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Shortland Street

Weeknights at 7pm | TV2

Shortland Street returns for 2011

Shortland Street Christmas cliffhanger 2010: Chris tries to carry Rachel out of the burning room.

Will Callum, Chris and Rachel survive the warehouse fire?

Shortland Street returns to our screens on Monday January 17th, after taking a four week hiatus.

2010's dramatic cliffhanger saw several lives hanging in the balance, and the new season will take audiences right back into the thick of the action.

In an exciting climax of events, last year's finale saw Scotty (Kiel McNaughton) on the run after his shocking attack on his fiancé Tracey (Sarah Thomson), a vicious fire that threatened to kill several loved characters, and Luke Durville (Gerald Urquhart) missing in action after he was kidnapped by thugs.

Angela Bloomfield, whose character Rachel McKenna was caught up in the fire that ravaged the student flat building, says the cliffhanger was an exciting plot to be a part of.

"Filming that fire material was quite exhilarating and I think the end product looked really great," says Bloomfield. "To add impact to the fire they actually included the sound of lions roaring in post production which I thought was pretty cool!"

Shortland Street's producer, Steven Zanoski , believes this year's launch is a return to classic cliffhanger storytelling.

"The new season opens with a bang, picking up on our characters in jeopardy just moments after we left them in 2010," says Zanoski. "I'm not going to throw any spoilers out there, but let's just say the after-effects are long ranging."

Zanoski reveals that audiences can expect many changes in 2011, including the introduction of two new hospital staff members , played by Shavaughn Ruakere (What Now) and Natalie Medlock (Diplomatic Immunity).

At the end of 2010 Shortland Street fans said goodbye to Tania Jeffries and early this year, further cast members will also bid farewell.

"This is always a sad time behind-the-scenes, but it's also an opportunity to refresh the show with new characters and stories," says Zanoski. "In addition to new cast members joining us in '11, we're also returning more than one past audience favourite... so stay tuned!"

Catch the brand new season of Shortland Street 2011 on Monday January 17th at 7pm - TV2.