The Cut: articles

John Wood and Julieanne Newbould

John Wood and Julieanne Newbould in The Cut.

Wood's a good sport

As anyone who has ever picked up a newspaper will know, sports stars seem to have two great loves in their life: winning and getting into trouble.

Almost as often as they're making headlines for grabbing another victory in their chosen arena, our sporting heroes seem to hit the news for finding themselves in the middle of yet another public relations disaster.

But if that's what's making news, how much is going on that we never hear about? And just who are the agents and PR hacks running around to keep their charges out of trouble ... or at least out of the spotlight?

"When people think of sports agents, they mention characters like Jerry Maguire," says John Wood, who plays "Wild" Bill Telford, the dedicated but dodgy agent to the stars at the centre of the ABC's comedy-drama The Cut.

"Bill's a bit more like [Minder's] Arthur Daley. He only puts people in jeopardy to save someone else ... and he has a tendency to do that with everyone, including his family.

"He sort of has the attitude that anything is good as long as it takes the heat off his client and if it all comes crashing back on him, well, he'll jump off that bridge when he comes to it."

The Cut is not so much a serious look at the world of sports management as it is a light-hearted dig at some of the stereotypes.

When big egos and big dollars are on the line, someone like Telford, not afraid to bend the rules, can be the best ally.

And he's also a lot of fun to play, Wood adds.

"It's great to play someone who's on the other side of the law for a change," says Wood, still widely recognised for his years as Blue Heelers' Sergeant Tom Croyden.

"He's not a criminal but he's miles away from what I've played and that's wonderful."

Behind the intrigue and jokes of the sports world, The Cut also takes a serious look at just what it means to be a hero, both on the sporting field and off.

The series begins with Bill caught in a terrorist attack overseas. Rushed home and not expected to recover, his son Andrew (Matt Passmore) takes over the family business and finds himself living in his father's larger-than-life shadow.

And finding his hero has feet of clay.

"He's a very real character, with very real flaws," Wood says.

"I'm sure there are many people out there, myself included, who wouldn't like the skeletons in their closet rattled too much. But he's in a TV show so his closet does get rattled and the results are hilarious, I think."

The write stuff

Although set in the isolated world of sports management, The Cut covers a range of particularly Australian issues, largely thanks to the work of series writer John Misto.

Recently best-known for bringing some of our country's pivotal moments to life in the mini-series Heroes Mountain and Day Of The Roses, Misto has worked across a range of our most influential dramas and created what is arguably one of the best television characters ever in the award-winning show The Damnation Of Harvey McHugh.

The Cut, Monday, 9.35pm, ABC1

By Scott Ellis
February 22, 2009
The Sun-Herald