It’s been 25 years between Logies for Brooke Satchwell. In 1998, as a young Neighbours star, she won the TV WEEK Logie For Most Popular New Talent. At this year’s awards, she took out Most Outstanding Supporting Actress for her role in The Twelve.
“To be acknowledged for my work at this point in time, and particularly from the Logies, for very sentimental reasons, it’s really beautiful,” she says.
Back in 1998, when Brooke beat Callan Mulvey to the Most Popular New Talent Logie, she was playing Ramsay Street teenager Anne Wilkinson.
“I was turning 17,” she says. “An absolute baby.”
She’d joined Neighbours with virtually no acting experience: “I literally turned up on my first day, going, ‘So I just say the words on the page? Is that how this works?'” she remembers with a laugh.
Things were very different when Brooke signed on for the role of juror Georgina Merrick in star-studded courtroom drama The Twelve. Georgina has a seemingly perfect life, with a big house and three children, but her husband Jamie is abusive. Their relationship is one of the show’s most compelling storylines.
For Brooke, who has previously spoken about being in an abusive relationship, filming the role in The Twelve took a lot of care.
“I had to learn to look after myself very well,” she explains. “I had to really take all the experiences I’ve had in 42-odd years of life, and put down the chicken Twisties and pick up the chicken soup, and set the alarm for a little bit earlier so that I could, at four in the morning, have a 15-minute bath just to chill out before going to work.
“Obviously, the subject matter we were dealing with, my shoulders would be quite high [with tension] by the time I got home. So I really concentrated on that aspect of things, and I was immensely supported both in my personal life and also on set by everybody I was working with.”
Brooke says one of her biggest supports was her co-star Hamish Michael, who was so believable in his role as the abusive Jamie that he’s been “copping a bit of heat”.
“I’ve been having to reassure people that for someone to be able to execute a character like that, they have to be an incredibly kind and empathetic human being,” she says. “I think an a—hole playing an a—hole isn’t going to read in the same way it has in this show and have the effect it has.”
In Brooke’s 25-plus years on television, she’s starred in everything from Packed To The Rafters to comedy Preppers, appeared on panel shows like Dirty Laundry Live, and narrated factual series such as Love On The Spectrum.
“I really dig that I’ve had a weird career,” she says. “I’m lucky enough that I’ve been able to make enough of a crust to keep doing it that way.
“The fact that, at 42, I’m getting some of the most enjoyable, meaningful and exciting roles to date, where historically you might start panicking… I’m really pleased to see that landscape has changed a lot.”