Casting calls are underway for a milestone, marathon episode of New Zealand's longest-running TV drama.

Twenty years after a young Temuera Morrison and Michael Galvin first appeared in local living rooms, Shortland Street makers are gearing up to screen a 90-minute episode.

The boy-band hairdo Galvin's character Dr Chris Warner sported may have gone, but corny quotes from the hospital drama's first season are etched into Kiwi popular culture.

"You're not in Guatemala now, Dr Ropata" was unlikely to be repeated in this year's special. Morrison was ruled out for the reunion, his agent Gabriella Larkin said.


The special show's script would probably be written around which old faces decided to reappear, South Pacific Pictures' publicist Rachael Keereweer said.

Shortland Street's birthday is on May 25 but TVNZ was yet to confirm the broadcast date.

Only seven shows have been on local screens longer than Shortland Street.

With a 46-year anniversary approaching next month, rural farming show Country Calendar taught all the others a lesson in longevity.

But Shorty outlasted all other drama series - apart from the kids' show What Now.

Long servers

Michael Galvin (Chris Warner) 513 episodes

Peter Mochrie (Callum McKay) 494 episodes

Faye Smythe (Tania Jeffries) 469 episodes

Ben Mitchell (TK Samuels) 464 episodes

Fleur Saville (Libby Jeffries) 446 episodes

Amanda Billing (Sarah Potts) 424 episodes

Lee Donoghue (Hunter McKay): 416 episodes

Kiel McNaughton (James Scott) 405 episodes

Adam Rickitt (Kieran Mitchell) 400 episodes

Alison Quigan (Yvonne Jeffries) 390 episodes.

Long runners

Country Calendar, 1966

Fair Go, 1977

What Now?, 1981

Te Karere, 1983

Tagata Pasifika, 1987

Waka Huia, 1987

Marae, 1992