Craig McLachlan to return to performing as social media reacts to TV special

Seven special was emotionally-charged, and sometimes surreal, as Craig McLachlan details how his life was destroyed by allegations.

Actor Craig McLachlan is set to return to performing, more than 3 years after allegations surrounding The Rocky Horror Show in 2014 made headlines.

McLachlan will star as Hank Williams in a one man play, Nobody Lonesome For Me, to be directed by Terry Serio in Adelaide later this year.

McLachlan was cleared of seven counts of indecent assault and six counts of common law assault in December, last night speaking out to Seven’s Spotlight news special by producer Mark Llewellyn. It was the first time he has spoken at length publicly around the saga.

In the news special McLachlan blamed journalists for pursuing a #MeToo story following the Harvey Weinstein scandal in the US. Seven drew upon raw footage of 7:30 interviews (mistakenly referred to as The 7:30 Report) which showed actors detailing allegations from their time in the stage show -their faces pixellated.

The emotionally-charged and extended special heard from McLachlan and partner Vanessa Scammell as a united front, largely around how the charges have destroyed McLachlan’s life professionally, personally, mentally. He revealed he had entered a mental health facility, at one stage living in a crudely-furnished shipping container, and even attempted suicide.

Referring to “miscalculations in weight” he noted, “Thankfully as it turns out, it didn’t play out.”

Later he said, “There is still stuff to live for… mainly this one (Vanessa Scammell) and Nessie’s dad.”

McLachlan has repeatedly denied allegations levelled against him, but acknowledges backstage “shenanigans” were both communal and consensual on the Rocky Horror Show.

Not all the charges were addressed in the interview, but he maintains any stage kiss was part of the show’s direction and fleeting (this contradicts claims made by some co-performers), and the special took a surreal turn when McLachlan -assisted by Scammell- even performed the song for Seven’s cameras.

“I was charged criminally for that kiss …that I performed over 130 times prior to that night,” he insisted.

“It’s outrageous. Three years, a good life gone.”

There were also claims the saga had imploded The Doctor Blake Mysteries and thrown hundreds of people out of work (ABC had already cancelled the show, but Seven backflipped on plans to continue the series, opting for a one-off telemovie with Nadine Garner). An investigation by TV producers also cleared him of any misdemeanours in relation to the show.

On the weekend ABC and Nine published further claims, including surrounding The Doctor Blake Mysteries.

On social media last night many on Twitter slammed the special and called McLachlan out for ‘narcissistic behaviour.’ Some lashed out at Seven for broadcasting the special, while others turned anti-ABC.

But there were also supporters, notably on McLachlan’s Facebook page where he thanked loyal supporters, who number in their thousands around the world.

Despite his being cleared by the courts McLachlan and Scammell referred to “being robbed” of a victory by Magistrate Belinda Wallington’s words in her judgment.

In the interests of balance, those comments found three of the four women to be credible witnesses, while one was not as clear in her evidence and there were “issues of reliability”. She found McLachlan not to be an impressive witness and noted her findings applied to the law as it stood at the time of the supposed allegations, adding “it is possible the result may be different” under current law. He was cleared on all 13 charges.

Craig McLachlan is yet to recommence pending defamation proceedings against ABC, Fairfax (now owned by Nine) and a former co-star.

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