Lead roles one af­ter an­other

Porter never thought she would end up on so many tele­vi­sion shows, writes Dar­ren Cartwright

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY -

SUSIE Porter is go­ing through an act­ing time warp. This year alone Porter has lead roles in Bikie Wars:

Broth­ers In Arms, set in the ’80s, and the ’70s-based hit se­ries Pu­berty Blues.

Her lat­est show Dan­ger­ous Rem­edy trans­ports her back to the il­le­gal abor­tion era of the late ’60s.

Porter plays Peggy Berman in the ABC1 pro­duc­tion about the true heroic story of Dr Ber­tram Wainer, who brings to ac­count back­yard abor­tion­ists and cor­rupt Vic­to­rian po­lice of­fi­cers.

Wainer’s cru­sade to end crude il­le­gal ter­mi­na­tions and to change the law for women to have abor­tions was not with­out dan­ger. Sev­eral at­tempts were made on his life but his ef­forts were not in vain.

There were two in­quiries, po­lice were jailed, abor­tion was made le­gal in Vic­to­ria and in 1972 he opened a Fer­til­ity Con­trol Clinic in East Mel­bourne.

‘‘I didn’t know any of this sort of stuff hap­pened,’’ Porter says.

‘‘I’d heard about back­yard abor­tions and peo­ple go­ing away to have ba­bies on farms, but it was kind of folk­lore. It’s one of my favourite things about the job. You re­search, read the books and look at doc­u­men­taries on these sub­jects and you learn about his­tory while work­ing.’’

Dan­ger­ous Rem­edy will be the fourth ‘‘era’’ tele­vi­sion piece Porter has worked on this year. She is cur­rently shoot­ing the lat­est Un­der­belly in­stal­ment Squizzy, set in the early 1900s in Mel­bourne, which will be screened next year.

Porter has also signed on for a sec­ond se­ries of Pu­berty Blues, which Chan­nel 10 has recom­mis­sioned for more than eight episodes, when it be­gins shoot­ing in 2013.

Just to round out Porter’s to­tal rewind ex­pe­ri­ence, she ap­peared in the 1950s stage show The Sum­mer of the Sev­en­teenth

Doll in the midst of shoot­ing Bikie Wars. ‘‘I’m happy with what we achieved on

Pu­berty Blues,’’ Porter says. ‘‘A lot of the jobs I’ve been do­ing are dif­fer­ent eras and it’s good the Aussies are do­ing it. I was cov­er­ing up tat­toos on my body, which I had for Bikie Wars, while I was work­ing on stage at the same time.’’

De­spite the de­mand for her ser­vices, Porter never thought she would end up on so many tele­vi­sion shows, es­pe­cially in the one year, when she first took up act­ing.

Her im­me­di­ate goal was to fo­cus on film and the­atre, but the wheels turned over time and the op­por­tu­ni­ties in Aus­tralian TV have im­mensely in­creased, she says.

‘‘When I got into this in­dus­try if you wanted to be a se­ri­ous ac­tor you did the­atre and film, and tele­vi­sion you just didn’t do,’’ Porter says.

‘‘But it’s changed and you look at the US and the qual­ity of the shows and the ac­tors, who maybe like are movie stars, and get the roles now and do tele­vi­sion and the qual­ity of it is amaz­ing.’’

Dan­ger­ous Rem­edy: Sun­days, 8.30pm, ABC1.

Susie Porter.

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