Life’s light and shade

Trou­bling times lie ahead for one of Win­ners & Losers’ favourite char­ac­ters as the Seven se­ries re­turns. Guy Davis learns more from the show’s Vir­ginia Gay.

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Of the four friends at the core of Seven’s pop­u­lar se­ries Win­ners & Losers, Frances James, played by Vir­ginia Gay, ini­tially ap­peared to be the one who had all it all to­gether. A lit­tle up­tight, per­haps, but gen­er­ally sta­ble and bal­anced.

Not quite the case, laughs Gay, who af­fec­tion­ately refers to Frances as “a woman con­stantly wrestling her own neu­roses” whose tu­mul­tuous in­ner life some­times re­veals it­self in “th­ese psy­chotic three­minute mono­logues”.

As the show’s ti­tle in­di­cates, there have been plenty of ups and downs for the women of Win­ners & Losers over the years and, as

Iits fourth sea­son gets un­der way, Frances is deal­ing with par­tic­u­larly trou­bling stuff.

Her feel­ings to­wards her part­ner Zach ( Stephen Phillips) were chang­ing, es­pe­cially as her re­la­tion­ship with her self- de­fence in­struc­tor Shan­non ( Luke

Gay: “In a fic­tional life, you want ter­ri­ble, ter­ri­ble things, so you can re­ally start

to play.”

McKen­zie) started to de­velop.

But a vi­o­lent con­fronta­tion be­tween the two men at the end of the show’s last sea­son ended badly for Zach, and Frances now finds her­self at a cross­roads. Let’s be hon­est, Frances – prob­a­bly sub­con­sciously blinded by a com­bi­na­tion of lust and flat­tery – still be­lieves Shan­non had noth­ing to do with this ter­ri­ble thing that has hap­pened to Zach. And with Zach be­ing the great­est thing that’s ever hap­pened to her, it’s a bit of a bug­ger. At the same time, she was think­ing she per­haps wasn’t There’s cer­tainly a scene at the end of the first episode be­tween Frances and Shan­non that I am so proud of. It’s so beau­ti­fully writ­ten and so won­der­fully tense, and Luke McKen­zie, who plays Shan­non, is so good in it. The sound recordist came up to me af­ter our first few takes and said that he could hear my heart beat­ing. What a very sweet, flat­ter­ing thing to say to an ac­tress! But then he said, ‘ No, I can lit­er­ally hear your heart beat­ing’. We had to

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