Sophie Dillman and Patrick O’Connor’s relationship has seen a lot of ups and downs recently, from vehicle accidents and near-fatal poisoning to lingering worries about their future.
Of course, we’re talking about their on-screen romance on Home and Away, where they play lovebirds Ziggy and Dean.
After a blockbuster season, the couple has faced adversity and triumphed, giving their portrayers a much-needed break.
“It’s been a huge year!” Patrick, who plays Dean, tells TV WEEK at our beachside photoshoot. “I really enjoyed playing out the car crash scenes. It was an incredible shoot to be on and watching the car get flipped from behind the scenes was pretty impressive. Not to mention the beautiful locations of Yass and Wee Jasper in New South Wales.”
Sophie adds that the players of H&A have had a “crazy” year, but one that she is thankful to have enjoyed in light of the global pandemic, which has pushed many Australians out of work.
“We were looking forward to getting into this year and leaving 2020 behind and that didn’t happen,” she says. “We’ve all had to adapt and change – including the storylines – but it’s a real testament to how cohesive our team is. It’s been a tough year but one I’m so proud of.”
Sophie and Patrick, who live together in Sydney, are very familiar with one other and their personalities. However, collaborating to bring their experiences to light isn’t as simple as it appears.
“It’s actually really hard work,” Sophie says. “Paddy and I are different to our characters so making their instincts seem natural when they aren’t our own is a good challenge.”
They also recognize the necessity of turning out the lights at the end of the day, with Sophie describing their home as a “haven.”
They do have one thing in common with Ziggy and Dean: they both enjoy going to the beach. The couple were both born in Queensland and want to spend the holidays with their family. Patrick sees it as an opportunity to enjoy everything the season has to offer.
“Strangely the one thing that reminds me of Christmas is just around the corner is Eggnog [laughs]. I picked up my first one of the season the other day!” Paddy says with a laugh. “But most of our family is up in Queensland and it’ll be great to spend it with them after the last year.”
As for Sophie, rest and recovery are on the Christmas menu.
“It’s a great time to unwind and be around people you love,” she says.
While they can’t divulge what is under the Christmas tree, Paddy jokes that he would love to gift Dean a new car – “it’s time for a Holden SS Ute!” he says – while Sophie admits that her wish list typically leans on more towards the practical side, than luxurious.
“I don’t quite remember if it was my worst gift, but I asked for a vacuum a few years ago,” she says. “So I suppose it was my fault it was so boring [laughs]!”
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