All Saints: profiles

Georgie Parker…

Georgie says everything felt right about returning to series television for the role of Terri, and she has been thrilled with the reaction to All Saints's first year on air.

"We have established a really solid viewing base," she says. "The support the show has from viewers and the acclaim from nurses has been wonderful."

She is looking forward to the character developments for Terri in 1999.

"The introduction of a man [Dr. Mitch Stevens] from her past is a great way to give viewers more of an insight into who Terri is now."

After a five-week production break over summer, Georgie is looking forward to coming back refreshed to work on these storylines.

"The rapport that has developed between the cast and crew members has been fabulous," she says. "And that is essential if you are going to enjoy working on a show for a long time."

It has been eight years since Georgie walked out of the Seven Network's Sydney Studio E after four years of playing Nurse Lucy Gardiner on A Country Practice.

She went on to play lead roles on Fire, Over the Hill and Acropolis Now but then spent three years focusing on theatrical production.

When Georgie read the script for All Saints, she thought it would be great to get the role of Terri.

"I had no concerns about playing another television nurse," she says. "After all, how many actors play policemen or lawyers three or four times in their careers."

Georgie also jokes that she was promoted, since Terri's job as Nursing Unit Manager is more senior to Lucy's position as a Registered Nurse .

"I think Terri is a really charming person, she is very considered but she is extremely loyal and trustworthy, a very dedicated person."

Georgie likes the way All Saints is portraying hospital life. "In the beginning, it may have seemed as though it was showing some of the doctors in a less favourable light than some of the nurses, but there is a definite balance that comes through — for every competent nurse there is a competent doctor."

Of course, Georgie does have experience in playing a nurse and has also heard many accounts of hospital life from her older sister, who works in a country hospital.

Georgie was born and raised in Sydney. She started ballet classes when she was about four. She had her first acting role in a school pantomime and knew she loved acting.

"I could remember all my lines in the panto, which was a major relief to my parents, because at the age of eight I was still struggling to remember my birthday," she says.

From then on Georgie concentrated on theatre and drama at school, while keeping up ballet and singing lessons.

After high school, she signed with an agent and began getting jobs. She was also putting on plays with groups of friends and studying with choreographer Ross Colman.

Her first 'big break' was playing Sister Mary Leo in the musical Nunsense in 1988.

Georgie's first major television role was in the telemovie A Long Way From Home.

Next came A Country Practice. Her performance as Lucy won her the 1990 Logie Award for Most Popular New Talent and then the Silver Logie for Most Popular Actress in 1991, 1992 and 1993.

Georgie'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.

Outside of work, Georgie enjoys keeping fit by going to the gym, running and swimming, going to the movies and theatre and catching up with friends.

…as Terri Sullivan

Terri grew up in a working-class family with an older sister and brother. Her father John is a devout Catholic and a terrible and abusive drunk. When Terri was a child he would go to the pub most nights, come home, lay into his wife and kids and then visit church on Sundays for Christ to absolve his sins. To the outside world, John was a good man: hard-working, loved his family and his church and could sing a great tune after a few beers. Very few people knew he was a bastard at home and the family kept it that way — well, it was nicer, and they had community standing. Terri's mother's self-esteem had disappeared long before Terri was born. She took on the martyr role of a good Catholic wife. Although this disheartened Terri and her siblings, Terri found strength in her mother's sacrifice and helped her any way she could. But the only positive role models in Terri's life were the order of nuns who ran her school.

Terri feared the deep emotions stirred in her during puberty. She had seen her older sister's rebellious promiscuity, which ultimately trapped her in a loveless and abusive relationship. This confusion and the daunting fear that she would end up like her mother and sister propelled Terri towards a religious order. Terri was drawn to nursing because she cared.

She trained in the hospital system, went on to do her midwifery and psychiatric nursing training and gained valuable experience in these fields. Her ability as a nurse and her good social skills had her promoted through the ranks quickly. She saw the writing on the wall as far as tertiary education was concerned and when she graduated, with a Degree in Business Management, her position as Charge Sister, later NUM, was cemented.

The hospital and, specifically, the ward are her life. She works harder and longer than anyone else and often returns in the evening, or at weekends, to see her patients. This makes her resented by some other staff members, as they think she is checking up on them. But if you work on Terri's ward you have to accept it. And she is not snooping, she is caring. She feels it is the only time she can do hands-on nursing. Terri's philosophy is that she won't ask anyone to do anything she can't do herself. She gets involved with anything to do with the hospital. Terri is mature, enigmatic and deeply compassionate. Full of soul and spirituality, dignity and distance. But everyone knows there is a heart pumping warm blood around her body.

Terri evokes strong emotions in people — she is either loved and revered or hated and resented. And, of course, there is always the conundrum — why would such a vital, vivacious woman stay in a seemingly archaic religious order? On the outside, Terri presents as a person who has life sewn up — the world according to Terri. Inside, she is just as full of doubts and fears as anyone. Her intellect and emotions are constantly at war.