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Judy Nunn Radio Interview

Guest Dan F

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Actress and Author Judy Nunn

Richard Fidler, ABC Queensland


Judy Nunn, Richard Fidler & Judy's husband Bruce Venables

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You might know actress and author Judy Nunn as a soap star from her long run as Ailsa on Home and Away. If you have an even longer memory then you might remember her as the wicked Vicki from the raunchy 1970s drama series The Box.

Nunn was there in the 1970s when Australian TV went wild. Then in the 1980s and 1990s, while bright young kids were brought through the door on Home and Away and then thrown out the back again, Nunn kept going. Now, she is the author of novels like The Glitter Game and Territory.

Acoording to her website, Nunn grew up near the Swan River in Western Australia. "My big brother Robert and I grew up swimming and boating and crabbing and prawning and diving for the mussels that grew in abundance on the pylons of Claremont Jetty," she recalls.

Her father Bob was an agriculturalist but also an avid sailor and a skilled amateur boat builder. "When I was 12 Dad built me my own little yacht. She was a beautiful little boat with varnished seats, brightly painted orange sides and white trim, and with one of my buddies I'd sail her across the river to Point Walter on the opposite side of the bay where we'd have a picnic and buy milkshakes from the tea rooms there," she says. Nunn's first children's novel, Eye in the Storm, was basically an adventure novel based on her early memories of the sea and boats.

Nunn's mother, Nancy Nunn, grew up in Kalgoorlie in Western Australia. "Dad was my hero but the person who had the greatest influence upon me was undoubtedly my mother," Judy Nunn says. She eventually wrote another book titled Kal at a tiny bookstore in " Kalgoorlie. "At the book signing session, there was a queue stretching around the block with miners carrying a half a dozen copies each, they were buying books for their mates who were still working their shift. I have never felt more welcomed. Mum sat beside me in the bookstore, basking in it all, and everyone wanted her signature too."

Nunn moved from Perth to the bright lights of Sydney where she waited on tables and lined up for 'cattle call' auditions. She then moved to London to further her career in theatre. After returning to Australia, Judy Nunn starred in the stage production of Don's Party and in TV shows Prisoner, Sons and Daughters and Home and Away.

In the 1990s, Nunn turned her hand to fiction and the actress would spend a week taping at the TV studios and then she would write on weekends. Many of her books are best-sellers. Her latest novel Heritage looks at the refugees from more than 70 nations who came to Australia to work on the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme.

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It does...? Have I missed something?


Did you listen to the interview?

Judy stood up to the big boss at Channel 7 who was basically planning to exploit the young actors on Home and Away for promotional material (clothes/ board games/ breakfast cereal commercials etc). In return he cut Judy out of all promotional material including cast photographs. How lame.

By the sounds of it Judy found Ailsa quite tiresome "She'd been though everything...". Well no-one forced her to stay on the show for 12 years but considering she was being paid quite a packet for 80% of the time being a background character serving milkshakes, I can't blame her. But don't complain about it years later - we know you loved it like that or you wouldn't have stayed. :P

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