JUST WHAT THE DOCTOR ORDERED
FOR years, Hayley McElhinney has been watching her older sister Mandy in awe – and not just for the plaudits she’s received for her roles such as Paper Giants and Love Child. “Mandy and I were both into performance but she was doing it at university,” the younger McElhinney, who makes her major TV debut this week in new Aussie drama Doctor Doctor, says of how her passion for acting was born.
“I learnt by going and seeing [Mandy] at Curtin University, where she was doing plays as part of her theatre course.
“I sat and watched and some of those productions and performances still live with me. And it’s been like that ever since, me watching and going, ‘Oh my gosh, look at what my sister is doing now’.”
Having spent most of her career in theatre, McElhinney had been auditioning for roles on television. And she couldn’t be more thrilled with the first regular role she has landed, that of small-town hospital head doctor Penny Cartwright.
An ambitious single mother, Penny runs the hospital with an iron fist, putting her at odds with the newly arrived, disgraced doctor Hugh Knight (Rodger Corser). “It’s a great role and the writing is funny and tragic – often at the same time,” she says.