TV Week: “A chilling aftermath…” Halifax f.p. 5th September 1998

TV Week
5th September 1998

Halifax f.p. Afraid Of The Dark

THE latest Halifax f.p. thriller details the aftermath of a massacre at an isolated service station and cafe.

Forensic psychiatrist Jane Halifax (Rebecca Gibney) is sent in to counsel the survivors, a mechanic (Shane Connor) and a family, who escaped the gunman.

The episode also stars Hugh Jackman and Susan Lyons.

The Halifax scenario bears a chilling similarity to the real-life Port Arthur massacre in 1996 in which 35 people were killed by Martin Bryant.

The lasting effect of that tragedy was a major consideration for Shane while working on Halifax.

“My memories of Port Arthur are still so vivid that what I was actually trying to do was remove myself from it,” says Shane, whose character, Ray, turns to alcohol as a way of coping with the massacre at the service station.

“Pretty much all of Australia had such a personal or strong reaction to what happened in Port Arthur. In the end, I had to remind myself I was dealing with a Halifax episode and it is a different scenario to Port Arthur. So I tried to get away from it as much as possible.”

Ray’s struggle to deal with what happened, and having to face his demons, is one of the central storylines in this powerful episode. Shane says the four weeks of production were emotionally intense.

“I was totally aware of the fine line I was playing with this character,” he says.

“If I went too far, it was in danger of becoming self-indulgent, but if you went the other way and played safe, it just wound not have had the impact.”

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