All Saints. Ch 7, hospital drama.
ARTICLES: Mix from June & July 2007
Nova 106.9 Interview with John Waters – 4 June 2007

John Waters joins us
Good morning, hi
You’re such a rock and roll doctor on All Saints
He’s the Rock Doc yeah, ACDC fan although we can’t actually play ACDC on All Saints we have a band that sounds like ACDC but loud rock and roll in the operating theatre
Is that because of copyright laws
Yeah well it costs a lot of money you know and this show has an Australian budget let’s remember
You were just telling us when you first joined All Saints it was just as a guest role for a couple of months but you made an impact and they said we need this bloke to stay
Yeah I think they basically thought that you know John Howard plays Frank and he’s the kind of like big alpha male of the piece and they wanted somebody to combat him so they wanted another strong male figure
And you’re like a functioning junkie you’re the doctor
Yeah Mike Vlasek the eccentric rock doc surgeon.  Well he was a kid in the candy store there he was with the drug cupboard handy and he thought ooh I’ll have a bit of that you know to help me through the day
I love the idea of a doctor you know
He’s grooving
That’s a cool doctor
I don’t love the idea of that doctor operating on me
No I don’t want to ever run into one professionally
No if he stopped using the morphine you’d have to worry about him operating on you
Because he’d have the shakes
Has he come good though didn’t he go to rehab
Yeah well he got busted and yeah it was Cate the ambo who busted him she saw him shooting up in the surgeons’ lounge
So what would happen a patient would come in and you’d write a prescription and you’d go one for you and one for me
Yeah well I still you know I have scenes where I’ve got to give morphine to people out at the motor vehicle accidents and I’m thinking Mike’s looking at it big close up, zoom in you know but he’s over it he’s rehabilitated and been through all that
John you know when you, not so much in All Saints but definitely in Home and Away and those type of shows, at the end of a scene it always shows the scene will end with one of the actors just staring up into heaven and just pondering life is that written into the script or is that just some stuff that they whack on
No it’s just a weird sort of soapy directorial style I just refuse to do it.  If they end up on a close up of me after the scene is actually finished and the last word has been spoken I just say something incredibly vulgar so they can’t
Good that’s the tactic is it
Yeah I don’t want to be stuck there gazing into space
I thought from the beginning you were a good catch for All Saints because I thought wow I never thought I’d see John Waters on a show like that
Well I got approached by the producers to invent a character so you know that was a big offer
So you made up Mike the junkie doctor
Vlasek where did you get Vlasek from
Oh I have a Chezk friend and that’s his surname so I just sort of borrowed a bit from bits and pieces of people that I know
That’s unbelievable they let you invent a character and then they wrote him into the show
Yeah well you know I worked with their script department and they went oh yeah that’s a great idea I actually found his name and just thought well they’re very conservative most of the doctors in this sort of establishment
Do you have to work your accent into a script normally like it’s not that strong because you’ve been out here since the 60’s but it’s still there
Yes it is a bit I don’t really bother to explain it you know I just sort of think oh well in most roles that I play I just use my own voice
I didn’t realise you had an accent I thought you were just well spoken
No he came out from England
Yeah I came from England over 30 years ago now
Because I remember seeing one of Heath Ledger’s first movies in the States I think it was 10 Things I Hate About You and about half way through I think they realised that his accent wasn’t holding up and so they had to actually write it into the script like this girl all of a sudden has gone so what’s with the accent and where are you from and he goes I came out from Australia when I was 13 or something like that
A bit like Olivia Newton-John.  Sandy from Australia
So when did you come out from England
I came out in the late 60’s I was a musician in a rock and roll band I was a bass player
A bass player that’s it
But I got into Hair in 1969
So just hairdressing and stylists
Hair the rock musical
Was that the production of Hair that Marcia Hines was in
Oh okay so that was a milestone in Australia
Yeah Marcia came over from Boston and yeah it was a milestone it was the most anarchistic amazing time you know there were a lot of very stoned people performing to a paying public
Living the roles
That was the real kind of vibe about it you know it was good
Does Mike Vlasek get a little bit from those times
Oh yes you know you can always draw on past experiences
Does he get nude has he got a lady friend on the show
You are a saucy one aren’t you
Yes I am I want to know
Oh he’s had a one night stand sort of thing
Has he
With who
The mother of a patient
That’s what I would have been pitching if I had the idea I’d go well look my character is a pants man and each week he nails something different
You and I have got something in common they said what would you like and I said I want to be a rock and roll doctor who gets to shag all the nurses.  I’m sort of finally making good on well not nurse but ambo.  Watch out for Mike and ambo Cate
Half her luck love
Nice driving around with her fold out bed
She’s got the shagging wagon standing by.
Triple M Brisbane Interview with John Waters – June 2007

In The Cage this morning give it up for John Waters
Thank you, good morning
I tell you what when I tell my mum I met you she’s gonna be spewing she used to ring her mates in Play School days and say he’s on the telly quick
She’s a big fan of Miss Polly had a dolly who was sick sick sick
You’ve got a young boy haven’t you?
Yeah I’m doing fatherhood all over again now so I’ve got a 4 ½ year old boy
Do you pull out any of your old Play School gear
Well he’s got a very old video tape of me on Play School and because I have all this long flowing dark hair he says, he recognises me, but he says Daddy you’ve got a hat on and I say no, no that’s called hair.  I do have hair still but it’s a rather different colour
It’s silver and very glamorous is it different doing the parenthood thing the second time around
Yeah it is I think experience teaches you to be a little bit more patient, not quite so impetuous and obviously a little bit more sober and drug free which is always very good.  My first children look at me now parenting these small children and say thanks Dad yeah they’ve got the best of you haven’t they
We broke him in now they get the benefit
So what was the age gap of the first kids
Well they’re 35 and 33 and now I have a 4 ½ year old and 9 month old twins
That’s got to be a record you were a child bride
Yes I was I was 21 when I started having children
There you go that’s good twins my lord
Yeah that’s hard work
Well it’s a good thing you chilled out
Yeah and it’s a good thing I’ve got a job in series TV as well
Well this is true
Let’s talk about All Saints what’s coming up and your role as Mike
Mike Vlasek the Rock Doc
He’s come back
Yeah he’s come back he’s been to rehab he’s stopped raiding the drug cupboard but you know I think he’s still got to be mad, bad and dangerous that’s what makes him interesting
He is a dark character isn’t he
Yeah they’re a bit more interesting to play than the goody goodies
In terms of that do you ever have a look at some of the bad guy characters and wish that you’d done it.  Someone like Wolf Creek the role that John Jarratt played
That’s taking bad a little bit too far
We saw that and then he came into the studio and stood exactly where you are now and he used that microphone and he had trouble dropping his act
He was still in character
I’m getting goose bumps now just thinking about it
He’s one scary dude yeah no I think to play somebody who just likes to break the rules a bit that’s good, that’s fun and somebody who is in a really, really straight profession like the medical profession but who is a bit rock and roll you know that’s something different
And do you think doctors in general who watch the show do you think that they relate to this character or is he too far fetched for reality
They do.  Surgeons are the prima-donnas of the medical profession and they are quite eccentric they do what they want to do because they have a particular skill that nobody else can tell them what to do so you know I took that as my inspiration.  I did a bit of research and I followed a surgeon around at Liverpool Hospital in Sydney and it was amazing to see people bow and scrape as he walked through the corridors.  It was great, there’s a lot of power involved
They’re the breakfast radio guys of the medical world.
Shot in the arm for All Saints.  Sunday Herald Sun. By Garry Williams. June 11, 2007

ALL Saints star Allison Cratchley admits the Aussie medical drama does not have a lot in common with Seven stablemate Grey's Anatomy.

"They're both set in hospitals but our budget wouldn't pay for their morning tea,'' she says with a laugh. "And yet occasionally we've rated as well as them. We're so proud of that.''

Regardless of ratings, All Saints has one significant edge on its glamous Hollywood counterpart.

While Grey's Anatomy is shooting its fourth season, All Saints is in its 10th year and, next month, it has a special reason to celebrate when its 400th episode goes to air.

It is a milestone executive producer John Holmes still finds difficult to comprehend.

"When we set the show up, we were thinking two or three years,'' he says.

That ambition was easily achieved, but Holmes admits the show had become stale two or three years ago.

"There was a sameness of stories,'' he says.

"We needed a kick up the a---.''

He credits Cratchley, who plays caring doctor Zoe Gallagher, as part of  "that kick''.

Cratchley looks puzzled when Holmes' comments are passed on.

"Being told you're part of a kick in the a--- is a compliment, isn't it?'' she says. Cratchley believes the revival of the show is not only about the actors.

"It's a domino effect,'' she says. "You get great scripts, you get great directors, you get great actors. Two years ago, actors didn't want a bar of this show, now they're tripping over each other to get on.''

Holmes adds: "A big thing was moving the action from Ward 17 to the ER. Strong scripts re-energised the show, but we also got the balance right -- that balance of medical and personal storylines and also the balance of the new cast. We've got John Waters back for a long run, Tammy (MacIntosh) and Allison.''

The other element that has helped freshen the show is, in Holmes' words, "the terror of the remote''.

"We made a conscious effort to increase the pace of the show,'' he says. "In that first segment we rip through as much as we can. The idea is to hook the audience by the first commercial break.''

All Saints faces a new challenge with Nine programming Mick Molloy's much-hyped The Nation against it. But Cratchley, who has been with the show for about nine months, is confident about All Saints' long-term future.

She says the cast is "an amazing ensemble'' and finds the environment far friendlier than the set of Water Rats, where she had her first big on-going role as Emma Woods.

"I wasn't nutured on Water Rats,'' she says. " I was left standing alone. Being a new kid on the block was kind of painful and I don't want the younger cast of All Saints to feel that way.''
A couple of sinners for new-look All Saints. The West Australian. 19th June 2007. BY HELEN CROMPTON
Soap isn’t a dirty TV word for John Waters. But he reckons that when it comes to All Saints, it’s no pure-and-simple bed bath, more a crossover, an even mix between hospital drama and slightly soapy look at the love lives of the doctors and nurses who daily keep death at bay. Most days.
When Waters entered the show last year, playing Mike Vlasek, it was a case of stalwart meets veteran. All Saints, the long-distance runner for Australian series drama, had already reinvented itself by moving from Ward 17 to the emergency department, and thereby cranked up the drama. With that move came a major character reshuffle.
Exit the popular Georgie Parker and in came her shoot-from-the-hip replacement in Frank, played by John Howard, a character whose biggest challenge is cracking a smile.
And if he weren’t enough to break the medical mould, how about Mike Vlasek, complete with earring, rock’n’roll attitude and drug habit? It was a role, according to Waters, that gave him more freedom than he’s ever had in his entire career. That’s surely a credit to producers, considering the all-Aussie show has a conservative demographic and a strong female fan base who like their medical drama middling to spicy, as opposed to ultra hot.
Their gamble has paid off. Waters went from a three-month extended guest appearance to full-blown character — the one to watch, as the catch goes — because he’s got a haunted quality, an edge, a volatility and even a sprinkle of danger. And that’s when his character is off the morphine.
“Yeah, yeah, that’s right. I’m an alternative sort of doc,” Waters laughs down the line from Seven’s Melbourne studios where he’s having coffee. “To start with, the emergency department gives you more scope for instant drama and immediacy and then, of course, I came in with quite a different type of character, certainly not one of the conservative doctors that we are used to. And he’s a perfect foil for John’s character. Frank’s a grumpy bastard, isn’t he?” Waters says, in a sudden rush of being forthright. “Curmudgeonly, I’d call him.”
As Waters, known for his roles in Homicide, The Sullivans, Fireflies, The Man From Snowy River and Breaker Morant, describes the character he created with the show’s writers and producers, you can’t help but get the feeling there’s a good bit of real-life crossover.
Mike Vlasek has a touch of wild man about him. He plays AC/DC loudly in the operating theatre. He doesn’t like to be questioned. He goes his own way. “Yeah, there’s a lot of me in there, my involvement with rock and roll — minus the drug habit. But, yeah I’ve certainly flirted with substance abuse and there’s always a danger of addiction involved there and I know a lot of people like that.
“The thing with my character is that as he regulated his habit, he grew older with drugs but he simply didn’t mature. I think this is what happens to people: they do get very cut off.”
Waters is proud of what the show achieves. He reckons it captures the spirit of the industry. That is, you get a lot for a little. “If you look at two minutes of ER, the same type of TV as All Saints, you’re looking at the show’s entire annual budget.” Other medical dramas like Grey’s Anatomy, he says, only seem to pedal “who’s up whom”.
“All Saints has a good medical mix of proper medical stories which are very well researched and played out with as much authenticity as possible and a bit of what makes the doctors tick with the occasional romantic liaison.”
So the question is: will Mike ever have a chance with Zoe with Sean standing in his way? Answer: nothing is written in stone in the ED, so the reformed Doc may yet have a shot.

More fun sailing in dark Waters. Herald Sun. By Siobhan Duck. July 25, 2007 12:00am

JOHN Waters much prefers Judas to Jesus. The star of Channel 7's All Saints has made a career of playing flawed characters on stage and screen, including two of The Bible's bad boys -- Judas (in Godspell) and Pontius Pilate (Jesus Christ Superstar).

"Give me Judas any day, Jesus is too much of a goody-goody," Waters says and laughs.

"I have always preferred to play characters that are flawed, they are a lot more interesting."

No wonder then, that Waters found his latest role -- All Saints' Mike Vlasek -- so appealing.

Vlasek is a surgeon with a rock 'n' roll attitude to life. He likes young women, loud music and has an addiction to morphine.

Waters says he spent the day with a surgeon to better understand his new character.

"I wanted to shoot up heroin for six months, too," he says, laughing again.

"No, seriously, this is a great character to play.

"So many people think of junkies as people who trawl gutters and break into houses, but there are a lot of professionals out there with habits who are functioning."

Waters seems to be making his way around TV shows that involve emergency services.

In his past three TV roles he has played a doctor (on All Saints), a police detective (Young Lions) and a fireman (Fireflies).

"Yes, it seems that wrapping a stethoscope around my neck is having a better result," he says.

"I was beginning to think I was something of a Jonah because my last two shows got canned.

"In fairness, Fireflies (ABC) was just starting to work when it ended and even now when I tour country towns with my band, people ask what happened.

"Nine buried Young Lions in an obscure timeslot. It never had a chance."

But with All Saints -- this week celebrating its 400th episode -- Waters has found his feet and the perfect role.