Despite not having much in common with his character, Rodger Corser isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty on DoctorDoctor. By AMELIA SAW
RODGER Corser has his hand in a box of blood and guts. His eyebrows furrow in concentration as he massages a dead pig’s heart.
And they say TV is glamorous.
Handling offal may seem an unpalatable task for most, but it’s all in a day’s work for Corser, who plays Dr Hugh Knight on Nine’s hit drama Doctor Doctor – and he’s happily taken it in his stride.
“It’s OK,” Corser says, when asked how his gagreflex has adapted to the gig.
“Last year, Hugh couldn’t operate (because of a hand injury). But he’s doing some operations now, so the art department and specialeffects team have upped the ante.”
Set in the fictional country town of Whyhope, the series centres around hedonist city heart surgeon Hugh, who is forced to return to his hometown after his womanising ways land him in hot water. There, he is reunited with an array of colourful country characters, including his flirtatious exgirlfriend Charlie (Nicole da Silva), who is now dating his brother Matt (Ryan Johnson), and his eccentric town-mayor mother Merill (Tina Bursill).
However, unlike his character, Corser admits he was never been much of a heartthrob.
“I had aspirations to be a lady-killer,” the actor admits, wistfully recalling his highschool years.
“But then my mates would say, ‘Look, mate, you’ve got no form, you’re hopeless’.”
Despite Corser’s self- deprecating memories, audiences were certainly taken with the new hot doctor on their screens.
Corser was nominated for the viewer-voted Gold and Silver Logies this year, while the series was up for Best Drama program.
Although Doctor Doctor finished the night without a gong, Nine was so confident in the show’s success it commissioned a second season by the time episode two had gone to air. But Corser cannot take the credit alone.
The rural medico-drama, which many have likened to long-running local favourite A Country Practice, is the creation of acclaimed actorturned-producer Claudia Karvan and esteemed lead writer Tony McNamara ( The Secret Life of Us, Love My Way and Offspring).
For Corser, who has made a long career of playing men in uniform – most commonly as policemen in Rake, Stingers and Underbelly – this is only the second time he’s donned a stethoscope and scalpel. His only other stint as a doctor was in 2006 on Home and Away, when he coincidentally played another Hugh, that time Dr Sullivan.
“It’s good to play people who are actually making a difference to people’s lives, to be able to jump in their shoes for a bit,” the 44-yearold says. “Hugh’s dry wit and laconic nature is fun to play.”
However, there’s one aspect of Hugh that Corser has no desire to share: his bachelor lifestyle.
“It’s very different to my life,” the married father-offour (and stepfather to one) says. “I don’t think I’d like to be a bachelor. I’d hate to be out there in my 40s trying to do it all. I’m not sure what people my age do, jump on a dating app or something? Oh no … I’m very happy where I am.”
Country practice: Rodger Corser stars in the rural medico-drama DoctorDoctor.