Packed To The Rafters: articles

Erik Thomson with daughter Elish

Father's Day fun… Erik Thomson with daughter Elish.

Packed to the Rafters' Erik Thomson rates being a dad

ERIK Thomson — television father of three and real father of one — has good reason to smile today.

Not only is he spending Father's Day with his 14-month-old daughter Eilish, Thomson is also basking in the success of his new hit Channel Seven drama, Packed To The Rafters.

Remarkably, last Tuesday's second episode attracted more than two million viewers, up from the premiere's 1.9 million.

In the series, which also stars Rebecca Gibney and Michael Caton, Thomson plays a father to three adult children.

"We were all a bit nervous as to what was going to happen in week two, everyone was expecting a dip, so it's great news," Thomson, 41, told The Sunday Telegraph.

"I've been in the other situation where you make your show and it goes out and nobody wants to watch it. So you certainly take the good when it comes along.

"We're thrilled but probably relieved. We hoped that we had our finger on the pulse and so far it would seem that people want to see it. I think they can relate to it, it's not a drama that alienates them, it's not fantasy, it's them up on screen."

While on-screen Thomson's Dave Rafter is suffering through a family crisis, home life couldn't be more different for the former Getaway presenter.

Thomson said he was looking forward to his second Father's Day, to be spent with his wife, actress Caitlin McDougall, and little Eilish.

"Last year she was only two months old. It was exciting then but now she's much more of a little person, it's going to be great.

"I don't know what they've got planned? Probably daddy wakes up at 6am and changes dirty nappy? I'm not expecting too much, it's just great to have her there, that's enough of a present," he said.

Thomson said being a father helped him play the paternal role.

"I'm glad I'm doing this role having become a dad, because in many ways it's this little part of you that's locked up and when you become a father all of those emotions are let loose," he said.

"I'm continually told those are the same, regardless of whether your child's one or 45."

Thomson laughs off the fact his on-screen alter ego is father to three 20-something children.

"It's a bit weird because they're 24 years older then Eilish and I'm playing their dad.

"But no, I've done the maths and if you add two years onto my age it's all possible."

While happy to play dad, Thomson said he avoided offering his screen kids — played by Jessica Marais, Hugh Sheridan and Angus McLaren — parental advice.

"I sit back from it a little — I only give my opinion when asked for. I've been that age and a young actor before. When you're that age, you know it all anyway. I know they'll learn, as I did, that you actually don't and that you only realise this once you get older."

By Richard Clune
September 07, 2008
The Sunday Telegraph