|Shortland Street character|
|Portrayed by||Karl Urban|
|First appearance||29 April 1993
|Last appearance||22 February 1994
|Introduced by||Brian Lenanne|
Jamie Forrest is a fictional character on the New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street. The character was portrayed by Karl Urban for a guest stint in mid-1993 before returning later in the year for a 6-month recurring stint. The character is remembered as the first openly gay character on the show.
Creation and casting
In 1992 Shortland Street planned for character - Stuart Neilson to be gay however the plans fell through. Producers decided to break new ground by introducing the controversial character of gay paramedic - Jamie Forrest. The character appeared in a short guest stint before returning for a 6 month recurring stint.
Jamie arrived to Shortland Street in 1993 and after childhood friend - Kirsty (Angela Dotchin) failed to attract Jamie, he revealed he was gay. He worked as a paramedic alongside Sam (Rene Naufahu) but was alienated due to his sexuality. The two made up and Jamie ended up leaving the hospital. He returned some months later and the teenage Jonathon McKenna (Kieren Hutchison) developed a crush on him that eventually evolved into a love affair. Jonathon's father Michael (Paul Gittins) was heavily against the two's relationship and ended up temporarily disowning his son. Michael saved the couple from a group of homophobes but the two ended up breaking up. Jamie found solace being an advocate for HIV and gay rights before he eventually reconciled with the ignorant Jonathon. However when Jamie decided to move to Christchurch and travel the world, the two broke up and made peace.
Jamie is remembered as the first ever openly homosexual character on the show. His romance with Jonathon proved both controversial and groundbreaking. It helped educate New Zealanders on homosexuality and even helped a confused teenager accept his sexuality.
- Bennett, Cath (May 2010). "Shorty road to success". stuff.co.nz. Fairfax Media. Retrieved September 2011.
- Barbara Cairns & Helen Martin (1996). Shortland Street - Production, Text and Audience (First ed.). Auckland: Macmillan Publishers New Zealand.
- Kreft, Brad (12 May 2011). "Character returning to Shortland Street after 15 years". Throng. Retrieved 4 January 2012.