John Wood recalls when TV exec let rip

Actor John Wood has recounted some priceless Blue Heelers war stories in an interview for his new memoir, including when a former Seven boss let rip.

Speaking to for his new book, How I Clawed My Way To The Middle, Wood recalls a dinner he and the cast had with the then-CEO of Seven, David Leckie.

“It was pretty horrible,” he said. “I had no opinion of him at all prior to meeting him at a dinner we had. I just found him rude and abrupt and unpleasant.”

Wood claims in the book that Caroline Craig, who played Tess Gallagher, was late to the dinner and Leckie was outraged.

According to Wood, Leckie allegedly said: “Why the f*** are we waiting for her? We’ve sacked the b**ch, haven’t we?”

Wood said: “It upset us all.

“We had no idea that she’d been sacked; we hadn’t a clue.

“It was said in such an unpleasant way. It just showed how little he cared about any of us.”

In 2006 when he won the Gold Logie, Wood’s acceptance speech noted how disappointed he was that the network had axed the show after 12 years.

But he also spotted Leckie who was sitting in the crowd.

“He looked absolutely furious,” Wood recalled. “It looked like he could have killed me if he’d been able to get off his table.”

According to Wood, the network made it clear they were less than impressed with his acceptance speech.

He also recounts other Blue Heelers stories, including thoughts on the death of Maggie Doyle (Lisa McCune).

You can read more here.


  1. Well that explains Caroline’s storyline and exit. She went and had a baby and we never knew what she had.

    I get why they killed Lisa off. I mean they just couldn’t have maggie moving somewhere else without PJ. If Martin chose to leave then I’m sure they would have sailed into the sunset.

  2. I’ve just ordered a copy of John’s book & look forward to reading it.
    I’ve been a big fan of his for many years.
    I was disappointed that they killed off Maggie too.
    I was more disappointed that Maggie’s death was almost the same as Goldie’s death in “Water Rats” (which at the time had screened sometime before. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing! The only difference was the weapon used.)
    I thought Lisa and Maggie deserved a better ending than a copy of another show.

    • Maggie and Goldie’s death being similar was always a sore point for me. However they came from two very different story producers Jo Horsburgh (Rats) and Coral Drouyn (Heelers) and Rats had just dealt with Colin leaving, so they probably felt Goldie just “leaving” didn’t work. I think they came to the same realisation for Maggie. Both shows needed something big and dramatic to keep people watching.

  3. Those were really interesting comments about how the money they paid for the rights to the footy could have kept the show in production for 75 years! Maybe the huge amounts of money paid to obtain sports rights on free-to-air contributes to our country’s shortage of scripted drama.

  4. TasTVcameraman

    Sounds like a great read. I have enjoyed John in Raffertys Rules and later on in Blue Heelers and Dr Blake mysteries. I always thought that the reason for stopping Blue Heelers was the obscene amount paid for AFL rights.

  5. That’s a great read.
    I didn’t know Caroline Craig was sacked either. I also didn’t know Jane Allsops character died (jo was it?) I stopped watching not too long after they killed off Maggie. Maggie’s death (along with Claire in Mcleods) was the most memorable and gut wrenching for me to watch as I loved her and Maggie and PJ. It was in this moment that I really realised I shouldn’t care as much as characters cos they are just going to leave eventually anyway. I am happy that Lisa didn’t want Maggie to die.
    That David L guy sounds like a real fun guy.

  6. Never realised Caroline Craig was “sacked”, always thought she just moved on after 4 years on the show. It’s ratings hit a low (excluding 2006) eventually in her seasons however, resurging in mid-2004 after Jane Allsop’s shock death and into 2005.

    One thing that was always obvious, she directly replaced the character void left by Lisa McCune in early-mid 2000 and never got to her ‘level’. I don’t think it helped they made her a superior officer (Sgt) outranking everyone except John Wood. Paul Bishop (Sr Const / Sgt) Ben Stewart, one of the longest serving, actually arrived considerably before Craig but didn’t get the Sgt’s promotion, which was also strange. He eventually got promoted to Sgt years later after Craig left in the 2004 season opener.

    • Ben actually arrived as a detective sergeant – he worked with PJ before being demoted and coming back in uniform. He was obviously passed over due to his demotion.

  7. I bet they regretted killing Maggie off a few years down the track. Her return, however brief, would have made for a great sendoff for PJ. Instead, he just got some new job….

  8. I’m currently halfway through rewatching the series on Prime so this is great timing. I can’t imagine how many untold horror stories there must be out there from decades’ worth of Aussie TV productions.

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