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