NZ Women's Weekly July 30, 2001
The new Kiwi drama Mercy Peak is 'not just another medical drama' says stars Craig Parker and
There are doctors, nurses and a medical centre but that's about where the similarities end.
new TV One series Mercy Peak may be made by the same company which brings us Shortland Street,
feature some familiar faces from New Zealand's long-running soap but it's a very different
programme, say those in the know.
"Way different," says Craig Parker. Craig played social worker Guy Warner in Shortland
now stars as Dr. Alistair Kingsley in Mercy Peak.
"At last, I get a real job," he laughs.
He adds, "People have said, 'Oh, not another medical drama' but it's not. It's about a group
people living in a small town and some of them happen to work in the health industry. And it's
different because they're all hour-long, self-contained episodes and not an ongoing story
Miriama Smith is another ex-Shortland Streeter who has been cast in Mercy Peak. Once again
playing a nurse. "I'm getting very good at taking blood pressure," she smiles. "I look like I
what I'm doing."
This time she's playing solo mum Dana McNichol- on Shortland Street she was Awhina Broughton.
Since leaving that show three years ago, she's worked steadily as an actress and also found the
to finish a sports and leisure degree and do post-graduate studies in public relations.
"I thought it would be useful to have some qualifications under my belt," says Miriama (25).
However, she hasn't had the chance to use any of those qualifications yet. "I've thought about
but I keep coming back to acting. I enjoy it so much."
She's had regular roles in the TV series The Tribe and Atlantis High, as well as appearing
Xena: Warrior Princess. She has also been in Harry Sinclair's third film, Film Three, as well
two US productions, Eye of the Storm and Double Exposure.
"I had to spend two months in Rarotonga making Eye of the Storm. It's a tough job
Craig (30) has also been working on The Lord of the Rings. It was an amazing experience, he
says. "Peter Jackson is just brilliant. The whole atmosphere was great.
"At one stage the crew had been working for three months at night in the rain but there was
sense that what we were doing was amazing. There were all these famous people but no tantrums
He admits he was nervous meeting Christopher Lee and Sir Ian McKellen. "For a start,
Lee's about three metres tall and he has that incredible voice..." recalls Craig. "But once I
over my initial dread it was a real buzz."
Craig has presented TV shows and appeared in Xena: Warrior Princess and Young Hercules as
acting in theatre and films but Mercy Peak is the first TV series in which he's been a member
core cast since he left Shortland Street in 1996. "I had no desire to work on something that
ongoing so soon after leaving. It's hard work," says Craig.
"But I was ready to do more TV when Mercy Peak came up and after I read a couple of scripts I
thought, 'Yes, I would really like to do that.' I'm glad I am. I'm really enjoying it,
working with the cast and crew. I'm having a great time."
-Donna Fleming writer