Blue Heelers: articles

Family takes priority as PJ quits

LONGTIME Blue Heelers star Martin Sacks will quit the series in May.

Sacks is one of only three remaining originals, along with John Wood and Julie Nihill, in the show that made its debut on January 18, 1994.

After more than 11 years playing cop PJ Hasham, he wants to spend more time with his young family.

"My two boys (Jack, 5 and Ned, 3) are at an age when I think I should be around more," Sacks said, speaking exclusively to the Herald Sun.

"I've been very blessed. Heelers has been a gift for me, but I feel the timing is right for me to bow out and put in more time with my family."

But Sacks won't be lost to Heelers.

His character, PJ, will not be killed off, allowing him to return from time to time, just as William McInnes returns for guest roles playing Nick Schultz.

By Robert Fidgeon
March 01, 2005
The Herald Sun

Sacks and out

Martin Sacks will leave Blue Heelers in May, writes Robert Fidgeon

LONG-TIME Blue Heelers star Martin Sacks will film his final episode of the popular rural police series on May 31.

Sacks departure leaves John Wood and Julie Nihill as the only original cast members from the show’s launch on January 18, 1994.

After 11 years playing plainclothes cop P.J. Hasham, Sacks says he wants to devote more time to his young family.

“My two boys are at an age when I think I should be around more,” says the multi-silver Logie winner.

“I’ve been very blessed. Heelers has been a gift for me, but I feel the timing is right for me to bow out and put in more time with my family.”

The despite to spend more tome with wife Kate, and sons Jack, 5, and Ned. 3. has intensified over the past couple of years as Sacks wrestled with his commitment to the series and growing responsibilities as husband and father.

But he is not walking away from Blue Heelers altogether.

Unlike Lisa McCune’s departure, which saw the writers kill off her character, Maggie Doyle, P.J. is not destined to finish up in a coffin.

“He will join the Homicide Squad in Melbourne, which will allow P.J. to return to Mt Thomas and assist in occasional murder investigations, in much the same was as William McInnes’s Nick Shultz has returned to the series for recent episodes,” Sacks explains.

He will also direct further Blue Heelers episodes.

Tonight’s episode, Chasing Smoke [#461], in which Gary Sweet makes his guest-starring debut, is the second directed by Sacks.

He will direct two more—one next month while he’s still with the show, and after his departure.

“The show’s in great shape, but I think it’s time for others to speak,” Sacks says.

“My departure is less of a problem for the show now. For a long time, I was the only detective, now there’s Rachel (Gordon), who’s doing a terrific job.

“I fell confident the show’s in great hands with the youngsters.”

The break from Heelers will also give Sacks a chance to recharge his batteries.

“You get to a point when you’ve done it for long enough. There’s no point doing it over and over just to collect a pay cheque,” Sacks says.

“You think: I love this, but it’s time to step out. They say: ‘no guts, no glory’. You have to cut free of the apron strings and move on.”

Sacks doesn’t hesitate with his response when asked what he will miss most about leaving the series that has turned him into a household name in Australia.

“Acting colleagues and crew,” he says.

“The contribution the crew makes is somewhat undervalued.

“The actors get their pictures in the paper and gather the applause, but it’s the behind-the-scenes team that deserves the plaudits, and I’ll miss each and ever one of them.”

In particular Sacks will miss working with long-time friend and colleague John Wood.

“John and I have been through it all,” Sacks says. “I wouldn’t have stayed so long if he wasn’t such a great mate.”

But Sacks insists he is not about to turn his back on the industry.

‘I’m not looking to drop out and never be seen again,” he says.

“Essentially, I still have my training wheels on with directing, but I love it and would like more opportunities.

“And, like many people, I have been tinkering with a script I would like to turn into a film one day.

“But I still want to act, so if there’s a good mini-series or film out there, I’d love to do it.”

By Robert Fidgeon
March 02, 2005
The Herald Sun