Doctor Doctor’s Rodger Corser reveals he was scared the show would fail

‘There was fear taking on this role.’
Loading the player...

Rodger Corser has been around the block – a few times, in fact. His big break came in 1998, when he appeared in the stage show Rent. Since then, he’s become a permanent fixture on our screens.

With 20 years of acting under his belt, he’s pretty much seen it all. So when Doctor Doctor came knocking in 2016, he was quietly concerned.

“There was fear taking on this role,” Rodger admits. “I was nervous.

“You don’t know how well it will go. And we had limited promotion when we launched, so we were so fearful.”

To make matters worse, Rodger knew he’d be the focus of any potential misfire.

“Having your face on the promo feels great, because you’ve hit the lead on a show,” the 45-year-old says.

“But the responsibility is double. If the show tanks, they’re going to look at you.”

As Doctor Doctor prepares to launch its third season, it turns out Rodger needn’t have harboured any concerns.

The series has cemented its spot as one of Australia’s favourite dramas. It has also outlasted the competition to remain one of the few homegrown scripted dramas on commercial TV.

And viewers love Rodger’s portrayal of Dr Hugh Knight so much that he’s notched up two nominations for the coveted TV WEEK Gold Logie.

“We still have great shows, but you have to seek them out – it’s all one-off type projects,” he says.

“So for Doctor Doctor to stick its head up in a sea of choice is a great testament to the show.

“Fingers crossed we can do it again for a couple more seasons.”

Given the fragility of the Australian TV landscape – in the past 12 months we’ve farewelled Offspring, Love Child and The Wrong Girl – Rodger is not immune to worrying about the future. He admits he regularly wonders what’s next.

“I’m very aware and conscious of the fact that the run may end,” he says. “So you have to diversify your skills a bit.

“I didn’t do acting at university, I did media studies. That’s what I wanted to do originally, so I’d like to revisit that at some stage.”

Does that mean we may see Rodger reinvent himself once he hangs up Hugh’s stethoscope? He reveals he’d love to submit a concept for a show on his own.

“Claudia Karvan is a role model,” he says of the actress, writer and producer. “It’s amazing how she balances work on and off screen. I’m interested in doing that and helping the longevity of my career.”

In his two decades on television, Rodger has created an impressive body of work, ranging from the iconic (McLeod’s Daughters) to the offbeat (Glitch).

Given his versatility, with the bonus of his leading-man good looks, it’s a little surprising the actor has never tried his luck in Hollywood.

“I entered the industry a bit older,” he explains. “I didn’t really start [acting] until I was 26 or 27, so it’s a bit different.

“Especially when you have a family, it’s hard to pack up and go to the States for six months. I can’t exactly crash at a mate’s house.”

That’s not to say he would trade his family for any amount of fame or fortune.

Rodger has three children with wife Renae Berry: Budd, seven, Cilla, six, and three-year-old Dustin. He also has a 16-year-old daughter, Zipporah, with former partner Christine Anu.

Not a day goes by where he doesn’t appreciate how good he’s got it.

“Some of my friends who are in the industry don’t have families because they don’t know what they’re doing [next],” Rodger says.

“It’s hard to buy a house, provide for a family or make plans in a business like this, so I feel very fortunate.”

Related stories