Marshall Law: articles

Sexy McCune 'a turn-off'

LISA McCune was the prim, upright bastion of rural goodness as cop Maggie Doyle in Blue Heelers.

The four-time Gold Logie winner was the girl next door for seven years. So how do her many fans cope when she stars in new series where innuendo and condoms are as common as cows were on Blue Heelers?

Not too well it transpires. Seven's Marshall Law, in which McCune extends herself as a lascivious lawyer, has shown a dramatic ratings slide after a premiere of 1.3 million viewers. Tonight's episode may make or break the series.

Yet McCune's reinvention is incomplete. Whether Marshall Law succeeds or fails, McCune is due to take on the role that's already knocked Tina Arena around, Sally Bowles, in the December season of Cabaret in Melbourne.

Will audiences accept McCune dumping her legal robes and the Sex And The City-like dialogue for lingerie and a breakdown?

"Lisa McCune is undoubtedly one of Australia's most loved and talented actors and I think she'll act the pants off the role," said Cabaret producer, James Cundall.

Already, her drawing power seems to have exceeded that of Arena in Sydney.

McCune's agent, Robyn Gardiner, admitted typecasting had been a problem. "Lisa chose Cabaret and Marshall Law because they were a chance to show off her comedic talents and a nice departure from the roles she's usually offered," she said.

"As her work in [mini-series] The Potato Factory showed, her ability to take on a strong dramatic role, these allow her the freedom to have fun developing the characters."

Her fans have abandoned the "fun" of Marshall Law though. It's opening night ratings, the best of the vaunted four Australian TV dramas debuting in the past month, plummeted in the show's third week.

In marketing terms, McCune's audience displayed excellent "trial" but abysmal "loyalty".

It is understood some insiders have expressed qualms at how quickly McCune's Marshall Law character was thrown into the raunch. One early episode titled Head Job was viewed as "too much, too soon."

And there was great relief when the series dropped its original title, Leather and Silk.

Yet McCune has faced such prudishness before. Fans derided her semi-naked pose for Shaun Clark's 2001 Archibald Prize entry.

Southern Star executive chairman Neil Balnaves, whose company broke McCune in Blue Heelers, said McCune probably stayed two years longer than ideal on the series. It only ingrained her girl-next-door image.

August 27, 2002
The Daily Telegraph