|Shortland Street character|
|Portrayed by||Geraldine Brophy|
|First appearance||29 May 1997|
|Last appearance||19 April 2001|
|Introduced by||Simon Bennett|
|Other names||Moira Lafferty (maiden name)
Moira Crombie (married name)
|Occupation||Manager of Bed and Breakfast motel (2001—)
Receptionist at Shortland Street (1997–2001)
Moira Dawn Cochrane (née Lafferty, previously Crombie) is a fictional character on the New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street who first appeared in 1997, portrayed by Geraldine Brophy. The character was axed in 2001 as part of a large cast cull and show revamp.
Moira was the matriarch of the Crombie family unit, a working-class family consisting of husband Earl (Murray Keane), sons - Jordan (Cameron Smith), Blake (Jesse Peach) and Maddy (Joseph Greer) and daughter - Shelley (Natalie Dennis). The family often struggled to meet ends meet and ex convict - Moira was the receptionist at Shortland Street for 4 years. Moira's marriage to Earl was often strained and he was rarely home. Following his death from a drink driving accident, Moria ended up marrying past lover and criminal associate - Dean (Greg Johnson), with he and his daughter Erin Kingston (Emma Lahana) joining the family. Another member of the family unit arrived in 2000 in the shape of rapist - Eamon Dempsey (Neill Rea) who nearly put an end to her family once and for all. Moira ended up leaving to run a bed and breakfast with her new husband in early 2001.
Moira was a hugely popular character, singled out by numerous reviewers as a favourite character. Brophy was also acclaimed for her portrayal, landing a nomination for "Best Actress" in the 2000 New Zealand Film and Television Awards.
Creation and casting
When offered, Brophy found it hard not to accept the role of Moira, a character she saw as the "everyday New Zealander". She explained the reason stating; "Because we're not very interested in Moiras. Our society's not interested in women who have ordinary jobs and support their families, and so I believe she is very important to be seen." In 2000 Moira was axed from the show alongside 10 other characters. The cause was later revealed as a show revamp which would see the tone more suited towards working class characters.
Moira arrived to the hospital in 1997 with her daughter - Shelley (Natalie Dennis) and son - Maddy (Joseph Greer). She got a job as a receptionist but quickly it came out that Moira had served time in prison for armed robbery. Moira's husband Earl (Murray Keane) arrived to town in 1998 however so too did Moira's ex-boyfriend Dean Cochrane (Greg Johnson) who it turned out was the man who landed Moira prison time, blaming her for the crime. Earl ended up getting a job overseas and Dean turned over a new leaf by shouting the Crombie's to visit him as the year ended. In 1999 Maddy was diagnosed with leukaemia and the oldest Crombie child - Jordan (Cameron Smith) offered to be a bone marrow donor but Moira was shocked to discover he was gay and could possibly infect Maddy with HIV, however she eventually accepted her son's sexuality and Maddy soon was healed.
Moira's other son - Blake (Jesse Peach) soon arrived and Moira and Earl's relationship was on the rocks when a fast food shop he bought with no insurance was vandalized. Earl ended up dying in a drink driving accident and Moira ended up falling in love with Dean again, the two got together as they entered the new millennium. Moira and Dean got married in 2000 and Moira's nephew - Eamon Dempsey (Neill Rea) came to stay. Moira refused to believe Eamon had raped Kate Larsen (Rebecca Hobbs) and her disbelief caused her marriage with Dean to come to an end. Eamon died after an altercation with Kate and Moira finally realized the truth and apologized to Kate whilst reconciling with Dean. When the clinic was bought out and transformed to a public hospital, Moira lost out on her job to Barb Heywood (Annie Whittle) and ended up leaving to Australia with her family.
The character was highly praised throughout her run, being labelled a; "marvellously histrionic matriarch" by one reviewer. Her relationship with Dean was also praised, with reviewers believing it was important that middle aged characters were shown receiving romance. The 1999 storyline which saw Moira's son - Jordan come out as gay at the same time as needing to donate bone marrow to his dying brother, was seen as contemporary. Upon hearing of Moira's axing from the show, fans wished for the character to leave with husband - Dean, in a sufficiently "happily-ever-after" scenario. For her portrayal of Moira, Brophy landed a nomination for "Best Actress" in the 2000 New Zealand Film and Television Awards. Broadcaster - Kim Hill was outraged at Moira's axing and confronted producer - Simon Bennett on air. She believed there should be more characters aged over 40. In 2012, the character was named as one of the standout characters of the show's first 20 years.
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- "What a fate for Shortland Street stars: acting school or ebola ...". The New Zealand Herald. APN News & Media. 25 November 2000.
- "Geraldine Brophy". Karen Kay Management.
- Hill, Kim (10 March 2012). "Playing Favorites with Simon Bennett". Radio New Zealand.
- "Shorty Superstars". Shortland Street 20th anniversary magazine. New Zealand Magazines. 23 April 2012.