All Saints: articles

Alex Davies

Alex Davies helped All Saints survive Georgie Parker's exit without missing a heartbeat

Full recovery

ALL Saints faced its biggest challenge in its seven-year history when founding cast member Georgie Parker followed Erik Thomson’s lead and quit the drama this year.

Established faces are viewer staples for weekly drama.

When they leave, other actors have to step up and win the fans’ affection.

Alex Davies has done just that in recent months and the show is enjoying its best ratings in two years, finally overcoming competitor CSI which has knocked around the home-grown series.

She’s not the sole reason—the program is more episodic based and scripts have been revved right up—but she is more than happy to be part of its success after first appearing on it years ago.

“I felt like I was doing a guestie again when I started,” recalls Davies, in reference to the fact that her first job after graduating from drama school in 1998 was actually a brief appearance on All Saints. “I was happy to be working, but it didn’t feel as exhilarating as a show that was brand new. It didn’t seem to have the same sort of energy as Young Lions (the failed Nine drama she starred in). “I was a bit like, ‘Oh, am I taking a step backwards?’. There are already established people like Georgie Parker there so you don’t want to step on anyone’s toes. You have to do your apprenticeship again.”

But Parker has gone and Davies’ character Cate is now central to storylines. Last week’s episode featured a catfight between her and Tammy MacIntosh—who plays Charlotte—over a man.

It was a dramatic change of pace for the 28-year-old, whose career had a promising start when she secured a comedic role opposite Jean Kittson in another ill-fated series, Flat Chat.

“She’s such a lovely lady so it was a real pleasure and a great experience,” Davies says. “Comedy is something that I’ve always loved, so that was really exciting.”

But it was a blow when Young Lions failed to enthral viewers.

“It was devastating. To this day I hold that as one of my favourite moments of work and something I felt really part of,” she says.

But now she is into her second year on All Saints and feels an affinity with her new stomping ground.

“After about three months I started feeling like I had a piece of ownership of the show and that I belonged,” she says.

Upon learning she had been cast as paramedic Cate McMasters, Davies spent some time with a friend who works in the field.

“I got an insight into not just what it’s like to be a paramedic but what it’s like being a female paramedic. It’s great learning about other careers—the police force and doctors and nurses.”

Her real-life counterparts also had a useful piece of advice.

“They said, ‘Don’t let them put you in the female ambo pants because they’re really high-waisted. We all wear the boys’ pants because they’re like hipsters’. So I spoke to the costume designer and told her the cool thing is to wear the boys’ pants,” she says.

Comfortably clad in her hipsters, Davies has emerged as one of the show’s most pivotal cast members, even more so since the departure of leading lady Parker in June. Perhaps marking a changing of the guard, it was around the same time that Davies’ character moved from ambulance duties into a nursing position in the emergency department. It’s a change of scenery that puts Davies in the midst of the action and allows her to duel with co-star John Howard’s cranky Frank.

“She stands up to him—I call her Crusading Cate,” Davies laughs. “I get excited when the writers delve into issues where your character can fight for something. But I miss being an ambo in that she was her own boss. Now that I’m in the ED, she’s pretty much doing what the doctors want her to do and most of the doctors on the show are blokes.”

When she’s not too busy saving lives in the line of duty, Cate has been romanced by some of the hospital’s most eligible men, with failed suitors including Conrad Coleby and Grant Bowler.

“She’s had a terrible run, this poor girl. I spoke to the writers and said I don’t want her coming across as the hospital bike,” Davies says.

Last week’s slap came about as Cate became entangled in an unexpected love triangle between herself, Vincent (Chris Gabardi) and Charlotte (MacIntosh and his character’s ex-wife). It’s a storyline that’s put Davies at the forefront of the show—and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I come from a family of high achievers and I don’t see myself being anything other than at the top of what I do,” Davies says.

“I’ve got a very good work ethic and I’d be upset if I was playing a character who was on the outskirts and my abilities and my attributes as a person weren’t acknowledged and recognised.”

By Sarah Le Marquand
September 21, 2005
The Daily Telegraph