When Ben Rafter lost his wife Melissa in Packed to the Rafters millions of Australian TV viewers were glued to their screens and since then they’ve watched Ben, played by Adelaide born Hugh Sheridan, battle with his grief and finally start to build a new life.
Leigh: Packed to the Rafters is a huge hit, did you have any idea it would take off as it has?
Hugh: Absolutely none! In fact I can remember getting the script at drama school and thinking why would people want to watch this show? You know when you see it on paper… I guess because nothing like that had ever been done before. It was a show and the first episode was just about kids moving back in with their parents and thought is that really the premise of a show that would touch home with people?... and boy did it ever. I remember getting advice from someone about it when I was on my 5th call back and I thought is this a show I want to do? They said are you kidding! It’s brilliant.
Leigh: They Were right. Hugh: They were right and its gone from strength to strength. I think everything that happened with Ben last year was a bonus because it gave me another place to take the character and also as an actor perhaps people saw Ben as a light fluffy character but to be able to show his flipside.
Leigh: You grew up in Adelaide obviously, second youngest of seven children. It must have been a wild household? Was it always a performing household?
Hugh: I was fighting for food that’s for sure! Whenever I go out people say gosh you eat so fast and so much and I think, I guess that comes from being the smallest and grabbing food as quickly as I can! It was wild and great and I owe a lot to my family about the direction my life has taken.
Leigh: Were you always a performer?
Hugh: Definitely. We have home video of my sisters Zoe and Meg and there use to be a show “Touch of Elegance” and they did “Clutch of Elephants” an interview show and I was one of the guests and I was about three!
Leigh: So you don’t live here full time anymore what is it you miss about Adelaide and South Australia?
Hugh: I mostly miss my family and Port Adelaide my other family! In fact coming back it’s like stepping into another world its so different from Sydney there’s so much to appreciate. It’s spread out you have room to move, its not as hectic and I don’t have people knocking down my door for work I have friends saying “I know you’re here because I saw it in the paper!” So its great to come back and catch up with schoolmates.
Leigh: Do you appreciate it differently now?
Hugh: Oh definitely especially things that I took for granted… the Fleurieu Peninsula, I mean I grew up and was fortunate to be able to go to Aldinga Beach all the time and Port Willunga, Carrickalinga all those areas and as a kid you have no idea how remarkable those places are and what they mean to me now is something very different.
Leigh: I have to say its lovely to have you back. Rafters is off air at the moment but what can we expect from Ben? Is there more love in Bens life? I’m a bit concerned!
Hugh: I think there is, what we’re shooting at the moment suggests there will be. I don’t know if there is but he has met someone who has helped him a lot, the audience will know who that is, and it seems to be blossoming, the scene we shot recently I cried. The way they brought the two together made him have a connection. Hugh: I think the thing about rafters is, hear those cockies! That’s Adelaide!! The writers never stop coming up with brilliant plot lines and the audience can rest assured that it will be a hard show to leave if ever I do!
Leigh: We never want you to leave! I think Rafters has many, many years left. So thank you for taking the time to talk good luck to you and to Ben fingers crossed for love and romance.
Hugh: Thank you Leigh. It was great to speak with you.