Tripping Over: articles

Brooke Satchwell and Abe Forsythe

Life's a journey... Brooke Satchwell and Abe Forsythe

Trip of a lifetime

FROM girl next door to hot-shot cop. Brooke Satchwell's career so far suggests she's led a charmed life. But it hasn't all been plain sailing.

"You never judge a book by it's cover," Satchwell, 25, says. "My life is just as screwed up as anyone else's, don't you worry. I have the normal traumas of life. But it's only when bad things happen that you have to take stock."

Bad things? It was after her most famous gig, as Anne Wilkinson on soapie Neighbours, ended that Satchwell hit a rough patch. The young star felt caught between relishing her youth and feeling the need to grow up.

"I was desperately trying to prove that I hadn't changed, that I hadn't given myself much of a chance to grow. That was quite a brain-bending moment.

I fell in a big heap. Then I just got back up again, like you have to."

Satchwell has since starred in now defunct dramas Water Rats and White Collar Blue. And she has scored key roles in the thrillaminute Foxtel drama Dangerous, screening early next year, and the fresh Ten drama Tripping Over.

The latter follows the experiences of a bunch of Aussies and Brits who seek adventure and work on opposite sides of the world. The six-part series is a collaboration between Britain's Channel Five and Ten here.

The crossover series is written by Andrew Knight and Andrea Denholm (SeaChange), with Mike Bullen (Cold Feet), and shooting took place in London, Sydney, Bangkok and Melbourne.

The stellar cast includes Rebecca Gibney, Lisa McCune, Daniel MacPherson and Paul McGann. Satchwell is thrilled to be sinking her teeth into another drama.

"I read the script and I had one of those experiences you have after watching a movie during the day - you just have a new perspective on life," she says.

On their way to London, Ned (MacPherson) and his mate Nic meet up in Bangkok with Brit friends Tamsin, Lizzie and Callum. It's fair to say it's a disaster. Ned doubles over with food poisoning.

The others go through a life-changing experience that sets the tone for the rest of the series.

It settles into a mostly two-city affair, with the Brits off to Sydney and the Aussies in London.

Satchwell plays Felicity, Nic's long-term girlfriend. She has been trying to convince him to move into her London flat. Both are in for a surprise when he lands on her doorstep.

His buddy Ned is coming to terms with being a soap star one moment, famous nobody the next. MacPherson, who plays the cocky twentysomething Aussie with a good heart, knows only too well the vagaries of the entertainment world.

In Tripping Over Ned leaves a top-rating soap bound for London. MacPherson's own life followed a similar trajectory, heading to London after a successful stint on Neighbours, where he eventually found his way on to cop drama The Bill.

As he read over his character, MacPherson couldn't help but crack a wry smile.

We meet Ned as he finishes filming his last scene for the soap. Walking off camera, Ned seems slightly put out nobody so much as even says goodbye.

"It's either that or they run up to you with flowers and kisses, but you wonder how much of it is real and what's fake," he laughs.

"Shows you how fickle showbusiness is. You can be on a show for several years - Mr Popular - then, soon as you're done no one cares about you. It's true in real life, in a lot of ways."

MacPherson was initially wary of taking the role.

"(Then) I realised there was a big difference between myself and Ned. I'd like to think he has been more affected by the entertainment industry."

In a broad sense, the series is about choices - the ones people make in their twenties when they're setting a course for the rest of their lives, and the ramifications those choices can have later in life.

MacPherson calls it "The Secret Life Of Us on a global scale".

"It's about coming of age for a group of people in their mid-20s between marriages and mortgages. Then there is the older generation - the parents who are paying for the mistakes they made at the same time in their lives."

Gibney plays Ned's frazzled, eccentric Sydney restaurantowner mother, Lydia.

"I always get cast as the girl next door or the ice cool princess," she says.

"I wanted to show I can look very different.

"Lydia's such a wonderful character.

She's a mass of insecurities, a complete whacko, a drunk and an emotional cripple. There are a lot faults there, but she's still likable and you can't help but feel for her."

Tripping Over, Wednesday, Ten, 8.30pm

By Stephen Downie
October 25, 2006
The Daily Telegraph