She tackled medicine in All Saints, bushfires in ABC’s Fireflies, disasters in Scorched and beachside soap in both Pacific Drive and HeadLand, but Libby Tanner says she is having her most fun on Nine’s Rescue Special Ops.
“As an Australian actor you go for gold, so whatever you’re given you make the best of it. It’s just you working with a script and actors and a director. I’ve got fond memories of everything I’ve done, but I’m enjoying this one the most because the character is so different from me,” she told TV Tonight.
“It’s an interesting part to play, I’ve never played anybody with authority before. You have to discover more of a stillness to your character than being a hotheaded action person. You have to find a happy medium between communicating with the team and the premiers of the world.
“It’s interesting because she has to keep a lid on her emotions, and on her responses. Her reactions have to be very measured. The first couple of episodes I was like, ‘Oooh has anybody seen my character, I don’t really know what I’m doing here?'”
Tanner plays station manager Michelle LeTourneau, who oversees the operational team, deals with media and government and continues a relationship with Det. Ian Johnson (Tim McCunn).
“She’s got a six month baby now, so you see her juggling motherhood, being the boss of Special Operations and how that fits in with her life. She still acts as though she’s a single mum really, but the detective flits in here and there. It’s a funny relationship they’ve got because they’re still finding their past but they’ve thrown a baby into the mix as well,” says Tanner.
With Rescue now airing on a Monday night on Nine, Tanner hopes audiences will cement a following for the show across the second season. A third series rests on reactions to this year’s episodes. An optimistic Tanner admits she has been on her share of short-run dramas and hopes the Monday night timeslot doesn’t come up against other Aussie dramas, such as Seven’s upcoming City Homicide.
“I’ve been on a lot of one-season shows and it’s ‘See you later.’ But here’s hoping this one goes a little bit further than that,” she says.
“I really hope they keep the Aussie dramas apart, just for the sake of our own bloomin’ industry.
“East West 101 is my favourite Aussie drama. I love it, but they moved it around a fair bit. It’s hardly rated anything but it’s won all these awards, and for good reason, but it really needs a bit more space around it and more publicity. Give it a leg up, it’s a fantastic show.
“I shouldn’t be saying that, but it’s SBS….”
Tanner also acknowledges audience comparisons to TEN’s police drama Rush, on which she also appeared, but says there are differences.
“It’s very similar but I guess it comes down to different characters and backdrops. Sydney is just absolutely exotic to look at. Rush isn’t completely Melbourne. It looks cold, it’s the way they dress them… it could be London. Ours is much brighter because Sydney is snazzy.
“But they both deserve to be there. I shouldn’t say this, but I love Rush too!
“Southern Star are both their creators.”
Guest stars this season include Alex Dimitriadis, Simon Burke, Roxanne Wilson, Luke Pegler, Lincoln Lewis, Vanessa Gray and Salvatore Coco.
With Nine’s Underbelly, Sea Patrol, Cops LAC, Underbelly movies and Panic at Rock Island, Nine’s drama slate has never been so buoyant. The vote of confidence follows the end of the long-running McLeod’s Daughters.
“I mean who thought they’d get eight years out of a bunch of chicks on horses? Here’s hoping we go for 8 years,” says Tanner.
“If the audience sticks with us on Mondays, hopefully we’ll be fine.”
Rescue Special Ops returns at 8:30pm tonight on Nine.