All Saints: articles

Libby Tanner on the cover

Wedding from hell

Libby Tanner from Channel 7's popular series All Saints tells Allen Newton that television weddings aren't all fun.

There's nothing like a TV wedding to get the ratings going.

And, with the imminent departure of three major characters from the successful television series All Saints, a wedding is sure to be a guaranteed ratings winner over the next few weeks.

Erik Thomson (Mitch), Libby Tanner (Bron) and Brian Vriends (Ben) are all leaving—a move that is likely to provide All Saints with its biggest challenge since it was launched in February 1998.

The three have all made their final tearful farewells to their mates on Channel 7's All Saints and viewers will get to see their big farewells slightly later in the year.

But to get the show rolling the big wedding episode kicks off a new series of All Saints for the year.

While fans will enjoy the results, it wasn't all fun for the cast.

When Judith McGrath, who plays nurse Von, muttered about making the wedding episode which she said was "hard on the backside" sitting in the background for 13 hours of shooting.

Tanner says for her it was harder on the feet.

'It was a very hot day and the first day of shooting I had a very tight dress on—an Alex Perry number that was moulded to my figure," she says in those husky familiar tones.

"It needed to be stretched, basically, and it took the help of a couple of girls to get into it.

"It all looked pretty glam, but it was bloody hard work. I walked down the aisle 15 of 16 times, waiting for the lighting guys to light this side of the church and then to light that side of the church.

"All the extras were fanning their faces going 'when's lunch'.

"It is hard work doing TV weddings. They're long days. but they are good fun. They're light-hearted."

Tanner says the first episode back for the year is a classic wedding episode.

"You see all the girls doing the whole Sandra Dee stuff in the room with the champagne and the hair up in curlers in the frilly nighties, carrying on and giggling.

"The boys and hung over. They had a brawl or something and were in hospital and Mitch was having stitches in his eye.

'The girls have to go down and get them—it's just classic wedding stuff!"

While Tanner has a child with on-screen and off-screen partner Brian Vriends, they are not married—and according to Tanner never likely to be.

"We're not really the marrying type," she says.

But if she was planning a marriage, hers would never be anything like the All Saints one.

In the series it's a big church wedding—very traditional—as is the reception with all its flowers and frills.

"Although her dress is quite special—a very strong, simple, sexy dress—a mermaid kind of dress, very Bron and not too frilly," Tanner says.

"It's not Muriel, but kind of traditional classic."

While she may never want to get married, she says that if she did the whole point of it would be to have a party.

"I'd just have a party with lots of good friends and lots of good food, good alcohol and a really good band somewhere,

"But it wouldn't be in a church."

While it's a closely guarded secret about just how Tanner will leave All Saints, she feels the time is right.

"My time in All Saints has been a lot of fun," the 32-year-old says.

She wants to spend more time with her 12-moth-old daughter Edi and will look for less demanding work.

'I've been in the show for five years. I think it's time to go and find another notch for the belt," she says.

Tanner grew up in Melbourne, attending nine different schools because of her mother's interest in doing up old houses and the selling up and moving on.

As a child, she loved dancing and began classical and jazz ballet when she was seven.

She did not really think about acting until she was 16.

"I was in a combined Year 11 and 12 class and the drama teacher made me stand up to audition for the role of Eliza Dolittle,: she says.

'I was petrified, but she gave me the role and that started me thinking seriously and about acting."

Tanner then moved on to study drama at Preston College and, in 1991, enrolled in the Bachelor of Performing Arts Course at Ballarat University.

Since graduation she has worked with the Barnstormin' Theatre Company and her television credits include Neighbours, Bony, The Man From Snowy River, Frontline, Blue Heelers and Pacific Drive.

She was nominated in the Most Popular New Talent category at the 1999 Logie Awards, and Most Popular Actress at the 2000 Logie Awards.

All Saints
Seven/GWN, Tuesday. 8.30pm

By Allen Newton
The Sunday Times TV guide
February 9-15, 2003