Drama de­liv­ers home runs

Brett Climo is happy to be back on our tele­vi­sion screens again, es­pe­cially in a show he is 100 per cent proud of, he tells Andrew Fen­ton

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - FRONT PAGE -

‘ It’s not hard work, it’s a lux­ury, it’s a joy to work as an ac­tor’

BRETT Climo has an anger prob­lem. But un­like Rus­sell Crowe or Chris­tian Bale, Climo’s prob­lem is that he’s a lit­tle bit too nice. As sen­si­tive landowner Ge­orge Bligh on hit drama A Place to Call Home he’s reg­u­larly called upon to yell at Noni Ha­zle­hurst, who plays Bligh- dy­nasty ma­tri­arch El­iz­a­beth.

“That’s part of my act­ing reper­toire that isn’t all that well- honed,” he says.

“I fi nd it very hard to get an­gry. Which I’m not proud of, it means quite of­ten I feel like I’m not per­form­ing well enough in those scenes. ( Noni) will ac­tu­ally sit me down and try and help me fi nd the anger.”

But Ha­zle­hurst’s at­tempts to help may only make it harder for Climo to un­leash his full fury “be­cause I do like her so much”, he laughs.

“Re­cently I said, ‘ I’m just re­ally look­ing for­ward to a scene where we can be nice!’”

Climo, 49, has been a fa­mil­iar face on Aus­tralian TV since his de­but as Peter Healy in Sons and Daugh­ters back in 1983. Since then he’s ap­peared in much- loved shows in­clud­ing A Coun­try Prac­tice, GP, The Fly­ing Doc­tors and Blue Heel­ers.

A few years ago the roles dried up. Climo en­dured a fi ve- year stretch in­ter­spersed with the oc­ca­sional tele­movie ( Mys­tery of a Han­som Cab and Un­der­belly Files: Tell Them Lu­cifer Was Here).

Un­able to work in the pro­fes­sion that had defi ned his place in the world for so long, the dark feel­ings be­gan to mount. “I was be­com­ing an­gry with the lack of in­ter­est from the in­dus­try,” he says.

“When I was young I used to sit in green rooms and watch older ac­tors get quite neg­a­tive and quite cyn­i­cal about the in­dus­try and I al­ways thought to my­self, ‘ But it’s your choice to do this’. “I didn’t want to turn into that per­son.” His wife sat him down and de­liv­ered a few home truths. He re­alised he was more than just an out- of- work ac­tor – he was also a hus­band, a son, a friend and an un­cle. He took a job in the build­ing in­dus­try and be­gan to ad­just.

And on his re­turn to TV, he had a whole new at­ti­tude.

“I promised my­self I would never com­plain about the early starts or the hard work – be­cause it’s not hard work, it’s a lux­ury, it’s a joy to work as an ac­tor,” he says.

APTCH be­came last year’s big­gest new drama with an aver­age au­di­ence of 1.4 mil­lion. A sort of an­tipodean Down­ton Abbey, it’s an out- and- out melo­drama with lush pro­duc­tion val­ues ( at $ 1.5 mil­lion an episode it’s one of the most ex­pen­sive lo­cal se­ries screen­ing).

“Even though the au­di­ence have em­braced it, a lot of people in the in­dus­try sim­ply don’t un­der­stand what we were try­ing to achieve,” he says.

APTCH is a mile­stone for Climo: it’s the fi rst time he’s been 100 per cent proud of a se­ries he’s in. “I’ve not ex­pe­ri­enced this feel­ing be­fore of be­ing part of some­thing so suc­cess­ful but also some­thing I’m re­ally proud of,” he says.

“It’s the first show my Dad has been able to watch be­cause nor­mally he’s a glued- on ABC, BBC, SBS viewer!” he laughs.

A PLACE TO CALL HOME Sun­day, 8.30pm, SCT

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