EXCLUSIVE: Home and Away’s Georgie Parker and Ray Meagher share in their special bond playing father and daughter
After clocking up on Home and Abroad for more than three decades, Ray Meagher possibly saw anything until 2020.
No one could have expected how pervasive and unpredictable the global pandemic would become and the actor jokingly says he “may need another year after reflection to consider and react to how it changed him.
“It’s been an incredible year for all sorts of reasons,” Ray, 76, who plays the famous Alf Stewart, tells TV WEEK.
“The biggest dent in our year was when Home and Away were shut down for eight or nine weeks and couldn’t work. But in hindsight, how lucky were we? A lot of people suffered a lot worse and are still.”
She quietly appreciated the downtime, adds Georgie Parker, 55, who is also multi-tasking.
“It’s hard with the amount of time we work in the schedule, but I was able to evaluate how I spend the time – and there’s no way I would’ve taken that time off without being forced too,” she says.
“I’m so thankful for the career I have but forced timeout allowed me to adjust my way of thinking. I took up ocean swimming, which was extremely exhilarating. I loved the experience of it Once I managed the fear of being in open water, it was so rewarding.”
Ray, who plays the legendary character Alf Stewart, says back on set that he easily adapted to the modern normal of masks, temperature controls, and sanitization.
But with his co-stars, re-joining the fray felt like returning home.
The same goes for Georgie, who plays Roo for her tenth anniversary, adds that both on and off set she and Ray share a close bond.
She says, “Time has flown by! I love this character; she’s so spirited,”
“Playing Alf Stewart’s daughter, I’m also tethered to a much-loved man. I adore Ray, we get along so well and he’s truly the beating heart of the show.”
Ray continues that with the small community of cast members who live in the fictitious Stewart household, his highlight for the year is working.
“The likes of Emily Symons, Ada Nicodemou, Georgie Parker and Belinda Giblin have all lived in my house,” he says.
“It’s a pleasure to work with them every day.”
The co-stars, who play father and daughter, hope that this Christmas they will be lucky enough to see their real family, but recognize that this year will be very different for many. Ray is a Queenslander by birth, and if he can, he’ll try to get there.
“Both [his wife] Jilly and I have family up in Queensland – which is basically Christmas isn’t it?” he says playfully.
“If we can get there we will, but at our age – I think I’m 92 or 102 these days [laughs] – that time of year is more for the kids as they rip open their presents with big smiles. I’m hoping we get to see some of that action but will take it as it comes.”
Meanwhile, Georgie Parker adds that she’s unbelievably fortunate to live close to her parents.
Steve Worland, her husband, works as an author from home and her daughter, Holly, is a budding artist, making it easier for all to be in one place.
“I’m fortunate that they’re only five minutes away from me – it’s invaluable,” she says.
“I just want to be with my family this Christmas. Everyone will come over for lunch and for me, that’s what I need.”