All Saints: articles


All in the family!

It's certainly a case of keeping things in the family on the set of the Seven Network's All Saints. When it came time to hire a new actor to take over the role of Professor Craig after Rod Mullinar left last year, the show's producers looked no further than handsome new ambulance recruit Conrad Coleby's real-life dad, veteran actor Robert Coleby.

"It was funny because one night some of the cast were sitting around and I said, 'I wonder who's going to play my dad because Rod's not coming back,'" says Libby Tanner, who plays Nurse Bronwyn Craig. "And Conrad said, 'Well, actually, my dad is going to do it.' I had no idea they were father and son!"

Although Conrad (who plays Scott Zinenko on the show) and Robert haven't shared any scenes together, Robert says he's relishing the chance to see his son at work.

"Conrad has always showed great aptitude for acting," Robert explains. "When he was about three years old he used to spend hours with his grandmother pretending to be a fridge. He would stand in the middle of the room, and you would have to open him up and inspect the contents. For those of us who had to be trees in drama class, Conrad was well ahead of us!

"He also used to take great delight - at about age four - in dressing up as a waiter and serving drinks to guests at dinner parties. He used to call himself James and he would never step outside his character - he'd get upset if you called him Conrad."

Regular viewers of All Saints will know that the relationship between Robert's character and his on-screen daughter Bronwyn is strained at the best of times, but both Robert and Conrad agree that, in real life, they have the perfect father-son friendship.

"We've got a really good relationship," says Conrad, who admits that his dad partly inspired him to go into acting. "I guess I was influenced early on, but it was a decision I made on my own. I made friends with someone at school who was really into drama and I started doing a few plays and enjoyed it. But I also knew about the lifestyle that Dad lived and liked the look of it."

"I don't yell and scream at Conrad the way Professor Craig does at Bron," Robert adds. "I think the problems between Bron and her father are just the result of a misunderstanding that's been going on for years. But then again, Professor Craig is quite a strange person - and he's quite conceited."

"That's why Bron hates him," Libby adds. "But viewers haven't seen his side of the problem yet. The show has started going into the sexual abuse issue with Bron [who was assaulted by a friend of her father's when she was a teenager], and there's obviously a side to Bron that her father never knew about. She thinks he knew about what happened back then but never had the guts to do anything about it."

While viewers may be angered at Professor Craig's seeming lack of compassion towards his daughter, Conrad says the confrontation scenes between his dad and Libby are often amusing to watch.

"I laugh my head off," Conrad says, "because I can see what he's doing. I've seen him perform that character when I was growing up. It's funny because I can see where it's coming from. Not that he's ever been like that seriously to me - it was all just mucking around!"

week of Sept 01, 2001
TV Week