Blue Heelers: articles

The Golden Girl

The voting for the TV WEEK Gold Logie has commenced, and last year's winner Lisa McCune offers an insight into the thrill of winning TV's ultimate accolade.

The record books say it all. Former Blue Heelers star Lisa McCune has four TV WEEK Gold Logies to her credit—the most by any woman in the 43-year history of the event.

In the process of taking out Australian television's most prestigious honour again last year. Lisa set a few other records. She now sits alongside Bert Newton on four wins. She has equalled Ray Martin's record of four consecutive wins and trails only Ray (five) and Graham Kennedy (eight) in terms of Gold Logie wins.

"It's doubtful whether another woman could ever match her four consecutive Gold Logie wins," commented one TV critic after Lisa's landmark win in 2000.

Lisa's closest challengers are Maggie Tabberer and Denise Drysdale, who have two Gold Logies each.

"All I can say is that to be among that company is an amazing feeling," Lisa says. "I love the talent of all those people and what they have done for the Australian television industry, and for me to be included among their number is very humbling but also very thrilling.

"For me, the Gold Logie has been absolutely wonderful. It's been a really rewarding association with the TV WEEK Logies over the past four years and utterly delightful."

Lisa's fellow nominees for the Gold Logie last year made for an eclectic group of talents. All Saints star Georgie Parker and SeaChange's Sigrid Thornton proved to be popular choices, as did John Wood from Blue Heelers and evergreen Burke's Backyard host Don Burke. Just who will be the final nominees for this year's Gold Logie for the Most Popular Personality on Australian Television is anyone's guess.

"The public are the ones who have the final say," Lisa says. "I am as interested as anybody to see who are the people to have made a real impact over the past 12 months. There is such a choice to make from the people doing really, really good work."

For six years, Lisa captured the heart of the nation with her portrayal of tenacious country police officer Snr Con Maggie Doyle in the Seven Network's Blue Heelers, whose romance with fellow officer Snr Det PJ Hasham (Martin Sacks) brought Maggie as much joy as it did eventual heartbreak.

Lisa finished filming Blue Heelers in the final months of 1999, but she was seen on air until Maggie's tragic death in a hail of bullets in the early months of 2000.

By this time, however, Lisa was proving to be a hit in another role a long way from Mt Thomas. As Maria in The Sound of Music, she trod the boards and won accolades from the critics and sell-out audiences alike.

When former Gold Logie winner Rowena Wallace opened the envelope and announced that Lisa has won her fourth Gold Logie last year, Lisa accepted genuinely stunned. But as she accepted the award, she also seemed determined to farewell Maggie Doyle once and for all.

"I never, ever expected this," she said at the time. "I really didn't think it was my year. I'm so touched by this as I feel I might have done something right in playing Maggie Doyle. And what better way could I say farewell to her?"

Lisa continued with The Sound of Music and also won strong notices for the Seven Network miniseries The Potato Factory. In the midst of a busy year, she married long-time boyfriend Tim Disney and, upon returning home from a European honeymoon, the couple discovered they were expecting a child.

Plans are already under way to tempt Lisa back to TV, with the Seven Network developing a new legal drama series titled Leather and Silk. Lisa is rumoured to be attached to the project as its star, and a pilot episode is expected to be made later this year.

As for this year's Logies, Lisa believes the television industry is enjoying some exciting times, and the names of this year's Logie winners will reflect that.

"There are so many new players and new shows, so there's a changing of the times—and that's exciting for everyone," she says. "But most of all, just like everyone else, I can't wait to find out who the new Gold Logie winner will be!"

By John Burfitt
TV Week
January 20, 2000