Kate ready for more
TV roles are back on Kate Ritchie’s radar after narrating the ABC’s 50 years of Play School commemorative special, writes Clare Rigden
For over two decades she was a constant presence on our screens, playing Sally Fletcher on Home and Away. But in recent times Kate Ritchie has stepped away from the small screen, choosing to focus on her radio commitments, and being mum to daughter, Mae, who turns two in August.
But this week the 37-yearold actor is returning to TV, via a narration role on the ABC’s upcoming 50 years of Play School commemorative special — and it might be the start of many more TV roles to come.
“Look that has always been on my radar,” says Ritchie, of a return to acting. “I would really like to think I’ll be back on a television set soon enough.
“But there’s so much going on ... so it’s more about time management, and finding something that’s really worth making that time for.
Ritchie hasn’t had a lead role on a television drama since the ill-fated Nine series, Cops L.A.C, in 2010. And since giving birth to Mae, who she had with husband Stuart Webb in 2014, she has kept a reasonably low profile, only introducing her adorable daughter to fans earlier this year, via a carefully orchestrated cover shoot for The Australian Women’s Weekly.
Despite her return to radio, as co-host on the Sydney drivetime radio show, “Kate, Tim and Marty,” on Nova, she’s largely kept her family out of the spotlight, and Ritchie says she’s pleased with the work/life balance she’s managed to achieve.
“(My radio show) fits well with that,” she explains.
“I’m very lucky in that I can work from home in the morning ... and I’m able to have that creative outlet every day, but also be at home with Mae.”
It’s the perfect scenario. But it’s hard not to think those eager Home and Away producers haven’t come a-calling — after all, the Gold Logie-awardwinning star is still as popular as ever with fans.
“I feel as though my discussions with Home and Away are always an open-ended conversation,” Ritchie explains.
“I would be highly offended if Alf had a celebration at the Surf Club and Sally wasn’t invited along! I would like to think the door is always open there. But once again, it’s about finding the balance. And I think there are lots of other things I’d like to try my hand at first.”
One of those has been her recent narration role on the ABC’s sweet — and surprisingly funny — Big Ted’s Excellent Adventure: 50 Years of Play School. It’s a lovely look back at the show that has shaped so many of our childhoods — and continues to influence a new generation of Aussie kids, including Ritchie’s own daughter’s.
And no, before you ask, she’s not joining her old Home and Away co-stars Justine Clarke and Alex Papps, (who played Frank and Roo on the show in the eighties) in a regular hosting role on Play School.
But that’s not to say both her and Mae don’t love their regular catch-ups with her old co-stars and good friends, via their daily dose of Play School.
“Mae’s vocabulary is relatively small, but part of that are the names of the Play School presenters,” she says. “It’s so lovely that she will have that as part of her childhood just as I did … I certainly don’t want to pick favourites, but the episodes I love watching are the ones with Justine and Alex — and I know there are a lot of people that feel the same way.”
“I think there are lots of other things I’d like to try my hand at first” KATE RITCHIE ON HER CAREER OPTIONS
BIG TED’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE, ABC, SUNDAY, 7.40PM
Kate Ritchie with Big Ted from Play School and (inset) with daughter Mae.