White Collar Blue: articles

True blue beach cops

CHANNEL 10's new Australian-made police series is going where none has gone before: the beach.

But don't expect to see pistols hidden in boardshorts or cast members attending crime scenes in skimpy swimmers.

As Brooke Satchwell says: "It ain't Home and Away with guns."

But White Collar Blue is not just a departure for the cop show genre. It also marks a change for the former Neighbours and Water Rats star.

This is Satchwell's first adult role.

It is little wonder she has been overlooked for older roles in the past. Despite an extensive acting resume, Satchwell remains youthfully enthusiastic and unguarded. She laughs often, baring a set of teeth which seem a touch too big for her slender face.

Yet Satchwell has a maturity and sophistication that belies her years. She is thrilled casting agents finally recognised that side of her.

"Before now, because I am young and I look young, I've always been someone's daughter, someone's sister, someone's girlfriend, and now I am a woman in my own right and it's really nice ? I'm really enjoying it," she says.

"I'm trying to bring more maturity to the role and not revert back to girlish behaviour in ways that I would have in the past."

The grown-up role fittingly came her way the day after her 21st birthday.

While most would baulk at the idea of a job interview the day after a typically boozy celebration, Satchwell claims it actually helped her performance.

"My character Sophie is very dry and upfront and because I was feeling the way I was, I was also very dry and very upfront," she laughs.

"I was lucky I actually did the audition with Don (Hany) ? I didn't know he had the role of (Sophie's partner) Theo at that stage ? but we auditioned together and my hungover sarcasm obviously worked. I found out a few weeks later that I got the job."

Satchwell's latest role is another feat in a flourishing career.

Having begun her acting career in Neighbours, many doubted it would last.

But, like her co-star Peter O'Brien, Satchwell is proving you can get work after starring in a soap opera or, as she puts it: "there is life after Neighbours".

Three days after finishing her four-year soapie stint, she took to the Sydney stage to perform The Caribbean Tempest.

It is a job she now describes as a "real confidence booster". It also helped boost her credibility in acting circles.

Next, Satchwell scored a guest role as Steve Bisley's daughter on the police drama Water Rats. The role became a "semi-regular" gig after a few episodes. Most recently, she returned to the stage for The Graduate.

Satchwell says she has had a few "pregnant pauses in between jobs when nothing else has fit into the gaps", but otherwise counts herself extremely fortunate.

She is well aware of the prejudice against actors of her ilk.

"I think it's very prevalent in a lot of people's minds that you have worked on a soap and if you don't release a single where do you go from there? I was not prepared to do that," she says.

"With the whole Neighbours thing I had been extraordinarily lucky with the reaction I got from that and also I think I owe a lot of the guys from The Panel and Good News Week because they gave me the opportunities right from the start to say 'yes, this is who I am, but there's a little bit more to it than that'."

Satchwell plays plain clothes constable Sophie Marinkovitch in White Collar Blue, a rookie detective with a few personal problems she is trying to hide from her co-workers, including her partner Theo.

But Satchwell hints Sophie's secrets will not stay hidden for long.

White Collar Blue was created by former Wildside producers Steve Knapman and Kim Wyld. The pair formed Knapman Wyld Television soon after the critically acclaimed show ended and began "designing several concepts for television series".

White Collar Blue caught the eye of ChannelY´10's head of drama Sue Masters and soon became their main focus.

Knapman says the show is very different from Wildside and Nine's recently launched Young Lions (created by Wildside's Michael Jenkins).

He says the show's beachside setting, sunny style and subtle approach to drama will make it stand out in the crowded market.

"It's crime in paradise and it's an attempt to step forward from where Wildside left off," Knapman says.

"It's probably a more commercial and more attractive show in many respects while still keeping the kind of authenticity of crime stories."

White Collar Blue, Ten, Monday, 8.30pm.

By Jennifer Dudley
August 08, 2002
The Courier Mail