Pamela Rabe is as ready as she can be for the reaction that is about to follow for her debut as Joan Ferguson on Wentworth.
Mindful that Maggie Kirkpatrick’s original creation of the role in the iconic Prisoner would elicit hostile reactions from fans on the street, she concedes, “I’m sure even this incarnation of the 21st century Joan Ferguson is going to piss a lot of people off.”
But what a role to play.
“With this character being so iconic in its creation, the execution in Maggie’s hands and peoples’ memories of how Officer Joan Ferguson existed, I get the sense that how Joan Ferguson, now Governor, enters into the prison environment is with a few more noticeable nods to the original creation,” she says.
“So you will see black gloves, an element of a fairly delicious disjunct with what people would consider a ‘sociable emotion of feeling’ and her strategies and objectives.
“She’s described by some other characters as a psychopath. There’s something in the way Joan has risen amongst the ranks that taps into those original characteristics of Joan Ferguson.”
Rabe hadn’t seen the first season of Wentworth when she was approached for the role, but she had seen some of Prisoner on Canadian TV where she grew up.
“They used to play Prisoner: Cell Block H on television, right after Don Lane, late night.
“They went to 24 hour programming before Australia so there was a lot of hours to fill.
“By the time I arrived in 1983 it was already part of Australian culture.
“I was aware of the characters, and particularly Joan Ferguson, enough to know I needn’t have any hesitation.” Read More