Shortland Street social media post causes confusion online after ...

6 days ago

Shortland Street posted a picture of the beloved Shorty star on their official Instagram and Facebook pages, with the caption: “It is with great sorrow that we announce the death of Leanne Miller, former receptionist and longtime Friend of #ShortlandStreet.

Jennifer Ludlam - Figure 1
Photo New Zealand Herald

“She will be remembered for her eccentricities, humour, and sense of conviction.”

The post concluded: “She is survived by her children Nicole, Eric, and Eddie, her grandsons Pele and Kiwa, and great-grandson Knox Lloyd-Mullens.”

The emotional tribute received thousands of likes and comments, and while many fans shared their heartbreak over the death, others shared their confusion over the announcement, questioning whether the character had died or the actress had died.

“Wait is she dead in real life or on the show?”, one person asked in the Facebook post’s comments, with another writing: “This is a really abhorrent way to explain that the character has been written off the show”.

More fans chimed in on Instagram, writing in the comments section: “Are you talking about the character or the actor”.

One fan asked: “Why write it like that it’s so weird lol”, and another similarly shared: “Probably should put a note in here this is her character that’s died”.

Comments on the post have now been limited, with users now unable to add their thoughts or tributes.

NZ Herald has reached out to South Pacific Pictures for comment.

Ludlam first appeared in Ferndale in 2010 as the mother of Nicole Miller (Sally Martin). While her role was initially small, she returned in 2014 with her own character arc and became a statured figure of the show.

She told the New Zealand Television Guide in 2019, “I feel very lucky. I came in for 6 months because I looked like I could play Sally Martin’s mother and then years later I am still here and the writers have - and this is fantastic - have really started writing for me”.

While Ludlam resigned from the show in 2023, she decided to return and reprise her role for one last storyline - Leanne’s death.

Ludlam will continue her acting career in the theatre industry.

The future of Shortland Street is up in the air.

Last week, TVNZ made headlines when it announced its plans to reduce Shortland Street’s television time, airing the programme only three days a week instead of its current five-times-a-week format.

The change is set to hit screens next year and promises viewers “fewer, higher impact episodes” in the hopes of attracting younger audiences to the show.

TVNZ’s chief executive Jodi O’Donnell said: “The TV environment is changing fast and we’re moving with our viewers.

“For some time, we’ve been reimagining what is possible for Shortland Street and we’re delighted to be able to continue the much-loved show with this new, creative format.”

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