Offspring: articles

Kat Stewart and Eddie Perfect are loving their roles on Offspring.

In the Hot Seat with Kat Stewart

THE Proudman family is messy, eccentric and fabulously imperfect - all traits that Kat Stewart loves.

And in Offspring, Stewart and her alter ego Billie Proudman are firmly in the centre of the turmoil as she bulldozes her way through the business of life.

For Stewart and co-stars including Asher Keddie (who plays the central role of Nina Proudman, Billie's sister), Eddie Perfect, Deborah Mailman, John Waters, Don Hany and Richard Davies, Offspring is the series that grew and grew.

Originally conceived as a two-hour telemovie by producers John Edwards and Imogen Banks (also the brains behind dramas including Tangle, Love My Way, Rush and The Secret Life of Us), it was spun off into 13 episodes when TV execs wanted to see more of thirtysomething obstetrician Nina Proudman and her zany family lurching their way through the dramas of life.

Stewart took the role of Billie without even seeing a script after being told about the show by Edwards, and says that trust has paid dividendsnts as her feisty character bursts into season twonte.

"I've been spoiled rotten this season with storylines and scripts," Stewart enthuses. "In terms of where Nina and Billie are at, they're best friends really - they have a volatile, antagonistic relationship at times, and the Nina-Mick thing certainly fuelled that," Stewart says.

"It's always going to be there somewhere, but Billie knows you can't really run away from family.

"Billie and Nina are friends and family for life. You move through it.

"But I'm sure that Billie will get in some pot shots."

For Billie this season, the biological clock isn't just ticking; it's amped up on high alert - she's come up with a strict new life plan to start a family with Mick and, naturally, Stewart laughs, it's at Billie's speed.

"Billie tends to set the pace in all things," she says.

But she seems set to discover sheer stubbornness, boldness and force of will may not be enough - and with that discovery, viewers will see a new softness.

"Billie at first look can be spiky and reactive and a little volatile, but I've found she's actually very soft beneath that spikyness, especially when it comes to people she loves," says Stewart. "She's one of those people who fly off the handle, but would also go to the end of the earth for someone she loves - and we see a lot of that this season."

The storylines as Billie and Mick try to set up a house (with no money) and family (with no instant baby) have given Stewart a chance to work more closely with Perfect.

"Last series, we spent most of the series apart and fighting," she says.

"Being a couple is great because we've been spoiled with some terrific stuff."

The multi-talented Perfect, along with his acting, does stand-up comedy, writes, creates and performs everything his musician character Mick performs on Offspring.

He recently brought the crowd at the Logies to silence when he joined forces with Tripod for an exquisite a cappella performance of Paul Kelly's Meet Me in the Middle of the Air as part of the awards ceremony.

Stewart is unstinting in her praise of him.

"It's outrageous for one man to have so much talent. It's just wrong," she jests. "But it's talent like that that makes this show such a joy."

By Debbie Schipp
May 21, 2011
Sunday Mail