Bil­lie’s time to shine

Kat Ste­wart revels in Off­spring’s new chal­lenges

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

IT is time for Bil­lie Proud­man to step up. That is the in­struc­tion Kat Ste­wart re­ceived as she pre­pared for the fifth se­ries of Off­spring.

Last year’s shock death of Dr Pa­trick Reid (Matthew Le Nevez) threw Nina Proud­man’s (Asher Ked­die) world into chaos, but it has also had pro­found ram­i­fi­ca­tions for Nina’s elder sis­ter Bil­lie.

Bil­lie had with­drawn from the rest of the Proud­man fam­ily as she coped with her split from hus­band Mick (Ed­die Per­fect).

Pa­trick’s death and the birth of Nina’s baby Zoe, were huge wake-up calls for Bil­lie. The for­mer wild child needed to grow up and help her sis­ter through tough times.

“At the end of the last se­ries we saw Bil­lie re­ally un­ravel with her mar­riage and pulling her­self away from her fam­ily,” Ste­wart says.

“She was in such a bad place and she iso­lated her­self.

“With Pa­trick’s death, she re­alised she had to be there for Nina. She was in a funk and now she is out of that. Bil­lie has been liv­ing with Nina and they’re re­ally co-par­ent­ing Zoe. Bil­lie has al­ways wanted a baby.

“Bil­lie has found that help­ing raise this lit­tle girl is her higher pur­pose. She’s not a mother per se but she is cer­tainly a co-par­ent. That has given her a pure al­tru­is­tic pur­pose that is big­ger than her­self. She has al­ways been very self-ob­sessed. This has given her some­thing else to fo­cus on.”

Early weeks of se­ries five have seen Nina back at work as the first step to over­com­ing the grief of Pa­trick’s loss. A fort­night ago, Nina fi­nally bid Pa­trick farewell af­ter be­ing haunted by vi­sions and day­dreams of her dead part­ner.

Bil­lie has her own heart­break af­ter Mick con­fessed to her on the phone from Lon­don that he is see­ing his man­ager Mimi.

Mean­while, Nina’s for­mer coun­sel­lor Lawrence Pethridge (Ido Drent) con­fesses he has feel­ings for Bil­lie.

Bil­lie is also fo­cus­ing on her new busi­ness ven­ture with Ange (Celia Pac­quola) – styling homes for sale.

“This se­ries has given me more scope to show dif­fer­ent as­pects to Bil­lie, which I ac­tu­ally didn’t ex­pect,” Ste­wart says.

“Bil­lie can get into a funk oc­ca­sion­ally but I do love that she will rise to a chal­lenge. She has a de­vo­tion to the peo­ple she loves. She would do any­thing for her fam­ily.

“I love her pas­sion and her loy­alty and her drive.

“I also love her lack of pre­tence. She is so hon­est. In life we can some­times be a lit­tle bit too care­ful and diplo­matic. I’m guilty of that.

“Nina’s and Bil­lie’s is a com­plex re­la­tion­ship. There is this great love and sup­port be­cause they’re work­ing to­wards the same goal, but there’s also the usual an­tag­o­nism be­tween sib­lings.”

Pa­trick’s death was a change Off­spring fans didn’t see com­ing, but the show has flour­ished. Rat­ings are strong and view­ers are won­der­ing whether there will be a sixth se­ries.

“It was a bold move [to kill off Pa­trick],” Ste­wart says. “The show has de­vel­oped and the char­ac­ters have ma­tured.

“That ma­jor event has re­set ev­ery­thing. I love that the writ­ers take risks on this show.

“The great thing about this show is that it strad­dles com­edy and drama. Half the fun is get­ting a new script.

“My re­la­tion­ship with Asher has got richer and more en­joy­able. We have this [act­ing] short­hand now.

“Hope­fully there will be an­other [se­ries]. We don’t know.”



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