Michala Banas on McLeod’s Daughters: “It was the hardest job I’ve ever done”

Michala talks about the role that turned her into a household name.
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In the eyes of the show’s fans, Michala Banas, who played Kate Manfredi, and her former castmates will forever be connected to McLeod’s Daughters, the hit Aussie drama that finished nearly a decade ago.

In fact, at a recent reunion event, viewers turned out in droves to share their devotion for the show.

Understandably, there was a great deal of excitement recently when rumours surfaced about a potential McLeod’s Daughters reunion. While that talk has since been quashed, Michala remains hopeful the drama might make a return at some point.

“It’s not happening right now, but you never know,” she says.

Like the fans, Michala was enthusiastic about the possibility of a reunion.

“I’ve always wondered what it would be like to get back on the horse – literally,” she says. “It’s awesome that people love the show to the point that they want it back.”

It’s that enduring popularity that has made McLeod’s a legacy of Australian television. Looking back on it now, Michala believes the series’ very essence created that appeal.

“It was such an Aussie show, with the country setting and the characters,” she explains. “It also had a timeless quality, which is why it’s still being watched.”

In terms of her career, the role came about when Michala’s star was on the rise. The opportunity to join the established series came on the back of her breakthrough appearance in Always Greener. But incredibly, Michala had thought about passing up the role.

“I considered not taking the role, because I was scared!” Michala admits. “I’m a city girl and had only been on a horse twice before.”

She says there were many times she felt terrified about some of the physical stunts she was expected to perform. But it was the physicality, along with the outdoor setting, that made for an unforgettable experience.

“We were out in paddocks, in the elements,” Michala reflects. “They were long, really physical days. It was hard work, but good work.”

But behind the scenes, the actress says the cast had “a lot of fun”.

“We’d often get the giggles,” Michala says. “We’d also spend a lot of time off-set together. Everyone was from interstate, so we didn’t have friends and family nearby.”

She also took pride in the camaraderie among the female-led cast.

“This was my first experience of looking around me and seeing women everywhere on-screen,” Michala says.

“I believe there was such a thirst for seeing women on screen – and there still is.”

To read the full story, pick up this week’s issue of TV WEEK.

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