“It felt right to me ”

Why 800 Words brought Bri­die Carter back to TV

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - TV Guide - - FRONT PAGE - By TIFFANY DUNK

AL­MOST a decade has passed since Bri­die Carter was a reg­u­lar on our TV screens.

Since fin­ish­ing up on the in­ter­na­tion­ally adored

McLeod’s Daugh­ters in 2006, Carter has been se­lec­tive about her work. And if her sons Otis, 9, and Tobias, 4, couldn’t go with her, she wouldn’t take the job.

“I have rules about how long I can stay away. I wouldn’t stay more than five nights,” she says.

“I love my job pas­sion­ately, but my fam­ily are re­ally im­por­tant so it’s all about find­ing that bal­ance.”

So while Carter has shot sev­eral short films and had guest roles on se­ries in­clud­ing Res­cue: Spe­cial

Ops and It’s a Date in re­cent years, no long-term act­ing project has man­aged to en­tice her to sign on – at least, not un­til 800 Words and the role of news­pa­per editor Jan came along.

For Carter, the fam­ily drama – which has con­sis­tently won the rat­ings ev­ery Tues­day night since its Septem­ber de­but – ticked all the boxes.

Not only was she im­pressed with the cast, crew and scripts – “it’s lovely as an ac­tor to have words you rel­ish per­form­ing,” she says – but it was the per­fect bal­ance for her fam­ily.

The ma­jor­ity of Carter’s scenes were filmed in Syd­ney, al­low­ing her to stay close to her home base in NSW’s By­ron Bay. She’s also a reg­u­lar vis­i­tor to New Zealand, where most of the show was set and filmed.

“I’m the Aus­tralasian am­bas­sador for La-Z-Boy (re­clin­ers) and I do my shoots there,” she says.

“I have a pretty good busi­ness re­la­tion­ship with (the coun­try), plus my pro­file crosses over quite strongly be­tween Aus­tralia and New Zealand as well.”

An­nother draw­card was the chance to fi­nally work with lead­ing man Erik Thom­son, whom she had ad­mired from afar for years.

“We’d crossed paths at events but we’d never worked to­gether … and our industry in Aus­tralia is quite small,” she says.

“Step­ping on set for the first time is al­ways nervewrack­ing, but Erik’s kind­ness and gen­tle­ness was re­ally lovely. We shot a two-han­der first. It felt re­ally right to me and very nat­u­ral.”

It’s a sen­ti­ment echoed by Thom­son, also an as­so­ciate pro­ducer on the show.

“Bri­die’s char­ac­ter is in­te­gral and I al­ways wanted her to do it,” he says of her cast­ing.

“I re­ally like her as an ac­tor, she draws you in. And it’s easy work­ing with her. She came in, we sat down and shot the scene and she had every­thing down.”

With sea­son one wrap­ping up this week and a sec­ond of­fi­cially com­mis­sioned, Carter was thrilled to be a part of a show she not only en­joys, but is able to watch at home with her kids.

At home, Carter says her fam­ily watches “a lot of TV” to­gether, so she’s al­ways on a look­out for shows that cross the gen­er­a­tional di­vide, cit­ing ABC dram­edy

Doc Martin as a par­tic­u­lar favourite in their house­hold.

“It’s so nice to have a show that not only en­ter­tains the kids – and they’re there with all of the char­ac­ters – but the adults are equally sat­is­fied,” she says.

“That can be a tricky thing to do, but 800 Words does it.”

Hav­ing loved be­ing part of a se­ries from the ground up, Carter is keen to get stuck into a se­cret project she’s been work­ing on from home.

“I want to be part of that ini­tial cre­ative process, part of a project from its first blos­som­ing,” she says.

“I’ve never stopped work­ing on this one project I’m do­ing. I’ve been work­ing on it since Tobias was born and he’s four now. I’m not very good at stop­ping.”

800 WORDS

TUES­DAY, 8.40PM, SEVEN

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