TV Week: “Frankly, Franky Wasn’t Me” Prisoner 28th April 1979

TV Week
28th April 1979


THE DESTRUCTION of Franky Doyle has been bitter-sweet for actress Carol Burns.

Franky’s final exit from the highly successful 0-10 Network series Prisoner will take place in the week starting April 28, a plot line forced on the writers of the series by Carol’s refusal to be involved in a show being produced at the rate of two hours a week.

Carol did not want to become typecast, either … perhaps there was a slight fear of such a strong character overcoming the actual actress.

But, while this talented lady from Brisbane seems happy to be leaving her hectic Prisoner schedules and Franky behind, there is no doubt that she’s feeling the occasional twinge of sadness about the demise of the tough lesbian she played.

Franky has been everything that a very feminine Carol Burns is not … and she has become the hit of a blatantly commercial series as well as fulfilling the desire of a serious actress to play a strong, credible role.

“I’ve never had such recognition from the public for anything I’ve done, “Carol said.

“Franky’s been the anti-hero, I suppose … she’s done some awful things.

“I set out to play a nasty person, but I wanted to show why she was nasty.

“We haven’t got very much in common … the most violent thing I’ve ever done was throw a brush at a window in frustration when I was about 16.

“T’ve only ever been hit twice in my life. The first time was by my father when I’d told my mother to shut up and I remember being incredibly shocked.

“The other time a chap I was going out with hit me when he was drunk. I just walked away spoken to him since — my reaction to violence.

“I suppose the only thing Franky and I have in common is that we are both fairly serious people.”

At 31 — “I’m a Scorpio who’s a little overweight at the moment” — and after a wealth of experience in theatre and radio, Carol Burns seems certain to become one of television’s most sought after actresses.

Already Crawford Productions has signed her for two roles — in Jovan, the telemovie being made to reintroduce Andrew McFarlane into The Sullivans, and an episode of Young Ramsay.

“But there’s always struggle for work,” Carol said.

“After I did The Mango Tree people told me I’d be getting lots more offers to do movies. I haven’t had one.

“But I would like to keep a balance between movies, TV, the theatre and radio. My ambition is to be regarded as a good actress in 40 years’ time.

“Stars come and go, but good actresses go on forever. The money and the recognition are just nice adjuncts to practising your profession.’

And Carol Burns regards her profession as the best career in the world.

“It encourages you to go investigate so many people, then try to understand and interpret them,” she said.

“I was part of a group of 18 people from Australian theatre companies who went to China last year.

“I’d love to be able to go back to work in a company there for six months or so but, of course, I’d have to learn to speak Chinese.”

Meanwhile, it’s onto the two roles for Crawfords, projects Carol Burns is hoping will underline the fact that Franky Doyle was a combination of a writer’s imagination and the talents of an actress.

“It’s important to me that people know Franky was acted, that she didn’t actually exist,” Carol said.

“Peta Toppano is worried about that, too. She’d been getting letters from people who said she couldn’t be a very nice person because she wasn’t good to Franky!”


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