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Daily Telegraph Interview


Gigi was interviewed by Daily Telegraph about her role in Tricky Business.

THE last time TV fans saw Gigi Edgley, she was leaping off tall buildings in a single bound on 'Rescue Special Ops'.

Fast-forward to her new role on Channel 9's Tricky Business and this wonder woman is throwing herself into playing single mother Kate Christie.

While some actors might baulk at getting to the age of being cast as "the mum", Perth-born Edgley was sold instantly on the modern complexities of the character.

Sitting in the offices of casting agents Mulliners, reading the pilot script, the 34-year-old says she had no hesitation in signing up for single motherhood.

"The whole vibe of episode one just completely blew me away; like I was bawling, then I was laughing, then I had goosebumps. The casting girls were coming in going 'are you all right?' It was just fabulous," Edgley says.

"I'm happy to play a mum; you can pretty much throw anything at me and as long as it's got a strong script, I'm very very happy to play it."

Did you watch the first episode of Tricky Business? What did you think?

The fact she would be playing opposite her on-screen mother Debra Byrne was also a drawcard both professionally and personally.

The resilient Byrne has had major highs, but more than her share of devastating lows, in a stage and screen career spanning 30 years.

Enduring an abusive childhood and the pressures that came with being a teen star on the original Young Talent Time, she has only recently made peace with herself over the drug addiction and dysfunction that followed and saw her life spiral out of control.

Documenting her personal story in a shocking autobiography, Not Quite Ripe, Byrne laid bare her demons and the hurt that has damaged her and driven her career.

But even now, as she makes her return to television, playing the new family drama's matriarch Claire Christie, life is still throwing challenges at the 55-year-old. Only this time, she seems ready.

A mother of three daughters - Arja, 32, Lauren, 30 and Lucille, or Lulu as she is known to the family, 12 - Byrne is also raising her three grandsons, Oliver, Aaron and newborn Spencer.

Juggling her home life with a recent role in the musical Mary Poppins, Byrne was able to swap that hectic six-day and night schedule for the family-friendly world of TV.

"(The stage) is hard work and very repetitive. Your nights are spent leaving the house just as everybody else is settling down for a cuddle," Byrne tells, adding, "I feel incredibly blessed to still be here."

After all that she's been through, Byrne is not deterred by the knockers who have dismissed Tricky Business as a knock-off of Channel 7's Logie-winning series Packed To The Rafters.

For Byrne, this job is another opportunity to learn and heal.

Also starring Kip Gamblin and Lincoln Lewis, Tricky Business is anchored by Byrne and her TV husband, versatile veteran Shane Bourne - the same anchor that Rebecca Gibney and Erik Thomson provide with similar ease on Rafters.

In a candid admission, Byrne says she is still searching for the kind of relationship she is now playing on TV.

"Jim and Claire have such a great friendship and a great love for their family, their home. It's a relationship I've never been able to achieve, the one that they have. The longevity and the friendship, the true friendship that they have.

"There's a lovely comfort with them and that's not something I've actually ever experienced in a relationship. So that's been nice, it's been interesting to find what that's like and to play that is really good. It's nice to see that coming on to the screen."

The chemistry with Bourne was almost instant, sparking as soon as the production began rehearsals for the series, which premiered this week.

"The first day when we were sitting around the table doing the read-through, Lincoln (who plays a young debt collector in the Christie's family business) said to me, 'It's like you guys have been married forever' and I said, 'Yeah I know.' It's just been good casting, we're a good pairing."

But playing the nurturing, resilient matriarch is not such a stretch for Byrne.

"I'm pretty much a matriarchal character myself actually," she says.

"She's no wimp, she knows what she's doing and (she's) very proud of her family. She's very committed to them, they come first in everything. Nothing about her family is perfect, but she's really happy with how her family has grown and how her children have become beautiful, good women ... who make mistakes but who are good women."

Edgley likes the intensity of the Christie family's drama which goes from all right to wrong in one episode. "Her life is in this perfect, wonderful, blissful bubble and within an instant all of it is smashed."

Acutely aware of the pressures that a new project brings, Edgley says the cast and crew were "all keen to put something new into the industry".

Turned off by the current fare of reality TV and American sitcoms, she says the faith shown in starting up Tricky Business is good for local talent.

"We've got such a huge pool of talent ... the scripts are second to none, the locations are completely breathtaking and the characters are extremely strong. With all of that in the recipe, it's gotta be a success."