Packed To The Rafters: articles

Car crash death of Mel delivers shock value to Packed To The Rafters

THE shock death of Mel in Packed To The Rafters was one of TV's best-kept secrets.

The episode was filmed in September after actress Zoe Ventoura decided to move to Los Angeles to further her career.

Fans of TV's favourite family were rocked to the core when the much-loved Melissa Barron was killed in a car crash as she drove to a romantic liaison with hubby Ben Rafter (Hugh Sheridan).

Ventoura, speaking from Los Angeles last night, told the Herald Sun it had been incredibly hard keeping the details secret.

"It was really important that we kept it on the down-low because of the impact from the shock of it," she said.

"Literally it comes from nowhere - it is such a shock and if it was ruined, it would have been such a shame.

"So we were trying really hard to protect the viewers.

"The mood on set (during filming of the episode) was very sombre, very intense anyway - and then added to that was the fact we couldn't go home and share it with our friends, 'My God, you'll never guess the day I had at work'."

After weeks of speculation and teasing promos for the show, viewers were left stunned when Mel met her tragic end.

Perth-born Ventoura, 29, said it was a tough decision to leave Rafters.

"It was like leaving your family," she said.

"I said to someone it felt like I was ripping my right arm off. It's been a part of me for so long. It was really emotional."

Ventoura didn't have an input into how Mel would be killed off.

"But I trusted implicitly that (series producer) Jo Porter and the writers would do it the best way possible," she said.

"And they really have. I feel really humble that they've trusted me and Hugh with this storyline, because it is huge."

Ventoura has been in the US for a few weeks "checking things out".

"I've had a couple of auditions. But you've got to start from scratch and you're very much a tiny fish in a huge pond here. It's an adjustment."

By Geoff Shearer
November 03, 2010
The Courier-Mail