New Zealand’s longest running serial drama, Shortland Street, is celebrating its 30th birthday.
First broadcast on TVNZ 2 on May 25, 1992, the prime-time soap opera focused on the lives, loves, and dramas of the staff at the fictitious Shortland St hospital. This is a made-up hospital in the Auckland suburb of Ferndale.
The show was originally screened as five half-hour episodes each week and initially receiving mixed reviews on its premiere.
After its launch, it dropped in ratings and would have been cancelled if TVNZ had not ordered a year’s worth of episodes in advance. TVNZ renewed the production in early 1993 when the show’s rating had picked up, and it now has “long-term public enthusiasm”.
Today, it is one of New Zealand’s highest-rated shows, frequently making AGB Nielsen Media Research’s top 5 programmes of the week.