TV Week
15th November 1986

Star Search discovery wins role on The Flying Doctors

Former Star Search finalist and judge George Kapiniaris is joining the regular cast of The Flying Doctors.

The talented 24-year- old, who has been working as a member of the popular comedy duo The Tibaldi Brothers for the past two years, won $7000 early this year for his solo comedy appearances as Pepe on Star Search.

But his signing as the Nine Network series’ new base radio operator Demetris Goanidis is his biggest career break to date.

George will replace former Cop Shop star Gil Tucker, who played Coopers Crossing’s radio operator Joe Forrest.

“When I was told on the telephone that I’d got the part I jumped up and down,” George says.

“But I’ve hardly told anyone because I’m scared to tell my friends — not that I’m embarrassed about it but I don’t want it to sound like an ego thing.”

Modest George landed his role in The Flying Doctors’ second series following an impressive guest appearance in an episode of the upcoming Grant Dodwell/Shane Withington series Willing And Abel. His only other major series acting role had been in an episode of ABC-TV’s The Fast Lane.

Willing And Abel producer Lynn Bayonas — who is also drama consultant at Nine — recommended the vibrant actor for the role in Crawfords’ popular medical series.

“Apparently a lot of people believed I’d suit this character,” George says.

“I learned the lines, wore a hat — because the character supposedly wears a hat — and tried to look the part. I went into the audition with a lot of energy.”

George is looking forward to starting work on his new TV character.

“It’s a comic role. The part was written for a young, comic-type character, which is good because that’s my area,” he says.

“His name is really hard to pronounce so he just calls himself D.J. It’s like when you’ve got a name like mine, George Kapiniaris.

“I remember at school it was really embarrassing when the teacher came to trying to read your name out on the role.

“Anyway, D.J. wants to be a disc jockey — that’s his ambition — and to work in a radio station. He soon does all the socials, country discos, at Coopers Crossing, but he also controls the radio from the base to the Flying Doctor plane and, when it comes to that, he is very serious.

“Once he takes his hat off and he’s at work he’s very precise and everything’s clear-cut and important. When he’s finished work he puts his hat on again and he’s off and fun-loving. He never gets into a temper.”

The fact D.J. is from a Greek background enthuses George.

“It’s a totally different character to the one Gil Tucker played and it’ll be good because I can put a lot of myself into him. It’s a realistic part. I don’t want to make him a caricature.”

George intends totally committing himself to The Flying Doctors.

“I’ve made a decision to stop all my comedy work and do this,” he says.

“It’s a new part of my life and I need to be absolutely committed.

“As far as working with a TV ‘family’, I’m not used to that. I haven’t had the chance to do that yet,” he says.

“But Willing And Abel was a good ‘family’ of people and I hope The Flying Doctors will be as good as that.

“I want to take it all in and I hope I can give a lot, too.”

He is not daunted by any potential fame nor the heart-throb tags which are usually associated with playing a bachelor on television.

“Sometimes people recognise me as Pepe or a Tibaldi Brother. I’m not George yet — and I’ll probably be ‘D.J’,” he says with a laugh.

“But it’s a step in the right direction. In comedy you can work your guts out but you never get the exposure you do on TV.

“It’s exciting to me and I know I’m going to devote all my time to this role.”

Original content copyright TV Week.