RESCUE Special Ops: articles

Libby Tanner with Les Hill in Rescue Special Ops

Libby Tanner makes return to TV on Rescue Special Ops

LIBBY Tanner has known the warm hug of TV audiences as the Logie-winning star of All Saints, but its cold hand too - think Fireflies. Does she need rescuing?

You have to feel for Libby Tanner. At the time Australian TV drama began its resurgence, Tanner had to contend with the heartache of starring in flops that could find neither critical nor public support.

So successful had Tanner been as nurse Bronwyn Craig in All Saints, she picked up two Logies. When Tanner announced she was quitting the medical drama in 2003, producers were justifiably concerned that viewers might leave with her.

There was intense media interest in Tanner's decision to take a lead role in the ABC rural drama Fireflies, but the show couldn't buy a viewer.

Then it was back to Channel 7 for a key role in Home and Away spinoff Headland, destined to go down as one of the worst soaps this country has produced.

An optimistic Tanner has moved from Melbourne to Sydney for five months to film Nine's Rescue Special Ops, which co-stars Gigi Edgley, Les Hill and Peter Phelps.

Tanner, 39, who plays head of the special operations rescue team Michelle LeTourneau, says:

"It's great to be back in steady work.

"It was like, ‘oh bummer', when it didn't work," she says of Headland. "But I watched it and it didn't come up trumps and it was a bit how's your father.

"It's (Rescue Special Ops) been such great fun and (has) a great cast and it's nice to be among it again.

"This program has a really contemporary feel and a bit of humour in it. Oh, and I'm the boss this time, so it's great.

"I'm old enough to do that now, so I just get to bark at someone else. It's such a great vibe and I think audiences are really going to respond to this."

Tanner is enjoying being back in the showbiz loop, but is perplexed by the controversy sparked by recent gay storylines in Australian TV.

Neighbours and Home and Away went there earlier this year, much to the disgust of a handful of family groups.

Having played a lesbian, Zoe, in Australian drama Pacific Drive in 1996, Tanner says she finds it strange people care about it in today's society.

"I keep going, ‘hang on a minute, I was the first out-there Australian dyke'," she says.

"We've been there, done that before. I liked Zoe because she was a positive lesbian character. She wasn't butch or portrayed as a horrible person, she was good-looking and different from the norm. It was supposedly groundbreaking back then."

Meanwhile, Tanner has been making a different kind of fuss on the set of Rescue Special Ops. It was the moment producers and crew had been dreading -- a mishap while filming the adventure series.

But it didn't involve an outdoor stunt -- such as hanging from a cliff face or falling while scaling Sydney's Centrepoint Tower.

This one left Tanner cut and bleeding without leaving the show's headquarters.

"The biggest injury was in an office scene," says Les Hill, who plays paramedic Dean Gallagher.

"In an office scene, a vase got knocked over and Libby cut her foot. Here we are climbing cliffs, hanging off Ferris wheels and landing on mountains in choppers, then Libby cuts her foot on a piece of glass in an office."

Daniel Amalm, who plays Jordan Zwitkowski, says the cast loves performing its own stunts.

"It's a very hands-on show like that and the stunts have been great," he says.

"I don't think I would have ever dangled off a cliff if I hadn't done this show."

August 19, 2009
Herald Sun