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Star sheds teen image

Author: Scott Ellis
Date: 21/09/2008
Words: 616
Source: SHD
          Publication: Sun Herald
Section: Television
Page: 5
The last time Bob Morley was a TV regular, he was playing a teenage tearaway in Home And Away.

The biggest things he had to contend with were finishing his HSC and not getting caught in too many love triangles with Summer Bay's female population.

Fast forward to The Strip and he's now wearing a suit and carrying a gun, a young detective working on the mean streets of the Gold Coast.

He's up to his neck in drug busts, murder investigations and crooks who would like nothing more than to have one less cop in their world.

It's been a fast bit of growing up, Morley admits, but one he said he just had to do.

"It's really nice to be playing someone closer to my own age instead of doing the teenage angst thing," says Morley, 23.

"I mean, there I was playing an 18-year-old on Home And Away, and the kind of behaviour differences between that and a 25-year-old cop are huge.

"It meant I had to learn a whole range of new skills and that's very important to me. I think when you end up playing the same character for a long time you're not learning anything at all."

In The Strip, Morley's detective Tony Moretti is an impetuous cop constantly facing the ire of his partner Constable Jessica Mackay (played by Simone McAullay, see Flashback below). He's a thorough cop with a good work ethic but is not always good at thinking through the consequences of his actions. He is, Morley says, someone who acts first and thinks later ... if at all.

"That's his downfall ... but also what makes him so much fun to play.

"He has a seriousness about him but there are also a lot of comedic elements because of the stuff-ups he causes and that's a challenge for me because I'm not that funny."

He is undaunted, however, thanks to his Home And Away background. Working on the show was "the best training anyone could ask for".

"Home And Away is a great place to learn because it just moves at such a fast pace and the characters go through so much," he says.

"If you can do Home And Away - and do it well - I think you can do almost anything."

Which is just what he has in mind.

"The US or the UK are places I'd like to try one day but for now I'm really enjoying where things are going," Morley says.

"I've got this job and I'm loving it and there are a few other things I'm thinking about ... I'll just see where things go."

The Strip

Thursday, 8.30pm, Nine

Keeping it in the family

WHEN the officers of The Strip move into Inspector Max Nelson's office (Frankie J Holden), keep a close eye on the photographs decorating the wall behind his desk. The image of a strapping young lifesaver proudly standing on the beach may look a lot like a young Holden, but it's not. "That's my dad," Holden says proudly, pointing to the black-and-white image taken decades ago. "He's still with us and he's been a member of the Surf Life Saving Association for 75 years. He's a life member."

Flashback: Simone McAullay

PERTH-born Simone McAullay plays plain-clothes constable Jessica Mackay in The Strip, but very nearly didn't pursue acting at all. A keen dancer when young, she switched to sports in her teens and excelled at volleyball, representing Australia in her chosen sport for three years before auditioning for Sydney's Actors Centre. Graduating in 2000, volleyball took a back seat to stage and screen when she found work as one of the Blue Heelers cops and then a recurring Home And Away role.

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