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EXCLUSIVE: Home and Away alum Stephen Peacocke reveals why he doesn't like doing sex scenes and why he doesn't see himself as a sex symbol

Since leaving Home and Away, Stephen's career has gone from strength to strength.

By Helen Vnuk
There's something about Stephen Peacocke. He manages to make the characters he plays just so likeable. Like Ben in Five Bedrooms, the down-to-earth tradie is dating the much-older Heather.
So when the show's co-creators Michael Lucas and Christine Bartlett came up with a shocking storyline for the third season, involving Ben cheating on Heather (Doris Younane), they weren't sure how Stephen was going to take it.
"I remember when Mike and Christine pitched the idea, they thought I might balk at it, because you always want to be playing likeable characters and I've been lucky to play a lot of likeable characters," Stephen tells TV WEEK.
"But the way it plays out, you can kind of understand how he gets into this terrible situation."
The past year has seen Stephen cement his status as one of Australian TV's most in-demand leading men. (TV WEEK)
It seems that with Stephen playing Ben, fans are likely to still end up seeing things from his point of view.
"It's been interesting hearing people who've seen rough cuts of the episode go, 'Well, it's a huge moment, but you can see how it happened,'" he says.
Ben cheating on Heather meant Stephen having to shoot a sex scene – something he's not keen on.
"I don't typically enjoy doing any of that stuff," he admits. "As an actor, watching other actors in sex scenes, I think, 'Crikey, I'm glad that's not me!' I avoid them if I can, but if it adds to the story, I think it's worthwhile."
Whether he's in the bedroom or out of it, viewers just love Stephen. The past year has seen the 40-year-old cement his status as one of Australian TV's most in-demand leading men.
The 40-year-old has starred in three of the biggest local dramas of 2021: Five Bedrooms, The Newsreader (pictured) and RFDS. (ABC)
Although it was playing Home And Away's Darryl Braxton that made him famous, he says people "very rarely" talk to him about Brax now. No wonder, with Stephen having starred in three of the biggest local dramas of 2021: Five Bedrooms, The Newsreader and RFDS.
Stephen's role as sports presenter Rob Rickards in The Newsreader scored him his first AACTA Award nomination, for best supporting actor in a drama.
"It was really unexpected," he says.
But it's RFDS, filmed in Broken Hill in NSW's far west, that he calls his "dream job".
Born in country NSW, Stephen has come a long way since Year Nine, Forrest Gump and Braveheart "lit a fire" in him to become an actor. (TV WEEK)
"Not sitting in any traffic, and driving out to a nice big sheep station to work all day – that was about as good as it can get for me," he says.
Even though Channel Seven hasn't announced a second season, Stephen has his fingers crossed RFDS will continue.
"I'd certainly love to be involved again if it did," he says.
Born in Dubbo in country NSW, Stephen has come a long way since Year Nine, when the movies Forrest Gump and Braveheart "lit a fire" in him to become an actor. Back then, it was something he kept quiet about at school. "I didn't tell a soul!" he remembers with a laugh. "I was on a sporting scholarship at the high school I went to, so my school years were mainly about sport."
Even at university, Stephen hid his acting ambitions from his friends.
"I was playing rugby at uni and didn't tell anyone I was also doing a couple of units of drama and a few plays, amateur things, on weekends," he says. "I kept it all very low key, and I'm still like that."
Stephen's low-key approach carries through to the rest of his life. He and actress wife Bridgette Sneddon are happy to spend evenings at home – so happy, that the lockdowns of the past two years didn't change their social lives in a major way.
"Any time I get to spend at home is good," he says. "Family time is always the happiest for me and that continued. It was pretty much life as usual. We didn't miss being able to go out to dinner and things like that."
Bridgette, who played former school principal Sophie Taylor in Home And Away in 2014 to 2015, has been auditioning for other roles, but is facing the same problem a lot of local actors do.
Stephen and his Five Bedrooms co-stars. (Amazon Prime)
"I guess, like everyone, there's less happening," Stephen says.
However, there has been a positive to come out of that.
"We've been lucky we've been able to travel together," Stephen says. "We've been in Melbourne for six months of this year, pretty much, doing The Newsreader and Five Bedrooms season three, so we're just lucky that we get to go and live in these different places and do it together. It's great."
As well as Stephen's social life not being affected by lockdown, his fitness wasn't either. He says he's never been to the gym, except for a six-month period when he had a bad knee. He prefers to do home workouts or go for a jog.
"I don't really like being indoors, exercising," he says. "I don't think I've got much of a gym body, but I'm fit enough to go for a run whenever I need to, and to go and have a few sets of tennis, so that's good enough for me."
Stephen and his actress wife Bridgette Sneddon are happy to spend evenings at home. (Getty)
He laughs off the idea of seeing himself as a sex symbol.
"I certainly don't! It would be a funny thing to look at yourself that way."
Stephen is feeling positive about the year ahead. He'll be seen in the WWI movie Before Dawn, and there are other projects in the works.
"This career, you never know how much work is going to be around the corner," he says. "All you can do is do your best on the jobs you get and enjoy yourself while you're doing it. I never take it for granted when I'm on set."
Next year he'll star in the WWI movie Before Dawn, and there are other projects in the works. (TV WEEK)

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