Harry Thompson-Warner
Portrayed by Reid Walker (since 2009)
First appearance May 2002
Gender Male

Harry Warner is a fictional character on the New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street who first appeared onscreen in May 2002. Being born on screen during the shows 10th anniversary, Harry has been portrayed by several child actors and by Reid Walker since 2009.

Creation and Casting Edit

In 2001 the shows producers decided to undergo a story that saw Toni Thompson (Laura Hill) give birth prematurely during the soap operas 10th anniversary.After the initial birth scenes, Campbell Callum-Ross was cast in the role due his small size resembling that of a premature baby and due to his family living close to the studio where the soap was filmed.[Campbell-Ross departed the role in 2006 and after Henry Williams auditioned for the character of a child patient, he was recast as Harry instead.In 2009 producers made the decision to recast the role so as to make way for new story directions and characterisation.[3] The pitch was brought up during a meeting with directors and was originally met with hesitation.[4]Reid Walker had previously auditioned for several different roles over several years and had never been called back. In 2009 he was contacted to audition for the recast of Harry.[5] Prior to this, Walker had considered giving up on his acting dream but within one audition, he won the role.[6] He debuted in September 2009 at the age of 9.[5] During his first few years Walker was a minor member of cast, filming 2 scenes a week, but by 2014 he was a "senior" member and was filming 15 as well as having his own storylines.[7]

Storylines Edit

In 2001 Toni Thompson (Laura Hill) fell pregnant but it was not clear who the father was as she had been sleeping with both Adam Heywood (Leighton Cardno) and Chris Warner (Michael Galvin). She gave birth several months prematurely in May 2002 and it was not until Rachel McKenna (Angela Bloomfield) had the babies DNA tested that Chris was revealed as the father. In 2003 Harry went missing and it was soon revealed he had been kidnapped by a mentally unstable Donna Heka(Stephanie Tauevihi). The following year he was kidnapped again, this time by Toni's former flame, Logan King (Peter Muller). In 2004 Harry and Toni were kidnapped by Toni's deranged brother Dominic (Shane Cortese) in an attempt to kill Chris. Harry caused trouble for Chris and Toni the following year, when his tantrums climaxed in him biting Huia Samuels (Nicola Kawana) hand. Toni fled Ferndale in 2007 and took Harry with her but upon their return, the family scraped death in a dramatic car crash. Harry was devastated months later when Toni died and struggled to come to terms with Chris' succession of girlfriends – going so far as to force him to break up with Brooke Freeman (Beth Allen). In 2010 Harry struggled to cope with the revelation he had a brother, Phoenix (Geordie Holibar) but grew to love him. He clashed with Chris' girlfriend Rachel McKenna and pressed charges when she lightly slapped him. During Halloween 2013, Harry stopped breathing and lost his heart beat for 45 minutes after drinking a potion made of several garden weeds, including foxglove. However, after Chris used his chief executive officer position at the hospital to register prolonged CPR, Harry survived without brain damage. In early 2015 Harry met Pixie Hannah (Thomasin McKenzie) and after initial clashes, the two began to date. However Pixie was diagnosed with bone cancer and Harry supported her through the following treatment but was devastated when she succumbed to pneumonia shortly after the two had confessed their love.

Character development Edit

Following the death of Harry's mother Toni Warner (Laura Hill), Hill hoped that the development of the character would be influenced, "It would be nice to think there would be floods of tears for months on end but that's not going to happen, is it? I imagine Chris Warner will find someone to fill the empty bed pretty dam quick going on from past form. I think Harry will be sadder for longer. I hope so."[8] The casting of Reid Walker in the role of Harry saw the character develop from a "wayward child" to a "rebellious pre-teen".[5] In 2011 Harry was featured in a storyline that saw his fathers girlfriend, Rachel McKenna(Angela Bloomfield) illegally discipline him when she smacked him.[9] Rachel was an inexperienced parent and as such, Bloomfield had to forget her own maternal nature, "As a mum, my responses are now automatic. So when I was playing Rachel in this role, I tried to forget about what now comes naturally as a parent ... Rachel eventually breaks, and that's when she smacks him. It all happens pretty quickly and she immediately realises she has crossed a line." Bloomfield was uneasy filming the storyline, "It felt really inappropriate – even filming the scene!" During filming, Walker wore cushions in his pants so that Bloomfield would not be physically hitting him.

In 2014 when the character was entering his teenage years, Harry started to move away from his recurring manner and take up his own storylines. Walker enjoyed the transition, "It's been nice to move on from minor parts in plotlines to actual stuff that concerns my character ... I've enjoyed the journey. I look forward to wherever the writers take me next." The storyline dealt with his discomfort with Chris after he lied about fathering a daughter, Trinity Kwan (Maya Ruriko Doura).

Reception Edit

Harry has been referred to as the, "most annoying character on the show." Walker himself admitted Harry was an annoying character, but stressed that he was not much like his part. Co-star Angela Bloomfield (Rachel McKenna) praised Walker for his acting during the 2011 illegal smacking storyline, "Reid did a fantastic job. He really pulled out all his menace to play that part."[9] Harry was voted by fans as the runner up for character they would like to leave the show the most, in the Ferndale Talk Best of 2013 Awards.[11] Television reviewer Chris Philpot stated he hated advertising more than asset sales and Harry Warner combined.[12] Matthew Denton of the University of Auckland student magazine, Craccum, named Harry the most annoying character on Shortland Street, citing that the "spoilt whiney kid has been around for ages, causing grief for everyone" and expressed annoyance that Chris had saved his life in 2013.