TV Week: “Doctors in Love” The Flying Doctors 19th July 1986

TV Week
19th July 1986

Respect turns to love for The Flying Doctors’ Andrew McFarlane and Liz Burch.

ON screen Andrew McFarlane and Liz Burch share a tender, sometimes fiery, and unpredictable relationship. And, according to The Flying Doctors stars, it’s the same off camera.

“We are definitely a team on and off screen,” Andrew said.

Speaking to Andrew and Liz separately and together reveals they are equally passionate in their praise and respect for each other.

“We seem to do a lot of romantic things together,” Andrew said.

“It’s a very warm, personal friendship. Liz comes and stays with me in Sydney and when we don’t work together we’re always on the phone.

“But, believe me, it doesn’t stop us arguing. Our relationship is no true-heart romance. We feel brave enough to be able to argue with each other because we know we care, and once again that is mirrored in our on-screen roles,” Andrew said.

As it gets closer to the time of Andrew leaving the series to travel overseas, the couple are determined their relationship will carry on as before.

“I’ll miss him so much, but at the moment I’m not talking about it to Andrew,” said Liz. “He knows how I feel about him and what it’s going to be like without him. I’m determined that he will write to me, and I can always ring,” she said.

In spite of her own feelings, Liz is the first to admit that she understands Andrew’s decision to leave the series.

“I really do admire his decision to leave. In so many ways he has done the Dr Tom bit to death.

Andrew has to see what scope there is for him,” Liz said.

Doing promotional work for the series, Liz and Andrew again form a formidable duo.

“We did the Ray Martin Show together. I was absolutely terrified that I would swear or wouldn’t be able to speak at all. At one stage I completely dried up and Andrew just came in and finished the sentence for me,’’ Liz said with a laugh.

Shooting his final Flying Doctors scenes was a somewhat traumatic time for Andrew.

“I had a four-page speech to make. I found it very hard to stay as Dr Tom and not be Andrew McFarlane. I kept looking around and seeing all the familiar faces looking up at me,” Andrew said.

Andrew, who stars in the Nine Network series as Dr Tom Callaghan, and Liz, who plays Dr Chris Randall, met for the first time when they began filming on the series last November.

“I kept asking and asking who was going to play the female lead,” Andrew recalled. “Finally Crawfords told me Liz Burch, which really meant little to me. I’d heard of her, but I couldn’t remember seeing her in Cop Shop or Five Mile Creek.

“The first day on set I thought she was a nice girl. Gradually we started responding to each other on a purely professional level.

“It just grew from there. Every time she’d stop talking I’d start. That sort of thing just doesn’t happen too often.”

“Luckily we have a lot of mutual friends so there are always plenty of double invitations.

“We go out a lot together. I’ve been to her parents’ house to stay. That showed me where Liz gets her vivacity from — her mother,”’ Andrew added with a laugh.

“Liz is absolutely forthright. I admire that. I tend to sit back, but with Liz, if she believes something, she comes right out and says it. She’s a strong personality and so it’s never easy, you never know what’s going to come out next.”

Liz admits she was wary of Andrew for the first couple of days on set.

“I had never met Andrew before so I think it was only natural that I would be a bit nervous,” Liz said.

“I mean, he is so beautiful to look at. He’s always been cast in lead roles so I knew his work well.

“In the series we do so much work together and I can honestly say I have never met anyone I enjoy being with or working with as much as Andrew.

“He is so supportive, so down to earth. He’s always pulling me up, saying things like: ‘You were so bloody rude to so and so’ — all the sort of things I need.

“We are a great buffer for each other. He’s calm when I’m hysterical, but when he gets cross look out,” Liz said with a grin.

On set, the close bond formed between Andrew and Liz is acknowledged by the rest of the cast and crew.

“They are incredible together, a cast member said. “If you see Andrew, you know Liz has to be close by; they are inseparable.”

For once, Andrew managed to have the last word.

“We love each other, but are not in love with each other, Otherwise I’d be out of my mind!”

Mannix… To The Max!

BEING passionate at 7.00 am in front of 30 people is the hardest work pop hero Brian Mannix has ever done.

“I mean, I’d only met the girl once before and I had to kiss her and everything in front of everyone. That was when I realised these jokers

The lead singer of the hit band Uncanny X-Men was experiencing his first serious acting role — and finding it not as easy as it looks.

Brian had finished five episodes of The Flying Doctors.

He plays one of the small-town characters of Coopers Crossing.

“Everyone in the town knows him as Lionel,” Brian said. “He’s on the dole and spends a lot of time in the pub. He’s also a bit of a dill. One day he goes and sees a Mad Max movie and gets carried away by the whole thing.

“Next thing you know he changes his name to Max, wears crazy clothes and generally has a good time.”

Before starting work on the series Brian had little “real” acting experience.

“The videos and the on-stage performances are all acting,” said Brian, ‘but, boy, was I nervous the first couple of days on this job!”

By Amanda Zachariah

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