Jane Turner had to battle to make her new Rake character noice and different

'Kath kept creeping in!'

Parliament House in Canberra is a long way from Fountain Lakes. But Jane Turner concedes a little bit of Kath Day-Knight did find its way into her Rake character, Senator Penny Evans.
"There were moments where I'd go, 'Oh, my God!' when I was filming, and the director would say, 'Kath's creeping in!'" Jane, 57, tells TV WEEK. "It's quite hard not to go back there."
The truth is that Penny is a very different character from the much-loved suburban housewife in Kath & Kim. Jane describes the senator as "power-driven, out for herself, fragile, and a bit crazy".
"It's good to play someone quite hideous," the comedian adds with a laugh. "Kath's so lovely and I've been playing her for so long, so it's nice to show my range."
Jane filming Rake with Richard Roxburgh.
Although Jane didn't have a hand in the writing, she did help create Penny's look. She had input into her hair and her clothes, as well as her voice. So, did she take inspiration from any Australian politician in particular?
"There might be a few nods here and there," she says. "I did notice some politicians change their voice depending on where they are. If they're at Parliament, they're quite posh. But they have strange ways of talking to the media, and different ways of talking to their colleagues."
Jane "had a ball" shooting Rake opposite Richard Roxburgh, who plays Senator Cleaver Greene. The highlight was a dramatic scene that took place just outside Old Parliament House.
"That was hilarious, shooting that on the steps," she recalls. "We had quite a few visitors walking by and going, 'What the hell?'"
Jane had a hand in picking out the costume for her character.
Seeing Jane back on TV is a rare treat for fans.
It's been more than a decade since *Kath & Kim's final season went to air. Since then, there's been the movie Kath & Kimderella* and the sketch comedy series Open Slather, but not a lot else.
Her former Kath & Kim co-star Glenn Robbins has returned to TV in the revived Russell Coight's All Aussie Adventures. Jane's seen it and loves it. "It just makes me laugh," she says. "He has the funniest face. He doesn't have to do anything. My husband doesn't laugh at much, but he was chuckling away at every corny, stupid joke."
Jane says if Kath had met Russell Coight, she would have fallen for his charms.
"She'd be creaming her jeans," Jane says, laughing. "She'd be getting her bush skills out somehow."
But fans shouldn't get too excited about the possibility of a guest appearance.
"I think they're done," she says. "I think Russell's an entity of his own, doing his own beautiful work."
Still, she would love to work with Glenn again eventually.
"Maybe down the track," she adds. "We could always do something together because he's so much fun. I love him."
The cast of Kath & Kim.
It could be a little while before we see Jane in another TV role after Rake. She recently relocated to France, where her husband, John Denton, has been appointed head of the International Chamber Of Commerce.
"My husband's got a job in Paris, so I've moved overseas," she explains. "I'm writing a bit, and getting sorted out for the new life. Lucky me!
"I'm just going to chill out for a bit and enjoy life. It's great fun. I've got freedom to do what I want, which is brilliant. It's all very good and I'm very lucky."
Even if Jane doesn't do any more acting in the near future, there'll always be a little bit of Kath in her. The foxy moron from Fountain Lakes still sneaks her way into Jane's everyday conversations.
"She's always got a pearl of wisdom to add to any issue," she says. "Sometimes I'll just go into Kath and she'll have the last word on a situation. She's always got a solution to everything. Very wise."
Rake airs Sunday, 8:30pm, on ABC.

read more from