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
makes Richard Roxburgh’s case.