All Saints: articles

John Waters

John Waters prefers off-beat characters

I don't want to play dad

John Waters has been in showbiz long enough to know that trying to anticipate a ratings winner is a perilous exercise.

The concept of a show can seem artistically inspiring, producers can assemble a top-notch cast, and scripts can make riveting reading.

Sometimes, Waters says, you would swear a show has "hit" stamped all over it, but it then fizzles like a wet sparkler.

Waters has enjoyed huge career success in shows such as Rush, All The Rivers Run and Nancy Wake, but on occasion has found himself trying to comprehend a ratings dud.

He remains perplexed and disappointed by the axing of the ABC series Fireflies, a drama about rural firefighters that paired him with former All Saints actress Libby Tanner.

"Fireflies had started to work when the plug was pulled on it," Waters says.

"It simply had taken a while for the show to work out what it wanted to be and I remain very upset it was pulled just as it was finding its feet. This was utterly a ratings decision. The ABC really did neglect its rural audience by making the decision to end it.

"My previous comeback to TV was on Young Lions. Again, I felt it was becoming a good cop show, but Channel 9 deliberately messed around with it, then took it off air.

"You hope every job you do will be successful and I've been wide of the mark a few times, but you never stop wanting to get involved with things and do your bit to try to make them work."

Waters is back on track with an ongoing guest role in All Saints, playing new head of surgery Mike Vlasek.

Vlasek's a man of extraordinary surgical skill, but some struggle to accept his cavalier attitude and rock-star dress code.

He is not one for pristine surgical scrubs, instead prowling the wards in jeans and cowboy boots. And when he's in theatre, he's inspired by loud music. Too many surgeons, he says, treat theatre like a library.

"It's great to be on All Saints because producers have given the show some balls and edge," Waters says. "I'm not interested in playing someone's father ... I'm happy that I'm still being offered some charismatic parts.

"I went off to Liverpool Hospital to do some research for this role.

"I stood at the shoulder of a surgeon in the trauma unit and watched him do a routine operation on a woman's intestine and treat accident victims."

Seven's head of drama John Holmes is certain he knows why All Saints has been able to prosper after the departure of such key cast members as Georgie Parker and Erik Thompson.

"All Saints can still kick arse at a time when pundits are decrying the lack of strong Aussie drama," Holmes says. "Is there a secret to the show's growth? No. It's down to good stories, great cast and a dedicated production team who, last year, took the show by the throat and gave it a big shake-up to knock out any underlying weaknesses.

"That meant freshening up the cast, with a bunch of new characters joining the emergency department and saying cheerio to some who had run their course."

By Darren Devlyn
August 03, 2006
The Daily Telegraph