alking about her latest television role is taking Brooke Satchwell away from one of her favourite activities. Not that she’s brusque – far from it, in fact, as the 37-year-old actor seems happy to chat to Stellar about just about anything. From the workload on Neighbours, which she joined when she was 15, to her abiding wish for a lawn big enough to sate her joy of ride-on mowers, Satchwell has plenty of anecdotes to share.
Still, what she’d much prefer to be doing is gardening at her home in the inner suburbs of Sydney. “It’s been a busy couple of days,” Satchwell tells Stellar, referencing the run of projects and press that are ramping up, including her new Foxtel drama series Mr Inbetween. “My head’s sort of spinning, and I’m like: ‘Be here now.’ It’s spring, we’ve got the launch of Mr Inbetween, and everyone comes out of hibernation and things start to pick up pace. Spring’s always been kind to me in that respect. And I’m a gardener and we’ve started to get the blooms early, and it got me a bit excited.”
Gardening doesn’t just offer Satchwell a sign that the seasons are changing – it’s an effective means of finding solutions when life throws up challenges. “Whenever I’ve got to learn lines, life riddles to solve or contracts to nut out, I go garden. It takes me eight hours to do the front and back and make it look immaculate. I can guarantee that if I go into the garden with a question, by the time I come out eight hours later covered in dirt, and the garden’s pristine, I have an answer to my question, without fail. I’m stinging to get back into the garden.”
For the moment, at least, Satchwell has found clarity around her career. Her part in Mr Inbetween – the first Australian TV show commissioned by US network FX – is the latest she has taken as part of a strategic plan to broaden her opportunities, in the hope she can eventually begin writing and producing. Playing Ally, a paramedic who starts a romance with protagonist Ray Shoesmith (a hitman played by Scott Ryan, who also wrote the series), gave her the opportunity to explore new dramatic terrain.
The show is directed by Nash Edgerton and based on the darkly funny 2005 independent film The Magician, which was also written by and starred Ryan. It is a six-part project, a span Satchwell says she relished, given her previous and far more exhaustive stints on