Si­grid Thorn­ton


Back in 1980, then-rel­a­tive act­ing new­comer Si­grid Thorn­ton signed on for a stint in hit Aussie drama Prisoner.

Her char­ac­ter, Ros Coul­son was in prison af­ter mur­der­ing the woman ac­cused of killing her own mother. Dur­ing her tu­mul­tuous year on screen, Thorn­ton’s char­ac­ter man­aged to es­cape three times be­fore she left the show.

So when the reimag­in­ing of Prisoner, Went­worth, first aired three years ago, Thorn­ton was more than a lit­tle in­trigued.

What did you think of the idea of Prisoner get­ting a pre­quel of sorts set in mod­ern times? I’d long thought it was a great con­cept to ex­tract and crys­tallise the idea of a women’s prison in mod­ern times so the whole idea ap­pealed to me. (It’s) a great ve­hi­cle for a fine fe­male cast, as it was back in the day when we did Prisoner.

Had you watched Went­worth be­fore you were asked to ap­pear in the show? I’d seen the se­ries, but I hadn’t seen it in its en­tirety back to back so I binge watched it all (af­ter I got the part). It’s pretty riv­et­ing stuff.

It must be fas­ci­nat­ing for you as a Prisoner vet­eran to see the gen­e­sis of the most fa­mous char­ac­ters? It is ... but it’s wildly dif­fer­ent in the sense that there’s a lot of li­cence with the term “rein­ven­tion” or “reimag­in­ing”. To re­make it, there’s a dif­fer­ence. The Freak is no longer the same, Vine­gar Tits (Vera) is small and kind of frag­ile and all have dif­fer­ent per­son­al­ity traits, and Danielle’s (McCor­mack) Bea couldn’t be more dif­fer­ent from Val Lehman’s. Th­ese are in­ter­est­ing choices and they cre­ate some­thing that’s a re­ally dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ence for the viewer. But it’s in­ter­est­ing that it has taken off with old Prisoner fans which is a good sign.

What can you tell us about your char­ac­ter in Went­worth, So­nia Stevens? So­nia is quite a high-pow­ered so­cial and cor­po­rate an­i­mal. She comes in on re­mand while await­ing trial for the mur­der of a very close friend of hers.

If So­nia is found guilty, would you hap­pily stay be­hind bars for the fifth sea­son? Ab­so­lutely. It’s been a re­ally won­der­ful ex­pe­ri­ence. It’s a very rich ex­pe­ri­ence for an ac­tor be­cause when you come onto the set of Went­worth there’s a lot of meat and pota­toes there.

It’s a long way from play­ing Judy Gar­land in the Peter Allen minis­eries ... It is! But that’s the beauty of it. Like ev­ery ac­tor, I want to keep mov­ing for­ward and ex­pe­ri­enc­ing new en­vi­ron­ments, but very par­tic­u­larly, new char­ac­ters. And So­nia’s not like any­body I’ve ever done be­fore re­ally.



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