Blue Heelers: articles

Matthew Holmes

COP that… compared with theatre, Matthew Holmes says Blue Heelers is tiring

A feel for Heelers

MATTHEW Holmes is enjoying playing Mt Thomas’s newest cop because his character is proving to be a little temperamental.

“Who wants to be the nice guy around town,” he says with a mischievous giggle.

“I’m having lots of fun playing the person who, more often than not, is the one throwing a spanner in the works.”

Holmes is talking about his troubled Blue Heelers character Constable Matt Graham who made a memorable debut on the long-running drama this week.

“I am playing a former soldier who served in East Timor but left the Army because of what he saw overseas,” the 29-year-old actor says.

“He joined Victoria Police because he liked the rigidity of the force; it reminded him of the Army, but he ends up moving from station to station because he’s abrasive and rubs people the wrong way.”

But playing a policeman wasn’t as easy as putting the uniform on and Holmes spent time with Victoria Police members to become familiar with the way they operated.

“Before I could start filming I spent a week learning how to drive a police car, carry a gun, make an arrest and put handcuffs on,” he says.

“I discovered that by learning how to do all the operational things properly it gave me a good grounding to base everything else about my character on, and when I could produce my gun the right way I found I was doing everything else correctly.”

While Holmes has thrown himself into the role—recording seven Blue Heelers episodes since starting work in July—he’s trying to remain philosophical about the show’s uncertain future.

Just prior to Holmes debut, Channel 7 was still in the process of deciding whether to continue the Victorian-based series into season 14 next year or wrap the program for good at the end of 2005. “It doesn’t serve me to believe the decision will go one way or the other and I am actually trying not to think about the future because it’s all so far beyond my control,” he says.

“Our producer said he was going to make a sign to wear around his neck when he came on to the set that said ‘I don’t know anything yet’ because that’s the first question anyone asks him.”

Holmes, who relocated from his home in Sydney for the Blue Heelers role, says he has already learnt a lot about the craft since joining a team that produced an hour of drama every week.

“Because of the show’s tight turnaround I have found that I need to get myself into the right head space to do a scene a lot quicker than if I was doing, say, theatre,” he says.

“It’s a much more tiring process than I thought it would be but the work is invigorating and it has made me appreciate the weekends more.

Blue Heelers wasn’t something I imagined myself actually doing but it’s great to play a cop, and I love wearing the slick blue uniform, so I’m making the most of it.”

By Sarah Nicholson
September 22, 2005
The Courier Mail