The Secret Life of Us: profiles

Spencer McLaren

Playing an actor has comes with its own set of challenges for Spencer McLaren, because you rarely see actors on TV playing actors.

"A huge part of someone is what they do for a living. If I were playing a police officer or a surgeon, I'd research that role. Richie is an actor—and I know how actors work. But I'm not playing myself. Richie is a fictional character with different problems, different ambitions and a different way of thinking to me.

"In terms of relationships and friendships, Richie is learning what he should have learned in high school. He's catching up on his maturity, because he's skipped a few life lessons.

"He's the sort of actor who is lucky in that things tend to come to him and always happen for him. That's obviously where the conflict comes with his girlfriend, Miranda, because she has the opposite experience."

Spencer says that the characters in The Secret Life of Us have recognisable traits.

"One of the best things about it is they all have their faults—a lot of faults. These are real people and that is the source of the drama."

Spencer is a graduate of the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), which he was accepted into after working for five years in musical theatre in professional productions of Cats, Kismet, Aladdin, West Side Story and Beauty and the Beast.

At NIDA, Spencer's dramatic stage credits included Don's Party, Julius Caesar, A Chaste Maid in Cheapside, Glengarry Glen Ross, 12 Angry Men, Cloud 9 and The Libertine.

On television, Spencer has appeared in The Damnation of Harvey McHugh, Home and Away, and The Lost World.

He has also travelled extensively through the US where he has performed a number of times. These include performances at the cabaret clubs Eighty Eights in New York City and also at Manhattan's famous Rainbow Room where he sang to a capacity crowd.

"The US has been very good to me. It was my visit there as an exchange student in 1990 that inspired me to pursue a career in the performing arts—in particular my High School music teacher."