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TV

The sweet story behind former Home and Away star Olivia Deeble's hit new Paramount+ teen drama

''The characters, words and story are our own, and it is a realistic depiction of how Australian teenagers feel.''

By Alana Mazzoni
Three years after leaving Summer Bay for good, former Home and Away star Olivia Deeble has well and truly proved her acting chops.
However in her latest project More Than This, Olivia is also making a name for herself behind the camera.
The 19-year-old co-created and stars in the ground-breaking six-part series on Paramount+ that follows the authentic and often raw story of five 17-year-old students and their teacher whose diverse worlds collide when they are thrown together into a Year 12 English class.
More Than This explores the unique challenges facing Australian teenagers as they come of age: social, family and school pressures, bullying, body image, relationships and sexuality.
More Than This is a six-part series on Paramount+ that follows the raw story of five 17-year-old students. (Paramount+)
Luka Gracie, an 18-year-old trans non-binary actor and filmmaker, helped Olivia create the series, which stars Kamil Ellis, Ellmir Asipi, Josh Heuston, Oisin O'Leary and newcomer Selena Brincat, along with theatre and television regular Bert Labonte as their teacher.
Olivia, who is best known for her roles on Little Lunch and Disney feature film The Secret Society of Second Born Royals, (and of course, Home and Away) began writing the series when she was just 17 and completing Year 12 during Melbourne's lockdown.
"I had auditioned for and watched hundreds of high school shows and they were all the same. None of them were telling anything near my truth or experience, so I wanted to make something authentic," she said.
"I asked my friends what they would want to see on screen and the answer was ourselves: real teens and not shiny, airbrushed versions of teenagers played by 25-year-olds with adult bodies and adult confidence.
"I am really proud of More Than This. I feel like the characters, words and story are our own, and it is a realistic depiction of how Australian teenagers feel while still being a great series with a whole lot of characters you can fall in love with."
The exciting new TV venture comes two years after Olivia left Home and Away - she was just 14-years-old when she burst onto our screens and straight into our hearts as the vivacious Raffy.
"It was incredibly emotional and quite sad, but you just kind of know sometimes that it's time [to leave the show]," Olivia told TV WEEK in 2019.
Olivia left behind her role as Raffy Morgan on Home and Away in 2019 after three years on the soap. (Seven)
As though it were fate, Olivia's decision not to sign on for more seasons timed perfectly with her landing the dream role of Roxana in Disney+ film Secret Society Of Second Born Royals.
"I was aware my contract was ending, so I started auditioning for things, then the Disney audition came through and I really loved the role," Olivia said at the time.
"Two weeks after [finishing] shooting Home And Away, I left to go to Canada."
More Than This will premiere on Paramount+ in early 2022.

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