Georgie Parker and Ray Meagher reflect on their decades-long friendship

'We have something special.'
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Family is at the forefront of everyone’s Christmas festivities. But for Ray Meagher and Georgie Parker, that extends to their fictional characters in Home And Away, too. Having played father and daughter for nearly 14 years, their connection flows easily off screen.

“It’s very special and surprisingly funny,” Georgie, who plays Roo Stewart, says of their enduring friendship. “We talk stuff out [on set], hang out and share stories – and get through the day. He’s a very dear person to me.”

Ray has been on the show since its inception in 1988.

Ray, who plays Summer Bay stalwart Alf Stewart, concurs, adding that his fellow TV WEEK Gold Logie Award winner is “simply brilliant” in many ways.

As they reflect on the year that was, Alf and Roo have experienced more drama than most in the Bay. Both suffered health concerns, one of which saw Roo a victim of a horrific bomb blast, while family ties were strained.

Such intense storyline aren’t always easy to perform, but after all this time, both still can’t wait to find out what happens next.

“I’m very happy with what the writers have managed to give Roo,” Georgie, 58, says. “She’s lived a big life, and I’ve been able to interact with different characters this year, which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed.”

Alf and Roo have experienced more drama than most in the Bay.

In addition to her role in H&A, Georgie acts in plays and pantomimes. She values having the flexibility to do so.

“The writers have to keep writing me out of the show so I can come and go – to do the plays and other little gigs here and there, so I don’t envy them having to do that,” she says.

“I think it’s important, at this time in my career, that I get to explore all the options of working with people I’ve worked with for 40 years. So I’m very grateful I get the freedom to do both.”

Ray, 79, who has been on the show since its inception in 1988, says the demanding schedule of Home And Away means the cast and crew have been a constant support. He too has acted in pantomimes in the UK, but stopped in recent years.

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“It’s been a wonderful year, but then it’s hard to remember a year in the past 36 that hasn’t been,” he says. “Because of the schedule, the personal and professional side of things tend to merge a bit, but I really love my job.”

Away from the Bay, there’s plenty to enjoy during the festive season. In the midst of the activity-filled period, Ray and Georgie will take time to relax and take stock of what they’ve achieved.

“It’s been wonderful to be back having hot Australian Christmases, rather than freezing English ones,” Ray says. “It’s a time to catch up with family and enjoy seeing people.”

Georgie adds that she’s heading out with family.

“It’s been a wonderful year.”

“We go out for Christmas lunch, so no-one has to clean up!” she says.

And what would their screen counterparts get up to at Christmas?

“Alf would be on the barbie and Roo would be doing the vegies,” Georgie says with a laugh. “Marilyn [Emily Symons] would be creating her own vegetarian Christmas meal. And we’d probably have some of the Bay over, like John [Shane Withington], Irene [Lynne McGranger], Leah [Ada Nicodemou] and Justin [James Stewart].”

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