|Shortland Street character|
|Portrayed by||Geordie Holibar|
|First appearance||2 August 2010|
|Last appearance||14 November 2013|
|Introduced by||Steven Zanoski|
|Home||The Warner Mansion|
Phoenix Raynor (also Warner) is a fictional character on the New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street. He has been portrayed by Geordie Holibar since his debut in the show's first ever 90 minute episode in August 2010. The character was introduced as the unknown son of long-standing character Chris Warner (Michael Galvin) and ex-wife Alison Raynor (Danielle Cormack).
Creation and casting
After creating the role, producers researched baby name trends throughout the nineties and decided upon the name; "Phoenix". Geordie Holibar, the grandson of former Shortland Street actor Liddy Holloway was cast and the character made his debut in the show's first-ever feature-length episode on 2 August 2010. Holibar's uncle Joel Tobeck helped him prepare for the role as he had previously appeared in the mid-1990s. Initially Holibar shared a lot of scenes with on screen father, Michael Galvin, but as his storylines developed, he ended up spending a lot more scenes with the fellow teenage characters. Holibar enjoyed acting alongside people his age, saying; "I have lots of fun with Frankie [Adams] (Ula Levi), Tyler [Read] (Evan Cooper) and Pearl [McGlashan] (Jasmine Cooper). It's been cool working with people your own age because you know that you're all going through the same kind of thing." Holibar noted the help he received from long time cast members, Galvin and Angela Bloomfield, "It's good just working with him and Angela who have been on the show for so long and they know where the cameras are, they know not to block your light. They know all the tricks."
Phoenix was born to Alison Raynor (Danielle Cormack) and her divorced husband, Chris Warner (Michael Galvin). Alison decided to keep Phoenix a secret from Chris and the two lived in America. After Alison grew sick of the American schooling system, she and Phoenix travelled to New Zealand and lived on a farm. In November 2009 Alison died on a yacht and Phoenix was taken in by her uncle Brian (Ian Mune).
Chris learnt in August 2010 that Phoenix was his son and after a DNA test, he adopted him. Phoenix struggled to get on with half brother Harry (Reid Walker) but befriended Evan Cooper (Tyler Read). New girl Ula Levi (Frankie Adams) spread a rumour that he was gay after he rebuffed a kiss from her but the two later dated briefly in 2011. He dumped her for Evan's sister Jasmine (Pearl McGlashan) but cheated on Jasmine when he had a one-night stand with Suzy (Maisey McSwiney). Phoenix was shocked when Jasmine died for several minutes on his lap due to her Long QT syndrome and later struggled to cope with her newfound morbid personality causing the two to break up numerous times. Phoenix ultimately ended the relationship when he developed an unrequited crush on Megan (Lira Edwards). Phoenix was shocked when Chris was arrested for the murder of his school tutor, Hayley O'Neill (Michelle Blundell) and struggled to accept his protest of innocence. However he ended up freeing his father when Hayley's true killer Drew (Joel Herbert) kidnapped him and confessed. In 2013 Phoenix began to date popular schoolgirl Britney Buchanan (Eliza McKay) but the two broke up after meddling from new girl, Dayna Jenkins (Lucy Elliott). Phoenix soon turned against his family lifestyle and took up street art to express his true beliefs. This however lead to near legal trouble and in November, Phoenix decided to leave Ferndale to study at a Berlin university for art. Only a month after his departure, Chris revealed that Phoenix had dropped out of the school and had taken to traveling the world. In 2014, Chris stated that Phoenix would not be returning for his wedding but would rather attend via video chat.
Phoenix was initially portrayed as a teenager who although often landed himself in bad situations, was friendly and welcoming to all those he interacted with. He earned the title "Mr Nice Guy" however a storyline in 2012 that revolved around Phoenix developing a crush on his psychopathic maths tutor Hayley O'Neill (Michelle Blundell), saw the characterization of the character develop drastically differently. Holibar explained, "He's grown up, he's sort of had to". Hayley manipulated Phoenix's affections to try to get closer to his father and ended up accusing Phoenix of sadistically stalking her. Holibar enjoyed what the storyline did for his character, "I've enjoyed it. I like getting angry and I do occasionally. It was fun playing something that wasn't just Phoenix being nice to everyone 24-7, which gets a bit boring to do. It was good to see a darker side as he starts pushing people away and not coping at all with the things going on for him."
As Phoenix is depicted as a 14-year-old upon his debut in 2010, this means that the writers of Shortland Street have utilized the SORAS technique to make the character a few years older than in real time. This is proven as Chris did not leave Shortland Street until mid 1996, making a 1996 birth impossible. Other factors that contradict Phoenix's birthdate are the facts that Tiffany Pratt saw Chris and Alison together as late as 1997 and Chris indicates he and Alison split as late as 2000 in his return to the show. Phoenix again underwent SORAS in 2011 when he celebrated his 16th birthday in September, only a year after he arrived as a 14-year-old, pushing his birthdate back to 1995 when Chris was living in Ferndale and Alison in America.
However Phoenix has not been the only character to undergo SORAS, the Warner family has been famous for its usage. Phoenix's half brother Harry was born in 2002 and already aged 9 by 2009. His cousin, Tuesday Warner was born in 1995 and was 14, only 12 years later. Even Phoenix's girlfriend, Jasmine underwent the procedure, debuting at 13 years old and being 15, just a year later.
Upon Phoenix's arrival, Shortland Street commentator Throng was surprised such an interesting storyline twist had not already occurred. Hugh Sundae from The New Zealand Herald praised Holibar's acting and compared him positively to Lee Donoghue, the actor of Hunter McKay. He also stated that Holibar was already a greater actor than Ido Drent (Daniel Potts) despite only appearing in a small number of scenes. Holibar's on screen father, Michael Galvin, praised Holibar - stating: He's very relaxed and very natural for someone of his age and very keen to learn, which is a very important thing on this show because it's very demanding." Holibar won the "Up and Coming Actor" award in the Girlfriend Faves Forever competition 2011 for his role as Phoenix.
- "The Name Game". Shortland Street. Television New Zealand. 24 July 2012. Archived from the original on 24 July 2012.
- "New kid on the block - Shortland Street". Television New Zealand. August 2011. Archived from the original on 12 December 2011. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
- "Chris Warner finally has other children". Throng. 3 August 2010. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
- Nealon, Sarah (19 August 2010). "Generation game". New Zealand TV Guide.
- "Settling into the Street". Television New Zealand. February 2011. Archived from the original on 12 December 2011. Retrieved 12 December 2011.
- Smith, Janie (19 April 2012). "Maths tutor turns tables on Phoenix". New Zealand TV Guide. Fairfax Media.
- Sundae, Hugh (3 August 2010). "TV Review: Shortland Street". The New Zealand Herald. APN News & Media. Retrieved 12 December 2011.
- "Shorty is fan favourite". Television New Zealand. November 2011. Archived from the original on 12 December 2011. Retrieved 12 December 2011.