Deb Mail­man looks for­ward to a new sea­son of hit drama Red­fern Now and looks back on a huge year

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - TV Guide - - Front Page - RED­FERN NOW THURS­DAY, 8.30PM, ABC1

THERE were few dry eyes at the 2013 Lo­gies ear­lier this year when Deb­o­rah Mail­man, poised in her mo­ment of tri­umph, promptly dis­solved into tears, typ­i­cally spread­ing the love.

Ac­cept­ing her sil­ver Lo­gie for Most Out­stand­ing Ac­tress for her por­trayal of in­dige­nous ac­tivist Bonita Mabo in the 2012 tele­movie of the same name, Mail­man stood on stage along­side the woman she had por­trayed.

“It was a gift for me to meet this woman,” a teary Mail­man said, as the crowd rose as one in a stand­ing ova­tion.

Mail­man says it’s her “best mem­ory this year”.

“It was just all per­fect, and such a relief in some re­spects,” she says.

“I al­ways get a bit anx­ious lead­ing up to those events … like, ‘Am I go­ing to be on the worst-dressed list this year?’. It ac­tu­ally didn’t en­ter my head I’d win.”

It was the cul­mi­na­tion of a solid two years work for Mail­man – which saw her Deb­o­rah Mail­man talks Lo­gies highs, red car­pet woes and Red­fern Now tri­umphs with

DEB­BIE SCHIPP film, in ad­di­tion to Mabo, Aussie big screen suc­cess story The Sap­phires, main­tain her ever-pop­u­lar role of Cherie in Off­spring and star in the first sea­son of ac­claimed drama Red­fern Now.

Meet Mail­man and you quickly re­alise that ac­co­lades don’t drive her. A pas­sion for her fam­ily and work do. She has an ir­re­press­ible spark, a mis­chievous sense of hu­mour and an in­fec­tious laugh that of­ten veers into de­light­ful cackle.

Since Lo­gies night, Mail­man has been slow­ing down to smell the roses.

“It’s been quiet and I’m lov­ing it,” Mail­man says from her home in Wol­lon­gong.

“I had a crazy cou­ple of years work-wise, and I’ve been very con­scious to not kill my­self with be­ing too busy. I’ve rein­tro­duced my­self to my hubby and kids. They know me again on first-name ba­sis, and they’re still happy to have me around.

“Right now, I’m in the place where I’m talk­ing about the work that hap­pened a lit­tle while back and I’m very proud of the work that I’ve been in­volved in. It’s not so much sit­ting back and col­lect­ing ac­co­lades, it’s more count­ing the grey hairs.”

Mail­man hasn’t been to­tally idle in the act­ing stakes.

She has found time to shoot a role in the sec­ond se­ries of Red­fern Now, which also came up trumps at the Lo­gies when it was awarded Most Out­stand­ing Drama.

The show re­turns for its sec­ond se­ries this week, with Mail­man repris­ing her role of Lor­raine in the hard-hit­ting first episode.

“We are all so glad to see it back,” Mail­man says.

“It was ob­vi­ous as soon as we got the script for the episode I’m in­volved in – Where The Heart Is – that the writ­ers, producers and di­rec­tors are con­tin­u­ing with that great ballsy and gutsy writ­ing that was there in the first sea­son. It’s that idea that the first se­ries started off with a ran­dom oc­cur­rence, so an ac­tion sets off a chain re­ac­tion of cir­cum­stance and reper­cus­sions so we be­gin with a tragic event.”

Red­fern Now launched last year as the first drama se­ries writ­ten, di­rected and pro­duced by in­dige­nous Aus­tralians. The ul­ti­mate tri­umph is that it tran­scends be­ing pi­geon-holed as “good in­dige­nous drama”.

“It’s not good in­dige­nous drama. It’s just bloody good drama,” Mail­man says.

Where The Heart Is stays true to that, with Mail­man say­ing her Lor­raine is but a sideshow to per­for­mances from leads Noni Hazel­hurst and Kirk Page.

“You see them sti­fled by grief and it’s about how they get through that and find some sense of for­give­ness and heart when they are all emo­tion­ally suf­fo­cated,” she says. “And in the mid­dle of all this is a child cus­tody bat­tle which is an ugly bat­tle of wills be­tween their char­ac­ters.

“Noni Hazel­hurst is just a ball-tearer … she just rips it through the roof in this episode,” Mail­man says. “It’s great to be on the side­lines watch­ing how she works.”

Mail­man counts her­self as lucky to be repris­ing her char­ac­ter Lor­raine “whose job here is to step in and sup­port one of her best friends – and be­cause of that she doesn’t hold back on point­ing out a few home truths”.

“She can be a force to be reck­oned with,” Mail­man con­cedes of Lor­raine’s “hon­est, no bulls**t style”.

Does she per­haps have that in com­mon with Mail­man?

The hearty chuckle hits full blast. “I don’t bulls**t,” Mail­man says. “But I can smell it a mile off.”

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