All Saints: articles

Messing with the wrong woman

JENNI Baird puts up with a lot of abuse in her job.

Baird joined All Saints last year playing nurse and single mother Paula Morgan.

While she describes her character as a friendly "battler who's incredibly down to earth", the audience began to think poorly of Paula when she started dating ambulance officer Ben Markham (Brian Vriends), ensuring his separation from the ever-popular nurse Bron Craig (Tanner).

"The fans aren't too happy," Baird says. "I've had some interesting letters. Paula's quite a liked character usually because she's such a nice girl.

"I was a bit taken aback at first, but Ben and Bron are like an institution."

Baird says the on-screen fights between Paula and Bron are terrible but hilarious.

"It's funny, Libby hugs me all the time because it's so dreadful," Baird says.

"The director yells 'cut' and she laughs and hugs me. You're always affected by your art because it has to be real. I just have to separate Libby and Bron, otherwise I'd be in love with her real-life partner!"

Baird scored her role on All Saints soon after graduating from The Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts in 2000.

She first won a part in Metropolis, an American TV pilot, and while the series didn't eventuate it helped her land a part in the Foxtel serial drama Crash Palace. Her agent then started putting the hard word on All Saints producers.

It was a job Baird had dreamed of winning throughout her time at drama school. "I wanted to work on All Saints because it was one of the best dramas on TV and it was an hour long so it gives you some meat," she says.

All Saints' Sydney location also allowed Baird the chance to live in her hometown again and see her parents.

They now have regular Tuesday-night All Saints sessions in which her mother gives her character relationship advice and her father, a pathology specialist, critiques the show's medical side.

Baird says it will take more than a relationship drama to make her leave the show.

"Not even if they kill off my mother and my child and the father of my child will I leave!" she says.

By Jennifer Dudley
November 21, 2002
The Courier Mail