Pro­file Nathan Page

The for­mer top cy­clist talks about the ride that has taken him to a dream role as de­tec­tive Jack Robin­son, who slowly re­veals his lay­ers of per­son­al­ity, writes Deb­bie Schipp.

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - TV Guide - - CELEBRITY -

MISS FISHER’S MUR­DER MYSTERIES Fri­day, 8.30pm, ABC1

AS De­tec­tive In­spec­tor Jack Robin­son, he played the stitched-up straight man to the ir­re­press­ible and flirty Phryne Fisher in the first se­ries of Miss Fisher’s Mur­der Mysteries.

But Nathan Page (pic­tured), who plays the un­wa­ver­ing de­tec­tive, says this sea­son ex­pect a less up­tight Jack Robin­son. And he hints that maybe the fris­son of at­trac­tion be­tween Jack and Phryne might veer closer to fact than fic­tion.

‘‘It’s hard for them to con­sum­mate any­thing. They have ob­sta­cles put in front of them, which of­ten means they can’t move for­ward, but it also strength­ens their re­la­tion­ship,’’ says Page, 40, of the link be­tween the glamorous lady de­tec­tive played by Essie Davis and his lead­ing man. ‘‘One thing about Jack. He’s a slow-burner.’’ Sea­son one of the pop­u­lar ABC pe­riod crime drama saw Jack slowly come to terms with the fact the feisty fe­male de­tec­tive, who kept pop­ping up at his crime scenes, wasn’t go­ing away.

Her in­ves­tiga­tive meth­ods of­fended his play-it-by-the-book sen­si­bil­i­ties, but go­ing into sea­son two, he’s come to terms with hav­ing to work with her. Some­times, he al­most en­joys it.

For Page, a sec­ond sea­son in which his char­ac­ter’s moral code is chal­lenged with ev­ery in­ves­ti­ga­tion is a gift.

It’s that slow de­vel­op­ment that Page, a for­mer national level cy­clist-turned-ac­tor, with a string of Aussie dra­mas (among them Pa­per Gi­ants,

Un­der­belly, Wicked Love and Red­fern Now) to his credit, cher­ishes.

‘‘I’m not sure if in Aus­tralian tele­vi­sion we are good at keep­ing our cards close to our chest char­ac­ter-wise, but with this show we’ve been slowly able to open the char­ac­ters up in the sec­ond sea­son,’’ he says.

‘‘He un­der­stands that she’s the one who does work out­side the law, and that’s ben­e­fi­cial, as long as he turns a blind eye at times.’’

Whether Jack can re­main blind to the fact that his in­ter­est in Phryne is more than pro­fes­sional is some­thing Page re­fuses to be drawn on.

‘‘I can’t give too much away, but per­haps there are feel­ings there he wouldn’t want to ad­mit.’’

He’s far more ef­fu­sive about what hap­pens be­tween takes, when he can drop the re­serve and en­joy the fact he’s work­ing with Davis.

‘‘We had worked to­gether briefly on stage be­fore Miss Fisher, and we are good mates,’’ he says.

‘‘With her role there’s lots of pres­sure and fa­tigue – she’s in so many scenes – so you have to keep the en­ergy up and be good mates.

‘‘There’s a lot of laugh­ing be­tween takes, which gets us into a lot of trou­ble. And the later and fur­ther be­hind we get, the worse it gets.’’

When he wants to re­lease steam off set, Page re­turns to his love of cycling.

More than 13 years ago, Page turned to act­ing af­ter a ca­reer as a world-class road cy­clist and open road racer.

He shrugs that he left the sport rather than con­sider join­ing the dop­ing that was tak­ing place at the top level.

‘‘It was the (Lance) Arm­strong era,’’ says the for­mer AIS ath­lete.

‘‘You kind of knew what was go­ing on but you didn’t re­ally want to be­lieve it.

‘‘But there was a point where you ei­ther, well, you would have sub­mit­ted and joined them or you didn’t and walked away. Be­cause there re­ally wasn’t an op­por­tu­nity to con­tinue if ev­ery­one else was do­ing it.’’ He took up act­ing be­cause it scared him. ‘‘I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but I knew I didn’t want to be 50 and think, ‘I never tried any­thing else’,’’ he says.

‘‘I was acutely aware that if you don’t scare your­self when you’re young, you never will. So I thought, ‘What will scare me that I know noth­ing about?’’’

He tried a drama class, which ter­ri­fied him, and more than a decade on is in reg­u­lar act­ing work.

He still jumps aboard the bike most days to blow away the cob­webs.

‘‘I tap it out to keep my­self fit and keep my head level,’’ Page says.

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