Packed To The Rafters: articles

Rebecca Gibney with Michael Caton

Suburban mum ... Rebecca Gibney with Michael Caton in Channel 7's new drama, Packed to the Rafters.

Rebecca Gibney's new role is herself - a suburban mum

SHE may be an AFI and Logie winning actress but Rebecca Gibney says her latest role as a suburban mum is more like her than any character she's ever played.

Gibney, now 43, stars as Julie Rafter, an electrician's wife, accounts clerk and caring mother of three adult kids in the upcoming Channel 7 drama Packed to The Rafters.

While Gibney herself is a twice married mother of a four-year-old she says she's quite similar to Julie Rafter because they're both "jeans and t-shirts kind of girls".

"It's the closest character to me that I've ever played," Gibney said.

"I come to work and it's kind of like putting on ugg boots or old comfy shoes.

"I even dress similar to her ... so she's really easy to play."

Much of the inspiration for the character comes from Gibney's family.

"I have three sisters and all of them have grown up children, and all of them relate incredibly well to these situations that they find themselves in," she said.

"So I've combined my three sisters and myself and the end result is Julie Rafter."

Gibney says she was attracted to the show because it made her "laugh and cry". Alongside issues of domestic abuse, comedy is introduced when her husband Dave, played by Erik Thomson, takes too many erectile dysfunction pills and is taken to hospital.

"By uncovering the lives of the Rafter family we reflect what's happening for Australian families these days," Thomson said.

"The fact that kids don't leave home because they can't afford to and parents can't afford to let their kids leave home because they need that support.

"I think it's turning into quite a nice representation of suburban family life. It's quite now." He relishes the fact that it tells pure Australian stories.

"We wanted to deliver a character-based drama. There's no car chases or crimes or medical problems or anything like that," he said.

The first episode of Packed To the Rafters, will air after the Olympics.

August 14, 2008
The Daily Telegraph