All in it together
They were the most celebrated stars in the hottest drama of 2015. Tiffany Dunk finds out if the faces of 800 Words are feeling season two pressure
AFTER starring in the toprating regular drama series of the year and all being nominated for Logies for your work – with two going on to win – you’d almost be forgiven if things had gone to your head.
But when TV Guide caught up with 800 Words leads Erik Thomson, Melina Vidler and Benson Jack Anthony as they reunited to film a second season of the hit show, we were happily relieved to find the cast as down to earth – and close knit – as ever.
“We were very lucky to have landed on telly at a time that was a perfect environment to kick the show off,” says a modest Thomson who, in addition to starring as widower George Turner, is also associate producer of the series.
“We formed a really good bond in series one and we kept in touch.”
Anthony, who plays Thomson’s onscreen son Arlo, adds: “The difference between first and second season, because we’ve gone through all of this together and know each other really well, is that there’s more room for comfortable silences, which is really nice.”
The easy camaraderie between the three remains. In fact, Anthony and his onscreen sibling Vidler were at Thomson’s home for dinner when Vidler learnt she’d won the Best Newcomer Logie.
Thomson was also the one to share news with his castmates that the second season’s order of episodes was expanded beyond last year’s eight.
It’s a big investment and show of faith from Seven at a time when most networks see shorter-run series as a safer bet.
But while you’d expect the cast, Thomson in particular, would feel pressure to live up to those expectations, all three say they’re more excited than nervous for the show to hit screens on Tuesday.
“The scripts have been good and the episodes we’ve shot so far have been really well received by the network – they’re pumped,” says Thomson.
So what can we expect with the Turner family return to screens?
At the end of last season they were in disarray. Dad George was making rash decisions, daughter Shay had fled to Sydney and son Arlo was trying to hold it all together.
But a divided family won’t last long, promises Vidler.
“We pick up three weeks on and Shay has been in Sydney finding her feet (but) she doesn’t want George or Arlo to know she’s struggling,” she reveals.
“Shay comes back for a few reasons but fundamentally it’s because she wants to be with her family. Plus I wanted to come back!”
We’ll also see far more of Bridie Carter’s Jan who has moved in with the Turners … and into George’s bed, much to Arlo’s dismay.
And last, but certainly not least, we’ll get to know more about the diverse personalities who inhabit Weld.
“We’ll get opportunities to know all of the characters much better,” promises Thomson of the supporting cast which includes Aussies Rick Donald and Emma Leonard and Kiwi heavyweights Michelle Langstone and Peter Elliott.
“They’re all great actors and are bringing a whole lot to the show. It’s nice to see them getting opportunity as well.”
800 WORDS TUESDAY, 8.30PM, SCT