Water Rats: articles

Rats in the ranks?

Rats in the ranks?

THE Nine Network has broken its silence over rumors surrounding its flagship drama series, Water Rats. Speaking on the eve of Catherine McClements' on-screen departure from the series, the network's head of drama and Water Rats executive producer, Kris Noble says that while the show has been dogged by persistent rumors of budget cuts and cast shakeups it was a typical backlash on a long-running series.

"This happens all the time for shows that have been around for a number of seasons," he says.

Actors Raelee Hill and Jay Laga'aia are among those tipped not to return from a production break when filming resumes for the sixth series next month.

However, Kris says the actors' contracts were still under negotiation and he was optimistic they would remain.

"At the moment we are in discussions with people who have not yet signed, and Raelee and Jay are two of them. But ultimately, in a long-running series, people are going to move on."

But actor Scott Burgess, who plays diver Dave McCall, won't be seen on screen next year. It's believed Burgess was dropped from the series when negotiations stalled between the cast and producers over contracts.

Insiders have cited the cutbacks as "appalling", saying producers have blamed a loss of overseas markets for budget restrictions with the cast.

"The show is costing Southern Star and Nine a lot of money and there comes a point where it can get uneconomical and we don't want to get to that point," Kris says.

In less than a year Water Rats has lost its two original leads, Colin Friels and Catherine McClements.

Catherine filmed her last scenes in July and her final episode screens on August 31.

How Detective Rachel Goldstein leaves has been one of the network's closely guarded secrets in an effort to boost ratings, although it's thought her departure will not be as emotional as when Detective Frank Holloway (played by Colin) simply sailed away.

It has long been suggested that Goldstein will be killed off, making way for a new female lead and a new direction for the series.

Kris Noble points out, however, that no one has yet been cast, as yet.


Farewell from…

"Catherine was an absolute powerhouse. Anyone who can work so hard and still have so much grace about her has my full respect."

"Catherine was tough enough to fight with and spunky enough to kiss. For me, it was a pleasure to work with a professional. We've all basically been together in unchartered waters since the beginning. On our final day shooting I presented her with a montage of photos that I'd taken over the years of her and the cast and crew."

"Unquestionably the hardest and most professional performer I've ever seen. I'll never forget a scene that's coming up soon where she has a go at me—she grabs my face and says I'm rude, but cute! She's tough... but always good fun."

"I was privileged to have spent time with Catherine. She was a generous actor and embodies everything that I see in a leading actress. She has a strong sense of spirit and personality."

By Marina Williams
March 14, 1999
TV Now