Ger­man model make a splash

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - TV - DEB­BIE SCHIPP

IN terms of ideal work places, the set­ting for Chan­nel Ten’s long- awaited fam­ily drama

Reef Doc­tors is hard to top. The lo­ca­tion is the Great Bar­rier Reef where, on the fic­tional Hope Is­land, Lisa McCune’s Dr Sam Ste­wart and her team look af­ter the res­i­dents and tourists of Hope and neigh­bour­ing is­lands.

The big­gest in­jec­tion of bite comes in the form of sin­gle mother Ste­wart’s hobby study­ing venom, in the hope of find­ing cures to fa­tal dis­eases.

Ste­wart is also grap­pling with a “com­pli­cated” re­la­tion­ship with her ex- hus­band Jack ( Matt Day) and head­ing up a team that in­cludes ego­tis­ti­cal play­boy doc­tor Rick ( Richard Bran­cati­sano), no- non­sense nurse Olivia Shaw ( Tas­neem Roc) and fourth- year Ger­man med­i­cal stu­dent Freya ( Su­san Hoecke).

While McCune needs lit­tle in­tro­duc­tion to Aus­tralian view­ers thanks to long- time stints on Sea Patrol and Blue Heel­ers – and, more re­cently, as gossip fod­der thanks to her al­leged dal­liance late last year with her South Pa­cific co- star Teddy Tahu Rhodes while still mar­ried to hus­band of 12 years Tim Dis­ney – Hoecke is a new face on our tele­vi­sions.

Reef Doc­tors has been made in as­so­ci­a­tion with Ger­many’s ZDF En­ter­prises and when Hoecke’s agent told her there was a role go­ing in Aus­tralia call­ing for a Ger­man med­i­cal stu­dent, she leapt at the chance.

“It was like fate,” says the tow­er­ing 31- yearold model and ac­tor, who has ap­peared largely in Ger­man tele­vi­sion and film roles ( the best- known, Sturm der Liebe, played in 20 coun­tries) and funded her act­ing study with mod­el­ling jobs that took her all over the world.

“A year be­fore I got the role of Freya I had a brief visit to Aus­tralia, be­cause one of my friends had al­ways said to me, ‘ You have to go to Aus­tralia, I have a damn good feel­ing this is your place’.

“She was right. I spent three months won­der­ing, ‘ How can I work here?’. And then my agent said, ‘ Su­san there is ac­tu­ally a cast­ing there and they are ac­tu­ally look­ing for a Ger­man char­ac­ter in the show you have to au­di­tion for it’. And I landed the role.”

Get­ting paid for spend­ing time on the Great Bar­rier Reef was good enough, but Hoecke says her char­ac­ter, Freya, was an­other gift.

“She’s an amaz­ing char­ac­ter. She’s ad­ven­tur­ous, ac­tive and driven and smart and open- minded,” Hoecke says.

Reef Doc­tors fin­ished film­ing in early 2012, and Hoecke, now back in Ger­many, is dearly hop­ing Aus­tralian au­di­ences will love it enough for an­other sea­son.

Es­pe­cially now, while she is film­ing a fea­ture film in the moun­tains of her home coun­try in tem­per­a­tures down to mi­nus- 10 de­grees.

“I’m hop­ing for a sea­son two so I can get the bikini back on,” she laughs.

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