Vikki Blanche

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Vikki Blanche
Born1966/1967 (age 55–56)[1]
Australia
OccupationActress, director
Years active1983–present

Vikki Blanche (born 1966 or 1967) is an Australian actress and director. She made her television debut in the children's series Home in 1983, followed by a role in the ABC drama The Keepers. Shortly after graduating from the National Theatre in late 1984, Blanche was cast as Julie Robinson in the soap opera Neighbours, which began airing in March 1985. She received praise for her performance from critics, but after seven months she decided to leave the serial so she would not be typecast in the future. Blanche joined the cast of The Flying Doctors as Paula Patterson in 1988. She also appeared in the sitcom Col'n Carpenter and the 1991 miniseries Rose Against the Odds. Blanche then spent 18 months living and studying acting in New York City. Upon her return to Australia, Blanche was cast as Senior Detective Chris Faithful in the second season of the ABC police drama Phoenix. After an appearance in the 1997 feature film Road to Nhill, Blanche wrote and directed The Other Days of Ruby Rae, which earned her a nomination for Best Screenplay in a Short Film at the 2000 AFI Awards. Blanche has since gone on to direct television commercials.

Career[edit]

Blanche's passion for acting began when she was around eight years old.[2] She made her television debut in the 1983 ABC children's series Home.[3][4] The following year, Blanche appeared alongside Bill Hunter and David Cameron in the nine-part ABC drama series The Keepers. The show focuses on the lives of Fisheries and Wildlife officers in a small community. Blanche plays Kim, daughter of Catherine Wilkin's Aggie French.[5] She also guested in The Young Doctors.[3] Blanche graduated from the National Theatre in November 1984.[3]

Blanche's breakthrough role was that of Julie Robinson in the soap opera Neighbours.[3] Blanche admitted to not taking the audition seriously, as she had only just graduated from school and did not think she would win the role.[6] She was cast in December 1984, started filming in January 1985, and made her debut in the first episode on 18 March 1985.[3] Neighbours initially focussed on three households, and the cast was made up of new, young actors and well-known veterans. Margaret Koppe of TV Radio Extra described Blanche's character as complex. Julie appears to be helpful and caring, but she often interferes and schemes.[3] Marie McNamara of The Age praised Blanche for her performance,[7] while a reporter for the Aberdeen Press and Journal said she made Julie "one of the most popular characters in the Australian soap."[6] Blanche dated her co-star David Clencie during her time in the serial and the couple lived together for six months.[1] After seven months playing Julie, Blanche left Neighbours before the end of her contract. She admitted that she did not want to stay in the same role for a long time and end up typecast.[8]

Following her departure from Neighbours, Blanche worked at the St Martin's Theatre in Melbourne and had a guest role in an episode of The Flying Doctors.[1] In 1988, she re-joined the cast of The Flying Doctors in the bigger role of Paula Patterson.[9][10] Alongside her Flying Doctors co-star Liz Burch and singer Neil Finn, Blanche appeared in Nine Network's A Chance for the Children programme in 1990, which highlighted the need for water, health care and education in third world countries.[11]

Blanche starred as Julia in the Network Ten sitcom Col'n Carpenter for a year.[12][9] She also filmed a role as Jenny Rose in the 1991 miniseries Rose Against the Odds, which tells the story of Aboriginal boxer Lionel Rose. Blanche met with the real Jenny Rose to talk about her life and relationship with Lionel.[9] Blanche later felt that working on both productions simultaneously made her lose respect for her job because of the scheduling, so she decided to go overseas to study acting in order to stay challenged.[9] Blanche spent 18 months living and working in New York City.[13] She studied acting at the HB Studio and the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre, and chose not to attend auditions or seek roles. She worked as a waitress in order to pay her rent.[13]

A few weeks after returning to Melbourne, Blanche auditioned for the second season of the ABC police drama Phoenix.[13] Blanche had not watched the series before she was offered the role of Senior Detective Chris Faithful, who is married to Peter Faithful (Simon Westaway) and goes undercover for the drug squad.[13][14] Blanche described her character as having a "gift for the job. She's tough, in that she is mixing with crooks, but I don't think she's tougher than anyone else in that environment."[13] To prepare for the role, Blanche spoke with undercover drug officers and went through research material compiled by the writers.[2] Phoenix was filmed over 13 weeks, which suited Blanche, who preferred not to stay with a show for too long, and aired in early 1993.[13] In 1997, Blanche appeared in the comedy-drama feature film Road to Nhill as Jill Whitton.[15]

In 1999, Blanche began teaching the Meisner technique at The Sydney Actors Playhouse.[16] She also attended the VCA School of Film and Television, where she wrote and directed the short film The Other Days of Ruby Rae.[17] The plot follows a widowed vicar (Norman Kaye) whose faith is renewed when he befriends a 10-year-old.[18] Blanche received a nomination for Best Screenplay in a Short Film at the 2000 AFI Awards.[19] The film won the George Méliès Award at the Taos Talking Pictures Film Festival.[20] Blanche has since gone on to direct television commercials.[21] In 2001, she won the Young Director of the Year Award at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity for her work on a commercial for Australian feminine hygiene company Cottons.[22] The following year, she signed with Academy Films and relocated to London.[23]

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1983 Home Billie Recurring role
1984 The Keepers Kim French Main cast
1985 Neighbours Julie Robinson Main cast
1986 The Flying Doctors Prue Browning Episode: "Sins of the Father"
1988–1991 The Flying Doctors Paula Patterson Main cast
1990 Col'n Carpenter Julia Barnes Main cast
1991 Rose Against the Odds Jenny Oakes TV movie
1992 The Late Show Dinner Party Guest Episode: "#1.17"
1993 Phoenix II Chris Faithful Main cast
1996 Turning April Voice
1997 Road to Nhill Jill Whitton Feature film
1999 The Other Days of Ruby Rae Writer, director

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Cook, Stephen (9 August 1986). "'Why I quit' Neighbours star tells". TV Week. p. 56.
  2. ^ a b Thomas, Brett (23 May 1993). "Like a chameleon". The Age. Archived from the original on 2 September 2022. Retrieved 1 September 2022 – via Newspapers.com.icon of an open green padlock
  3. ^ a b c d e f Koppe, Margaret (16–22 March 1985). "Big role for a beginner". TV Radio Extra. Vol. 5, no. 226. pp. 15, 75.
  4. ^ "Your week on television". The Sydney Morning Herald. 1 April 1984. Archived from the original on 30 August 2022. Retrieved 28 August 2022 – via Newspapers.com.icon of an open green padlock
  5. ^ Lewis, Jacqueline Lee (1 April 1984). "Feet up? Watch all the wildlife". The Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 30 August 2022. Retrieved 27 August 2022 – via Newspapers.com.icon of an open green padlock
  6. ^ a b "They are both good 'Neighbours'". Aberdeen Press and Journal. 24 November 1986. Retrieved 23 February 2022 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  7. ^ McNamara, Marie (14 March 1985). "Our new neighbours". The Age. Archived from the original on 28 October 2021. Retrieved 28 October 2021 – via Newspapers.com.icon of an open green padlock
  8. ^ Oram, James (1988). Neighbours: Behind the Scenes. Angus & Robertson. p. 119. ISBN 978-0-207-16075-2.
  9. ^ a b c d Walker, Frank (29 September 1991). "Vikki Bites the Big Apple". The Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 1 September 2022. Retrieved 30 August 2022 – via Newspapers.com.icon of an open green padlock
  10. ^ "Green Guide – Thursday". The Age. 21 July 1988. p. 55. Archived from the original on 29 September 2022. Retrieved 31 August 2022 – via Newspapers.com.icon of an open green padlock
  11. ^ Heath, Sally (18 January 1990). "Sentimental rather than educational look at aid". The Age. Archived from the original on 1 September 2022. Retrieved 28 August 2022 – via Newspapers.com.icon of an open green padlock
  12. ^ Fulton, Matt (16 December 2021). "Watch: Col'n Carpenter". My Geek Culture. Archived from the original on 2 September 2022. Retrieved 1 September 2022.
  13. ^ a b c d e f McGowen, Mark (17 October 1992). "Vikki goes from New York to Phoenix". TV Week. pp. 64–65.
  14. ^ Thomas, Brett (23 May 1993). "Vikki Blanche". The Age. Archived from the original on 2 September 2022. Retrieved 1 September 2022 – via Newspapers.com.icon of an open green padlock
  15. ^ Stratton, David (18 August 1997). "Road to Nhill". Variety. Archived from the original on 2 September 2022. Retrieved 2 September 2022.
  16. ^ "The Actors' Leap". The Age. 29 October 1999. Archived from the original on 4 September 2022. Retrieved 4 September 2022 – via Newspapers.com.icon of an open green padlock
  17. ^ Zion, Lawrie (2 December 1999). "Short cuts". The Age. Archived from the original on 1 September 2022. Retrieved 27 August 2022 – via Newspapers.com.icon of an open green padlock
  18. ^ French, Phillip (24 September 2000). "Mystery in Tehran, torture in Buenos Aires, well-heeled narcissism in London". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 1 September 2022. Retrieved 27 August 2022.
  19. ^ "Winners & Nominees 2000 – Non-Feature Film". Australian Film Institute. Archived from the original on 1 September 2022. Retrieved 27 August 2022.
  20. ^ Hernandez, Eugene (9 April 2001). "Daily News: New Fest Sets Bookends; and Moodysson Wins Taos Land". IndieWire. Archived from the original on 1 September 2022. Retrieved 27 August 2022.
  21. ^ Duck, Siobhan (15 March 2015). "It's been a mixed bag for the original Neighbours cast since they left the long-running soap". news.com.au. Archived from the original on 12 February 2018. Retrieved 28 August 2022.
  22. ^ "Gallery 44: Ones to watch – Vicky Blanche". Haymarket Media Group. 31 October 2002. Archived from the original on 2 September 2022. Retrieved 2 September 2022.
  23. ^ "Academy signs Vikki Blanche". Shots.net. 24 April 2002. Archived from the original on 2 September 2022. Retrieved 2 September 2022.

External links[edit]