City Homicide: articles

Nadia Townsend

ROLE: Nadia Townsend is in City Homicide and relishes the chance to develop her role.

Simon Townsend's daughter Nadia Townsend enjoys drama

AS the daughter of Wonder World presenter Simon Townsend, Nadia Townsend grew up amid the elite of Australia's television industry.

Since 2001 she has forged a career as a stage and television actor and is about to be seen in what will be her most prominent role to date, as a regular cast member of Seven's cop drama City Homicide, which returns for season three this week.

But Townsend has a rather unusual admission, considering her background and profession - she doesn't own a TV.

"Originally it was just because I kind of couldn't afford one," the disarmingly attractive actor in her late 20s confesses about what she has done without for the past five years. "You just end up living without one.

"So now it's sort of by choice because I find it really addictive. We had televisions in every single room in our house growing up because dad was a TV producer. But if I have one in the house I just get too addicted."

She pauses and acknowledges the irony of the situation with a wry smile.

"I've missed out on so much though; so many shows that I'd then have to chase up on DVD," she says, explaining that she plays them on her computer.

"I just love series television.

"In terms of the storytelling format, for me, it's my favourite - even over feature films - because you can get so addicted to it and you get to live with these characters for quite a long time."

Working on a character in series television, therefore, is the ultimate for Townsend. She thrives on the interesting scenarios thrown up by playing someone who doesn't have an end point, someone who's "not a contained thing".

On City Homicide she is one of two new detectives to join the established cast. She plays Det. Sen-Constable Allie Kingston, who arrives in episode two, joining fellow "newbie", Brisbane-born actor John Adam, who makes his debut later in the third season.

Townsend sees Kingston as a counterpoint for many of the series' established characters.

"They have their way of working and their way of approaching a case and she always seems to come at it from a different angle.

"It gets her in as much trouble as it does put her ahead of the game. She's been chucked in there to ruffle feathers," she says.

Townsend is best known to TV audiences as Fifi in the 2004 drama series Fireflies, but has had guest roles in Sea Patrol, Headland and the recent comedy Chandon Pictures.

She spent last year at the Victorian College of The Arts gaining her post graduate degree in theatre directing.

Her interest in acting stems back to her childhood, when she was kicked out of ballet classes for talking. She enrolled instead in the Australian Theatre for Young People in Sydney and flourished. At 18 she met US theatre legend Robert Bella when he was on a visit to Australia.

"He was just the most articulate and beautiful kind of teacher and I just loved all the ideas he had about theatre," she recalls.

She was accepted into Bella's Atlantic Theatre Company in New York and studied there, honing her craft before returning to Australia and scoring a role in the 2001 TV series Head Start.

"People often ask me if he's the reason I got into acting," she says of dad Simon, who has suffered a series of strokes in recent years. "Which is such a bizarre concept because he's a journalist and presenter not an actor. But we do have a history of performers in our family line - but mainly writers. My great grandfather was the chief editor of the SMH (Sydney Morning Herald) back in the day."

Writing is not something on Townsend's radar.

"No. I haven't made a foray down that path…cy yet," she says, again flicking that smile.

But it is the next question that has her most animated.

Has her dad come in to watch her work on the set of City Homicide?

"Nah," she hisses. "I don't want him coming on to the set. I don't want anyone coming on to the set! No way!

"He would be very interested… but I'm not gonna let him."

He'll just have to watch her when it's on TV. That is, of course, if he still has one.

By Geoff Shearer
August 05, 2009
The Courier-Mail