Mcleod's Daughters: articles

Bridie Carter spills the beans on the new 2004 plot for McLeod's Daughters

In October this year we were rocked by the tragedy of Claire McLeod's death, which left her lover Alex Ryan and her sister Tess devastated, and baby Charlotte without a mother. But when McLeod's Daughters returns next year, the characters will no longer be in mourning.

"McLeod's has moved on," says Bridie Carter, who plays Tess. "I think if we were still in grief about Claire it would be too devastating. Six months has passed and there's a sense that we've all moved on a bit. And I guess that's series television as well, characters do come and go. But, you know, Claire McLeod was a wonderful character."

Six months is a long time in the life of a little baby, and audiences will see how much Charlotte has changed when the new season begins. She's actually changed quite a bit, because twins Sarah and Alisha Hart, who shared the role last season, have been replaced by triplets Kaitlyn, Brooke and Tahlia Stacey-Clark. The blonde trio were aged 18 months when these photos were taken. Like the Hart twins, the Stacey-Clark triplets were recruited through the Multiple Birth Association in South Australia by the McLeod's casting agent.

With Claire (Lisa Chappell) no longer around, the responsibility for bringing up Charlotte has fallen to Tess, with Alex (Aaron Jeffery) lending a hand. Bridie says motherhood comes naturally to Tess. "Tess is a very nurturing and a warm character anyway, so I think her maternal instinct comes to her second nature. She's always been a good friend, a good sister, an open ear – all those. She really enjoys motherhood, and she loves Charlotte to bits, so it's a very warm loving part of her life on Drovers Run."

Of course that's not Tess's only new responsibility. The one-time city girl is now in charge of Drovers Run, and she has her own way of running things. "She's a team worker," says Bridie. "But she also has to take on board the responsibility, and ultimately she calls the shots.

"I think the progression of her stepping up to that has happened in a really natural way. If it happened in series one, it would have been a whole different scenario, because she would still be a fish out of water. But she's a pretty capable farm woman by the time this happens, so she steps up in a really admirable way, and a very Tess way."

The central relationship on the show is now between Tess and her "right-hand woman", Stevie Hall. Tess and the wild Stevie (Simmone Jade Mackinnon) clashed at first, but bonded when they went on a mercy dash to save Charlotte's life. And Stevie's superb skills as a stockwoman are vital to Drovers.

"Stevie's a very different character to Claire and she's also not a blood relation, so there's a difference there," explains Bridie. "But the thing I love about Stevie and Tess is I think they're going to have a lot of fun together."

McLeod's Daughters will be returning to our screens in early 2004!

TV Week
December 16, 2003