“Thank you for seeing me and appreciating what I’m doing.”

After more than 30 years in television, Doris Younane finally has first individual acting nomination. For Comedy....

Minor spoiler:

She’s acted in some of Australia’s most favourite shows –Heartbreak High, McLeod’s Daughters, SeaChange, Water Rats, All saints, Blackjack, Rake, The Wrong Girl and Frayed– but it has taken Doris Younane over 30 years to land her first individual acting nomination for the screen.

The Five Bedrooms star is up for Best Comedy Performer -unexpectedly against the likes of Tom Gleeson and Charlie Pickering- but she credits Producer / Creators Christine Bartlett and Michael Lucas for casting her in the ensemble.

“This is the first individual nomination I’ve had. I’ve won a Green Room (stage) award and that’s great,” she tells TV Tonight.

“It’s not so much the award so much as ‘Thank you for seeing me and appreciating what I’m doing.’ Because I love it and I actually kind of think, ‘Maybe I deserve it this time?'”

Five Bedrooms, which also missed out on Logie nominations when eligibility periods were skipped during the pandemic, is also nominated as Best Comedy Programme.

“It’s kind of missed every awards nomination”

“You have to remember, this show hasn’t been seen. It’s kind of missed every awards nomination. I thought Series One was great, Series Two was great, Series Three we had the COVID stuff. Series Four is going to be fantastic.

“You cannot put a cast like this together and tick as many boxes as we have. Thank God Christine Bartlett and Michael Lucas fought for us. I know they fought for us. I’m not the girl that’s gonna get the lead role,” she insists.

“Christine said she knew I was Heather as as soon as I did the audition and Michael, I know, went into bat for me. I kind of owe it to them. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for those guys fighting as hard as they did.”

For Younane, who had to combat family expectations to pursue her chosen career, ‘Heather Doyle’ also represents a quiet victory. She spent five years caring for her mother, before finally landing a principal role in a commercial drama after years of supporting and guest roles.

“I had quite a battle getting to where I am now. My parents didn’t really understand what it was were hesitant to allow me to go into it because of what the family would think and what the relatives would say,” she recalls.

“A lot of the younger actors of Lebanese origin, will ask me how I did it, or ‘Could you talk to my parents and tell them it’s not prostitution!’

“They just wanted me to get married and have a normal job and marry a nice Lebanese boy”

“I wanted to be an athlete. I was a really fast sprinter and I was asked by the New South Wales sprinting team to join them. I really want to do it but there was no way my parents would ever let me do that. They just wanted me to get married and have a normal job and marry a nice Lebanese boy. But that was never gonna happen, I was just not that kid.

“But then it all turned around when they understood what I was doing and they were really proud. They’ve passed now which is a shame, I would have loved them to witnesse my career. Landing in Five Bedrooms has been the pinnacle really.”

The show has also resonated with viewers, with Younane frequently stopped in public and cheered for her romance with Steve Peacocke’s character, Ben.

“All they want is Ben and Heather to get back together again”

“In the middle of the street, they’ll just yell out ‘Good on ya! I’m watching Five Bedrooms. Do it for us!’ I’m thinking, ‘Do what for you? What do you want me to do?’ So she’s kind of a champion for those women and I love it,” she continues.

“All they want is Ben and Heather to get back together again. And I can tell you it blew up on Instagram. Last season when when we broke up, people were walking up to me saying, ‘He made a mistake! It happens but you’ve got to take him back!'”

When the AACTAs are staged in December, Younane will compete against Gleeson, Pickering, Wayne Blair (Aftertaste), Patrick Brammall & Harriet Dyer (both Summer Love). The category unusually combines both scripted and light entertainment works together.

“Our drama is as strong as our comedy and we should have been in that category”

It’s an odd ruling this year, and Younane admits to being a little perplexed.

“We’re a Drama / Comedy, our drama is as strong as our comedy and we should have been in that category. I don’t know why they don’t see it that way,” she explains.

“We should have got a nom regardless. But maybe they thought, ‘We won’t have a look-in elsewhere and this is the only place that’s safe to put us in, and maybe we’ll get a nomination.’

“I mean, you’ve seen the show, we’re not strictly comedy. This isn’t Fisk. We are a drama that does comedy really f***ing well. That’s what we do. Because the best comedy comes out of drama.”

Nevertheless, she remains grateful for the recognition, not just for her own performance but for the show as a whole.

“I was always in the industry but I always wanted a lead”

“I was always in the industry but I always wanted a lead. I wanted to prove that my sense of humour and my emotional capacity as an actor was pretty good. I was kind of waiting for that to happen and directors kept saying, ‘You should have got this….you should have done that,” she reflects.

“I hung in there and then Christine Bartlett and Michael Lucas saw me and said, ‘Jesus, she’s Heather!’ And I thought, ‘Thank God, thank you! It’s the greatest gift and actor can possibly get… to be seen… and trusted with a with a role like her.’

“The nominations mean a lot because we deserve it. It’s a great show. I’m glad for the writers who really trusted me, and for my cast who are just sensational.

“I feel really blessed.”

Five Bedrooms screens on Paramount+. The AACTA Awards are held December 7 and screen on 10.

3 Responses

  1. So happy for Doris – a great actress, show and character. I’ve been a fan since her brief role in Seachange in 1999 and always enjoy seeing her on screen. Just wish that casting directors would take more notice.

    1. I’ve been watching HH (was too young when it first premiered as it started during the year I was born) and was sad when Yola left.

      Well deserved nod for Doris. I think she’s great in everything she’s in.

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