TRUMPED BY MUR­PHY

The as­cen­sion of Don­ald Trump to the US pres­i­dency played a big part in the de­ci­sion to re­vive hit ’90s sit­com Mur­phy Brown, which brings back the leg­endary Candice Ber­gen in the beloved ti­tle role

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY - SEANNA CRONIN

There would have been no Mur­phy Brown re­vival without Don­ald Trump. The hit ’90s sit­com, which starred Candice Ber­gen as a clever, hot­tem­pered and much-loved TV jour­nal­ist and sin­gle mother, is back on our screens for the first time in more than two decades.

The volatile Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion and the #metoo move­ment were cru­cial to the show’s re­turn says Faith Ford, who reprises her role as life­style re­porter Corky Sher­wood.

Joe Re­gal­b­uto and Grant Shaud also reprise their roles as in­ves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ist Frank Fon­tana and pro­ducer Miles Sil­ver­berg re­spec­tively.

“(Cre­ator) Diane English emailed Joe, Grant and me – Candice al­ready knew about it – and she said ‘it looks like Warner Bros wants me to bring back Mur­phy Brown. They want me to write the pi­lot and I want to make sure you guys would all be in­ter­ested’,” Ford says.

“Diane had told us they’d talked to her about it over the years, but she never felt like there was a time, un­til now, to do it. Ba­si­cally Trump had to win for her to want to do it. If Hil­lary Clin­ton had won then it wouldn’t be the same ob­vi­ously. Mur­phy Brown is best with con­flict.”

Clin­ton makes a cameo in the first episode as a wo­man ap­ply­ing to be Mur­phy’s as­sis­tant as she comes out of re­tire­ment to host a new morn­ing news show. Bette Mi­dler, Brooke Shields and Peter Gal­lagher will also guest star in the new se­ries.

“It was very top se­cret,” Ford says of Clin­ton’s guest role. “They did a re­ally good job not let­ting it out at all. Every­body had to sign a con­fi­den­tial­ity agree­ment and they didn’t write it into the script. We didn’t know she was go­ing to be on un­til the day be­fore.

“She’s su­per cool as a hu­man be­ing, which I was very im­pressed by. Candice worked with her and said she ac­tu­ally knew Candice’s di­a­logue. She’s very smart, but also very warm. She gave me a big hug.”

This isn’t the first TV show come­back Trump’s pres­i­dency

(now the lat­ter of which is ac­knowl­edged in the first new episode when Mur­phy’s son Avery – now a jour­nal­ist in his own right – warns his mother of the per­ils of Twit­ter.

An­other episode ze­ros in on the #metoo move­ment. Af­ter a work­place sex­ual ha­rass­ment sem­i­nar brings long-buried feel­ings to the sur­face, Mur­phy con­fronts the col­lege pro­fes­sor who ha­rassed her.

“Corky’s had so many sto­ries (of ha­rass­ment) she can’t even count them. I re­alised to­wards the end of the episode that Corky has prob­a­bly had no ther­apy. Talk­ing about it is how she’s got­ten through it but Mur­phy, on the other hand, has kept it all in. This is a huge awak­en­ing for her,” Ford says.

“It is a cathar­tic episode. Mur­phy doesn’t get her way all the time, and I think that’s im­por­tant for a heroine – to lose too.

“It doesn’t get wrapped up in a pack­age with a bow on top. She’s not go­ing to get an apol­ogy from this guy and that’s OK.

“It’s not go­ing to stop her from speak­ing her truth, which is a great mes­sage for women out there.” Mur­phy Brown con­tin­ues Mon­days at 8.30pm on Ten

The cast of the Mur­phy Brown re­vival in­cludes Candice Ber­gen re­turn­ing as the ti­tle char­ac­ter and Faith Ford as Corky Sher­wood.

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