Marshall Law: articles

William McInens

Court jester

Darren Devlyn talks with a TV joker who says critics should get a laugh

William McInnes has been described as having inexhaustible reserves of mischief.

"He's like one of those fire crackers you put on the floor at a party and everyone jumps," producer Alan hardy says of the man who plays Dylan Boyd in Marshall Law.

McInnes is a born stirrer, an actor whose love of a prank is impossible to quell. On set and off, work colleagues say, he goes to extreme lengths to remind you life shouldn't be taken too seriously.

He applies the same philosophy to his craft. While there's no denying his passion for performance, McInnes is utterly unpretentious when it comes to analysing his work.

He's aware that Marshall Law has been supported by some critics, resoundingly panned by others.

Given his abject honesty, it seems appropriate to gauge, through him, how the Marshall Law cast feels about the show.

McInnes, speaking from a beach on the New South Wales central coast, where he is holidaying with his children, has enjoyed every day on set as lawyer Dylan. And he has a simple theory on why some reviews have been malicious.

"I'm happy with it and I think it's funny… the problem is a lot of people who commentate on TV can't handle a show that doesn't take itself seriously," he says.

"To me, that lack of seriousness is what makes it refreshing."

After interrupting the conversation to caution one of his children about the surf, McInnes adds, "I think of all the new shows around, our was easy pickings for smart-alec reviewers because it's a bit different from the others.

"I like that it's not superheroes and pop guns. It's not pompous, it doesn't celebrate the profession depicted in it.

"The show is a satirical look at life and if you can't make programs that push the boundaries a bit, then the TV culture ends up poorer."

There's a theory the show's ratings have suffered because viewers don't like Ros Marshall, the character played by Lisa McCune.

McInnes denies those who loved McCune as straight-laced Maggie Doyle in Blue Heelers are finding it hard to embrace her as the sexually adventurous Ros.

McInnes feels McCune has responded admirably to barbs aimed at her performance.

"Lisa is a terrific person and incredibly generous and I love working with her.

"She is strong enough to cop any criticism on the chin. She was always going to be in the firing line because of her high profile.

"A lot of people probably think I'm a log as an actor, but that doesn't worry me. It's not like making a TV show is a cure for cancer."

In the public ear, anyway

At times William McInnes feels decidedly uncomfortable about life in the public eye.

There's nothing worse, he says, than driving along a freeway and looking up to see his face on a billboard promoting Marshall Law.

"I look like one of the Thunderbirds on the poster… the Tracy boy the rest of the family doesn't talk about!"

Is he receiving a high level of public recognition because of Marshall Law?

"It's hard to say," McInnes says.

"For instance, I took my children (Clem, 8, and Stella, 4) to the Royal Show and plenty of people were looking at me.

"Were they looking at me because they recognised me from TV or just because of the way I was yelling at my kids?"

By Darren Devlyn
October 30, 2002
Herald Sun