Shortland Street head hangs his hat up

Tomorrow marks the official changing of the guard at Shortland Street HQ, as producer Jason Daniels walks off the studio lot for good, handing the reins to his successor, Steven Zanoski.

Daniels has confirmed he is leaving Shortland Street for what he hopes are greener pastures but could not say where he is off to, or what he'll be doing.

The producer began helming the soap opera in 2005, charged with revamping the series and boosting lacklustre ratings.

In his time as producer, Daniels has overseen the 15th anniversary of the series and this year's milestone 4000th episode, which saw soap star-turned-Hollywood actor Temuera Morrison return to stalk the clinic's linoleum-clad hallways. He was also a driving force behind the ongoing serial killer plot, which began last August and finally wrapped in February this year,

The drawn-out story arc gave the series some of its best-ever ratings, with more than 665,000 viewers tuning in for the dramatic finale.

Daniels cites the Ferndale Strangler plot line as his favourite, but also singles out the return of Guy Warner (played by Craig Parker) and the introduction of Kieran Mitchell (Adam Rickitt) as highlights of his time steering the show.

"People had certain expectations for what he would be like and what type of character we would create for him and I think we subverted them all," says Daniels.

Subversion - twisting and breaking the common mould of soap operas - is perhaps Daniels' greatest legacy to the 16-year-old series.

"In the time I've been here we've pretty much revamped Shortland Street. We've made new sets, new opening titles and introduced a markedly different, hopefully sharper, style of storytelling.

"We've often abandoned the traditional multi-stranded storytelling in favour of themed episodes. We've done those mystery suspense stories that other serials don't necessarily do."

- NZ Herald

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