He played one of the longest-running characters in the history of Neighbours, but now Ian Smith is shaking off all signs of Harold Bishop and starring as a somewhat unconventional man of the cloth.
When a death rocks the Butler household, Greg is forced to grapple with his inability to talk about death. With mortality fresh in their minds, Em begins to push Greg to discuss their own plans for the afterlife, forcing him to call in the big guns: Father Michael.
Ahead of his guest-starring role on How To Stay Married, Ian answered a few questions all about Father Michael.
What made you say yes to the role?
Mainly because as an actor, I trust Peter Helliar’s work. His scripts automatically suggest the visual image, and you are only left with the business of building your character. And the cast?! Beautiful.
Plus, I had never met Judith Lucy and I have to admit to being a bit of a fan. So instead of standing at the stage door with an autograph book here was my chance to work with her. Bonus.
What did you think about playing a priest?
Well… I was made a Catholic before I had any say in it, and Catholicism and I never fell in love. Too many unanswered questions brushed away with a single word. Faith. And the priests of my time were stodgy old farts who couldn’t raise a smile. Here was my chance to have a bit of fun.
I’d hate to think that I’d done the church a favour but I do hope we raised a giggle.
What's Father Michael's story?
A difficult question because I don’t think that even the Father knew why he was there. I do believe the bottle of wine that he presented to the luncheon was indicative of his existence: questionable and dodgy quality.
Any more TV in the future?
I’d love to think so, but I believe that it’s manners to wait until you’re asked.
It’s a wonderful way to earn a living.
How To Stay Married airs Tuesdays after MasterChef on 10 and 10 play on demand