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Shortland Street

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Shorty’s 10 most shocking Christmas cliffhangers

After 21 years on our screens, Shortland Street fans know that Christmas time is definitely not the best time to be in Ferndale with holiday plans often descending into tragedy.

As we prepare for another action-packed season finale in 2013, here’s our pick of the top 10 most shocking Christmas cliffhangers ever.

1. The Ferndale Strangler is revealed …

2007 was one of the biggest Christmas cliffhangers that Shortland Street viewers have ever seen in the show's history.  After six months of murder and mayhem, the Ferndale Serial Killer was finally revealed as likeable nurse Joey Henderson and Tania Jeffries was about to be his next victim as Joey prepared to strangle her with an IV line.

Meanwhile, Chris finally tracked down his wife Toni and son Harry who had run off with his brother Guy.  But as Chris prepared to take everybody back to Ferndale, drug-addicted Guy panicked and bolted with Toni and the kids in Chris' car.

Intent on escaping, Guy crashed the car and the year ended with the twisted and mangled car lying on the side of the road and Chris uncertain as to whether any of his family had survived...

2.  A truck crashes into Shortland Street clinic

It wasn’t technically a Christmas cliffhanger but Christmas week of 1995 became one of Shortland Street’s most memorable when a truck crashed into the hospital causing chaos and leaving several lives hanging in the balance. Luckily it seemed that no one was too badly injured. Carmen had been struck on the head but she seemed fine at first. On Christmas day Guy proposed to her.  Moved, Carmen explained she wasn't the marrying kind, but she loved him and wanted to be with him forever.  Moments later, she collapsed and died leaving Guy and Tuesday alone and spoiling Christmas dinners across New Zealand.

3. Who shot Ethan Pierce?

2008’s Christmas cliffhanger was the start of a murder mystery whodunit that would keep Shorty fans on the edge of their seats.  Since his arrival as Shortland Street's new Head of Surgery, Dr Ethan Pierce had made few friends and collected many enemies.  In 2008's final moments, an unseen gunman confronted Ethan in his apartment as he hurriedly packed his bags to leave town, and he was shot three times and fell, bleeding on the ground.  But when they tuned in on Shortland Street’s return in January, viewers realised they would have to wait weeks to find out who killed Ethan Pierce.

4. Dominic is discovered and Anne Kahu is trapped in a collapsing building

As 2003 drew to a close the question on everyone's lips was 'Who killed Geoff Greenlaw?' and as Geoff's sister Delphi prepared to leave Ferndale with Dominic Warner, she was horrified to uncover new evidence suggesting Dom was the murderer! Chris Warner's world crumbled around him when his girlfriend Donna discovered he'd been unfaithful, and he was arrested on trumped up charges of sexual molestation, thanks to Dominic.  At the Christmas party, Vinnie kissed Jesse and Waverley fainted for the best possible reason - she was pregnant!  Across town at a charity function, Anne and Tama were trapped when the building collapsed around them.  Called to the scene, ambo officer Nelson Copeland tried frantically to get Anne out before the building was completely destroyed...

5. The wedding of Luke Durville and Bella Cooper

It was a bittersweet end to Shortland Street’s 20th birthday year in 2012. Luke Durville and Bella Cooper got married in touching ceremony, just days after learning that Luke had a fatal brain tumour.  Meanwhile earlier in the final week for 2012 it was revealed that Zac Smith had been the man who’d sexually assaulted TK’s wife Roimata and he set about trying to frame Josh for the crime by spiking TK’s drink at the wedding.  The wedding day also saw Bella’s parents Wendy and Murray reunite after months of being estranged but just moments after their emotional reunion, they were caught in the path of a drugged up TK’s truck as he careened out of control…

6. Stuart Nielson interrupts Kirsty and Lionel’s wedding

The very first Shortland Street Christmas cliff-hangers took place at the end of 1994. Jenny Harrison was shocked to discover she was pregnant while it appeared Hone (You’re-not- in-Guatemala-now) Ropata had accidentally killed a man in self-defence.  The grand finale was Stuart shocking interruption of Lionel and Kirsty's fairy tale wedding, thanks to his brother Nasty Darryl Neilson.

7. Romance gone wrong, murder and a plane crash

The tradition of Christmas cliff-hangers was firmly in place in 1997 and the year’s final action-packed episode set the standard for the end-of-year epics that Shortland Street viewers have come to expect. Donna and Rangi discovered they were half brother and sister; Caroline was sentenced to life imprisonment for Annabel's 'murder'; Tiffany was rushed to hospital after a near fatal collapse and Kirsty and Lionel’s plane crashed. Phew!

8. Rachel is kidnapped and Barb’s staff Christmas party turns to tragedy

Another earth-shattering Christmas in 2001 saw Rachel McKenna kidnapped by her crazy ex Jack Hewitt and forced to participate creepy mock wedding, while her true love Chris Warner rushed to save her. Meanwhile Nick declared his love for Waverley and asked her to come to the UK with him; Mihi walked in on her (then still married) mother Te Hana kissing Geoff Greenlaw  and Barb's staff Christmas party turned to tragedy when her son Marshall's illegal drug lab (in the garage) exploded!

9. Kieran runs over Morgan and leaves her for dead

2009’s cliffhanger centred on another Christmas party gone wrong as this year’s staff party ended with a tragic hit and run.  Audiences watched in horror as bar owner Kieran Mitchell framed a drunken Rachel McKenna for manslaughter after he accidentally struck and killed Morgan Braithwaite with Rachel's car.  Meanwhile, as his girlfriend Sophie slept peacefully at the IV whilst Kieran's misguided brother, Sid attempted to set fire to the building.

10. Hunter McKay's dramatic pharmacy robbery

The end of 2011 saw both Daniel Potts and nurse Jill Kingsbury critically injured and close to death after intervening in a drug-fuelled robbery committed by their friend Hunter McKay. The pair attempted to stop Hunter robbing a pharmacy but Daniel was knocked unconscious by Hunter’s druggie mate Bailey then later Jill was accidentally stabbed by the pharmacy’s security guard.  Meanwhile at the staff Christmas party Chris Warner gave into temptation and cheated on Rachel with his ex-girlfriend Gabrielle Jacobs. The year ended with a distraught Hunter waiting for help to arrive and cradling a bleeding Jill in his arms...


What will be in store for Christmas 2013? Stay tuned for the double episode finale, Wednesday 11 December at 7pm


Shortland Street, weeknights 7pm