TV Week Magazine. Article undated. Most likely Aug/Sept 1982. By Patricia Fidgeon.
JOHN WATERS' PLUM TV ROLE. Aussie Sex Symbol Set To Win A Heart.
Following close on the heels of his phenomenal success in They're Playing Our Song, John Waters has won one of the year's most sought after TV roles.
Having just completed another season with the smash musical stage hit, in which he co-starred with Jackie Weaver, John will play the male lead role in Crawford's new big budget mini series, All The Rivers Run. Playing opposite him will be Sigrid Thornton.
Waters will probably play Brenton, the dashing young man with whom the series' central character, played by Sigrid, eventually falls in love.
Filming is scheduled to start in October at Echuca on the Murray River. George Miller will co direct with Alan Hardy as producer. Crawfords has leased one of Channel 7's new studios in South Melbourne for studio work on the series. It is understood Crawfords is looking at the possibility of selling the series overseas, as well as to an Australian network.
Certainly the teaming of John and Sigrid, who has emerged as one of the hottest Australian film and TV properties, is an inspired piece of casting. Sigrid captured viewers imaginations with her performances in The Man From Snowy River and 1915.
Since John played handsome, brooding Sgt Mckellar in Rush, for which he picked up a TV Week Logie Award as the Best New Talent, he has been acclaimed as one of the nations top sex symbols.
He set female hearts fluttering with his portrayal of Count Dracula on stage here and after a brief stint in the Sullivans and a number of movie roles he won himself a whole new army of followers for his laconic characterisation of composer Vernon Gersch in They're Playing Our Song.
Also set for a role in All The Rivers Run is Nick Holland, currently a regular cast member in Nine's The Young Doctors. Nick has appeared in a variety of Crawfords shows but is probably best know for his role as Peter Robinson, a young friend of the family in The Sullivans who had to face a court martial during his time in the navy.
All The Rivers Run is based on the best selling novel by Australian writer Nancy Cato. It centres on a young girl who is orphaned after a shipwreck off the coast of Australia at the turn of the century. Raised by relatives, she becomes involved with the powerful familes who controlled the paddlesteamers that traded along the rivers at that time.
The series is likely to be shown in four 2 hour episodes and is expected to be seen next year.
TV Week September 17 1983. By Garry Shelley.
RIVERBOATS BRING JOHN BACK TO TV. The Macho Star Speaks Out On His Life.
All The Rivers Run, a four part mini series based on Nancy Cato's novel about the Murray River paddlesteamers is expected to be shown soon on the Seven Network. It has also been sold to cable TV in the US. A Crawford production, directed by George Miller and Pino Amenta, it stars John Waters and Sigrid Thornton. For John Waters the series will herald his return to TV after an absence of almost three years. Two of those years were spent co-starring with Jackie Weaver in the smash hit stage musical, They're Playing Our Song. TV Weeks Garry Shelley chatted with Waters about his new role, his family, his hidden talent as a writer-illustrator of a childrens book, and his future.
Q. After the popularity and success of They're Playing Our Song, does any subsequent role seem like an anticlimax?
A. You do feel like that after you've had a long and successful run. Fortunately for me, I had something else to look forward to something new in which to pit all my energies.
Q. Are you pleased to be back on TV after such a long break?
A. Yes, I like TV quality TV and All The Rivers Run is that. The character I play, Brenton Edwards, is a bit more of an outgoing, up front type compared with the men I have usually played the dark and broodings I call them. Brenton is a ladies man extroverted and rather cheeky. But when you first meet him, he appears to be a surface character somewhat conceited in fact and not particularly likeable. Thats the impression our heroine, Sigrid, gets at first.
Q. Does he mellow with the story's progression?
A. Well, as it is basically a love story, yes, we do see a metamorphosis in him when he falls in love with the heroine. He comes to realise there's more to life than merely having a good time.
Q. In a career which has been rather diverse, have you ever played anything which disappointed you?
A. There have been times when I haven't particularly liked the final product, but I've never hung my head in anguish. Here I must slip in a word of praise for the ABC which has provided me with a lot of quality work such as my role in Rush. That was really the forerunner of the period piece convict saga of which, I read constantly, people are becoming heartily sick.
Q. But isn't All The Rivers Run a period piece ?
A. I suppose it is actually, since it is set in the 1890's. But it is quite different to anything we've done here before. And it's certainly the first time that a series has revolved around the Murray Rivers magnificent old paddle steamers.
Q. John, because we have seen you for so many years on TV and on stage in Australia, people tend to forget you were born in England. How did your acting career begin ?
A. Because my father was an actor, I used to hang around the studios as a child. At first I didnt want to be an actor because it was the family trade I didn't want to feel it was expected of me. But I eventually started out doing small jobs here and there, and when I was 18 I did my first theater work in a production of Macbeth. After that, I decided acting was the only thing I could do.
Q. Do you think when ATRR is screened across America, that John Waters might finally gain recognition as an international star ?
A. That doesn't worry me at all. I just hope people will like it. If because of something I did here I was offered work overseas, I certainly wouldn't want to leave Australia permanently. I like it here, and besides, I have a family here my wife Sal, and two children from my first marriage, Rebecca, 12, and Ivan, 10.
Q. Are there ever any conflicts career wise with your actress wife, Sally Conabere ?
A. There are no problems at all. Sal is a non envious type of person. She has her own career, I have mine and there's no interference from either party.
Q. Have your children ever expressed the desire to follow in dad's footsteps ?
A. They're not overawed by it, because they've been around the business all their lives. However Ivan is getting a taste of it now playing an orphan in the ABC musical play with Jackie Weaver, called The Girl From Moonaloo.
Q. You said that as a teenager you were very good at art. Do you still dabble at the drawing board?
A. yes, I have just done some original illustrations for a childrens book, which I also wrote, called The Story Of Pilliga Pete. Its the tale of an old man and his pet cockatoo. I'm hoping it will be released for the Christmas market.
Q. What is your next acting project?
A. I'm starting a movie soon called Going Sane, a story written by John Sanford. My character is a business executive who wakes up one morning, thinks his life is meaningless, then sets about doing strange things which are totally out of character. Natrally everybody else wants to commit him as insane. Next year I'll be playing Robert Louis Stevenson in an ABC series which looks at the last four years of his life in Samoa.
Q. Is there anything that John Waters would like to do in the future which might show us another facet of his diversity ?
A. I have an appalling fascination to do a one-man show. I haven't a clue about the format, but I keep mulling over vague ideas of songs I'd like to do. People say you have to have an enormous ego to do a one-man show, but I think what one should have is courage and confidence.
Despite her success as an artist, Delie and Gordon return to Echuca... and Brenton. Delighted to see her standing on the Echuca wharf as he comes into dock aboard the Providence, Brenton tries his old stunt of diving beneath the churning paddlewheel. This time, however, he floats slowly to the surface, only to be pulled unconscious from the water. The doctors declare that while Brenton will live, he may never walk again.
To stave off a foreclosing mortgage, Delie, to everyones surprise, now a fully licensed river captain, takes a daring race against time to secure a wool clip cargo from Karingal. Stubborn as he is, Brenton has been keeping his slow progress to recovery a secret.
The race is full of excitement and Delie aquits herself admirably, until on hitting a snag, she is thrown across the wheelhouse and the boat runs free. In answer to her calls of "Brenton, Brenton", an exhausted Delie is amazed to see her beloved husband stand from his chair and totter towards her.
This top Australian drama is on Channel 7 and begins next week. 4 months of production comes down to 8 hours of well worthwhile television.
Sunday Independent Entertainment Liftout. October 16th 1983. Mini Series Synopsis.
In 1890 the sailing ship Loch Tay founders off the coast of Victoria en route to Melbourne, casting ashore only two survivors, a craggy old seaman named Tom Critchley and the 16 year old English girl he drags from the surf. Her name is Philadelphia Gordon.
Tom receives a reward for his bravery and heads off inland to make a new life for himself, while the orphaned Delie is claimed from a hospital bed by her guardian Charles Jamieson and taken to settle on his farm outside the bustling Murray River port of Echuca. She falls instantly in love with the river, and the bustle at its edges.
After a brief encounter with a handsome but rough hewn riverman named Brenton Edwards, Delie is soon reminded by Uncle Charles unsmiling and stern wife, Hester, that young girls of breeding must adopt a strict conventional role. But Delie is different, and sensing her spirit, Uncle Charles becomes her quiet champion.
Delie finds work in Echuca hand colouring photographs. She quickly attracts the attention of the town gossips, living alone in a ladies boarding house and acquiring river connections.
Brenton continues his attempts to gain Delie's attention by diving beneath the churning paddle wheel of the steamer Philadelphia, captained by Delie's shipwreck hero Tom Critchley, and emerging with a grin. She also meets the crew. There is Mac, the Scottish engineer who hates aggravatin women; Ah Lee, the Chinese cook who thinks women on boats bring bad luck; and Useless, the polite deckhand.
During her visit to the boat, Delie is astonished to find that Brenton is a part owner of Tom's paddlesteamer. And when Tom declares that he is getting out and returning to the sea, Delie fins that she and Brenton are co-owners of the Philadelphia. Brenton takes to the task of teaching Delie to run and steer the paddlesteamer.
Delie and Brenton are to wed and while the crew scrubs down the Philadelphia in readiness, Delie visits Uncle Charles only to find him despondent and the farm in disrepair.
The wedding takes place on the mission boat Etona at the farm landing and many rivermen and their wives are in attendance. Boats along the river toot their congratulations.
Bad luck later strikes the Philadelphia when close to Echuca fire breaks out and the crew, including a very pregnant Delie, are cast into the water. There on the muddy banks of the Murray, Delie gives birth.
Two years pass since Gordon Edward was born to Delie and Brenton in the aftermath of the fire. Brenton is working at the Echuca redgum mill dreaming of rebuilding the Philadelphia, while Delie has resumed her of job of colouring postcards.
Brenton is trying to drink away his despair and the marriage is beginning to show giant cracks. In an effort to stabalise her future, Delie takes young Gordon and her paintings and heads to Melbourne.
In Echuca, Brenton has started to straighten himself out.