Peter Mochrie starred in popular soap The Restless Years as swimmer Rick Moran. He caught up with TV Flashback to tell us more about his time on the show.
1) How did you become involved with The Restless Years?
I initially auditioned for the character of Tim that Jamie Gleeson played. The Producer Don Battye liked what I did in the audition so had the writers Rick Maier and Maureen Ann Moran create Olympic Swimmer Rick Moran.
2) Is it true your casting caused tension with some of the older cast members?
I’m not aware of any tension. I was greatly helped by cast members such as Tom Burlinson, Victoria Nicolls, Lenore Smith and Todd Boyce who are still great friends 40 years later. They were very generous to me and it something that I feel is vitally important in the creation of good ensemble acting.
3) You worked with a lot of talented actors during The Restless Years, who did you enjoy working with and what did you learn from your time on the show?
The guys that had been to NIDA and other Drama Schools were fonts of knowledge as was the great June Salter who was one of the wisest women I have had the privilege of working with. In those days I was very eager to learn the craft and it was June who steered me towards NIDA 10 years later.
4) So June Salter had a big impact on you?
June was so professional, caring and creative and taught me things that I teach at Drama Schools to this day. Learning the human condition and having your audience enjoy the ride was the key she stressed to me, along with always being kind and generous.
5) Do you remember much about the shooting schedule for the show?
We were lucky in those days to be a reasonably big ensemble so you could have a few heavy days with a block of scenes but generally the Producers and Grundy’s were sympathetic to the process of learning huge swabs of dialogue. It was for me, a joyous place to work.
6) You did a nude scene (from behind) how did that come about and were you keen to do it?
The nude scene was tastefully done and all care was taken to ensure I was comfortable. Although shot on a cold night in Winter in Ryde we were a great bunch so it wasn’t such a burden and having such a big reaction with the General Public made it worthwhile.
7) Did you have any input in the development of your character? If not, would you have liked the opportunity?
I liked that Rick came from a broken home and that we were able to bring some compassion to a fairly sensitive subject at the time. I had had a similar situation in my life and when I sat down with the writers they wrote a lot of what had happened to me. I found it resonated with the General Public really well and having Benita Collings play my mum was a bonus. She also was very generous with her advice and I am very honoured to teach with her at NIDA all these years later.
8) Did you have any favourite episodes or storylines?
I think my favourite storyline was Rick discovering his Mother played by Benita Collings and discovering he had a brother Stephen played by Simon Burke. It was a very well written emotional story about a broken family that really resonated with the Australian audience.
9) Did you decide to leave the show or were you written out?
I decided to leave because Crawfords had offered me a spot on a series called Holiday Island in Melbourne. In hindsight, not the greatest move but as there are no mistakes in life it moved my life on to the next chapter. I met some great Actors in Melbourne who are still my mates to this day, so it’s all good.
10) What do you think led to the success of the show?
I think the success of the show was due to a couple of factors. Firstly the Producers, Don Battye and Reg Watson knew their audience and created characters and stories that the Public could really relate to. The Producers employed the best writers of the day and created great morale in those teams… and finally, I think they cast those stories very well. Tell a good interesting human story and the audience will follow you almost anywhere.
Thanks so much to Peter for a great interview. Peter has been very generous with his time and we have more interviews with Peter coming up, so watch out for them. You can read a bit more about Peter at his website: https://petermochrie.com.
You can view Peter’s work on The Restless Years in the video below (external video):