The move to Shortland Street: two Canberrans score roles on NZ's number 1 night-time soap
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The move to Shortland Street: two Canberrans score roles on NZ's number 1 night-time soap

They grew up just kilometres apart in Canberra but Lukas Whiting and Lucy Lovegrove had never met until Lucy's first tour of the set of New Zealand soap Shortland Street.

"She mentioned she went to Daramalan College and that was it - we were like 'Hey! We're both Canberrans!'" Lukas laughed.

Canberra actors Lucy Lovegrove (centre) and Lukas Whiting (right) with their on-screen brother played by Luke Patrick.

Canberra actors Lucy Lovegrove (centre) and Lukas Whiting (right) with their on-screen brother played by Luke Patrick.Credit:TVNZ2

Lucy said, "We didn't even have any friends in common - which is so bizarre for Canberra - I'm putting it down to the fact he's two years younger and he was south-side and I'm north-side!"

Lukas and Lucy now play siblings Finn and Sarah "Sass" Connelly on top-rating New Zealand soap Shortland Street. Their brother Frank - the threesome are triplets - is played by Sydney actor Luke Patrick.

Lukas Whiting now lives in Grey Lynn, Auckland's answer to Braddon.

Lukas Whiting now lives in Grey Lynn, Auckland's answer to Braddon.Credit:TVNZ2

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The show, now in its 25th year, airs nightly at 7pm on TVNZ2 and is "a bit like New Zealand's Home and Away, but without the beaches!"

The triplets' storyline was set up 20 years ago, when dad Chris Warner (NZ's answer to Alf Stewart) donated sperm to a nurse named Carrie Burton. The triplets were born on the show but moved to Australia, and 20 years later - much to the delight of avid Shortland Street fans - they're back.

Lukas, a former Boys Grammar student, scored the role of Finn Connelly after sending through an audition tape in an email, via his agent.

"I got an email saying I had an audition - I'd never heard of the show before - so I had to do a whole lot of research quickly," Lukas said.

Lucy Lovegrove returned home at Christmas to have new years eve at Batemans Bay.

Lucy Lovegrove returned home at Christmas to have new years eve at Batemans Bay.Credit:TVNZ2

"I watched a coupe of episodes on YouTube, shot what we call a 'self tape' and a couple of weeks later got a call from my agent saying you start in a couple of weeks!"

Lukas said when he's not rehearsing, learning lines or shooting the show in his new home town of Auckland, he's generally out and about having selfies taken with fans.

"After the first week I started to get recognised - it's quite a lot of fun - you get your good fans and bad fans but it's always fun getting photos and having a chat on the streets," he said.

"There's a lot of selfies - autographs are on the way out - I've only signed one autograph the whole time."

Lucy said she partly scored her role as sister Sarah Connelly because "I look like Lukas!"

"I think they've actually done a really good job in casting triplets, he probably looks more like me than my actual brother," she laughed.

"I'm still not used to being recognised over here. People approach me and are like, 'Are you on Shortland Street?' and I'm always like, 'Who, me?'

"Most people say they love my character."

The former North Ainslie Primary School student started her acting career as a small child with former community theatre troupe Music for Everyone.

"I'd see auditions in the paper and I'd just call up and try and book myself in," she said.

"I scored a role in Noah's Ark when I was little, as mouse number two, but all of the lines went to the smaller, cuter mouse number one."

Despite being offered a place at the ANU School of Art to study painting after college, Lucy decided to focus on a career in multimedia and studied a media, arts and production degree at the University of Canberra.

"I'd always been inspired by The Lord of the Rings and Peter Jackson - funnily enough - so I started doing short films for friends and decided on acting," she said.

Both actors are "loving" their roles on Shortland Street and recently returned home for Christmas - Lukas to visit mum and dad Jane and John Whiting at Kingston Foreshore, and Lucy to visit mum and dad Robyn and Bernie Lovegrove in Hackett.

"Canberra will always be home," Lukas said.

Shortland Street airs nightly at 11.30pm on Foxtel channel Arena.

Bree Winchester is the life and entertainment editor at The Canberra Times