TV

How To Stay Married's Lisa McCune reflects on her career: "I've got a bit left in me yet!"

The four-time Gold Logie winner shares her plans for the future

By Cynthia Wang
Lisa McCune marvels that nearly 25 years have passed since she won the TV WEEK Logie Award for Most Popular New Talent and that she has spent most of this time working on Australian screens and stages.
"There are a lot of people in their 20s now who were watching these kids in Blue Heelers [her breakthrough series, which premiered on Channel Seven in 1994], and that's really awesome," Lisa, 47, tells TV WEEK Close Up.
"They come up and tell you what an impact that show had on them. At times, I've sat back and thought about that show, and believe part of its appeal was that families watched it together. I think that family viewing has dissipated somewhat now, because we can all watch things on different screens."
Lisa has hinted that she'd love to bring her ideas to life in the future.
The Melbourne-based actress hopes a broad audience has tuned in for her latest series, the Network 10 comedy How To Stay Married, in which she co-stars with Peter Helliar (The Project) as parents Em and Greg Butler, barrelling their way through a 14-year marriage.
"When you get those rare moments to actually sit and watch a show you all enjoy together, it's really wonderful," Lisa says.
"And our show is funny and naughty. Naughty in a cheeky way, and the whole family can watch it."
Known for her role as Maggie in Blue Heelers, Lisa won the 1997 Gold Logie as well as the Silver Logie for Most Popular Actress.
But if audiences are tuning into content away from the big screen or through other services, Lisa is ready to embrace that reality too.
"We have to evolve the way that audiences are evolving and the way that technology is changing, and I'm not fearful of it," she says.
"I think we have to all jump on board and go with it and make the best of it that we can as performers and producers – and it's kind of exciting."
Does Lisa have any plans to create her own vehicle in the future?
For the time being Lisa wants to focus on raising her three children
"I'd love to," she says. "I've had some ideas for quite some time, and just finding the producing partners who will mentor me and who see value in the ideas I have, if that happens, it will happen."
"But at the moment, I've got to produce these three" – referring to her children Archer, 17, Oliver, 14, and Remy, 13 – "and make sure they're off into the world. And then I'll have the time to really pursue that!"
Until that moment comes, Lisa hopes Em Butler will join the roster of memorable roles she's amassed in her four-time Gold Logie Award-winning career, and weighs in on the parts of a lifetime.

HOW TO STAY MARRIED (Emily Butler)

Lisa brings her comedy chops opposite Peter Helliar in How To Stay Married.
The mother of two girls, Em is ready to head back to the working world, while her husband of 14 years, Greg, thinks a shift to being a stay-at-home dad may help them both out.
"I must say, I was working with a lot of very funny people," Lisa says. "and to see how easy it is for them and how effortless their comedy is, that's been a terrific place for me.
"I loved being with the crew and the cast and just doing these very charming stories, and kind of wacky stories at times too. And what a pickle these people get themselves into."

BLUE HEELERS (Constable Maggie Doyle)

Lisa in one of her more iconic roles on Blue Heelers.
Maggie died from "Five bullets! Five!" Lisa says with mock outrage. But would she like to see Blue Heelers get a reboot?
"There's still a lot of crime in Mount Thomas," she muses.
"I did my time there and it was really wonderful. It would be great for the show to come back, but I don't necessarily know that I'd be the right fit there. I can't come back from the dead."
But then Lisa lights up at a thought.
"I could be a ghost!" she offers with a laugh. "I could go and haunt the pub."
She then tells her teenage daughter Remy, "You can go back, Remy – you could go play the new young cop, hey? That would be kind of fun."
Remy jokes back, "I'll just be really mean and yell at them!" and they both giggle.

SEA PATROL (Lieutenant Kate McGregor)

Lisa with SAS Captain Jim Roth, played by Ditch Davey
The executive officer of the HMAS Hammersley led her ship's crew with the right blend of toughness and compassion.
"I loved playing Kate because I loved working with the Navy," Lisa says.
"I felt fortunate to be playing a female who was terrific at her job in the armed forces. I felt such a thrill to be able to represent that kind of female in that world."

REEF DOCTORS (Dr Sam Stewart)

Lisa is hopeful that Reef Doctors returns to our screens.
The Hope Island Clinic near the Great Barrier Reef provided community care under the guidance of Dr Sam Stewart.
"I hope Reef Doctors gets another run," Lisa says.
"That was one of the best casts I've ever worked with. But it was a terrific show. Very family, very fun. Kids see it and go, 'I love that show. I love the spiders and snakes!'"

HELL HAS HARBOUR VIEWS (Caroline Ashton)

Lisa and Matt Day in Hell Has Harbour Views.
"I loved going and doing a guestie [as a journalist] on Hell Has Harbour Views with Peter Duncan [writer/director]," Lisa says.
"It was great fun. I haven't done anything that I've disliked at all. So yeah, I've had a very lucky time, but I feel I've got a bit left in me yet."

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