Billie’s time to shine
Offspring’s resident trainwreck Billie Proudman has ditched her dysfunctional side for an almost dependable demeanour, Kat Stewart tells Colin Vickery
IT is time for Billie Proudman to step up. That is the instruction Kat Stewart received as she prepared for the fi fth series of Offspring. Last year’s shock death of Dr Patrick Reid ( Matthew Le Nevez) threw Nina Proudman’s ( Asher Keddie) world into chaos, but it has also had profound ramifi cations for Nina’s elder sister Billie.
Billie had withdrawn from the rest of the Proudman family as she coped with her split from husband Mick ( Eddie Perfect).
Patrick’s death and the birth of Nina’s baby Zoe were huge wake- up calls for Billie. The former wild child needed to grow up and help her sister through tough times.
“At the end of the last series we saw Billie really unravel with her marriage and pulling herself away from her family,” Stewart says.
“She was in such a bad place and she isolated herself.
“With Patrick’s death, she realised she had to be there for Nina. She was in a funk and now she is out of that. Billie has been living with Nina and they’re really co- parenting Zoe. Billie has always wanted a baby.
“Billie has found that helping raise this little girl is her higher purpose. She’s not a mother per se but she is certainly a co- parent. That has given her a pure altruistic purpose that is bigger than herself. She has always been very self- obsessed. This has given her something else to focus on.”
Early weeks of series fi ve have seen Nina back at work as the fi rst step to overcoming the grief of Patrick’s loss. A fortnight ago, Nina fi nally bid Patrick farewell after being haunted by visions and daydreams of her dead partner.
Billie has her own heartbreak after Mick confessed to her on the phone from London that he is seeing his manager Mimi.
Meanwhile, Nina’s former counsellor Lawrence Pethridge ( Ido Drent) confesses he has feelings for Billie.
Billie is also focusing on her new business venture with Ange ( Celia Pacquola) – styling homes for sale.
“This series has given me more scope to show different aspects to Billie, which I actually didn’t expect,” Stewart says.
“Billie can get into a funk occasionally but I do love that she will rise to a challenge. She has a devotion to the people she loves. She would do anything for her family.
“I love her passion and her loyalty and her drive.
“I also love her lack of pretence. She is so honest. In life we can sometimes be a little bit too careful and diplomatic – I’m guilty of that.
“Nina’s and Billie’s is a complex relationship. There is this great love and support because they’re working towards the same goal, but there’s also the usual antagonism between siblings.”
Patrick’s death was a change Offspring fans didn’t see coming, but the show has fl ourished. Ratings are strong and viewers are wondering whether there will be a sixth series.
“It was a bold move [ to kill off Patrick],” Stewart says. “The show has developed and the characters have matured.
“That major event has reset everything. I love that the writers take risks on this show.
“The great thing about this show is that it straddles comedy and drama. Half the fun is getting a new script.
“My relationship with Asher has got richer and more enjoyable. We have this [ acting] shorthand now.
“Hopefully there will be another [ series]. We don’t know.” OFFSPRING Wednesday, 8.30pm, TDT