Water Rats: articles


All that glitters isn't Goldie!

Catherine says the appeal of her Water Rats character is she's just an ordinary woman.

Sex, lies, custody battles, courtroom dates and personal losses are lurking in the emotional roller-coaster ride awaiting Water Rats' Sen-Det. Rachel Goldstein.

And for Catherine McClements, who plays her, it's all part of life's challenges for a woman in the Nineties.

Despite Goldie being called feisty, gutsy and edgy, Catherine, 31, fervently believes she's an ordinary woman.

"The women we often see on television aren't women I know," she says. "The women I know are the character that I'm playing. Everyone thinks Goldie is an extraordinary character, but she's not.

"She's got major crises and things to deal with, and that's what fills her head. She's just got to deal with day-to-day life, and that's really hard and sort of interesting for us all to watch."

During the coming weeks, Goldie is on for a harrowing time.

A stalker bent on revenge threatens the life of her son, David, and provides her ex-husband, Jonathan (Steven Grives), with the perfect ammunition on which to base an appeal for full custody of the child.

She's just a copper living in a flat in King's Cross. He's a legal eagle with the trophy wife and the mansion, and the odds are stacked in his favour.

"She misses the hearing and her son gets taken away—really, I believe, from her own idiocy," Catherine says. "Goldie blames herself for the whole thing.

"I think she's very career driven, and probably wouldn't be a good single mum if she had David with her.

"She's not great, she's not the perfect mum. It's too hard, it's too hard to do. How could you possibly do it? No way! Ultimately I think it would be a debacle if Goldie were looking after David and everything else."

Goldie's solution is to hit the bottle in despair, and her drinking partner is dapper Det. Sen-Sgt John "Knocker" Harrison (Peter Mochrie), which starts a full-blooded affair.

"I think Goldie surprises herself," Catherine says, smiling. "It's one of those things. Goldie's depresses. She's very upset about losing David and I think she's surprised at how good he is, and it grows from there."

The pair filmed a closed-set, steamy love scene that crew members describe as "red hot".

"Scott Harper-Davies (the director) and myself had a long chat about what we would and wouldn't do, and I knew shot-by-shot what was going to happen," she says.

"Once you know the parameters you can go for it. I felt good. I felt very relaxed and calm doing it, and it was fun."

Then she impishly adds: "You find out who's a good kisser and who's not, you know."

Then there's the obvious rapport Catherine enjoys with on-screen partner Colin Friels, who plays Frank Holloway.

The two first worked together on the film Weekend with Kate, and their chemistry is one [of] the strengths of Water Rats.

The secret is that their scenes don't degenerate into games of one-upmanship.

"We weren't great friends when we did that shoot (Weekend). It was a quick four-week shoot just before Christmas and we all split," Catherine says.

"But I suppose that, because we know each other now, we have a sense of not having to talk too much about our characters or explain what we're doing.

"We can sort of feel from each other what is going to happen, and that's why it's a bit exciting to work with Colin, because he can be surprising like that too; yet you feel safe in a scene.

"He's doing great work and he's not keen on what he looks like or thinking, 'Am I good in that scene?' It's all to do with the character and, 'Is the scene itself working?'

"And it's great because it's not about vanity ultimately, it's about trying to be an actor and getting things as good as you can."

By Di Stanley
Main picture: Brett Stevens
May 11, 1996
TV Week