Russell Blackstock is a senior reporter at the Weekend Herald and Herald on Sunday.

Victoria's 'secret' brought to life in new TV drama about wild Kiwi rockers The Exponents

Kiwi actress Jessie Lawrence, who is playing the part of Victoria in the upcoming television drama.
Kiwi actress Jessie Lawrence, who is playing the part of Victoria in the upcoming television drama.

The mystery woman featured in one of New Zealand's best-loved songs will be revealed in a new $2.5 million TV drama.

Generations of Kiwi music fans have been hooked on the classic 1982 chart hit Victoria by rockers The Exponents.

The origins of the female character in the track penned by Exponents frontman Jordan Luck has been argued about by music lovers for decades.

But in the upcoming TV One drama Why Does Love?, Victoria will be made flesh by Kiwi actress Jessie Lawrence who recently starred in hit TV series Dirty Laundry.

"Playing the role of Victoria in the upcoming TVNZ special was absolutely awesome," she told the Weekend Herald. "The cast and crew were incredible to work with and a truly special bunch of people.

"As a Kiwi I grew up with the music of The Exponents so I felt very lucky to portray the mysterious Victoria who is a bit of a Kiwi legend thanks to Jordan's classic song.

"The experience has definitely renewed my love for their tunes."

In the past, songwriter Luck has said Victoria was inspired by his former Christchurch landlady who ran an escort service - and the music was penned first in original Exponent's guitarist Steve Cowan's girlfriend's flat in Timaru.

"But the final lyrics weren't finished until around four months later," Luck told the Herald. "There were six or seven verses. It took ages to get together too.

"We were running through it over and over again."

The song rocketed the band to national stardom, making the Top 10.

Yesterday, Luck was staying tight-lipped about the 90-minute TV show, which charts the band's rollercoaster career, saying things were "under wraps at the minute."

But he let slip he was impressed by the actors cast to play him and his wild-living band mates.

"Man, I wish I could yarn about this," he said. "I can say that the actors playing us recording Victoria in the studio look amazingly authentic."

Why Does Love? - which received $2.5m in funding from NZ on Air and is being made by Great Southern Television - will take centre stage in another season of TV One's Sunday Theatres series next year.

- NZ Herald

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