Herald Sun - Switched On - - On The Couch -

DAR­REN DEVLYN It’s a big deal killing off a reg­u­lar cast mem­ber. How­did you feel about Zoe Ven­toura’s char­ac­ter be­ing taken out in a car crash? It was a brave de­ci­sion by the writ­ers to do that. It was so in­stan­ta­neous. It came out of the blue, as ac­ci­dents do. The ef­fect of hav­ing her die so sud­denly has res­onated with the au­di­ence. Is there an in­ten­tion to send a mes­sage to view­ers about the per­ils of us­ing a mo­bile phone while driv­ing? It ob­vi­ously does. I think ev­ery­one has done it to vary­ing de­grees. You see it ev­ery day driv­ing in the city and it shows the ef­fects when you take your at­ten­tion off the road and these things can hap­pen. To kill such a pop­u­lar char­ac­ter I think does send a very strong mes­sage. Are you aware of the hype on blogs and fan fo­rums about the death episode? What does that tell you about the im­pact of the show? I amaware of it. It is a re­minder to us and ev­ery­one on the show that we have a very loyal and strong au­di­ence watch­ing us, and we have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to them. Your char­ac­ter Dave is show­ing clear signs of a de­pres­sion bat­tle. How does the death in the fam­ily af­fect his abil­ity to cope? It drags Dave back to re­al­ity. His fa­ther role kicks in and he puts aside his own down­ward spi­ral for the love of his son and the griev­ing that is go­ing on around him. It’s forced him to face up to his own is­sue, which is small in com­par­i­son to what Ben is go­ing through and what ev­ery­one else is go­ing through. It forces him to ex­am­ine where he is at. Whydo you think the show has taken Dave down this path? I think de­pres­sion in men of Dave’s age is a lot more com­mon than peo­ple re­alise. We try to keep our fin­gers on the pulse and we are re­flect­ing what it go­ing on in so­ci­ety. How­much re­search has gone into cre­at­ing the sto­ry­line? I think ev­ery­one, from my­self to the writ­ers, have had some ex­pe­ri­ence deal­ing with these is­sues. I’m pleased the show is bring­ing this is­sue for­ward. A lot of men don’t talk about what they are go­ing through. Packed to the Rafters, Chan­nel 7, Tues­day, 8.30pm

Re­flect­ing so­ci­ety: Erik Thom­son’s char­ac­ter bat­tles de­pres­sion.

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