Actress Debra Lawrance may have left Home and Away 18 years ago, but that doesn’t stop her being asked by fans about a possible return.
“There are not many days that don’t go past, if I am out and about, that people don’t say to me ‘Can you come back?’” she explained.
“But I say to them, ‘It’s a completely different show.’”
The long-running soap in which she played a foster mother to a brood of teens was now dominated by “Guns and a lot of alcohol.”
“Back when we were there Alf would have a drink Michael (husband Dennis Coard) could have a beer at a party. Pippa would have a champagne. Irene couldn’t drink because she was an alcoholic. And the 20-somethings didn’t drink,” she continued.
“I think it was a policy, in much the same way as there was no cigarette-smoking. So nearly at the ripe old age of 60, I’m now starting to sound like a ‘wowser!’”
Having performed in the Seven soap for 8 years, Lawrance is duly familiar with the trust they enjoy with devoted audiences.
“A lot of people out there in TV land who don’t have very much look to shows like Home and Away or Neighbours, or any of them, becoming their familiar (comfort food). That’s why it’s appointment television,” she insists.
“There is something the people need in their lives from that show.”
In recent years Lawrance has won praise for her portrayal of another mum, that of Josh (Josh Thomas) in ABC’s Please Like Me. This week the show was nominated as Most Outstanding Comedy in the Logie Awards, whilst Thomas is up for Best Actor after only a minimal campaign.
“It means lots of people are voting for Josh. There was only just a little thing on Twitter and the Please Like Me Facebook page, but everybody voted. I’m not entirely sure that people in Canada, Brazil and Ireland and everywhere else in the world where it’s been pirated hacked the internet!
“I guess it depends on the filters at TV Week?”
Despite soft ratings for the show in a late timeslot, ABC has kept the door open on the possibility of another season. As Lawrance explains, there is more to the success of the show than Overnight figures, with iview and overseas sales.
“I think I can say we’re waiting to hear if Please Like Me 4 is going. There are lots of fingers in the pie now,” she said.
“Don’t underestimate the international audience. There are people tweeting from all over the world, who just love it.
“Mel Gibson is an old mate of mine from drama school and I caught up with him at the AACTAs last year and he was speaking with Anthony LaPaglia. I had never met him before, but as I approached he said ‘I’ve been watching your show in LA! We love it!’
“That was because he had worked with Matt Saville, our director.”
LaPaglia isn’t the only star devotee of the show with reports Girls‘ Lena Dunham has discussed the idea of writing with Thomas.
“Wouldn’t that but utterly fabulous, given that they love each other?” she smiles.
“Let’s forget about Josh for a moment. The idea that Lena Dunham has watched my work on the screen fills me with incredible delight!”