From this side of the TV screen it looks as if Rodger Corser (pictured, right) is either a producer’s favourite or one of TV’s hardest working actors.
Following on from recent roles in The Beautiful Lie, Glitch, Party Tricks and Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries he is now part of the ensemble in The Dr. Blake Mysteries.
According to the man himself, he’s not hogging the limelight so much as working in short contract roles.
“I’m under no illusions about how lucky I am and I do see on social media sometimes, ‘God, that bloke again?’” he tells TV Tonight.
“But it’s because they’re all short run shows. In the old days you had a 13 or 22 part series, with 1 job for the year and then some theatre. Glitch was 6 episodes and I wasn’t even in the first one so that was 5 episodes. I mean, you’ve got to support your family!
“With a longer-running series you had some security. If you had Stingers you had 8 months a year. You could plan a holiday.
“Now things are not necessarily guaranteed to come back. The Beautiful Lie was a one-off series.
“I’m just lucky enough people are giving me a gig at the moment.”
“He’s not a traditional cop with the ‘us and them’ mentality.”
Luck, and more than a little talent, now sees him playing Chief Superintendent Frank Carlyle, a widower who has moved to Ballarat in 1959 and becomes Dr. Blake’s (Craig MacLachlan) new boss. But both make forge an early bond.
“He’s come from Melbourne and he’s heard the way they operate in Ballarat is a little bit unorthodox. So to be the boss he needs to see how that plays out (in practical terms),” he explains.
“Frank’s nickname is ‘Lucky Carlyle” because he had ‘bullet repellent’ written all over him. People wanted to go wherever Lucky went, because he seemed to never get hit. So he’s been fast-tracked a bit through the ranks of the cops. He’s not a traditional cop with the ‘us and them’ mentality. He’s kind of one of the boys.
“Blake’s always been chastised for breaking protocol but when I come in there’s a speech I give where I say ‘I heard you’re a bit of a sticky beak, which is fine by me as long as you get results. But if you stuff up then we’ll have words.’
“So Carlyle is a bit more on side. They’re Starsky and Hutch,” he laughs, adding, “No, it’s definitely the Dr. Blake show but I’m happy to come along.”
“They keep writing me more and more senior!”
But while things start swimmingly between the two, Carlyle has his share of secrets.
“He’s leaving some trouble in Melbourne so the fresh start adds a little bit of distance. And it crosses over with one of the storylines where he may be ethically compromised. So he turns to Blake as a confidante, and says ‘I might be in a bit of trouble investigating this one.’”
Corser says he is enjoying exploring the “politeness” of the era, with the scripts reflecting a period when life wasn’t so fast. While he’s played his fair share of cops, including Rush, Water Rats, Stingers and Underbelly, Carlyle is the highest-ranking of them all.
“They keep writing me more and more senior!” he laughs.
“I’m getting the grey in the hair so I won’t be a young constable anymore. Superintendent –when did that happen?
“In other shows when you are playing the father of kids who are almost old enough to have kids themselves, you think ‘What happened here?’”
The Doctor Blake Mysteries airs 8:30pm Fridays on ABC.