Love BEHIND BARS
Wentworth‘s secret relationship plotline has sparked a fan frenzy, writes CAMERON ADAMS
YOU may know Brangelina, Tom-Kat and Hiddleswift. But for fans of Foxtel prison drama Wentworth, it’s all about Fridget.
That’s the couple name coined by fans for the secret relationship between fiery inmate Franky Doyle (played by Nicole da Silva) and prison psychologist Bridget Westfall (Libby Tanner).
On screen, the pair met professionally then developed a romance that fully blossomed once Doyle was released from prison in last year’s series.
However, this year Doyle found herself again on the inside and the relationship continued illicitly behind bars. As did the rabid subculture of online Fridget fan fiction, memes, dedicated websites and recaps.
“Our audience are truly dedicated and completely committed to our show and the relationships in our show,” da Silva says. “They take it very seriously. I know there is a whole world of fan fiction out there for Fridget. It’s humbling. But I don’t look at it, it’s a slippery slope once an actor engages too much in that. The fans have their own opinions, I just stay out of them.”
The depictions of same-sex relationships on screen (often quite graphic) have been hailed for being raw and real and not token or exploitative.
“It’s important for all people to be represented in our stories and on Australian TV,” she says. “I’m glad to be a part of that conversation. There’s not much we shy away from.”
However, da Silva admits some fans take the interest in her character too far.
“There have been a few instances of people crossing the line ... it certainly makes me mindful of where the lines are between fantasy and reality,” she says.
“It comes through on social media, there’s been a few contacts ... letters and such, I try to avoid all that.”
After featuring in fewer storylines during her period of freedom, fans were thrilled to see Franky Doyle back in the teal prison tracksuit.
Doyle has helped plot revenge on Joan ‘The Freak’ Ferguson (Pamela Rabe), who killed Bea Smith in last year’s series finale.
“Pamela is a formidable actor. If I could, I’d do all my scenes with her. She’s the consummate professional.”
Da Silva is in the fortunate position of playing key roles in two Australian dramas simultaneously; after wrapping up this fifth season of Wentworth in Melbourne, she relocated to NSW for the second series of Nine’s Doctor
Doctor, playing Charlie. “It’s a real gift,” da Silva says. “The thrill of it is having two shows and two roles which are so completely different. It really is moving from one extreme to another.
“Having spent five seasons in the world of Wentworth where everything is so dark and intense, it’s been nice trying my hand at comedy and a world which is much lighter.”
The 35-year-old actor is getting interest from America, where Wentworth screens on Netflix, however her role in series six of Wentworth (filming now) has yet to be confirmed.
“In theory, I’d love to explore the character of Franky as time goes on … Wentworth just goes from strength to strength.”
The program has built a reputation for cliffhanger final episodes each season which become event TV.
“It’s a huge finale,” da Silva teases. “It is everything you don’t expect.”
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