Water Rats: profiles

Peter Bensley as Jeff Hawker

Peter Bensley

As the Patrol Tactician, Jeff Hawker is Clarke Webb's right-hand person. He works hard, looks good, steers a clever course between old police culture and the new politically sensitive one, and is ruthlessly ambitious. As a tough kid from the west, he could have ended up either side of the law. As it is, he chose to educate himself at night school, do a law degree part-time, take numerous courses and apply to the Water Police where there was no corruption and, therefore, no temptation.

Jeff, 40, is a good administrator and corporate thinker, and often imagines himself in the Commissioner's chair. He's not too keen on Frank, always looking for new ways of controlling his rebellious streak, and frets that Helen might be fast-tracked past him. Outside the service, Jeff has a family and good friends, unlike many of his colleagues.

For laidback Peter Bensley the main challenge in playing Jeff Hawker lies in finding a ruthless streak to draw on. Rather less difficult will be portraying his character's determination. Peter's been sitting for long hours in front of a computer writing his first novel and has vowed to have it finished by the time filming on the first series of WATER RATS wraps up. While he's not so sure about the book, he's in no doubt the television drama will be a winner.

"WATER RATS will do extremely well," says Peter, an experienced sailor with his own yacht who has steered as far north as the Great Barrier Reef. "it is well written and has a good network behind it. The cast is very strong and the production values are high. There's also the impact of Sydney Harbour."

Peter is already one of the best known faces on Australian television. He was first seen on Grundy Television, Crawfords and ABC programs 20 years ago. He was a regular in THE YOUNG DOCTORS, PRISONER and HOME AND AWAY, with regular gigs as the heart-throb on magazine covers. In recent years he has played roles in POLICE RESCUE, THE NEW ADVENTURES OF BLACK BEAUTY, GP, MIRROR MIRROR and CORRIDORS OF POWER

He has also had a fair amount of experience behind the cameras. As well as television scriptwriting, he has worked as an assistant director on series and as a director of commercials.