EXCLUSIVE: Rodger Corser spills on the season return of Doctor Doctor

''I think we’ve found something fun.''

By TV Week team
When hard-partying heart surgeon Dr Hugh Knight was exiled to the small town of Whyhope, it was hard to believe he would stay any time at all.
And yet Doctor Doctor is now into its fifth season, with Hugh leading the battle to keep the town's hospital – and the town itself – alive.
The fourth season ended with Hugh (Rodger Corser) taking on a new job: hospital administrator.
"Penny left and he took that extra responsibility and chose to stay in Whyhope," Rodger, 48, tells TV WEEK. "He had his daughter, and he thought, 'Well, I'll stick around and be management as opposed to complaining about management.'"
As for Hugh's on-again-off-again relationship with Penny (Hayley McElhinney), it was definitely off again. Penny flew to Broome to be with her husband Jarrod (Dustin Clare).
What's in store for the doc this season? (Channel Nine)
"She chose to go off with her husband, which you can't blame her for," Rodger says. "Hugh laid his cards out on the table, but as she said, 'You're always so late with everything.' So he watched her go."
Penny wasn't the only one leaving Whyhope at the end of season four. Matt (Ryan Johnson) and Charlie (Nicole da Silva) went on their "post-divorce honeymoon", committed to having adventures. Matt's plan was to research beer overseas, while Charlie was going to write. As for the brewery, Matt was leaving that in the capable hands of Hayley (Chloe Bayliss).
The new season picks up a year later. Rodger, who's a producer on Doctor Doctor as well as star, says they're trying to give people what they expect from the show, "without just directly 'rinse and repeat' from the season before".
"I think we've found something fun," he says.

Hospital closure

It's been a bad year for Whyhope. Bushfire, drought, a pandemic… and now, in the season premiere of Doctor Doctor, the hospital is closed down.
"There's an asbestos problem at the hospital and it's been condemned," Rodger Corser, who plays Hugh, says. "Basically, they've been shunted out of the old hospital. So everything that could go wrong is going wrong in Whyhope."
Whyhope's troubles haven't gone unnoticed. A government official, Sharna Bahtt (Chantelle Jamieson), is sent to the town to help. Mayor Meryl (Tina Bursill) organises a welcoming committee at the airport.
"Meryl drags Hugh along to meet Sharna," Rodger adds. "He does it out of obligation to Mum."
The hospital is under threat. (Channel Nine)
As Meryl was hoping, there's an instant attraction between Sharna and Hugh.
"From the start there's a spark, but Sharna's there to do her job," Chantelle explains. "She's a very ambitious woman. She very much sees this as a stepping stone to a bigger career in politics."
What Meryl doesn't realise is that whispers of corruption on the Whyhope council have been heard in the city. The first thing Sharna does is sack the whole council, including Meryl, and put herself in charge.
"Even though Meryl's a darling woman, she's pretty dodge," Chantelle says.
What will happen when Sharna starts digging into Meryl's financial dealings – and will it stop Sharna and Hugh from acting on their attraction for each other?

Trouble brewing

Hayley is struggling. When Doctor Doctor returns, the young mum is running the brewery, while husband Ajax looks after the farm and tries to build them a house. But someone has been posting bad reviews of the brewery online.
"It's really damaging the business, so Hayley's highly strung out," Chloe Bayliss, who plays Hayley, tells TV WEEK. "Ajax is highly strung out because he can't get things going with this house that he's promised her."
Matt (Ryan Johnson), over in Germany, reads the bad reviews of the brewery that he worked so hard to set up.
"Matt is very sorely disappointed when he finds out that things aren't going so well back home," Ryan, 41, says. "He has to jump on a plane and get back into it."
Charlie comes home to quite the shock. (Channel Nine)
Matt and Charlie (Nicole da Silva) arrive in Whyhope, ready to move back into their cottage and return to their old lives.
"Charlie thought they'd made it clear that Hayley and Ajax were only housesitting," Nicole, 39, explains. "She expected they would already be living in the house they were building."
But Hayley and Ajax (Matt Castley) aren't ready to move out.
"They have nowhere to go," Chloe, 29, says. "Things get quite tense between the couples."
When Charlie and Hayley go head-to-head, who will win?

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