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EXCLUSIVE: Stephen Peacocke reveals just how far he's come since his days as Brax on Home And Away

And why he feels so "lucky".

By Stephen Downie and Helen Vnuk
For some actors who live in the city, the idea of three months in the outback shooting a TV series might be daunting.
The Dubbo-born actor says making new series RFDS: Royal Flying Doctor Service in NSW's Broken Hill was one of the best experiences he's ever had.
Stephen Peacocke as he appears in RFDS: Royal Flying Doctor Service. Channel 7
"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 per cent of my time off walking around. I loved it."
The outback has played a big part in the 39-year-old's life.
The year he spent working as a jackaroo, at the suggestion of his dad, helped make him into the person 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."
In RFDS, Stephen plays Pete Emerson, a flight nurse with the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
To prepare for the role, Stephen had long chats with people who'd worked with the Flying Doctor Service, and also did some training with a nurse.
"It's probably the hardest I've ever worked on something, just because there was so much technical stuff to learn," he says.
One episode sees Stephen's character delivering a baby, which he says was "definitely 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.
He admits some of the scenes were out of his comfort zone. Channel 7
As for having a baby of his own with wife Bridgette Sneddon, there's no news on that just yet.
But having happy memories of growing up in a big, extended family, Stephen is definitely keen.
"I'm a result of having a good family, so if I can do that again, that would be fun," he says.
Stephen did have a dog, Lily, who he adopted in 2015 and who lived on his parents' property near Dubbo. But sadly, she died.
"Unfortunately, she was bitten by a brown snake," Stephen says.
"She killed the bastard, though. I'm keen to have another dog, but travelling makes things difficult."
For a few years there, Stephen and Bridgette were splitting their time between Australia and the US, where Stephen notched up credits in movies such as Whiskey Tango Foxtrot alongside Tina Fey.
The couple flew home from Los Angeles just before Christmas 2019, and haven't been back since.
Stephen is thankful to have been in Australia and not the US when COVID hit last year.
"I've just been counting my blessings that I've had good stuff to work on in Australia – the best stuff," he adds.
"Even if I'd had the opportunity to be back in America, I don't think this year I would have because of all the stuff I've done: RFDS, Five Bedrooms and The Newsreader."
Stephen poses with the cast of Five Bedrooms. Ten
But Stephen might be headed to the US again before too long.
"Auditions are coming through a bit now and I've had a bit of luck with a few," he says.
"You never know what'll happen. If there's a job that pops up over there, of course we'd head over."
It's been 10 years since Stephen's character Brax first set foot in Summer Bay, catapulting him to fame.
He says the Home And Away role was "a fantastic way" to kick off his career.
Stephen has done a lot of growing up since he starred on Home And Away. Channel 7
"That was a massive break," he says.
"But since leaving the show, you always wonder, 'Was it just because I got lucky with that?' But then I've had these other fantastic jobs and worked with some of the best people there are to work with."
Stephen feels "very lucky" to have worked with the people that he has.
Another reason he feels lucky: Bridgette, who he met when he was studying at university.
"It's a funny career, and given that Bridge acts as well, she understands the topsy-turvy nature of it," he says.
Bridgette has been by Stephen's side through all his biggest achievements. Getty
"In this line of work, it's a wonderful partnership to have.
"Bridge was with me from day dot, pretty much – at least six, seven years before I was on TV. I think there are definite benefits to that and I just feel bloody lucky."
In October, Stephen is turning 40. It's a milestone birthday, but he's not making any plans for 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 says he's a country boy at heart and we believe him. Channel 7
Stephen, who doesn't go to footy games or concerts because he doesn't like crowds, says he enjoyed growing up in Dubbo and can imagine a day when he doesn't live in the city anymore.
"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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