Vet­er­ans af­fair

An­zac sto­ry­line left Ray Meagher in un­fa­mil­iar ter­ri­tory, HOLLY BYRNES re­ports

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

IT’S not of­ten Home and Away’s Ray Meagher finds him­self the youngest guy on a set which has earned a rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing Australia’s best nurs­ery for Hol­ly­wood starlets.

But with the hu­mour you’d ex­pect from the man who plays tele­vi­sion’s favourite lar­rikin Alf Ste­wart, Meagher rel­ished the chance to work op­po­site 91-year-old in­dus­try vet­eran Vin­cent Ball.

“It was won­der­ful be­ing the youngest bloke in the room for a change,” Meagher told TV Guide, “But I tell you what … Vin­cent may be 91, but he didn’t miss a beat. It was a real hon­our to be in ev­ery scene with him.”

In spe­cial episodes com­mem­o­rat­ing the An­zac cen­te­nary, Home and Away has seized the op­por­tu­nity to re­mind its younger au­di­ences of the time­less mil­i­tary maxim “lest we for­get”.

Re­vis­it­ing mem­o­ries of his own ser­vice takes Alf to a dark place, rais­ing ghosts of his past in Viet­nam and al­low­ing the show to tackle the se­ri­ous is­sue of post-trau­matic stress dis­or­der plagu­ing many ex-sol­diers.

While Meagher was on the lucky side of the na­tional ser­vice bal­lot dur­ing the Viet­nam War, the one­time Gold Lo­gie win­ner recog­nises the priv­i­lege and im­por­tance of re­mem­ber­ing those who did serve, as well as those who did not re­turn.

Ball, a familiar face of the lo­cal small screen and stage for more than 50 years, moved into act­ing af­ter play­ing his part as a pi­lot with the Royal Aus­tralian Air Force based in Eng­land.

It was there he joined the Royal Academy of Dra­matic Art, earn­ing small sup­port­ing roles be­fore re­turn­ing home to Australia in the 1970s, where he earned cred­its on TV dra­mas in­clud­ing The Sul­li­vans, Young Doc­tors, A Coun­try Prac­tice, An­zacs and All Saints.

He re­tired in 2003, but re­turns to TV as Tom Knight, a WWII vet­eran with no fam­ily, dy­ing a lonely death in hos­pi­tal. Alf, who has not missed an An­zac Day in years, ends up in a

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