Femme fa­tale

Ni­cole da Silva turns up the heat in the sea­son fi­nale of Went­worth

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - TV Guide - - Front Page -

YOU may know Brangelina, TomKat and Hid­dleswift. But for fans of Fox­tel prison drama Went­worth, it’s all about Frid­get.

That’s the cou­ple name coined by fans for the se­cret re­la­tion­ship be­tween fiery in­mate Franky Doyle (played by Ni­cole da Silva) and prison psy­chol­o­gist Brid­get West­fall (Libby Tan­ner).

On screen, the pair met pro­fes­sion­ally then de­vel­oped a romance that fully blos­somed once Doyle was re­leased from prison in last year’s se­ries.

How­ever, this year Doyle found her­self again on the in­side and the re­la­tion­ship con­tin­ued il­lic­itly be­hind bars. As did the ra­bid sub­cul­ture of on­line Frid­get fan fic­tion, memes, ded­i­cated web­sites and re­caps.

“Our au­di­ence are truly ded­i­cated and com­pletely com­mit­ted to our show and the re­la­tion­ships in our show,” da Silva tells TV Guide. “They take it very se­ri­ously. I know there is a whole world of fan fic­tion out there for Frid­get. It’s hum­bling. But I don’t look at it, it’s a slip­pery slope once an ac­tor en­gages too much in that. The fans have their own opin­ions, I just stay out of them.”

The de­pic­tions of same-sex re­la­tion­ships on screen (of­ten quite graphic) have been hailed for be­ing raw and real and not to­ken or ex­ploita­tive.

“It’s im­por­tant for all peo­ple to be rep­re­sented in our sto­ries and on Aus­tralian TV,” she says. “I’m glad to be a part of that con­ver­sa­tion. There’s not much we shy away from.”

How­ever, da Silva ad­mits some fans take the in­ter­est in her char­ac­ter too far.

“There have been a few in­stances of peo­ple crossing the line ... it cer­tainly makes me mind­ful of where the lines are be­tween fan­tasy and re­al­ity,” she says.

“It comes through on so­cial me­dia, there’s been a few con­tacts ... let­ters and such, I try to avoid all that.”

Af­ter fea­tur­ing in fewer sto­ry­lines dur­ing her pe­riod of free­dom, fans were thrilled to see Franky Doyle back in the teal prison track­suit.

Doyle has helped plot re­venge on Joan ‘The Freak’ Fer­gu­son (Pamela Rabe), who killed Bea Smith in last year’s se­ries fi­nale.

“Pamela is a for­mi­da­ble ac­tor. If I could, I’d do all my scenes with her. She’s the con­sum­mate pro­fes­sional.”

Da Silva is in the for­tu­nate po­si­tion of play­ing key roles in two Aus­tralian dra­mas si­mul­ta­ne­ously; af­ter wrap­ping up this fifth sea­son of Went­worth in Mel­bourne, she re­lo­cated to NSW for the sec­ond se­ries of Nine’s Doc­tor Doc­tor, play­ing Char­lie.

“It’s a real gift,” da Silva says. “The thrill of it is hav­ing two shows and two roles which are so com­pletely dif­fer­ent. It re­ally is mov­ing from one ex­treme to an­other.

“Hav­ing spent five sea­sons in the world of Went­worth where ev­ery­thing is so dark and in­tense, it’s been nice try­ing my hand at com­edy and a world which is much lighter.”

The 35-year-old ac­tor is get­ting in­ter­est from Amer­ica, where Went­worth screens on Net­flix, how­ever her role in se­ries six of Went­worth (film­ing now) has yet to be con­firmed.

“In the­ory, I’d love to ex­plore the char­ac­ter of Franky as time goes on … Went­worth just goes from strength to strength.”

The pro­gram has built a rep­u­ta­tion for cliffhange­r final episodes each sea­son which be­come event TV.

“It’s a huge fi­nale,” da Silva teases. “It is ev­ery­thing you don’t ex­pect.”


On-screen cou­ple: Franky Doyle (Ni­cole da Silva) and Brid­get West­fall (Libby Tan­ner).

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