Marshall Law: articles

Whyte, McInnes, McCune

Law unto himself

When Allen Newton visited the set of Channel 7's Marshall Law, he found himself in a room with star William McInnes taking his clothes off—and ended up part of the series.

William McInnes is having a ball playing QC Dylan Boyd in Channel 7's new series Marshall Law. You can tell by the amount of giggling at the South Melbourne studios where the drama is being made.

McInnes is looking very much the legal eagle propped against the bar on a set where much of the action in the quirky legal drama takes place.

There are about 20 crew—cameramen, sound technicians, lighting, make-up people and others—hovering around him with the hum and bluster of a swarm of bees.

"We're getting cobwebs sitting up here," yells the director.

But then it's action as McInnes saunters from the bar to a table where Lisa McCune and Alison Whyte, who play the very different sisters on Marshall Law, are sitting at a table eating a sandwich.

It's 6.30pm and the pressure is on to get the day's shooting finished.

Set hands are moving walls while McInnes sits with McCune and Whyte amid the mayhem going on around them.

McInnes is doing rude things with a fake flower to Whyte and making wisecracks to the boom operator.

The chatter is incessant.

It seems there's a gap in the background in the bar scene that needs a couple of people to fill it.

Channel 7 publicist Anne Tunnecliffe and this reporter are thrust into the gap and told to pretend to be in deep conversation (it's remarkably difficult to hold silent conversation and we resort to mouthing the words of Beatles songs at each other).

At the table next to us McCune is crooning a love song to herself as the activity from the crew reaches a crescendo.

Then a funny noise from the area where McInnes is standing sets the crew giggling.

"It wasn't me I'm just stealing the lollies," McInnes says.

In the gaps between takes water, Coca-Cola and sandwiches are wolfed down and the extras, dressed like lawyers, are perched around the set with sandwiches in hand. It seems food is as much a part of television production as cameras and microphones.

A quick dust-off from the wardrobe girls for McInnes and it's back to the action before the scene is completed at 7.40pm, bringing with it cheers and clapping from the crew.

Afterwards in McInnes's dressing room, also used by some of the boys from Blue Heelers, McInnes says he found a tape earlier in the day of an old Blue Heelers episode in which he had starred.

"It gave me quite a giggle," he says.

There's a function to go to and McInnes asks if it is all right to get changed while we talk.

He certainly still has a body that would stand exposure to the screen and one suspects in a series such as Marshall Law there is every prospect viewers will get to see McInnes without his shirt.

It seems there is still reason for McInnes not to be enjoying life.

He has gone from roles in theatre and TV, including Constable Nick Schultz in Blue Heelers for five years. Then his career went through the roof when he played the irascible heartthrob Max Connors in the ABC hit Seachange, for which he received a Silver Logie for Most Outstanding Actor in 2000 and won the hearts of Australian audiences.

McInnes earned a second Silver Logie for Most Outstanding Actor this year for his performance in the mini-series My Brother Jack.

His most recent television credits include roles in the mini-series Do or Die and in Halifax f.p.

Among McInnes's stage successes are the box-office hits Pride and Prejudice in Sydney and Melbourne in which he played Mr Darcy and the co-lead in Art in Melbourne.

Now, with the role of Dylan Boyd, the divorced husband of Verity Marshall and the best mate of her sister Ros, McInnes has found another role with the prospect of long-running work and the added advantage of going home to his wife and children every night.

"I've done really well with a wide range of roles," he says.

"Earlier in my career I didn't see much of the family so it's good to be able to go home at the end of the day rather than being on the road.

"And the role of Dylan is also fun to play."

McInnes says research for the role included lunches with a couple of QCs and a judge but the show was much more about people than the law and has been deliberately set in a city magistrates' court where the cases dealt with were not necessarily murders or huge corporate crimes.

He is also hull of praise for his co-stars McCune and Whyte.

"Lisa is a real acre, a terrific trouper. She's good as Ros and Ally is just as good," he says.

Marshall Law
Seven/GWN, Tuesday, 9.30pm.

By Allen Newton
August 18, 2002
TV Extra, The Sunday Times