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McLeod’s Daughters reunion confirmed! Why Bridie Carter and the cast couldn't say no

With a McLeod's Daughters reunion just announced, the cast take a look back...

By Helen Vnuk
The stars of McLeod's Daughters are getting back together. It's not the longed-for revival of the hit rural drama, which ended in 2009, but a one-off McLeod's Daughters Bush Christmas Reunion in Lismore, NSW. Even so, for some of the cast, it will be the first time they've caught up in more than a decade.
"Simmone [Jade Mackinnon] and I said goodbye when I left the set and I've not seen her since," Bridie Carter, 48, says. "It's an actual reunion for her and me."
Bridie and Simmone will be joined on stage by Lisa Chappell, Aaron Jeffery, Myles Pollard and Zoe Naylor. Here, the McLeod's stars talk to TV WEEK about their memories of the show, the effect it's had on their lives, and whether they'd be up for a revival of the show.

Lisa Chappell: “I would return to McLeods!”

When Lisa Chappell's character Claire McLeod went over a cliff in a ute, Australia mourned. Now, 16 years later, Lisa says if McLeod's Daughters were revived, she'd be happy to be part of it.
"You can count me in if there's a way of doing it," she tells TV WEEK. "That's the first time I've ever said that! It's just got to be plausible, whether it's dead Claire in people's dreams, or somehow."
Back in 2001, when Lisa was cast as Claire, she'd already done quite a bit of TV in New Zealand. But she knew McLeod's was something special.
"I hadn't seen anything like that before where there were five female leads, five women in a man's world doing a man's job," she says.
Working with farm animals was new for her, and she loved it. After shooting scenes with a poddy lamb called Buddy, she turned vegetarian.
"I just couldn't eat my co-stars," she explains.
Claire's cliff-plunge death has left a lasting impact on viewers. Lisa, 50, tells how last summer, after her touring theatre production was cancelled, she worked briefly in a friend's shop. Several times a day, customers would talk to her about that death scene.
"A lot of the time they'd just start crying," she says. "I'd usually give them a hug and we'd chat. I'd be like, 'Wow, this show is never going to die.'"

Bridie Carter: “I was so sad when Oscar died!”

In her six seasons as Tess McLeod, Bridie Carter had "the closest relationship" with her character's horse, Oscar.
"I had a dream of taking my boys to meet him," Bridie, mum to Otis and Tobias and stepmum to James, says.
But earlier this year, Tess found out that Oscar – real name Beau – had died.
"I was so sad," she says. "Horse and rider build such a bond."
Of course, Tess had other close relationships in McLeod's, including with Lisa, who played her half-sister. The two reconnected when Bridie, 48, was in New Zealand to film 800 Words.
"When we communicate today, we say, 'Hey, sis,'" she reveals.
If Bridie isn't on a set, she's on the cattle farm near Byron Bay that she and husband Michael Wilson run. "I feel like I've lived the continuous storylines of McLeod's Daughters," she says.
In fact, Bridie – who says she's "10 million per cent" up for a McLeod's revival – still wears Tess' hat from the show.
"It's the best work hat!" she says with a laugh.

Aaron Jeffery: “I was wrong about the fans!”

Three years ago, Aaron Jeffery's partner and former co-star Zoe Naylor suggested holding a McLeod's fan event.
"I said, 'Babe, no-one's going to give a rat's,'" Aaron, 49, recalls. "I couldn't have been more wrong."
The McLeod's events have been hugely popular.
"I've met a lot of girls who became jillaroos because of McLeod's, a lot from Europe," he says. "That blew me away."
Aaron, who played Alex Ryan, stayed with the drama until its eighth and final season.
"I'm quite an introvert by nature, so I really enjoyed kind of hiding out in the country," he explains.
He and Zoe, who played Regan McLeod, didn't get together until after the show. They now have two children, Sophia and Beau.
Since McLeod's, Aaron has been busy with roles in Wentworth, Underbelly Files: Chopper and the upcoming Between Two Worlds. He's open to being in a McLeod's revival, but isn't sure how it could work, with Alex having died.
He quips, "It might look a bit funny if I'm this ageing ghost!"

Myles Pollard: “I embrace McLeod’s now”

Myles Pollard can't go the supermarket without being stopped in the jam aisle and asked what it was like to play Nick Ryan. He loves it – these days.
"I suppose I was a little bit reluctant embracing McLeod's and the place it had in my life," he says. "But I embrace it now."
McLeod's was the Western Australian actor's first real job out of acting school. It helped that he loved doing his own stunts.
"I actually did a high fall off the back of a horse," he recalls. "It was so hands-on."
After five seasons, Myles was ready for something new and left for the US. Then, "I came back from America with my tail between my legs," he concedes. "But I learnt a lot from it and I got engaged [to Brigitta Wuthe] in America as well."
Now a writer, director and producer, Myles, 46, notes a revived McLeod's would still be relevant.
"It was about empowering women," he says. "It would be a privilege to be a part of it."

Simmone Jade Mackinnon: “I’ve become a jillaroo”

If TV viewers haven't seen a lot of Simmone Jade Mackinnon recently, she has a career-changing reason for that.
"I've become a jillaroo," she says. "That's only very new."
Simmone, who starred in Baywatch, was living in the US when she auditioned for the role of Stevie Hall in McLeod's' third season. Having grown up riding horses, it was a "dream job".
Simmone, 46, quickly became close to the other cast. "My ex [Jason Momoa] and I moved in four doors away from Aaron and his now ex-wife Melinda."
She loved the relationship between her character and Aaron's.
"The storyline of Stevie and Alex was just that slow, slow, five-year burn," she recalls.
Simmone, who stayed with McLeod's till the end, was sure it was going to be revived two years ago.
"I took my dreadlocks out because I thought it was a no-brainer," she reveals. "I'd love to see where the characters are."
But she's happy being a jillaroo and travelling Australia in a caravan with her son Madigan.
"It's the most incredible life," she enthuses.
The McLeod's Daughters Bush Christmas Reunion will be held December 5, Lismore City Hall. For tickets and more information, go to nine.com.au/mcleods

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