Favourite mom

Favourite mom

Favourite mom

The Rafters, Australia’s favourite family, made its appearance on Indian television recently, with the launch of the family drama series, Packed to the Rafters, on Star World.

A light-hearted comedy, the series revolves around the Rafter family: Dave and Julie Rafter, and their four children —  Rachel, Ben, Nathan and Ruby. It is about their life, work pressures, relationships etc, which find a subtle interweaving with social issues of the time. This award winning series can be viewed from Monday to Friday, at 9 pm.

Rebecca Gibney, who has been a recipient of the Golden Logie in 2009 and 2010 for her portrayal of Julie Rafter, says, “I’ve loved every minute of the last six years of my association with Packed to the Rafters.

We are all very close and the Rafters family has become my second family. I love my co-stars in the show. I have developed a real mom role with the actors that play my children, so much so that they call me Mom Two. And Erik Thomson, who plays my husband, is a good mate; we laugh a lot and it’s almost like we have been married for 30 years.”

Besides Rebecca, the other main characters of the series have been played by Erik Thomson (Dave Rafter), Jessica Marais (Rachel Rafter), Angus McLaren (Nathan Rafter) and Hugh Sheridan (Benjamin ‘Ben’ Rafter).

“The producers have done such a great job of constantly doing story lines that it keeps the show fresh and current. I guess, that’s why we have been going for six years,” offers Rebecca, adding, “Hopefully, the Indian audiences will enjoy the show as much as we loved making it.

I think our show has very universal themes to which audiences from all over the world will be able to relate. At the end of the day, it’s a show about a family and all the drama, love and laughs that go along with that.”

Talking of the character that she plays, Rebecca reflects, “Julie Rafter was a gift of a role and it’s almost like we have morphed together; we are so alike. I’m probably not as fiery as Julie and she often puts her foot in her mouth. So I hope I’m not as tactless. I am a bit of a mother hen though, so in that sense, we are incredibly alike.”

Rebecca Gibney is a New Zealand-born Australian actress whose breakthrough came with her role in the children’s programme, The Zoo Family. She is an acclaimed TV, film and theatre artiste; much loved in Australia; has won several awards; and to her credit, the character of Doctor Jane Halifax for the crime series Halifax f.p, was written especially for her. Halifax f.p has been sold to more than 60 countries worldwide.

Commenting on how challenging it has been to act in an emotional drama series, Rebecca says, “I’ve been acting for almost 30 years now; so I have gotten quite good at leaving work at work. I do sometimes come home pretty tired, particularly if we have been shooting emotional scenes. Luckily, I have a very supportive husband.” Rebecca is married to production designer Richard Bell.

Packed to the Rafters premiered on Australian television in August 2008. Season one begins on the eve of Julie and Dave’s 25th wedding anniversary. The couple think that they are finally about to have the house to themselves. But unseen problems loom and the house gets ‘packed to the rafters’ with Julie’s father, who suffers a panic attack, coming to stay; son Nathan and daughter-in-law Sammy visiting because they need a place to stay; daughter Rachel moving in as she leaves her abusive boyfriend Daniel; and son Ben moving next door but dropping in every now and then.

The series was renewed for a fifth season, which premiered in April 2012 and Channel Seven announced that the show will return for a sixth season in 2013. An extremely popular series in Australia, The Age’s Jim Schembri calls Rafters a “superbly sculpted series about suburban class warfare”, noting that it was “one of the most enjoyable, finely honed locally produced TV dramas we’ve seen in ages” with dialogues that “crackle with wit and energy”. The show was nominated for 27 Logie awards in 2009, and it won 13 of the awards.

Season one of Packed to the Rafters proved to be the number one show on Australian television in 2008. The second season was ranked number two for the year 2009. The drama series gained such popularity that it has been sold to networks in South Africa, Belgium, The Netherlands, several Scandinavian countries and Italy. With its launch on Indian television, the Australian family and social life now comes closer home.