Jump to content

Full Kate Ritchie UK Press Interview

Guest Andy

Recommended Posts

'I'm glad I wasn't a flash in the pan'

By Gemma Quade

Press Association - Premier Showbiz

24 July 2007'

©2007, The Press Association, All Rights Reserved

Kate Ritchie has played Home And Away's Sally Fletcher-Saunders on Five for the last 20 years, since she was eight years old. The Aussie soapstar reveals what it was like growing up on TV, and talks about her most demanding storylines.

Kate Ritchie has got one of the most recognisable faces on television. She has played Home And Away's Sally Fletcher-Saunders for a staggering 20 years, ever since she was just eight years old.

When we meet, she's been in Britain for four days and despite the jetlag insists she's having a whale of a time pottering around London. Although she's sat through a whole day of interviews, Kate is still chirpy and chatty, and is getting nostalgic looking back at her two decades in Summer Bay.

She says she still remembers auditioning for the show and filming the pilot, way back in 1987.

"The premise of the whole show when it started was the foster family, the kids would come in with their little broken wings and they'd be mended and sent off again," Kate smiles.

"I think it's nice when they're the kind of stories we get back to sometimes. When you live in a place like Summer Bay where we are forever having floods, people lost at sea and all these really dramatic things, it's nice to get back to the essence of stories about life."

You would think that having started her acting career at such a young age there would have been a parent's hand pushing Kate on stage, but she insists her mum and dad, while they have been supportive, have always kept her feet firmly on the ground.

"I don't come from a showbiz family, my parents are the opposite to stage parents," the 28-year-old laughs. "They always said if my grades went down at school then I'd have to leave the show. I think that's the best thing they could have ever done for me because it made me work hard.

"Growing up on a television show, it's important to hang out with kids at school and talk about normal things. I like to think that's why I've turned out so well balanced because I didn't give up all that stuff to be a child star."

And far from being the usual precocious child actress flaunting her fame, Kate preferred to keep a low profile at school.

"I wasn't ever one of those kids who got to school and talked about it. I didn't want to show off about it, in fact I was a little bit embarrassed," she explains. "You know what it's like at school, you don't want to be different from the other kids, so I talked it down a bit."

Kate has done all of her growing up on screen - from gawky kid through insecure teenager to confident woman. It's not something many people go through.

"It's a very unique experience, but for me it was completely normal. I can't really remember what life was like before Home And Away," she chuckles, before admitting that at times it was very difficult, particularly through adolescence.

"Growing up and going through puberty is hard enough to do in the privacy of your own home with your brother teasing you, let alone going to school the morning after announcing to the world on telly you're wearing your first bra," she says honestly.

"People come up to me all the time and say, 'One day Sally was a child and the next day she had an enormous set of breasts!' When in the real world would you ever be allowed to say that to someone?" Kate asks with a grin. "I'm meant to laugh and say, isn't that funny. Now I can, as a 28-year-old woman and in hindsight I can laugh it off - but at the time it was kind of mortifying.

"It was hard because for a long time I guess I was a bit embarrassed of Sally. She wasn't cool, she didn't have cool clothes and she didn't go out with the cool boy," she continues. "She tried so hard to get into the cool gang but wasn't ever quite accepted.

"At the time it was hard being that girl. More than anything you want to be the beautiful, popular girl like everyone does, whether you're on telly or not.

"Looking back now I'm glad I wasn't that, I'm glad I represented your average Joe Bloe. I'm glad I wasn't some flash in the pan, that I didn't keep my job because I was the prettiest girl - I obviously kept my job because I was good at what I did. That's comforting as you get older because personally I feel like it represents a little bit more.

"At the time I probably hated it, but now I'm glad that was my journey."

While she may not be in the same league as Bill Roache's 47-year Corrie stint, Kate's 20 years on Home And Away has been entered into the Guinness Book Of World Records. She and Ray Meagher, who plays Alf Stewart, share the title of the longest serving actor on an Australian drama series.

"Ray and I often joke about who's going to knock the other one off to keep the title for themselves!" she laughs. "I have a feeling he might win it, but I can't see either of us going anywhere any time soon.

"If I were ever to leave the show it would be a bit of a shock to the system, because regardless of whatever else has been going on in my life, whether it's good or bad, Home And Away has always been my constant. It's like an old faithful friend!"

However, Kate has recently been branching out of Summer Bay. Last year the actress took part in reality show It Takes Two - the Aussie version of Just The Two Of Us - which sees celebrities pair up with professional singers to perform duets live on TV. And Kate is the first to admit she's no Christina Aguilera.

"I had a go," she laughs. "I've done panto and I had a few singing lessons as a kid, but on my resume it does not say singer, and I have no desire to release an album!

"When I look back now on the show I can't even believe I agreed to do it. I'm usually such a conservative decision maker.

"As much as it was, at times, the worst experience of my life, just feeling really vulnerable, I needed to do it because for a long time I wondered if Home And Away was the only thing I was capable of doing. In my heart I knew that wasn't true, but it was something I needed to prove to other people. There was something about going out there and having a go that was quite liberating.

"They asked me to come back for the second series to co-host, and it's been fantastic," she says. "Nerve-wracking, because I've never done live television or hosting like that, but nothing compared to my experience last year - it's like a holiday this time around!"

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.