Tripping Over: articles

Brooke Satchwell trips over new role

Being out of work two years ago was a blessing in disguise for actor Brooke Satchwell.

Run down and exhausted from working nearly a decade without a break from the spotlight, Satchwell felt the need to find herself again.

"I became an official actor for the first time in eight years - out of work," the 25-year-old Melbourne actor said.

"It was my first period of unemployment and there was a year when things were quite lean and I had to branch out into voice-over work and selling clothes for family friends just to keep the wheels in motion.

advertisement "It was almost like I got an enforced break, which is probably a very healthy thing. I truly think it helped me find the ground again. I needed it."

It was at this time that Satchwell thought about giving up acting altogether, but she couldn't shake her passion.

"I do all the time (think of leaving acting)," she said.

"I bought a book years ago that was about how to stop acting. I took it very literally, but it was a book to help you act. So, I do think of it, but I don't think I could do anything else. It clicks in me and works."

Satchwell's last major role was in Australian crime drama White Collar Blue, which ended in 2003.

She had a small part in an episode of Small Claims last year, but is now making her regular television comeback as Felicity in new Network Ten drama Tripping Over.

From the creators of popular dramas SeaChange and Cold Feet, Tripping Over is set in London and Sydney and explores lives in transition.

Five young people - three from London, two from Sydney - go on a path of discovery and converge for a one night stop-over in Bangkok.

Their safety nets are stripped as they realise that death is capricious and life is an opportunity to be seized.

"When I first read the scripts, I read all six at once and it was one of those experiences when you walk out of a movie or hear a piece of music, you just have this whole new perspective on the rest of the world," Satchwell said.

"It taps into that thing you face growing up. You realise there aren't any hard and fast rules, as much as you are bought up with a structure as a child. Once you become responsible for yourself, your actions have repercussions and that's your responsibility."

Working on Tripping Over, which also stars Rebecca Gibney, Lisa McCune and Nicholas Bell, meant Satchwell had to spend four weeks in London.

"I was so rapt. I got to do my first ever international scene," Satchwell grins.

"I made a complete idiot of myself because I had finished rolling and I was like 'oh my god that was my first international scene'. They all just looked at me," she laughs.

Felicity is the on/off girlfriend of Nic (Abe Forsythe), the best friend of Ned (Daniel MacPherson), who has an uncanny psychic ability to reappear in Nic's life each time he stands on the brink of another relationship.

"She's on a path and thinks she has it all but realises it's maybe not the path she wants to take, she has to find herself," Satchwell said.

Satchwell got her first television break in 1996 playing Anne Wilkinson on long-running soap Neighbours.

She played the character for four years before moving out of Ramsey Street to grittier cop drama Water Rats.

Satchwell, who dates Matt Newton, son of television great Bert Newton, is currently filming the Foxtel drama series Dangerous on the streets of Bankstown in Sydney's south-west.

The program is due to run on pay-TV over summer with Satchwell playing rebel gang member Donna.

Dangerous boasts fast cars, crime and drugs and also stars Australian star Joel Edgerton.

"I have never entrenched myself in a gang and gone on ram-raids and stuff like that, so that has been the challenge," she said.

"I need to make sure it stays very grounded and real and that the reactions are what would happen in that situation. I wanted to do justice to that."

The Logie winner laughs as she talks about playing Donna, who is enthralled in a life of crime by night, and singing nursery rhymes on Playschool by day.

Satchwell began on the 40-year-old program this year and is enjoying every moment of working with Big Ted and reading the rocket clock.

"It's been the best acting class I have ever done," she said.

"I am not a singer, and particularly having started on Neighbours I swore I would never sing, but singing for the kids has unleashed my inner rock star."

However, she admits it's a draining job.

"Playschool knocks the wind out of you," she said.

"By the time you get home you are completely drained. But I love it because Playschool does something to your psychology. You actually feel it in your skin. The magic of it is so pure, earthy and real. I feel honoured to be part of that."

October 12, 2006