Scott: I had to meet Harold!
Neighbours newcomer Scott McGregor reveals all about life in Erinsborough, and how he feels about becoming a heartthrob.
We first met hunky Detective Mark Brennan when he set about investigating Paul Robinson's mystery fall. But he proved so popular with fans that soap bosses decided to keep him on and sign actor Scott McGregor for a whole year. And it's not long before sparks fly between Mark and Kate Ramsay. We caught up with the actor to discuss all things Ramsay Street.
Congratulations on becoming a regular at Neighbours. How did that come about?
Originally I was in it for a four-week guest role. I didn't expect to be asked to stay on, but things went well and they just wanted to test me out, and see how I fitted in and whether they liked the character. After about three weeks they said asked if I wanted to stay on and do another couple of months. Then they asked me to do an extra few months. Now I've signed for a year. I'm a guest until January, and then I become a regular.
And how are you enjoying Neighbours?
It's great. It's good fun. I'm loving it. It was like being in a new high school at first, learning everyone's real name and screen name. Where we film is like a maze too. It's like that feeling you get if you join a new school. Everyone was really welcoming and supportive, and I've made some really good friends now. All is going well. The main thing is we have a good laugh at work, and it makes the week go a bit quicker.
Were you a fan of the show before you joined?
I was definitely a fan as a kid. Everyone in Australia and the UK was a fan, growing up watching Kylie and Jason. But as you grow up you lose touch because of commitments like work and school. It's such a staple of Australian TV that most people tend to tune in every now and again to catch up.
Who were you most looking forward to meeting when you started?
I wanted to meet Ian Smith, who played Harold, but he'd finished up 12 months before I arrived. But he happened to be there during my first couple of weeks to say goodbye to Carla Bonner, so I met him then. But I also wanted to meet Tom Oliver, who plays Lou. And Toadie is probably the one I wanted to meet the most. He was in my first scene, so it was good to work with him. He's fantastic.
How similar are you to the character of Mark Brennan?
Brennan's a bit of a perfectionist, which I tend to be. He is always putting his work first, but I have tended not to do that up until now. He's the kind of guy who struggles to hold down a relationship because of work, so it will be interesting to see what happens with Kate Ramsay. There are similarities between us, but I like getting into character.
We know there's a bit of romance between him and Kate. How does that come about?
He meets her interviewing everyone for the Paul Robinson storyline and thinks she's pretty cute, but not a lot comes of it [until] later. But there's a bit of a spark there.
Do you think they're a good match for each other?
I think so. It's early days. Anything can happen. There's definitely a spark and they enjoy each other's company, and there's something definitely there.
Does Mark put Declan's nose out of joint?
Yeah, I think so. There are a few scenes where she really slams home the fact that she's past him. Declan thinks Brennan's a threat, but at the same time he knows that it's not because of Brennan that she's moved on. She's just moved on.
There's a bit of an age difference between the characters. Is that an issue?
Kate's 19 and my character is about 25. It's funny because a few friends of mine have mentioned it, but I think it's because of what they do and where they are in life.
At one point Kate's having driving lessons, and I'm working as a detective who's moved up through the ranks quickly, so we do seem quite different in age, but it's better left unsaid I think!
There was a lot of mystery surrounding the 'Who pushed PR?' storyline. Did you know from the start it would be Rebecca?
Part of me wishes I didn't know, but I did. I found out quite early. Having said that it might have helped me. My character is the kind of guy who's pretty switched on and always knows who's done it. He's only thrown by false alibis and things like that.
What else does Mark get up to in Erinsborough?
He's developed some good friendships with a few of the guys. Even though we're friends there are always references to me being a cop and they're always quite wary.
Is your character going to move into Ramsay Street?
Not yet. It's funny how people shift houses and move in and out. I don't want to hold my breath, but I reckon I will. Kate and Sophie are living with Lou at the moment. I'm sure they'll write it into the storyline.
Carla Bonner filmed her last scenes as Steph around the time you joined. Was it sad to say goodbye?
I really didn't know Carla very long, but we got along well and it was sad to see her go. She's been there so long, and it was a massive part of her life. But now I've made some really good friends. Erin Mullally, Jane Hall and Matt Werkmeister are all leaving too. I've become good friends with them now, so it'll be more sad for me to see them go.
You were a model before you joined Neighbours. Are you seen as a bit of a heartthrob yet?
I sort of haven't had too much of a reaction just yet. I've worked on a few TV shows in Australia before this, so I've had a bit of recognition. But I go out with a few of the guys now and Jordan Smith, who plays Andrew, gets recognised wherever he goes. I can see what's going to happen, but at the moment it's all good.
Would you like that kind of attention?
It doesn't worry me. It's nice, but at the same time you are going to have people who don't like you. You take the good with the bad, and if I'm a heartthrob to someone it's great, but I take it with pinch of salt.