Dr Warner's case book

By Joanna Hunkin

Who: Michael Galvin, Shortland St veteran
What: The show's 4000th episode
When: Screens Friday June 6, TV2, 7pm

He's been married four times, held hostage twice and has been in more life-threatening situations than anyone or he can remember. Actor Michael Galvin is the first to admit his character Chris Warner has come in for more than his fair share of the ridiculous on his two long stints on the show. But such is life on our longest-running daily soap which celebrates its 4000th episode next week.

Here, Galvin recounts some of the show's most memorable moments.

The Musical (2001)
The one I hated the most was when Shortland Street did a musical. There's a certain irony here, because it was one of the most expensive episodes we ever shot. We rehearsed all these songs and it was all choreographed. We went to a recording studio and recorded the songs I rapped with Calvin Tuteao, who played Victor Kahu. That was pretty humiliating. All this money was spent on costumes and extras. And then it played on September 12, 2001. Of course, that was our September 11, so absolutely nobody watched it. It's the worst rating Shortland Street episode ever.

Hostage Situations (1993 and 2004)
Chris was locked in a barn twice. Once by evil Darryl - this was in the early days when Chris was about to marry Alison Raynor - he was abducted and stripped down to his underwear.

Then later, it was evil Dom, who strung me up like Christ on the cross and sprayed petrol all around me and was going to burn me to death. Those were quite fun to shoot. Something different, being tortured.

The Serial Killer (2008)
When the serial killer got caught, that was pretty exciting. It was really good acting and writing from everyone. I love it when they do a story that has a slow burn to it a one-year story arc. It's great because it totally cranks up the tension. People were complaining, saying "Hurry up and finish the storyline," but people were still watching it like they'd never watched it before.

So Long Tom (1993)
Tom Neilson was Martin Henderson's dad and Marge's husband. He was leaving the show and just said "I'm going to the dairy to get some cream". And then you never saw him again. I thought that was kind of cool, because you're always thinking, "Oh, there's going to be another car crash and they're going to die." The corniest thing is where they get sick and they die in hospital. But he just left.

He did come back though ... and died in hospital. So that was a bit of an anti-climax. They should have just left it that he went to get some cream. Later, that became the code for being written out. "Sorry, you're going to buy the cream, mate."

The Car Crash (1994)
We were in the car and it was Chris, Steve, Sam and TP. It was the first time we shot anything like that. We had police on set because we had press taking pictures. It was in the early days when Shortland Street stories being leaked was really big news. It was so cool. We had Tony Holden, the producer, trying to stop these people from taking photographs and leaking the story to the press. It was really well shot and we had a real car exploding, it was terribly exciting.

The Cat Fight (2001)
Another favourite episode was the catfight between Samara Hindmarsh and Rachel McKenna in Chris' lounge. Jodie Rimmer and Angela Bloomfield just went for it. Honestly, it's the best fight scene on Shortland Street ever. They were terrific. They were throwing each other around and grabbing each others' hair. Chris just stands back and let's them go for it. That was a good episode, very Dynasty.

Emergency Tracheotomy (1994)
There was a storyline I quite liked just for the absurdity of it. Chris Warner decides he's got bad breath so he gets one of those throat sprays; at the same time, Kirsty Knight got this fear of being mugged, so she buys mace. Of course they get muddled up so Chris gives himself a spray of mace and starts to choke because his throat swells. Grace Kwan gives him an emergency tracheotomy with her Star Trek pen because that was the sharpest thing she could find. Which is silly because they were in a bar so you'd think they would have a knife, but no. So she pulled out her Star Trek pen and cut his throat with it. Just like real life.

Fiji (2005)
Shooting in Fiji was good. Not because of the storylines, just because we got a trip to Fiji. The crazy thing was how much Fijians love Shortland Street. The guy driving us one day said, "Oh, we had Justin Timberlake and Cameron Diaz here the other week but people weren't really excited about that. But they're really excited about you guys being here." It was hilarious. It was like being royalty. There'd be these big crowds everywhere and they'd just want to shake your hand.

The Return of Tem (2008)
The cat's out of the bag in terms of the returning guest. Having Tem back has been pretty cool. The scriptwriters did a nice allusion to [the infamous line: "You're not in Guatemala now, Dr Ropata] and then other actors took it upon themselves to throw it in, ad lib. I think the joke gets a little bit thrashed to be honest. But we'll see how it goes, they might have left it out in editing.

- NZ Herald

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