All Saints: articles

Hey there, Georgie Girl!

IT SEEMS the secret to winning a coveted Gold Logie is to be the nominee who wants it least. Case in point: three weeks ago. Four-times Gold Logie winner Lisa McCune was so excited about the glitzy event she vowed to name her unborn child Logie if she went into labour during the ceremony.

Sigrid Thornton was tipped so widely she could be forgiven if there was already a place on the mantelpiece for the statuette.

But it was the unassuming Georgie Parker who graced the stage with the gold in her hand, a Silver "most popular actress" Logie back at the table and another for All Saints in the bag.

Believe it or not, she says she never saw it coming.

"You don't act to win awards, well I certainly don't," the 36-year-old says. "Acting's not a competitive career option."

It is hard to imagine that Parker grew from a young Sydney girl who loved ballet to one of Australia's most popular actors without having a competitive streak in her.

But Parker is a walking contradiction at the best of times.

After asserting herself as queen of the Logies ceremony, she quietly side-stepped the after-parties and went back to her hotel room.

"I couldn't find the cast members and I always had a camera in my face and that's not my idea of a good time, so I snuck out," she says frankly.

Parker admits that, for a celebrity, she goes to great lengths to guard her personal life.

With seven-month-old Holly now a big part of her life the guard is up even higher than usual. Parker says she and her scriptwriter husband Steve Worland will "vehemently" protect their daughter from the prying public eye for a long time to come.

"Until she's old enough to make her own decisions I certainly won't be putting her in any positions where she has attention that is undesirable to her," she says.

"I think it's pretty hard being the child of someone who everybody knows. I just want her to have her own start in life, basically, and not on the coat-tails of anyone else."

But if you have to catch a ride on anyone's coat-tails, why not Parker's?

Since she appeared in A Country Practice as nurse Lucy Gardiner Aussie audiences have been smitten.

Her current role as nurse Terri Sullivan is equally as charming, if not more so.

Parker believes Sullivan's popularity stems from the fact she is one of the few genuinely nice characters left on prime time TV. She is caring, but not patronising; she is a good Catholic girl, but she makes mistakes; and she "beats herself up about it" when she does.

Without being asked, Parker jumps in: "I am nothing like Terri, nothing like her at all. She was quite a strange head space to get into for a while there because I very much say what I think and always have and it's a bit hard to shut me up sometimes."

Central to All Saints' success is the relationship between Sullivan and her former lover, Dr Mitch Stevens (Erik Thomson). However Stevens is now married and Sullivan is entering the dating game after leaving a religious order.

"It's an interesting dilemma for the writers," Parker says. "It's important that you don't take the credibility of the characters away while still maintaining their unrequited affection for each other. I think you'll just see a bit more of that but maybe with a few more twists and turns."

No doubt Parker will be experiencing the ride of her life off-screen as well.

Working a "ridiculous" 13-hour day with a new baby in the house is bound to give any mum grief. Parker is contracted to All Saints for the next 15 months and says she will re-evaluate her commitments after that.

In the meantime she has a nanny to help ease the burden and looks forward to her rare days off–but not so she can rest. She doesn't know the meaning of the word.

"I don't relax–I'm a mother!" she says. "I do the washing, I do the shopping and I do the cooking and all that kind of stuff. I catch up for all the stuff I couldn't do during the week."

With this workload it is no wonder she couldn't see the Logie win on the horizon. People seem to love you most when you don't have time to appreciate it.

All Saints, Seven, Tuesday, 8.30pm.

The rise and rise of Georgie Parker

FROM A Country Practice to All Saints , there's a lot more to Georgie Parker's career than hospitals.
- Parker is no stranger to religious orders. Her first "big break" into the acting world was playing Sister Mary Leo in the musical Nunsense in 1988.

  • Her first major television role was in the telemovie A Long Way From Home .
  • Following that appearance Parker took her first steps in a hospital, playing nurse Lucy Gardiner in A Country Practice.
  • Her performance on ACP won her the 1990 Logie Award for Most Popular New Talent.
  • In 1991, 1992 and 1992 she won the Silver Logie for Most Popular Actress, for the long-running series.
  • After ACP Parker went on to play several short lead roles in Australian productions.
  • Her first post-ACP appearance was in Fire . She filmed one season, and then left.
  • Next she signed up for the new production Over the Hill.
  • Following that Parker joined the loud-mouthed crew of Acropolis Now playing Despina Hatzipapadopoulos.
  • Following that appearance she disappeared from our television sets for a few years and pursued her theatrical interests.
  • Parker's stage credits include lead roles in the musicals How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, High Society, Threepenny Opera, All in the Timing, Wait Until Dark, Crazy For You and Hear Comes Showtime.
  • Leaving the stage, Parker returned to the same studios where ACP was filmed to lead the cast of All Saints as nurse Terri Sullivan.

May 17, 2001