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Shortland Street

Weeknights at 7pm | TV2

Get to know Jennifer Ludlum

Jennifer Ludlum as Leanne Miller on Shortland Street

How did you get your role on SS?

Nothing to do with experience, perhaps something to do with being a certain age, and looking like I could pass for Nicole’s mother.

How long have you been acting and how did you get your first big break?

I have been working professionally for 45 years, both in NZ and Australia, in theatre, television and film. I’m a “jobbing” actor – and believe something “good” always comes out of each job. I love “working”.

Name three similarities between you and your onscreen character.

I like to think I have a sense of fun – as Leanne does, a sense of fair play and wanting to enjoy this phase of our lives and I live it to the full. We both like a wine!!!

What has been your best experience/scene on the show to date?

I’ve enjoyed the scenes between Leanne and her daughter, and Nicole’s various love interests. Keeps Leanne on her toes!!

Which other character would you like to be and why?

I enjoy watching Bella – slightly larger than life but very “true”.

What are your hobbies/interests outside of SS?

I have a huge garden, that takes up most of my spare time, I enjoy walking and travelling and sipping on my favourite chardonnay.

What do you do in your down time during the day when you’re not shooting?

Read. Learn lines. Walk. 

What is your favourite destination in NZ and overseas?

Waiheke, where I live, definitely. And Bali which I visit almost every year, I have done for the last 30 years.

How many brothers and sisters do you have, are they older or younger?

Two brothers. I’m in the middle.

What is your date of birth and what star sign are you?

23rd July. Cusp of Cancer and Leo.

Do you have any pets?

Yes, two Burmese cats. Ruby and Zak.

Who is the actor or actress that you look up to or admire the most?

There’s a lot of fabulous, older, women out there – Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Meryl Streep, Emma Thompson, Helen Mirren…I could go on and on.

What is the thing you enjoy most about going to work everyday?

It’s the sense of “play” and laughter I enjoy the most, and the focus that good work requires.

What has been your favorite scene to film in your time at Shortland Street?

Riding a bike was fun, with Pua and Ben jogging in front!

Do you watch Shortland Street at home? If yes, is it strange seeing yourself on television or are you used to it?

No, I don’t watch it. But it was my mother’s favourite programme, that’s one of the reasons I took the job.

What is your favourite food?


What is your favourite television programme and/or film of all time?

I’m really enjoying “Offspring” at the moment. Film – maybe “Thelma and Louise”.

Are you from Auckland or did you move her to film Shortland Street? Where did you grow up?

I was born and grew up in Taumaranui.

Which other actors/actresses do you like working with the most and why?

I loved working with Antonia Prebble and Siobhan Marshall in “The Blue Rose” – what an out there group of four the Blue Roses were. Pity it didn’t rate.

Have you made any good friends amongst the cast and crew?

Everyone has made me feel very welcome.

Can you remember your first day on Shortland Street – what was it like?

I remember being very prepared, but still felt nervous, especially the first couple of scenes in reception for some reason. It just felt like a very iconic desk to be sitting at!! I have worked with Alison Quigan, Geraldine Brophy and Liz McCrae a lot on stage, so it’s kinda nice.