ENTERTAINMENT

Kate Ritchie returns to Aussie TV screens in ‘The Claremont Murders’

"It's reignited something in me."
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It’s been almost a decade since Kate Ritchie last graced our TV screens, having called time on her 25-year run as Sally Fletcher on Home and Away back in 2013. However, the 44-year-old certainly hasn’t been twiddling her thumbs.   

The past year especially has seen plenty of ups and downs for the star. 

Following a shock drink-driving charge last August, Ritchie entered a private mental health clinic a few months later to help treat her alcohol dependency.

“It was a long time coming,” the beloved actress has said of seeking help. “I was fortunate to be able to take time. I gained clarity and that is why I feel so good about coming back now.”

And Ritchie has certainly come back with a bang. 

WATCH: Kate Ritchie and Isla Fischer can’t keep it together in Home & Away blooper

She returned to radio in March as a co-host on the Fitzy & Wippa with Kate Ritchie show. And the actress is also set to make a triumphant return to the small screen, starring in the Seven miniseries The Claremont Murders.

Appearing with another Aussie favourite, Erik Thomson, Ritchie will play Carol Spiers whose daughter, Sarah, went missing from Claremont, Perth in 1996 – followed by two other young women months later. The chilling case became one of the most high-profile mysteries to grip the nation and it took more than 20 years to solve the crime. 

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Kate Ritchie is returning to screens after taking a break from acting. (Credit: Instagram)

For Ritchie, the role was a no-brainer. Here, she chats to WHO about her return to the small screen and how it felt being back on set…

How was that first day of filming after so many years away from acting? Were there any nerves? 

Remarkably, there were no nerves, and I feel that is a very good indication I am doing something I am meant to be doing and something that I love. I was looking forward to being part of such an incredible ensemble cast and knew I was always in good hands alongside them. Walking on set was like having a cup of tea with an old friend. 

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Kate has taken on a new role in The Claremont Murders. (Credit: Instagram)

What was it like working with Erik Thomson? Did you know each other before this project? 

I had passed Erik in the Channel 7 corridors for many years, had been a fan of his work and even seen him socially, so working together was a welcome invitation. I am like the rest of Australia – how can you feel as if you don’t know Erik?! He was an absolute pleasure.

Has taking on this role reignited the acting spark for you, and can we expect to see you in other roles in the future? 

Working alongside the people I have on this production, and purely just being on set flexing the muscle that I exercised as a child, has most definitely reignited something in me. I hope I’m able to juggle both my love for acting and my desire to entertain people as they wake up every day on radio. Let’s see!

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Ritchie would sing her daughte the Home and Away theme song. (Credit: Instagram)

Is your daughter, Mae, aware of your Home and Away past, and what your job is like in acting and radio? 

She knows that I have been working on a project that she will not be able to watch. We then started watching clips of other acting jobs Mummy did. It then prompts questions. So I showed her a leather-bound copy of the Home and Away pilot the other day and she began reading it as if it was a novel! She doesn’t know much about my journey before she came along. It was funny though when she heard the [Home and Away] theme song, she said, “That’s the song you used to sing to me as a baby, Mumma!” I love that she loves me because I am her mummy and nothing more. 

If you could tell 10-year-old Kate that she would have a long-term career in acting and radio, how do you think she’d feel about that and what advice would you give her? 

I would tell her to stick to her career hopes of being an architect or a vet!

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