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A BRU­TALLY HON­EST GE­ORGIE PARKER TELLS WHY SHE’S JOINED SOAP HOME AND AWAY

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Ge­orgie Parker has re­turned to a reg­u­lar role af­ter five years, writes

G EORGIE Parker is back and as bru­tally hon­est as ever. Soon af­ter news broke that the Gold Lo­gie win­ner was re­turn­ing to TV in her first reg­u­lar role since 2005, she be­came a tar­get of cyn­i­cism when it was dis­cov­ered her three-year con­tract was with Yes, gasp, a soap. But the 46-year-old vet­eran of stage and the small screen feels there’s no cringe-fac­tor in work­ing on the show.

The show does its genre re­ally well,’’ a de­fi­ant Parker says from her Syd­ney home.

The face of re­tail chain Katies, a four-time Lo­gie win­ner and one of the most-loved stars on Aus­tralian TV, what she isn’t is a snob.

I am not an elite ac­tor and I don’t act for other ac­tors or crit­ics,’’ Parker says.

It’s a job I love to do and it’s how I sup­port my fam­ily. It’s as sim­ple as that.

Yes, it’s a soap, but it’s been go­ing for 23 years and I love the way it does soap ex­tremely well.’’

Parker’s in­ter­est in

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Holly Byrnes

Home and Away.

Home and Away

fol­lowed an ap­proach from Chan­nel 7’s head of drama, John Holmes, and the show’s ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer, Cameron Welsh. Then came the sales No snob: Ge­orgie Parker with her

Home and Away

fa­ther Ray Meagher. pitch from friend and

co-host Jay Laga’aia, who joined the se­ries this year.

The fun, ca­ma­raderie and the rou­tine’’ of be­long­ing to a se­ries is what for­mer

reg­u­lar Parker had been missing.

It was 2005 when she said good­bye to the cast and crew of in which she played nurse Terri Sul­li­van.

She then made spo­radic ap­pear­ances on the small screen in tele­movies in­clud­ing

and as well as two episodes of Seven’s

She was happy enough’’ with bit parts.

Five years ear­lier it had been her favourite role, play­ing re­al­life mum to daugh­ter Holly, that pulled her away from reg­u­lar TV work.

Iron­i­cally, it’s her now 10-year-old’s in­ter­est in

that has helped bring Parker back.

My daugh­ter had switched on to a cou­ple of episodes and had de­vel­oped a crush on Hugo, played by the lovely Bernard Curry,’’ Parker says.

She’d never seen a pop­u­lar drama like that. She’s more into fan­tasy stuff. But she re­ally en­joyed watch­ing the real-life sto­ries and peo­ple with prob­lems. So I started watch­ing it then and dis­cov­ered the crew were a lot of the peo­ple I’d worked with on and even some from I ac­tu­ally couldn’t be more ex­cited and of course my daugh­ter is too.’’

Just don’t bother her with all that mother/ guilt stuff. I don’t have any guilt about work­ing,’’ Parker says.

It’s life. I am

School

Saints

All Saints, Step­fa­ther Of The Bride The So­ci­ety Mur­ders,

Homi­cide.

and Away

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tice. All Saints

A Coun­try Prac-

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Play

All

City

Home

‘‘ home enough of the time. My daugh­ter and I have a great re­la­tion­ship. She’s a great per­son who has a won­der­ful fa­ther (Steve Wor­land) who is a screen­writer and doesn’t have to go out to work. She has never been anx­ious about me leav­ing her (to go to work) and I love to be able to pro­vide for my fam­ily in this way.’’

If there are nerves, they’re caused by the prospect of be­ing on a set swarm­ing with gor­geous teenagers in front of high-def­i­ni­tion cam­eras. I am­not an elite ac­tor and I don’t act for other ac­tors

HD technology and be­ing sur­rounded by 17-year-olds makes me in­hale and pause be­fore I walk on set,’’ she jokes. But I was 24 when I started and about to turn 46, who am I kid­ding? It’s guar­an­teed we’ll all age.’’

Leav­ing at the age of 40, she ad­mits, was a gam­ble at what can be a tricky time for ac­tresses’’.

But I’m not a glam­orous per­son. I don’t get about in high heels or go out to the open­ing of a door.

I didn’t lose much by get­ting older be­cause I didn’t push my youth. I have re­lied on my per­son­al­ity and that goes with you when you age.’’

Shar­ing her sto­ry­lines with the show’s old mas­ter, reign­ing Gold Lo­gie win­ner, Ray Meagher, is the cherry on top for Parker. I want to bring my Lo­gies in so they can mate with his,’’ she says with a laugh. He’s just ab­so­lutely won­der­ful to work with.’’

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All Saints

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Home and Away,

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Chan­nel 7, week­nights, 7pm

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