TV Week: “Oh my God, here I am – a detective!” Wildside May 8th 1999

TV Week
May 8th 1999

Former Heartbreak High actress Abi Tucker was thrown in at the deep end when she joined the Wildside cast…

With dark cropped hair framing intelligent blue eyes, a confident stride and assured manner, Wildside’s Kate Holbeck is every inch the tough detective. However, look past the severe suit and hairstyle and you’ll notice something very familiar about that lazy smile.

Yes, she may have a completely new look but there is no mistaking the delicate features and distinctive voice of Abi Tucker. Only two years ago she was groovy blonde rock singer Jodie Cooper in Heartbreak High. But now school’s out, the hair is gone and the Abi is all grown up and out to prove her versatility by playing the new detective on the beat in ABC’s Wildside.

“I had never done a role like this before,” Abi says. “Kate is a really strong person. It was out of my own character to play a detective, so it was good, hard acting work.”

After leaving Heartbreak High, Abi farewelled her friends in Sydney and set out for London armed with her backpack and guitar, to concentrate on her singing.

It worked out well, but when an acting opportunity on Wildside came along Abi knew it couldn’t be ignored. She jumped on the next plane home, eager to meet her challenge.

A philosophical kind of girl, Abi is a firm believer that the role came at the right time to lead her on a new path in life.

“If you believe you are on a little path and something brings you back, then you are obviously on the right path,” Abi says “The lease of the house I had in London ran out the day I was due to come back. Some things are just meant to be, I guess.

“I thought Wildside was fantastic,” she says. “I loved the energy of it.”

Abi may have played an easygoing, peace-loving school girl in Heartbreak High, but the Wildside crew was determined to toughen her up.

The first few weeks on the job saw her character Kate shoot a knifewielding maniac, have conflicts with Charlies Coustas (Alex Dimitriades) and deal with the nightmares brought on by the shooting.

“The first scene I had to do was at Central station (in Sydney), in front of all these people,” she remembers. “I was standing there and thinking, ‘Oh my God, here I am – a detective!”. It was good because my character was new, so me being new was an extension of that.

“When I read in the script that I was going to shoot someone, I was up for the challenge. It was weird because that was shot in my first two weeks on the show, so I was still running on nervous energy.”

While Abi relished her time on Wildside, she wasn’t devastated that the Logie Award-winning show was in its final season.

“I was in two minds,” she admits. “It Wildside had gone on I would have been ecstatic. But if it stopped, which it did, I would have been fine about it. Everything has a time and a place.”

By Belinda Young.

Original content copyright TV Week.