Satisfaction: articles

Alison Whyte

Liberated... Alison Whyte.

Still sold on sexual healing

Filming the second series of the pay TV drama Satisfaction, set in the world of high-class prostitutes, was far more challenging than filming the first, says actor Alison Whyte.

"There didn't seem to be a right or wrong the first time around but this time I kept wondering if I was getting it right," she says. "The first time, you go in with an innocence but the second time round you've seen it from the outside. It took me a couple of days to get back into Lauren and to get used to wearing heels again."

In season one, Lauren became a prostitute after the collapse of her marriage. Through her new line of work she found the confidence to rebuild her life.

Whyte says that she was drawn to Lauren's unconventional journey. "I really loved the fact that she was betrayed by her lifelong partner and then she hits rock bottom and she becomes a prostitute," she says. "It's such a bizarre thing but when I read it, I totally bought it. It's completely fraught, so it's really interesting and it's not a logical journey, it's a journey of emotion."

Created by writer-producer Roger Simpson, the series walks a sometimes uneasy moral tightrope through the private lives of women - and in this series, one man - in the world's oldest profession. As an actor, Whyte says, it is not her place to judge.

"You just have to put yourself in the circumstances and go with it," she says. "I've played lots of different roles - like Abigail in The Crucible, who is responsible for murdering half the characters - and with those bad characters you can't judge them, otherwise you can't play them properly."

For Simpson, Whyte has nothing but praise - and a warning to other actors. "Don't tell him anything, because it will end up in the script," she jokes.

"He's got a great sense of fun, a great sense of humour. He doesn't judge people, he doesn't judge characters. I just love his outlook on life."

Produced by Andy Walker and Kim Vecera for the Showcase channel, Satisfaction sits inside the so-called HBO paradigm - the idea that cable channels can produce high-quality, non-commercial drama for niche audiences. Like Love My Way, Dangerous and the as-yet-unseen Tangle, such programs are not subject to the financial imperatives of a commercial network, nor the push within public broadcasters for programming with broad appeal.

"The audience sign up because they want to watch that and that's quite liberating." Whyte says. "It gives them great licence to make fabulous television."

But the real freedom, she says, is for writers and producers. "They feel a great deal of liberation and as an audience member I really enjoy the shows that are made for those channels," she says.

"As a performer, though, I have never felt restricted. I have worked for Nine, the ABC and for Seven and as an actor you just make the show."

Satisfaction returns on Showcase on Tuesday at 8.30pm.

Michael Idato
December 01, 2008
The Age