TV Week: “Like father, like son” All Saints 7th August 1999

TV Week
7th August 1999

All Saints newcomer Jake Blundell reveals more than just a passing I resemblance to his famous father.

WHEN it came to doing research for his role as Tony Hurst, the new ward clerk in All Saints, series newcomer Jake Blundell didn’t take the usual route and head straight for the closest emergency ward.

In fact, where Jake did his research was far from the clinical environment of the medical system. Working in a Sydney bar, the closest he got to a sick person was probably serving a drink or two to enthusiastic Saturday night revellers destined to wake up with a nasty hangover in the morning.

It was at the bar, which had a large gay clientele, that Jake says he managed to pick up many of the mannerisms he has subtly woven into Tony.

“It was fantastic,” he says. “I learnt a lot about gay people by just being there. There’s a general perception that gays are very campy, but I tried to get away from that.

“My character does play it up a bit with certain characters, like Connor [Jeremy Cumpston]. He worries Connor by pretending he fancies him, but he’s not campy. He’s a normal, middle-class guy who just wants to be like everybody else.”

Jake, 24, also plays the upbeat Tony with an impish sense of humor and a certain fluttering of the eyes, which will inevitably remind many of Seventies film character Alvin Purple. A comic playboy who featured in a series of risqué feature films and a spin-off TV series, Alvin turned Jake’s father, Graeme Blundell, into an overnight sex symbol.

Jake, who bears an uncanny physical resemblance to his father, says: “When I look back at Alvin Purple, I can see a lot of myself in him [Graeme].”

Unlike children of other famous parents who often try to distance themselves from a parent’s achievements, Jake finds the comparisons flattering.

“I’m proud of who he is, and he has taught me a lot,” he says. “I don’t feel my identity has been crushed.”

While Jake has appeared in television shows such as the now-defunct GP, taken a few feature film roles and even written and directed his own short film called Little Thief, Tony Hurst is his biggest role so far, and one of his most dramatic.

Soon after his first appearance on-screen, Tony is thrown into the thick of the drama when he’s jabbed by a dirty needle, which has been left lying at the nurses’ station by an overworked Steph Markham (Kirrily White).

In ordinary circumstances, a needle-stick injury is frightening enough, with a variety of diseases able to be transmitted through the blood. In Tony’s case, the three-month wait until he knows if he has contracted anything nasty is made all the more agonising — it’s revealed that the needle was used while treating a patient who was once a prostitute and a junkie.

“Tony’s angry with himself for the needle-stick because, being gay, he’s always taken precautions in his sex life … and then this happens to him,” Jake says.

In real life…

John Rolley was working as a registered nurse in a Newcastle, NSW, hospital in 1995 when he was stabbed by the spike on the end of a blood transfusion set.

The patient from whom he had removed the blood transfusion set had been elderly, was suffering from a low blood count and has experienced a lot of bleeding.

“Irrespective of the source, no one can guarantee that a bag of blood is absolutely pure,” John tells TV Week, “Also, the spike that stabbed me had been in the patient.

“I had to be tested for hepatitis C and HIV, and had to go back after three months and then six months. I tried to convene myself there would be nothing wrong, because I didn’t receive enough blood.

“In the end, everything was fine. But it’s not until you get the proof in your hands that you can relax. My heart goes out to anyone who has a needle-stick injury.”

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