Marshall Law: articles

Sisters in Law… mothers at heart

McCune, Whyte

The single and city-wise siblings of Marshall Law turn into home-loving young mums in real life

They are the gorgeous stars of TV's sexiest new show. But when the cameras stop rolling on Marshall Law, Lisa McCune and Alison Whyte can't wait to get back to what they regard as their most important role yet—motherhood.

Despite the fact they play the single, city-savy Marshall sisters in the legal drama—which premieres on Tuesday (August 13)—the duo could not be more committed to their real-life families.

Lisa, a four-time Gold Logie winner who became Australia's golden girl of television during her long-running stint as Maggie Doyle in Blue Heelers, lives in a Melbourne bayside suburb with her husband Tim Disney and their 14-month-old son Archer.

Meanwhile, Alison, who made a name for herself in Frontline and Good Guys, Bad Guys, gets away from the showbiz scene at her home in rural Victoria with her husband, actor Fred Whitlock, and their daughter Rose, who is almost one.

It's a world that could not be further removed from that of their small-screen incarnations, Ros and Verity Marshall.

"I'm a married woman and I like watching videos on the couch on a Saturday night," says Lisa, who plays Ros and is one of the most down-to-earth people in showbusiness.

"Now that I've had my baby, I really enjoy reading the paper in bed on the weekend and seeing my mothers' group. I just love watching Archer play—I get such enjoyment out of him now."

It's a sharp contrast to her role as Ros, the younger of two sisters and a junior prosecutor with an undisputed reputation as a party girl.

She is also a character who relishes her escapades with the opposite sex and seems to enjoy nothing more than bringing home a different, hunky male companion every night.

This is markedly different from her conservative, divorced sister Verity—but, as Ros tells Verity in the show's debut episode, "It is my right to have sex whenever and with whomever I choose."

"It's a right, not an obligation!" says her horrified sister.

Lisa and Alison chat to TV WEEK while they enjoy a lunch of sushi and other Japanese delicacies in the dressing-room they share at the inner Melbourne studios of the Seven Network.

They formed an instant bond upon meeting last September for the filming of the Marshall Law pilot.

"It was really nice and supportive having that connection. This job is a very baby-friendly environment. I've been bowled over by how fabulous and how considerate everyone is."

"We swap stories," Alison says. "We go, 'How much sleep did you get?' or 'Did Archer go through a clingy stage?'"

Juggling motherhood with a filming schedule that regularly sees Lisa and Alison work 12-hour days, five days a week can't be easy. They could not manage without the support of their husbands, who have taken time out from their own careers for the duration of production on Marshall Law.

"We've both got incredible men—guys who are at home looking after our babies," Lisa smiles, "It's brilliant."

"It means we don't have to do the whole childcare thing and worry about that," Alison adds. "We're very lucky."

Shooting a scene on the set of their characters' very funky kitchen, Lisa and Alison giggle and joke around together.

In this scene, Verity reprimands Ros for bringing home an 18-year-old guy the night before. But the moment the director calls "Cut", the snarl leaves Alison's face and the laughs between her and Lisa keep coming.

Why not? This is an exciting new chapter in their careers… but the know where their priorities lie.

"Family is the most necessary part of your life," Lisa says. "At the end of the day, when your show finishes, you have to have a life—and family is the most amazing part of that life."

By Jackie Brygel
week of August 10, 2002
TV Week