Mys­tery man

Craig McLachlan tells COLIN VICK­ERY how The Doc­tor Blake Mys­ter­ies has been a game-changer for his ca­reer

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

CRAIG McLachlan is fi­nally tak­ing con­trol of his des­tiny. The Doc­tor Blake Mys­ter­ies has given the 49-year-old’s act­ing ca­reer a new lease of life and he is determined to make the most of it.

McLachlan is cred­ited as co-ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer, as well as star, for the show’s third sea­son. That pro­ducer credit is an in­di­ca­tion of McLachlan’s com­mit­ment to the ABC drama and a sign he is spread­ing his wings.

For years McLachlan was stuck play­ing ‘hunk’ roles on shows in­clud­ing Neigh­bours and Home and

Away. Even a guest stint on Packed to the Rafters, as rocker Steve Wil­son, played to stereo­type.

Doc­tor Blake was a fresh start – the chance to play Lu­cien Blake, a mid­dleaged medico with a trou­bled past in­clud­ing a dead wife and a stint in a Thai POW camp,

View­ers were hooked, and The Doc­tor Blake Mys­ter­ies quickly joined Miss Fisher’s Mur­der Mys­ter­ies to cre­ate a po­tent lo­cal crime-drama dou­ble for the ABC.

McLachlan was nom­i­nated for Out­stand­ing Ac­tor at last year’s Lo­gies.

“The Doc­tor Blake Mys­ter­ies has ab­so­lutely been a game-changer for me,” he says. “I’m not get­ting phone calls to play a 25-year-old surfer any­more.

“I came to the con­clu­sion that although I have had some good luck along the way, it was time to start think­ing about mak­ing my own luck.

“To see what is re­quired from the other side (pro­ducer as well as star) to get fi­nance to­gether, to get story ideas across the line, script­ing, cast­ing (on

Doc­tor Blake) has been a tremen­dous ed­u­ca­tion.” The third sea­son of Doc­tor Blake comes smack in the mid­dle of well-pub­li­cised ABC bud­get cuts. There are eight episodes – down from the usual 10 – but even that is a bless­ing at a time when jobs are on the line. It took more than a year for a third se­ries of Miss

Fisher’s Mur­der Mys­ter­ies to get the green light. McLachlan’s new hands-on ap­proach to his ca­reer is set to pay div­i­dends on stage as well as tele­vi­sion. He spent most of last year jug­gling Doc­tor Blake with

an­other, very dif­fer­ent role - Frank N Furter in

The Rocky Hor­ror Show.

Now he’s putting the fin­ish­ing touches on his own stage mu­si­cal, likely to pre­miere in the UK later in the year.

McLachlan is an ac­com­plished gui­tarist,

topped the charts in the late 1980s with Mona with band Check 1-2, and has been scor­ing films in his spare time in re­cent years. Now it is time to take things to the next level.

“( Rocky Hor­ror cre­ator) Richard O’Brien said to me one day, ‘You should write your own show’,” McLachlan re­calls.

“I dis­missed it at first but then I thought about it and started com­pos­ing songs. The stuff was just spew­ing out of me. I pre­sented the story and some of the songs to one of the world’s big­gest the­atri­cal pro­duc­ers and they were very en­thu­si­as­tic and we are in dis­cus­sions at the mo­ment.

“It is nice to be se­ri­ously look­ing at a show go­ing up that I have com­posed, ar­ranged, and co-writ­ten the book to.”

THE DOC­TOR BLAKE MYS­TER­IES

FRI­DAY, 8.30PM, ABC

Who’s laugh­ing now: A whole

world of op­por­tu­ni­ties has

opened up for Craig McLachlan

thanks to his work on

Doc­torBlake.

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