Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page - DEB­BIE SCHIPP Home And Away, South­ern Cross, week­nights, 7pm

IN­SIDE: Seven days of TV view­ing

THAT age-old rat­ings grab­ber, the TV soap wed­ding, comes to Home And Away via Hawaii this week. And it’s one of Sum­mer Bay’s most angst-rid­den and gor­geous couples who tie the knot on a trip to Waikiki.

Whether it’s a good idea for on-again, offa­gain Indi ( Sa­mara Weav­ing) and Romeo ( Luke Mitchell) to get hitched on a whim is up for de­bate. But once they get caught in the ro­mance of Hawaii, there’s no stop­ping them.

The sto­ry­line, which plays out over three nights, comes as Home And Away con­tin­ues to ride a wave of healthy rat­ings, reg­u­larly top­ping the magic mil­lion mark in its times­lot. Not bad for a soap that’s been run­ning for 23 years.

The Hawai­ian es­cape is only the sec­ond time the Sum­mer Bay crew has ven­tured abroad; the first was to the UK in 2008.

But Mitchell and Weav­ing, who headed to Honolulu with cast­mates Ge­orgie Parker and Robert Mam­mone, agree theirs is a far more ex­otic lo­ca­tion.

‘‘ I think they wanted to hurt me,’’ Mitchell grins, when asked how those left at home – es­pe­cially his real-life love and on-screen for­mer girl­friend Re­becca Breeds ( Ruby) – re­acted to the news.

But as he takes in the mass of colour of Waikiki Beach, it’s ob­vi­ous he’s find­ing it hard to feel bad about film­ing in par­adise. When told this in­ter­view will be con­ducted out on the wa­ter, the Gold Coast-raised Mitchell can’t be­lieve his luck. A hired long­board and a rolling break are all it takes to have him in his el­e­ment.

Be­tween sets, he talks life, love and ca­reer with a wis­dom be­yond his years and a laid­back hu­mour that backs up his good- bloke rep­u­ta­tion on set. He took up acting be­cause he loved it, even though it scared him. And it still does some days, the 26-year-old says with a grin.

‘‘ I fin­ished school and opted not to go to uni, be­cause I fig­ured it’s a great place to be if you have a clear idea of what you want to do and a good way to waste a lot of time and ac­cu­mu­late a HECS debt if you don’t.’’

Born to a ten­nis-mad fam­ily, he had suc­cess on the ju­nior cir­cuit and, like brother Ben who is now a ten­nis pro, planned to con­tinue with that dream.

‘‘ That was un­til Mum and Dad called my bluff and said if I wanted a ten­nis ca­reer, I had to make it pay its way,’’ he laughs. ‘‘ I re­alised it wasn’t an op­tion and there was more to life than ten­nis.’’

In re­turn, when he moved to Mel­bourne to have a real crack at acting, his par­ents re­alised it wasn’t just a hobby. The role of Romeo has ce­mented that, de­liv­er­ing him a Lo­gie for Aus­tralia’s Best New Male Tal­ent in 2010.

Asked whether he’ll seek fame in Hol­ly­wood, like so many other Sum­mer Bay grad­u­ates, he is cir­cum­spect. ‘‘ If it’s acting, whether it’s in LA or Aus­tralia, I’ll be happy,’’ he says.

He agrees he’s prob­a­bly way too level-headed to scoot off to Hawaii to get mar­ried, un­like his al­terego Romeo.

Cer­tainly, he grins, if he did marry in a hurry, he wouldn’t choose the white linen pants and shirt combo Romeo donned for his nup­tials.

‘‘ I can’t de­cide if I’m a ninja or look like I es­caped from a lu­natic asy­lum,’’ he says of the out­fit.

As he launches on to a wave, he looks more like the for­mer than the lat­ter.

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