TV

Erik Thomson isn't ready to farewell 800 Words: 'It didn't have to end!'

'I can't believe it's over!'

By: Melissa Field

He's one of our most loved actors, but Erik Thomson can't understand why his hit show 800 Words has been shelved.

The show has been a fan favourite, yet the fourth season, which is about to air, will be the last time we'll see Erik's character, newspaper columnist George Turner, in the fictional New Zealand seaside town of Weld.

The actor says the show still had a good audience and admits he finds the situation "disappointing".

"800 Words could have run for more seasons," the 51-year-old tells TV WEEK.

"The plan was to jump ahead a year to see how things panned out, but that's not going to happen, unfortunately.

"Networks these days are interested in the shiny new ball, but not always in ways to keep that ball shiny."

Eric with his on screen family Shay (Melina Vidler) and Arlo (Benson Jack Anthony).

Erik thinks the current reliance on reality TV to fill TV schedules has come, to a degree, at the expense of scripted drama.

"In many ways, reality shows have become like drama series," he says. "They cast all these archetypes. There's the villain, the smart arse and the underdog. I get it, but hopefully with a bit of luck the pendulum will swing back to more scripted drama that runs for longer than six-to-eight episodes."

Not that Erik is bitter.

"I've been fortunate to be in shows people just have to be home for on a Tuesday night, whether it be All Saints or Packed To The Rafters," he says. "I've been lucky."

Erik's career has spanned nearly 30 years – a remarkable feat in any field.

"This is my 28th year as a professional actor," he says. "I'm heading towards that three-zero years in the business. I keep pinching myself!"

Erik says he's been lucky in his career.

As for what's next, Erik wants to walk an edgier path, having shot horror film Awoken in Adelaide with 800 Words co-star Benson Jack Anthony, and landed a part in Aussie film Storm Boy.

"The journeys I want to go on now aren't as family-oriented," he says of moving away from "nice guy, Aussie dad" roles. "I'm thinking darker drama or even some edgy, dark comedy projects. I'm working with some writers and there are possibilities floating around."

One of those ideas might be a reunion with Rebecca Gibney, who played his wife Julie in Packed To The Rafters.

"We've talked about it," Erik explains. "But Rebecca has just finished Wanted [the Channel Seven drama series] and everyone is in different parts of the world. I dare say it could happen."

Erik on set of Packed to the Rafters

Want to read more from our interview with Erik? Pick up a copy of this week's TV WEEK, on sale now!