KATE­LYN CATANZARITI

Herald Sun - Switched On - - On The Couch -

RICHARD Roxburgh, who shone as for­mer prime min­is­ter Bob Hawke in the tele­movie Hawke and this week makes his fi­nal ap­pear­ance as a way­ward lawyer in Rake, reck­ons savvy Aus­tralian au­di­ences are over re­al­ity TV and crav­ing in­tel­li­gent drama.

Rake, he hopes, has played a part in prov­ing his point.

The com­edy-drama tells the story of the love­able but out­ra­geous wag Cleaver Greene, played by Roxburgh.

‘‘ You’re con­stantly chal­lenged as an au­di­ence and I think that’s great,’’ Roxburgh says of the show. ‘‘ It’s fas­ci­nat­ing and it’s grown up.

‘‘ I think (Aus­tralian au­di­ences) are cry­ing out for drama at the moment.

‘‘ Re­al­ity TV came and largely went, and in its place there’s been an up­surge of in­ter­est in drama and story again — par­tic­u­larly smart story. There’s a re­ally savvy au­di­ence there.’’

Roxburgh says pop­u­lar shows com­ing out of the US, such as Mad Men and Break­ing Bad, should teach us that peo­ple are ready for an Aus­tralian anti-hero like Cleaver Greene.

‘‘ We’ve felt for a long time that Aus­tralia’s ready for it,’’ he says. ‘‘ Amer­i­can TV in the past 10 years has shown that you can do this so long as the char­ac­ters are hu­man.’’

Af­ter roles in Moulin Rouge, Van Hels­ing and Mis­sion Im­pos­si­ble II, as well as the re­sound­ing suc­cess of his di­rec­to­rial de­but Ro­mu­lus, My Fa­ther, Roxburgh could eas­ily be liv­ing the high life in Hollywood.

But liv­ing and work­ing here will al­ways be a pri­or­ity — along with an­nual so­journs to his wife’s na­tive Italy. Rake, ABC1, Thurs­day, 8.30pm

Over re­al­ity:

makes Richard Roxburgh’s case.

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