Blue Heelers: articles


The New Heeler in Town

Twenty-five year-old Caroline Craig, who makes her debut as Sergeant Tess Gallagher in this weeks Blue Heelers, is set to shake things up in Mt Thomas, something this girl is not afraid of doing.

Caroline was destined to have a career in the arts. As a kid she was surrounded by music. Early memories include her grandmother playing the piano while she and her two cousins — with their eight dogs as extras — draped themselves in old curtains. Her parents noticed her flair for the arts at an early age and as a ten-year-old she was enrolled at St Martin's Youth Arts Centre for kids which she absolutely loved. "My first stage role was as a mushroom with a basket on my head." Things have only improved from there.

After the completion of her VCE in 1992, Caroline had to make a decision between a practical career — law or... acting. Not surprisingly her parents encouraged her to enrol in the law degree, expressing real concerns, "You'll never make any money acting. You'll be poor and waiting on tables for the rest of your life." Which of course means nothing to any self-respecting actor.

But Caroline applied to study law in Tasmania as well as an arts degree at Melbourne Uni. It was fate that played the deciding factor. During her two day orientation for law students she overheard one of them announce that the theatre was where, "a bunch of idiots get up and crap on". Caroline thought, "I'd better get out of here... now!"

After a stint living in London Caroline returned to Australia and enrolled in that arts degree at Melbourne University. Here she got involved with the drama department and formed an all girl band called Vinyl Discharge — playing local gigs around inner city Melbourne. "People even wrote graffiti about us, that was exciting."

Inspired by her idols the talented Cate Blanchett, Jacqueline McKensie and Toni Collette, Caroline sacrificed her musical career when she was accepted into NIDA and made the move to Sydney. Where she was initially "completely blown away by the talent". Over the three years at NIDA Caroline learnt to dance and sing her heart out in musicals, as well as discovering the complexity and brilliance of Shakespeare

After graduating from NIDA in 1999, Caroline got herself an agent and shortly after an audition — for Blue Heelers.

"I thought I'd be really clever and turn up in a blue shirt like the police wear," she says. "But of course on the day there were eight other girls in blue shirts. And they were all blonder and skinnier than me." After two further auditions, Caroline flew to Perth for a holiday not knowing whether she had the role. "I had just arrived back and was at the airport when I go a message on my mobile phone from my agent, I phoned her back and she said I had the role. I just yelled and jumped up and down, right in the middle of the airport!"

You've got to love a girl with spirit…

Sergeant Tess Gallagher

Theresa (Tess) Gallagher is what's know in the force as a 'blue flamer' — someone whose career has been fast tracked. At just 28, she finds herself appointed the new Sergeant at Mt Thomas.

Tess is highly ambitious and has climbed the ladder quickly after completing a Bachelor of Business at uni then gaining an MBA. She joined the force then gained her Diploma in Police studies. She's about as qualified as anyone her age could be.

Ever practical, Tess sees the world as being divided into manageable absolutes. So she loves the black and white of police rules and regulations — with no patience for 'sentimental twaddle'.

Not surprisingly, her people skills need a bit of work. She doesn't mean to get people off side, it just tends to happen.

As Sgt. Gallagher, she has a strong sense of justice and believes in law and order. She can't resist following up a lead — even if the case isn't hers.

Seven Network Limited