Howzat for power games with friends

Herald Sun - Switched On - - ON THE COUCH - COLIN VICK­ERY NA­TIONAL TV WRITER

When Alexan­der Eng­land turned up on the set of Off­spring it was like old home week. The 30-year-old ac­tor al­ready knew most of the cast and crew who work on the Asher Ked­die dram­edy.

Eng­land had worked along­side Lachy Hulme on Nine’s Howzat! Kerry Packer’s War, with Hulme play­ing me­dia mogul Packer and Eng­land play­ing famed crick­eter Tony Greig.

The pair worked to­gether again on Power Games: The Packer-Mur­doch Story. This time Hulme played Sir Frank Packer and Eng­land his brother, Clyde Packer.

Eng­land ap­peared in an episode of Kat Ste­wart’s Mr and Mrs Mur­der and he’s also friends with Richard Davies and Jane Har­ber. His most re­cent credit was for Off­spring co-cre­ator Imo­gen Banks’ The Beau­ti­ful Lie.

“This op­por­tu­nity (to act on Off­spring) pre­sented it­self as ‘do you want to come to Mel­bourne and have a re­ally good time’,” Eng­land says.

“I thought ‘Yes, I prob­a­bly do’. The cast are a colour­ful bunch of char­ac­ters and a lot of them are good friends of mine.

“I’d also worked with a lot of the cre­atives like Imo­gen and a lot of the heads of depart­ment.

“I had never worked with Asher be­fore.”

All of that will change when Eng­land’s Harry Crewe ar­rives at St Fran­cis Hos­pi­tal.

Crewe is the new cri­sis and cul­ture man­ager and he is quickly un­der the pump when the hos­pi­tal faces a pub­lic re­la­tions dis­as­ter.

That puts Crewe and Ked­die’s Nina Proud­man (both pic­tured left) on a po­ten­tial col­li­sion course.

“Harry is an out­sider who is brought into the hos­pi­tal, which is a space that char­ac­ters like Nina have so much own­er­ship of,” Eng­land ex­plains.

“He has his own agenda which is re­solv­ing an im­age is­sue at the hos­pi­tal.

“He doesn’t know the hos­pi­tal staff at all so he is assess­ing them and that is how he comes into con­tact with Nina.

“Our char­ac­ters are try­ing to fig­ure each other out. We’re very dif­fer­ent. There’s a bit of fric­tion be­cause we’ve got dif­fer­ent agen­das.”

Know­ing so many of the ac­tors and crew has proved a bless­ing for Eng­land who ar­rives as a new­bie into the sixth sea­son of Off­spring which runs like a well-oiled ma­chine.

“I tried not to worry about how I was go­ing to fit into it (even though) th­ese guys are all so well versed in their char­ac­ters and work­ing to­gether,” Eng­land says.

“I was aware that I was en­ter­ing a very full world.

“Off­spring is a re­ally in­ter­est­ing show tonally. It can swing from the ex­treme height of com­edy to se­ri­ous tragedy within one episode. I knew I was go­ing to have to pay at­ten­tion to what was go­ing on around me and re­ally re­spond it.

“Work­ing with Asher is prov­ing a real plea­sure. It has been great to get to know each other in the course of shoot­ing our scenes. It adds a real qual­ity to the mak­ing.

“She’s ob­vi­ously in­cred­i­bly sup­port­ive and en­cour­ag­ing and a lovely and very tal­ented wo­man,” he says.

OFF­SPRING, CHAN­NEL 10, WED­NES­DAY, 9.10PM

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