On to a win­ner


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

HER cast mates call her the ‘‘God­dess of Mis­chief’’.

The nick­name was be­stowed on ac­tor Kather­ine Hicks as her col­leagues dis­cov­ered her sense of fun dur­ing long days on set set­tling in as a full-time cast mem­ber on Seven drama Win­ners & Losers.

And on this day, hav­ing come in on a rare day off shoot­ing to grab lunch and chat, the mis­chief level is run­ning high as she cheek­ily ex­plains how you pre­pare for an on-screen snog.

‘‘You just break it down,’’ says Hicks (pic­tured), who plays the role of Sam Macken­zie – the sur­prise – and mostly un­wel­come, new ad­di­tion to the Gross fam­ily on Win­ners & Losers.

‘‘The best way is to be com­pletely open and talk about it and pick the mo­ment that needs to be punc­tu­ated so you know when it’s go­ing to hap­pen,’’ Hicks says.

‘‘That way you don’t get ner­vous and end up kind of ran­domly suck­ing face. You just make it re­ally tech­ni­cal, then it’s less weird and awkward.’’

All of which in­di­cates Hicks’s Sa­man­tha might be in for the long haul on the fam­ily drama this sea­son, de­spite this week’s episode in which it seems her days try­ing to get to know her new­found fam­ily are num­bered.

Hicks burst into the show at the end of last sea­son, turn­ing up as the ’sur­prise’ daugh­ter of Brian Gross (Fran­cis Greenslade) – the prod­uct of a one night stand when Brian and his wife Tr­ish (Denise Scott) were tem­po­rar­ily sep­a­rated.

Sam was un­wel­come then, and in last week’s sea­son opener was again pushed away, when, with an un­in­ten­tional but ap­palling lack of tim­ing, she reap­peared at the Gross fam­ily home dur­ing a wake.

This week’s episode sees Sa­man­tha, three months on, and the Gross fam­ily un­easily try­ing to move for­ward.

Cue the most awkward of fam­ily lunches as Brian tries to get to know his daugh­ter, his wife grimly pre­tends ev­ery­thing is fine, daugh­ter Jenny (Melissa Ber­g­land) fears for her place in the fam­ily, and brother Pa­trick (Jack Pear­son) makes lit­tle ef­fort to con­ceal his bit­ter­ness to­wards the new ad­di­tion.

It’s a sce­nario re­quir­ing tact, del­i­cacy, diplo­macy and a softly-softly ap­proach from straight­shoot­ing coun­try girl Sa­man­tha.

And for Hicks, it’s a far cry from her last free-to-air role as the feisty, flame-haired ac­tion woman pilot Heidi on the now-de­funct

Res­cue Spe­cial Ops.

That role earned her a nom­i­na­tion for Most Pop­u­lar Fe­male New Tal­ent at the 2010 Lo­gie Awards and an Out of the Box Ac­tor in Tele­vi­sion Award nom­i­na­tion at the 2010 IF Awards.

‘‘Heidi and Sa­man­tha were straight shoot­ers, but Sa­man­tha is still a bit of a mys­tery and she’s hav­ing to tread very care­fully,’’ Hicks says.

‘‘It’s tough times for Sam. It’s a tough en­try into their cir­cle.’’

In a way, life has im­i­tated art for Hicks – she has en­tered an es­tab­lished show as ‘‘the new girl’’, much like Sam. Hicks was raised in By­ron Bay and got se­ri­ous about act­ing when she was 16.

She ad­mits she fit bet­ter into the act­ing fold than she did at her first job in a bak­ery.

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