For some city performers, the prospect of spending three months in the outback filming a TV series may be terrifying.
Not for Stephen Peacocke.
The actor from Dubbo says filming the new series RFDS: Royal Flying Doctor Service in Broken Hill, NSW, was one of the most memorable experiences of his life.
“Once you get out past Nyngan and out into that proper country, you feel the isolation of it and that’s what I really like,” he says.
“It must be in my blood somewhere to be in that good red country because I felt at home.
“There are a few beautiful national parks out there that I spent 99.9 percent of my time of walking around. I loved it.”
The outback has played a big part in the 39-year-old’s life.
On his father’s advice, he spent a year working as a jackaroo, which shaped him into the guy he is today.
My brother had done something similar and I think they thought I could do with a bit of hardening up,” he remembers.
“I’m glad I listened to them. It was a good year to learn how to work hard.”
Stephen plays Pete Emerson, a Royal Flying Doctor Service flight nurse, in RFDS.
Stephen spoke with persons who had worked with the Flying Doctor Service and received some training from a nurse in order to prepare for the post.
“It’s probably the hardest I’ve ever worked on something, just because there was so much technical stuff to learn,” he says.
Stephen’s character delivers a baby in one episode, which he describes as “certainly out of my comfort zone.”
He admits there may have been a fake baby involved.
“I don’t think they were going to ever trust me with anything too real!” he says with a laugh.
There’s no word yet on whether he and his wife Bridgette Sneddon will have a child of their own.
Stephen, on the other hand, has fond recollections of growing up in a large, extended family.
“I’m a product of having a good family,” he adds, adding, “so if I can do that again, that would be fun.”
Stephen had a puppy named Lily, which he adopted in 2015 and kept on his parents’ ranch near Dubbo. She did, however, pass away.
Stephen says, “Unfortunately, she was bitten by a brown snake.”
“She did, however, kill the jerk. I’d like to get another dog, but traveling complicates things.”
Stephen and Bridgette split their time between Australia and the United States for a few years, with Stephen starring alongside Tina Fey in films like Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
The duo left Los Angeles shortly before Christmas 2019 and hasn’t returned since.
Stephen considers himself fortunate to have been in Australia rather than the United States when COVID struck last year.
“I’ve just been counting my blessings that I’ve had a fantastic job to do in Australia – the best work,” he continues.
“Even if I’d had the chance to return to America this year, I don’t think I would have because of all I’ve done: RFDS, Five Bedrooms, and The Newsreader.”
Stephen, on the other hand, maybe return to the United States in the near future.
“Auditions are starting to come in now, and I’ve had some success with a couple,” he says.
“It’s impossible to predict what will occur. Of course, if a job opens up over there, we’ll go over there.”
It’s been ten years since Stephen’s character Brax first stepped foot in Summer Bay, launching his career.
He describes his time on Home And Away as “a terrific way” to start his career.
“That was a massive break,” he says.
“However, you’ve always wondered, ‘Was it just because I got lucky with that?’ since leaving the program. But then there were these other amazing positions where I got to work with some of the best individuals on the planet.”
Stephen considers himself “very fortunate” to have worked with the people he has.
Another reason he considers himself fortunate is Bridgette, whom he met while at university.
“It’s a funny career, and given that Bridge acts as well, she understands the topsy-turvy nature of it,” he says.
“In this line of work, it’s a wonderful partnership to have.
“Bridge had been with me very much since the beginning – at least six, seven years before I was on TV. I believe there are clear advantages to this, and I consider myself really fortunate.”
Stephen will turn 40 in October. It’s a significant birthday, but he has no plans to celebrate it.
“I’ve never liked big parties,” he admits.
“I don’t like anyone looking at me, so I’m happy just to celebrate that, if I remember, with a cup of tea and a big breakfast. That’ll do me.”
Stephen, who avoids football games and concerts because he dislikes crowds, says he enjoyed growing up in Dubbo and can envision a time when he no longer lives there.
“Probably country would be good at some point,” he declares.
For now, a perfect weekend is one that involves “a bit of open space and your good mates”.
“If you’ve got your family and a couple of good mates to go and have a smack of tennis, a barbie or go for a run with, that’s as good as it gets,” he says.
“That’s about all you’d ever want. That’s good enough for me.”
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