Australian Story profiles original Puberty Blues stars

On Monday night, Australian Story profiles the lives of Nell Schofield and Jad Capelja, who both starred in the 1981 feature film Puberty Blues.

This is introduced by Claudia Karvan who stars in TEN’s TV adaptation.

Based on the book by Kathy Lette and Gabrielle Carey, the Puberty Blues film was an instant hit and has become a cult classic in the intervening years.

Parents were horrified by the rampant underage sex, drugs and alcohol, but a generation of kids loved it.

The two teenage girls who starred in the film, Nell Schofield and Jad Capelja, looked set for big careers on screen. Thrown together as teenagers, the film turned them into instant stars and they became good friends.

But their careers and lives took very different turns.

“I have no idea why Jad didn’t get much work after Puberty Blues. And I think Nell could have had an acting career if she really wanted it, and I guess she didn’t really want it,” says Puberty Blues director Bruce Beresford.

Australian Story reveals the bittersweet journey for Nell and Jad since 1981. While Nell went on to NIDA and a career as a writer and broadcaster, acting work dried up for Jad and after marriage and a child, she felt her life was in crisis. It was the beginning of a sad decline and journey into severe mental illness.

“I said to a few friends, there’s something going wrong here. And I think people were going ‘No, not Jad,’” says Richard Mueke, Jad Capelja’s former husband.

When Nell revisited locations for the film, it was not with her co-star but with Jad’s 23 year-old son, Miles. 

8pm Monday on ABC1.

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