When Craig McLachlan was caught up in real life scandal earlier this year over his alleged behaviour on a stage production of The Rocky Horror Show, his TV hit The Doctor Blake Mysteries seemed headed for a bleak future.
The ABC drama had already been pulled off air amid whispers from very well-placed sources that some at the public broadcaster allegedly felt the period drama was 'too old' and the central cast and characters ‘too white’ for the show to be continued. This despite great ratings and a very strong international following.
The show was then picked up by Seven for a freshen, a modernisation and an exciting update, with the events of the new continuation set years after the last ABC episodes concluded. But the lead actor’s headline-grabbing scandal seemed to indicate the show was probably done for, again.
However, that was before fans and stars alike rallied to save the day. Now Blake star Nadine Garner has confirmed in an interview with WHO’s TV podcast, Binge List, how the show’s dark times ended in a positive outcome. Now we have TV movie The Blake Mysteries: Ghost Stories to look forward to. (Yes, the 'Doctor' is now gone from the title!)
‘From that time of desperation came an idea of how can we save this, how can we get people back work, how can we pitch this to Seven to make them excited about rethinking it?’ Nadine revealed in an onset chat with journalist and Binge List podcaster Clare Rigden –with the actress confirming she had been ‘pretty involved’ in helping to save the show.
‘I was at the time, when it was all really hitting the fan back in February, doing a little theatre piece and talking to journalists, and everyone was asking me about Blake,’ she recalls.
‘I came away from that time, thinking, the funny thing is, even though everyone acknowledges what’s happened to Craig, they still expect the show to go on.
‘It’s like the show transcends what’s going on in the real world, and that’s the interesting thing. The show has taken hold in a way that people want it to keep going. They don’t really know how that happens, but they just want to keep seeing the show.
‘And a confidence built around the heavy fandom of the show, and the very strong fan base that the show had. I think it encouraged us to be bold and pitch something.’
That something sees her taking centre stage in a new TV movie that sees her character facing unresolved matters from the past – including the mystery of what happened to Dr Lucien Blake, who is missing presumed dead.