Sam Neill plays a re­tired cop in Old School, but his char­ac­ter is only too happy to pick the brains of a re­tired crim­i­nal to make a few bucks

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY TV - DAR­REN CARTWRIGHT

These days Sam Neill finds him­self switch­ing to the TV sec­tion, ahead of fea­ture movies on long-haul flights. He says it is in­dica­tive of the qual­ity of tele­vi­sion shows be­ing pro­duced around the world and why he’s been work­ing more on small screen pro­duc­tions in re­cent years.

Neill is cur­rently in Bri­tain shoot­ing the sec­ond sea­son of epic gang­ster fam­ily saga Peaky Blin­ders, which will launch on the new Fox­tel chan­nel BBC First in Au­gust.

He has also made the crime drama Old School, with long­time friend Bryan Brown, which pre­mieres to­mor­row night on ABC1.

“There is a lot more good tele­vi­sion be­ing done now and I tend to find, when I get on a Qan­tas flight to Lon­don, I go to the TV sec­tion in­stead of the movies,” Neill says.

“There’s not a lot of movies at the cin­e­mas I want to see any­more, but there is quite a lot of tele­vi­sion I do want to watch, so the in­dus­try has turned on its head a bit.

“There is more good tele­vi­sion be­ing made than there ever was.”

In Old School, Neill plays re­tired cop Ted McCabe who teams with up with re­tired crim Len­nie Cahill, played by Brown, to solve crimes, un­ravel scams and make some much-needed cash.

He has worked with Brown on four pre­vi­ous oc­ca­sions, start­ing with The Um­brella Woman in 1987 and his most re­cent, be­fore Old School, was the com­edy/drama movie Dean Span­d­ley (2008).

The Juras­sic Park star has no­ticed a change in Brown’s be­hav­iour over the years and most of it for the bet­ter, Neill jokes.

“He’s not quite the un­re­li­able com­pany he used to be,” Neill says.

“He’s a much more ab­stemious man than he used to be in the past, which is prob­a­bly a good thing.

“He’s qui­etened down a lot from the days when you never knew what would hap­pen next.

“I’ve tol­er­ated him, but I’m a tol­er­ant man and I come from a qui­eter place.”

Old School runs for just eight episodes and if it is a suc­cess, it’s likely a sec­ond sea­son will be com­mis­sioned.

Neill is up for an­other term of Old School even if it’s just an ex­cuse to get back to his sec­ond home, Syd­ney, where he owns a cou­ple of pubs, to hang with his now more re­li­able Aussie mate. Old School screens to­mor­row night at 8.30pm on ABC1.

Bryan Brown as Len­nie Cahill and Sam Neill as Ted McCabe in the TV se­ries

Old School.

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