald On Sunday . APN News & Media. 8 October 2006.
  5. "Good morning love in the air". Sunday Star Times. Fairfax Media. 10 October 2008.
  6. Cook, Stephen (10 September 2006). "Television star files for bankruptcy". The New Zealand Herald . APN News & Media.
  7. Grant, Frances (3 September 2008). "Review: Downsize Me". The New Zealand Herald . APN News & Media.
  8. Bamber, Shaun (13 April 2017). "Nick and Waverley return to Shortland Street for 25th anniversary". stuff.co.nz . Fairfax Media.
  9. Shortland Street 20th Anniversary Magazine. New Zealand Magazines. 23 April 2012.Missing or empty |title= (help)
  10. 1 2 3 "Waverley cuts Nick's hair". tvnz.co.nz. Television New Zealand. 2005. Archived from the original on 25 December 2012.
  11. "Shortland Street: The Weddings". tvnz.co.nz. Television New Zealand. 2010. Archived from the original on 22 November 2012.
  12. "Rachel's Caring, Sharing Side???". Shortland Street Online News. Television New Zealand. February 2001.
  13. "Shortland Street keeps you hanging around". The New Zealand Herald . APN News & Media. 12 December 2010.
  14. "Karl Burnett". tvnz.co.nz. Television New Zealand. 2005. Archived from the original on 18 May 2011.
  15. 1 2 3 "Nick Harrison". tvnz.co.nz. Television New Zealand. Archived from the original on 9 October 2012.
  16. 1 2 Philpot, Chris (27 March 2012). "Shorty: vote for your favourite moments". stuff.co.nz . Fairfax Media.
  17. "The families of Shortland Street pt 2". Television New Zealand . September 2011. Archived from the original on 6 December 2011. Retrieved 6 December 2011.
  18. 1 2 Hewitson, Michelle (January 2004). "Ooh, the suspense is killing me". The New Zealand Herald . APN News & Media.
  19. Schaer, Cathrin (16 January 2003). "Is it goodbye to Waverly?". The New Zealand Herald . APN News & Media.
  20. 1 2 "Shortland Street 2004". tvnz.co.nz. Television New Zealand. 2004. Archived from the original on 13 February 2013.
  21. Barry Hill, Rebecca (15 December 2005). "Shortland Street's big finish". The New Zealand Herald . APN News & Media.
  22. "Claire Chitham". Shortland Street . Television New Zealand. 2005. Archived from the original on 5 May 2012.
  23. Dunleavy, Trisha (June 2005). "Ourselves in Primetime: A History of Television Drama in New Zealand". Auckland University Press.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  24. Rae, Fiona (16 May 2002). "Shortland Street: Where to from Now?". The New Zealand Herald . APN News & Media.
  25. "Happy 9th Birthday Shortland Street". Shortland Street Online News. Television New Zealand. October 2000.
  26. Simich, Ricardo (1 April 2017). "Shortland Street turns 25: Are all our old faves coming back?". Spy. APN News & Media.