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Home and Away

EXCLUSIVE: The sweet way Ray Meagher helps young Home and Away stars find their feet on set

''They’re feeling enough pressure as it is, they need encouragement.''

By Alana Mazzoni
After more than 30 years playing beloved grandpa Alf Stewart on Home and Away, it's fair to say Ray Meagher is the face of Summer Bay.
So when young new cast members fresh out of drama school come to the Summer Bay set, who better to show them the ropes?
"I don't consciously take anybody under my wing unless I can see that somebody's really struggling," Ray, 77, exclusively tells TV WEEK.
Ray with co-stars Sophie Dillman and Patrick O'Connor. (Image: Instagram)
Aside from showing newbies around the various Home and Away sets, Ray simply lets his new co-stars' acting abilities speak for itself.
"I don't go tell anybody how to act. But hopefully a bit of the way I operate may rub off on people. By that I mean nothing to do with the acting, but turning up on time, always being ready and prepared, never having a sick day," he says.
"All those sorts of things that have been my modus operandi and I don't see those as anything special, I see those as the basic requirement of the job.
"Not everybody sees that. We weren't brought up like that, we were sort of brought up to get on with it."
Ray and fellow Summer Bay veterans Georgie Parker, Lynne McGranger and Ada Nicdemou. (Image: Instagram)
However, Ray, who's played Alf Stewart since 1988, will step in if any lesser experienced actors are visibly struggling with a scene or getting out one of their lines.
"I might very quietly say – without saying 'you've stuffed this up' – 'it might be a bit easier if you just change that word, it'll have exactly the same meaning, it might flow easier for you,' and just leave it at that," he says.
"They're feeling enough pressure as it is, they need encouragement – not to be shouted at."
Ray takes the opportunity to heap praise on 2021 Home and Away newcomer Matt Evans, who's been nominated for the 2022 TV WEEK Logie Award for Most Popular New Talent.
"He's a delightful kid it would be would be wonderful to see him win. He's got it all. He looks great, he's learning so quickly," he says.
Ray's love of Home and Away and its cast and crew is clear when he reminisces on the show's earlier days.
The veteran actor says his favourite on-screen couple to date is Donald Fisher and Marilyn Chambers, played by Norman Coburn and Emily Symons.
"I thought it was fantastic, there was a reasonable age difference which was quite amusing. And I love both the characters," he gushes.
"Emily chose to play a character that was a little bit away from her norm and she has been so consistent with it."

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