Some of the country's biggest names will be making cameos in and around Shortland Street to celebrate its 30th anniversary, including Clarke Gayford.
The Herald on Sunday can reveal that before the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's fiance went into isolation with Covid-19, he was able to film a scene for the iconic Kiwi soap.
The drama will be at its peak during birthday week this week with a big wedding for the Ferndale characters. It is understood this is where Gayford will make his appearance, although we are told by producers, it may just be a glimpse in or around the big day on Wednesday, which is the actual 30th birthday of the show.
Gayford tested positive for Covid-19 on May 8, and as a result, he, Ardern and their daughter Neve went into self-isolation. Neve tested positive last Wednesday and Ardern last Saturday. She was due out of isolation yesterday in time to fly to the US today to give a commencement address at Harvard University's graduation ceremony.
Gayford is no stranger to television. After graduating from broadcasting school, he created student life show Cow TV for Dunedin's Channel 9. In 1999 he appeared as a contestant on Treasure Island, in 2003 he presented youth programmes on the C4 music channel and in 2010 he presented the third season of Extraordinary Kiwis, a biographical documentary series.
In 2015, he created Fish of the Day for Choice TV which was also broadcast on the National Geographic Channel and has screened in over 35 countries.
He made a guest appearance as himself in the first episode of season 2 of Wellington Paranormal in April 2020, encouraging people who were looking after young children during the COVID-19 pandemic. National MP Brett Hudson expressed concern during an Epidemic Response Committee meeting the following month that the video risked politicising the police but Police Commissioner Andrew Coster defended his presence, saying he was a well-known TV personality.
Viewers can expect an explosion of Shortland Street on their screens this week with TVNZ 1's Breakfast, 1 News and Seven Sharp all taking part, in sometimes mind-bending ways.
In the fictional world, Seven Sharp, Jeremy Wells will cross to Hilary Barry interviewing Ferndale hospital staff working hard and saving lives.
The storyline will feature on Shortland Street, with Barry being seen filming a fly-on-the-wall documentary, essentially, a show within a show. Her interviews with the characters will show them revealing how they feel about the work they do, their past regrets, and their hopes for the future.
We are told that Kiwi singing and entertainment icon Tina Cross will also make an appearance in Ferndale too this week. She returned to New Zealand last month to record a new version of the Shorty theme song, which will be broadcast as part of the anniversary celebrations.
Cross performed the original theme song which starts, "Is it me or is it you?", which was composed by Graham Bollard in 1992. She has recorded the new version with fellow singing sensation Bella Kalolo.
And a special feature-length commercial called The Big Shorty Shoutout will be broadcast across TVNZ, including during Shortland Street, Seven Sharp and also 1 News and Breakfast. It features anchors Simon Dallow and Hayley Holt, actor Johnny Barker, who played nurse Joey Henderson on the show, Blair Strang who played Rangi Heremaia and Alison Quigan who played Yvonne Jeffries, along with current cast members.
Production didn't want to give too many more surprises away, but it's thought there will be a few more famous faces joining the celebrations.