Welcome back, Brooke Satchwell
Who's saying what
It's one of those "good enough" shows that I'll watch if I happen to sit down in front of it; it's capable of being quite moving, but is more generally fairly generic family dramedy. It's certainly the best of a bad bunch (and a very small bunch at that), though that's not saying a lot.
There is one way to get me to watch a TV show - any TV show - and that's by casting actors I like to watch. And in casting Cameron Daddo and, particularly, Brooke Satchwell as part of the 2012 lineup, it's very possible I may just watch me some Packed To The Rafters this year.
(On the Daddo note, I've loved him since I went to see him play Huck Finn in Big River: The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn - twice - in 1989 at Her Majesty's Theatre, and I have fond memories of the golden era of the Daddofication of Australian television, so I'm always happy to see him back on tele.)
Here's the word on Satchwell's character from Rafters HQ:
"Her character 'Frankie" was a real tomboy growing up and loved accompanying her dad on jobs. He was an electrician and she was the son he never had (sadly he died recently). Frankie can’t remember ever wanting to be anything else and it was in the small family business that she was apprenticed and where she has worked for the bulk of her sparkie career. As a woman in a predominantly male industry Frankie has had years of experience with varying degrees of sexism, and handles it all with resigned good humour. To her it’s water off a duck’s back."
It'll be interesting to see if this means Rafters is going to tackle workplace sexism head-on; my instinct is that it's more likely the "water off a duck's back" line means that Frankie will just bear the brunt of the Rafters doods' boofheadedness, but I'm willing to be proven wrong (Satchwell seems to be hinting at the potential for some harder-hitting storylines here, saying "The fact it provides a forum for things to be discussed means that it can delve into some more confronting areas").
If the showrunners do decide to take a more serious route, there's no doubt they've hired an actress who can do the subject matter justice.
I've long been a fan of Satchwell's work, ever since the 1998 season finale of Neighbours, which dealt with the aftermath of Anne's decision to finally bonk Billy (in a tent, no less) and somehow led to a flood and Joel nearly getting drowned in a river:
Since then I've been a keen follower of her work, particularly on Play School - and as a one-eyed "John and Benita-era" fan, that's no faint praise. She has an ease and a natural quality that many of her peers lack, not to mention stepping up to wear the 'best eyebrows in the game' crown since Isabel Lucas got crazy with the Tweezerman.
(I'm sure that at this point you may feel like this blog is missing something - or rather, missing a mention of someone. Well tough tits: I'm here to praise Satchwell's acting skills, not continue to cast her as the tragic victim like the majority of this country's tabloids seem so fond of doing.)
Her presence on our screens has been sorely missed, and given that her last major project, 2008's Canal Road, seemed to disappear without a trace, at least the established ratings power of Packed To The Rafters means, as long as she's not electrocuted or beheaded by a rogue piece of guttering, Frankie/Satchwell should stay on our screens for a while yet.
I feel like everything is once again right with the Australian TV universe.
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