Memo to casting: Looking for your next lead?

If TV is guilty of one thing it is in casting familiar faces.

Every Cloud Productions once conceded that Newton’s Law was originally conceived for Miriam Margolyes, as a gay, Jewish solicitor, but ABC wanted broad appeal and the show finished up with Claudia Karvan (no disrespect, she is top talent).

But if we are to break a few barriers then casting directors, producers and networks need to take more risks.

Some shows recently have taken some real risks with principal roles and uncovered some new faces: Sunshine, Sisters, Cleverman, 800 Words, Wanted, Friday on my Mind, Pulse.

In no particular order, here are a few other faces we’d like to see more of…

Katrina Milosevic (pictured top)
Is there nothing Wentworth‘s “Boomer” can’t handle? From comedic to dramatic scenes (sometimes at the same time) she delivers with utter conviction. Originally cast in a minor role is it any wonder producers brought her to the fore alongside marquee names? Time to break out into a star vehicle.

Xavier Samuel
Chameleon actor seen most recently in Riot and Seven Types of Ambiguity, Xavier’s talent have also been recognised in the US by The Twilight Saga. But commercial TV is yet to give him a lead.

Jenni Baird
A superb performance as villainess Regina Bligh in A Place to Call Home, proving to be the narrative backbone of an entire season. A star in waiting.

Susan Prior
If you’ve ever seen her work on Puberty Blues or Top of the Lake you will know the truth which Prior delivers. Australia needs more Prior please.

Tess Haubrich
A dynamite performance in the most recent Wolf Creek. This former Home and Away actress stepped up to the plate in an action role.

Mark Coles Smith
Soon to appear in Picnic at Hanging Rock, there is a quiet strength to this young man’s work, no doubt thanks to his roots growing up on a cattle station in Broome.

Fiona Choi
Once Family Law wraps it’s final season what next for this spirited performer? Her own comedy we hope.

Roz Hammond
You know her laugh-out-loud comedy from Mad as Hell. But who is writing a narrative comedy for her please?

….and a special mention for Chris Van Ingen, an actor living with cerebral palsy whose performance in Barracuda reminded us that authenticity brings out the best. Casting directors take note.


  1. I loved Roz’s plea on Mad As last week for people to donate to Jacqui Lambie so she can get re-elected and continue to give the show lots more Dolly Norman material.

  2. Couldn’t agree more about the brilliant Roz Hammond. In fact, Tony Martin and I did write a narrative comedy in which a major role was written for Roz. We ended up doing the show, Childproof, as a live sitcom podcast, in which Roz plays multiple roles.

  3. Thank you for including an actor with disability in this list. Given 1 in 4 Australians live with disability, and more probably know or care for someone with a disability, I find it odd that the small screen has such few characters with disability. Is there really no child with autism in Summer Bay? Or young person with cerebral palsy in Ramsey Street? I can actually understand the commercial networks dragging their feet on this but the ABC and SBS have no excuse. We are so far behind America and other countries with shows like Speechless, American Horror Story, Glee and Good Doctor all showing characters with disability can engage audiences. Time to act Australia.

  4. Great article David.
    Absolutely love Boomer and her one liners.

    And don’t get me started on Regina, nasty piece of work. Terrific acting all round.

  5. daveinprogress

    Loving your advocacy David. Especially for actors like Katrina. Not sure about Xavier Samuel. It seems he and his brother are in lots of films and TV series. Seven Types of Ambiguity gave Xavier a great platform to shine. I personally find him a bit flat in everything I’ve seen him in. Susan Prior is such a great character actor. Fascinating fact about Margolyes to Karvan! Says a lot about how the process so often goes.

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