EXCLUSIVE: Rodger Corser talks going shirtless in Doctor Doctor, chaotic family life and appearing in the McLeod’s Daughters’ movie

''It’s crazy, great, amazing chaos.''

By Helen Vnuk
Rodger Corser finds being a producer on Doctor Doctor has its advantages. He gets a say in how much of his body is seen in bedroom scenes. And this season, his fifth as Dr Hugh Knight, he's limiting it.
"There was a shirt off there, but the frames weren't too wide, they were nice and tight," he tells TV WEEK.
"No-one wants to see a middle-aged guy with his shirt off. That's why we brought Lincoln Younes into the show: much younger, much more buffed, much prettier."
But plenty of people want to see a certain middle-aged guy with his shirt off – Rodger, 48, is still making "sexiest people" lists. "It's called a very good publicist!" he insists.
Perhaps it's not surprising that Rodger is feeling middle-aged.
Rodger's oldest daughter Zipporah, whose mother is singer Christine Anu, is officially an adult. (Instagram)
His eldest daughter, Zipporah (with singer Christine Anu), is 18, has a job and comes home only once or twice a week.
"She's an adult now," he says. "But then you worry, 'Last year you weren't an adult – it's only just ticked over.' But she has a good head on her shoulders."
Zipporah is also doing gigs, as Rodger did in his teens when he fronted rock bands – not that he's trying to claim his talented daughter takes after him.
"Music-wise, she probably takes her lead from her mum more than my failed cover-band career in the '90s," he says.
Even though Zipporah is rarely at home, Rodger still has a full house.
His three kids with actress wife Renae Berry – Budd, Cilla and Dustin – make sure life is "pretty much go, go, go."
"It's crazy, great, amazing chaos," he says. "There's noise in our household pretty much 24/7, but that's how we like it. It's like a built-in party all the time."
Rodger says his house is chaos - and he loves it. (Instagram)
However, Rodger admits he did struggle at times last year.
"I didn't have as much patience as Renae with home schooling," he says.
"And usually I'm a bit more tech-savvy, but the Google Classroom, I didn't know where they were supposed to put the documents."
With five-year-old Dustin now at school with Budd and Cilla, Rodger and Renae often use the extra time they have to tape auditions.
"I read for her, she reads for me," Rodger says. "She's been very, very close to [landing] a couple of things."
Renae had roles in musical theatre, as well as TV series such as Rush, before putting her career on hold when Budd arrived."
"She wanted to put her kids first," Rodger says. "I'm happy to share it all around, but she wanted to until all the kids were at school. It'd be great to see her get out there and get back on telly."
Doctor Doctor is just one of many shows Rodger is known for. (Channel Nine)
Rodger is one of Australia's favourite leading men, having starred in Underbelly, Rush and Glitch, and been nominated for the TV WEEK Gold Logie three times. But he never expected to be an actor.
Growing up in Melbourne, he dreamed of playing cricket for Australia, before forming a rock band with school friends.
"I think I played my first pub gig when I was under-age," he remembers.
While his brother studied acting at university, Rodger chose media studies.
"I wanted to be more of a filmmaker than be in front of the camera," he says.
That changed when his experience in bands landed him a role in the musical Rent, with Christine Anu.
Rodger and Renee at the TV WEEK Logie Awards in 2019. (Instagram)
But even when cast in McLeod's Daughters, he doubted himself, because he hadn't studied acting.
"I'd watch myself back religiously to try to correct the things I thought I was doing awfully wrong," he explains, adding that he sought out acting coaches to help him.
"I'd work on things, but never telling anybody I was," Rodger says.
"I had to project that I was competent and professional, but all the while having impostor syndrome."
Even so, he has fond memories of McLeod's, playing Peter Johnson, the father of Claire's (Lisa Chappell) baby Charlotte. He'd hang out with Aaron Jeffery and Myles Pollard,
and stay at their homes in Gawler in South Australia.
"They were like, 'Oh, just bunk here,'" he recalls. "We'd have a day off, and it wasn't worth going back to Sydney, so we'd just go to the pub or horseriding with the wranglers."
Remember when Rodger appeared in McLeod's Daughters? (Channel Nine)
Rodger hasn't heard from series creator Posie Graeme-Evans about the upcoming McLeod's movie with a grown Charlotte.
"Peter may have met an untimely death," he says with a laugh.
Rodger has plenty of projects on the go. Aside from Doctor Doctor, there's a short film with director Alex Proyas (Sister Darkness), an Australian Federal Police podcast, and a pivotal role in a big Aussie drama he can't talk about yet.
One thing he's not interested in doing: reality TV.
"I want to have more control as I get older, not less," he says.
"I feel like you have zero with reality shows."
Rodger is also developing his own ideas for TV series, and hopes to have something to talk about later this year.
"Eventually, the Lincoln Youneses of the world will be the lead of a show like ours and I'll be his dad, probably getting half the scenes," he says.
"But that's fine. I want to be in this industry and I want to tell stories."

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