There are some Australian actors whose careers are so ingrained with our own history, like Nadine Garner.
From The Henderson Kids, to Boys from the Bush, City Homicide and now series four of The Doctor Blake Mysteries, she’s part of Australia’s television evolution and ferociously protective of her industry and quality programming she feels the Australian viewing public deserve.
For fans of The Doctor Blake Mysteries, it is back and this season is set to impress. Last season’s finale saw Jean Beazley (Nadine Garner) leaving Ballarat on a bus and Lucian Blake (Craig McLachlan) dramatically stopping her…words have been left unsaid…are they together, are they not…so many questions. As series four begins Lucian returns to Ballarat, alone, and picks up his work and solving mysteries in the way that only he can. Where is Jean?
He’s technically still married, she’s a widow but that’s not all they have to overcome to be together…oh I wish I could tell you more as you’d surely tune in, but that really would be telling. Let’s just leave it at; things get complicated, things get very complex, things get very dramatic in 1960 Ballarat.
I asked Nadine Garner recently about why she felt that The Doctor Blake Mysteries had captured the imagination of Australian audiences as well as those around the world. (#blakesarmy- yep, it’s a thing)
“Part of the allure of The Doctor Blake Mysteries comes down to the extremely hard working design team; the sets, props and costumes aren’t ostentatious but they are real and authentic to the people, the region and the time this period drama is set.
The public want in-depth characters, they want long form stories, they want intelligent stories and we see that in the popularity of shows like ours and Game of Thrones.”
The Doctor Blake Mysteries doesn’t shoot in Ballarat very often as it’s just so expensive to relocate the entire cast and crew to live out of hotels but you really couldn’t tell; it’s just that authentic. When they do shoot in Ballarat the locals are affordable the opportunity to get in on the action as extra and from all accounts it’s a highly sought-after experience. Interiors have been created in Melbourne and they sometimes shoot in parts of Melbourne that look like Ballarat circa 1960.
Craig McLachlan and Nadine have ‘ bumped into each other’ over the decades but she said,
“it’s lovely working with him as we have a genuine liking of each other which makes it pleasurable.”
“Our show is all about rich character development and intriguing storylines. People are over how short and tight your dress is, how white your teeth are, they are over dumb shows on television. They deserve better.
Today’s fashion now is awful – so short and so tight but with period dramas it’s all about looking at something beautiful and people behaving nicely. People are hungry for it. Has style and class.”
As Nadine sums it up, the Australian public “want stories that are emotionally true and sustainable story lines.” Well, the next series of The Doctor Blake Mysteries certainly delivers both.
‘With new characters, twists and surprises, get ready for the next thrilling instalment of ABC’s most popular drama, The Doctor Blake Mysteries, series 4 starts Friday 5 February at 8.30pm.
Picking up where series 3 ended, Doctor Lucien Blake (Craig McLachlan) and his housekeeper and confidant Jean Beazley (Nadine Garner) return to Ballarat, ready to finally pursue their romantic feelings towards one another. But their arrival coincides with the attack on someone extremely close to them, creating a life-threatening situation that will shake them both to their very core.
And just as they’re trying to recover from this, Blake is shocked by the sudden appearance on his doorstep of a mysterious figure from a life he can barely remember.
Blake throws himself back into his role as Police Surgeon. Lawson’s (Joel Tobeck) headstrong niece Rose (Anna McGahan) arrives in Ballarat, ready to stir things up, while Lucien and Jean are torn apart by circumstances neither of them could have possibly foreseen.
As always there’s murder and deception, trickery and espionage - a body on the golf course. Australia’s first heritage tourism park. An old fire station hiding a horrible secret. Rally cars racing into Ballarat, and a murder during a once-in-a-lifetime solar eclipse...
The only man for the job is Doctor Blake. But will he be able to solve a whole new series of mysteries whilst also finally confronting the many demons in his past?’