Fi­nal farewell

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - TV Guide - - FRONT PAGE -


Tues­day 8.45pm, Seven

CALL it the long­est good­bye, one that re­quired those at its cen­tre to main­tain a year-long fa­cade.

Con­fir­ma­tion, fi­nally, that Packed To The Rafters was to end with its sixth sea­son came just weeks ago, fi­nally let­ting ac­tors Rebecca Gib­ney and Erik Thom­son off the hook.

They, and the rest of Rafters’ cen­tral cast, had known since early last year that sea­son six would be the last of the show as they knew it. It made shoot­ing the fi­nal scenes, just be­fore Christ­mas 2012, es­pe­cially poignant.

As they wrapped on-set, they had to stay non­com­mit­tal pub­licly, as ru­mours flew about the show’s end. In Jan­uary, the duo care­fully chose their words as Rafters came back to screens af­ter the sum­mer non-rat­ings pe­riod.

If it was to be the end, they said, the sea­son six fi­nale was a fit­ting one.

On Tues­day night, the fam­ily drama leaves our screens with a two-hour fi­nale that fea­tures all the hu­mour and heart­break which made the heart­warm­ing show so loved.

It’s a poignant farewell, which ties up loose ends, takes a trip down mem­ory lane and of­fers prom­ise of new ad­ven­tures.

Gib­ney, who played Julie Rafter along­side Thom­son’s Dave for more than five years, says she’ll watch it and be in floods of tears all over again.

‘‘I cried film­ing it, I cried watch­ing it and I’ll cry watch­ing it again,’’ she says.

Rafters may have come to its nat­u­ral con­clu­sion, af­ter all, Gib­ney laughs, ‘‘if the kids were still in the house at 35, there’s some­thing a bit wrong’’, but the good­bye was heart-wrench­ing.

‘‘At the end when you’re hang­ing up Julie’s out­fit and say­ing good­bye to the peo­ple you love, ba­si­cally I spent the week be­fore Christ­mas in tears,’’ she says.

‘‘Es­pe­cially when I’d look at Erik, or I’d look at Michael Ca­ton. They’d just start to flow.’’

Gib­ney and Ca­tons’ heart­break­ing fi­nale per­for­mance is one of the most mem­o­rable of the

Rafters good­bye. All sea­son the pair has show­cased an emo­tional sto­ry­line as Ca­ton’s Ted slips into de­men­tia.

‘‘Michael and I have al­most a real-life fa­ther and daugh­ter re­la­tion­ship,’’ Gib­ney says.

‘‘So los­ing him in char­ac­ter and know­ing I was los­ing him off screen as well was hugely emo­tional.’’

‘‘Erik and I had such a short­hand. It made a job I loved so much more,’’ Gib­ney says.

‘‘We still catch up reg­u­larly. I’ve done a lot of drama in 30 years but never had the close­ness with the cast and crew that de­vel­oped on this show.’’ Thom­son is sim­i­larly adamant. ‘‘We’re friends for life,’’ he says. ‘‘We had a very easy rap­port. Work­ing so well with some­one, so nat­u­rally, for so long, al­lows you both com­fort and vul­ner­a­bil­ity in your work. It was a gift.

‘‘I got to play the spec­trum: the cheeky rap­port; Dave meet­ing his birth mother for the first time, the story arc which ex­plored him suf­fer­ing de­pres­sion, the gritty stuff and the real stuff.

‘‘The peak was prob­a­bly the death of Melissa (Zoe Ven­toura’s char­ac­ter, killed in a car ac­ci­dent in a closely guarded show se­cret).

‘‘To me that was when the show crossed to a new level, when Rafters came off the screen and into re­al­ity. We re­alised then the power and the trac­tion the show had and how it was get­ting into the so­cial fab­ric.’’

Thom­son and Gib­ney trea­sure the smaller scenes and mo­ments that made the Dave-Julie dy­namic so real. ‘‘It was lit­tle things, like when Dave went out and got drunk and came home, flopped on the lounge slur­ring, and they sub­ti­tled him rav­ing drunk,’’ Gib­ney laughs. ‘‘That was in­cred­i­bly funny and Erik is a very funny man.

‘‘An­other sto­ry­line I loved was when Julie was menopausal and she asked if he still thought she was beau­ti­ful. They were the very real and small mo­ments I trea­sure.’’

Thom­son jokes when they found out the show was end­ing, he wanted it to be about Julie and Dave.

‘‘Of course all the kids were back, but I kept say­ing to them, ‘you’ve all had your fan­tas­tic farewell episodes, back off’,’’ he laughs.

‘‘This one’s for us.’’

MEM­ORY LANE: Julie (Rebecca Gib­ney) and Dave (Erik Thom­son) pack up the house­hold mem­o­ries.

FAM­ILY FAREWELL: The Rafters have had a strong im­pact on Aus­tralia’s so­cial fab­ric.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.