“Claudia is by far the most successful producer on Australian television ever”

Producer John Edwards sings the praises of Claudia Karvan as hands-on in production with a remarkable strike rate of hits.

Producer John Edwards is a longtime collaborator with actor – producer Claudia Karvan, and ready to sing her accolades ahead of the latest season of Bump.

“In terms of success alone -not in terms of complete volume- but in terms of success, Claudia is by far the most successful producer on Australian television ever,” the veteran producer tells TV Tonight.

“Her first show was Love My Way. The only show that she’s had that didn’t succeed -and even then it was an interesting failure- was Spirited.

“Every other show that she’s been on as a producer, Bond was a hit, Doctor Doctor was a hit, Bump‘s been a hit. Nobody else has got a perfect strike rate right like that. But it’s not recognised. People tend to think just because she’s an actress, and because there are actresses who claim producer credits… but she’s in literally every story meeting.”

Karvan is co-creator of Bump with Kelsey Munro and both produce with Edwards and son Dan Edwards.

In addition to playing the role of mother, and grandmother, Angie, Karvan is indeed invested in the Writer’s Room.

“There was an occasion this week where the story room was incredibly quiet. I walked over and said, ‘What’s up, everybody is gloomy?’ Claudia had been held up and she arrived 15 minutes late. Then the whole afternoon it was raucous noise, and I realised she’s so much the linchpin. Kelsey is a quieter person but it’s a symbiotic relationship that works very well,” he explains.

“In the early seasons Jessica Tuckwell was in there as well and she was critical to it. But over the last couple, it’s just Kelsey and Claudia.

“When things are really bad she lies on the floor with her feet in the air. A bad day in the story room!

“On Love My Way she never missed a story meeting. We were cutting while she was acting and she never missed an edit. She’d finished acting during the day, did notes that night and we would often get notes at 2:30am in the morning. She has never missed an edit, she has never missed a story meeting. She is extraordinary. She’s absolutely hand-in=glove involved in every decision. And has been on all of those shows.”

It was Edwards who extended the invitation to Karvan to expand into producing when both were departing The Secret Life of Us ahead of their triumph, Love My Way.

“I took a punt because I knew how bright she was. I just said, ‘Have you got ambitions beyond this?’ And she said, ‘Oh, I hadn’t thought about it.’ Then over the weekend that she came back and said, ‘Look, I’d love to, what are we going to do?'” he recalls.

“She was heading into her 30s and there had been an article in Good Weekend called ‘Happy Divorce’. I said ‘Why don’t we make a show about a reconciled family?’ She had had a very happy, overlapping relationship with Jeremy (Sparks’) daughter as a stepchild. We then got together with Jacqueline Perske who had done a few episodes of Secret Life and we cooked that from the ground up. None of those writers on Love My Way had done more than three or four hours of scripted episodes. They were just they were all raw, but they were all really good. And it was just one of those rooms that clicked, and Claudia was the centre of it.”

In Season 4 of Bump, Oly (Nathalie Morris) and Santi (Carlos Sanson Jr) are back together, having finally stabilised their small family unit with their challenging seven-year-old Jacinda (Ava Cannon). Angie (Claudia Karvan) has moved out of the Chalmers-Davis house into a protest camp, focusing on environmental activism and the climate crisis in part as a useful distraction from her recent heartbreak.

But Edwards is also excited about new storylines for others in the ensemble.

“Basically, in season three, we caught up with, if you like the real age of the actors and the real age of the of the child. We’ve done the jump forward, and Season Four is very much a consolidation and dig in, particularly some of the other characters get a real point of view. Particularly Ioane Sa’ula (Vince) who’s one of the most exciting discoveries of the show,” he explains.

“Ioane (pictured below) had been at a school in Canberra. We don’t appreciate how often these Pasifika families put pressure on kids… he was going to be this football player but he had a terrible injury which was cripplingly depressing, apart from anything else. His football coach suggested he do something that was completely different and steered him towards Drama.

“Within a week, he formed (a bond) with Carlos as his best friend, and he was the most remarkable natural actor I think I’ve ever seen. He’s just grown as the series has gone on. He has a separate point of view in this series…

“We dig further into the maturing lives of the characters. Nat has a job as a an executive assistant to a politically ambitious mayor. That’s really funny and quite dark as we go on. Also on that staff is Dylan Alcott, who is very natural (in his first acting role).”

Now one of TV’s longest-running dramas on air, aside from serials, Season 4 also features Angus Sampson, Christian Byers and Steph Tisdell.

“It gets a whole lot of new dimensions, which we haven’t seen before, particularly because of the real strength of the two best friends. Safia Arain and Ioane Sa’ula are both really good actors and their relationship, their relationship apart and their individual lives we get a lot more out of as we go on,” he adds.

“The show really warms up and digs into the depth and humor of the other of the secondary characters as we go along and into the work lives. It really hits its straps in episode three.”

Bump premieres Tuesday December 26 on Stan.

5 Responses

  1. Speaking of Neighbours, I have seen in the credits of Paper Dolls that Eve Morey (Sonya Rebecchi) is a Dramaturg which I think is a great use of her skills!

    As for Claudia, I actually think she is a national treasure, not only has she not put a foot wrong when she has her producer hat on, but she has acted in some of our best and most iconic movies / TV series. From The Heartbreak Kid to Secret Life, Puberty Blues (Still living in hope there will be a season 3 one day!) The Time of Our Lives (Also cancelled far too early) through to now Bump.
    She is someone that when I see she is starring I will defo give it a watch.

  2. What a lovely article. I have loved everything she’s done since back to the Heartbreak Kid days. The industry is lucky to have someone of her calibre in it and I hope there are many more shows to come. For me, Bump started to go off in season 3 and I am hoping this one rebounds.

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