The inmates and staff of Wentworth Prison are rightfully scared of Joan ‘The Freak’ Ferguson and rightfully so – the fearsome villain has killed, maimed, tortured and psychologically abused countless victims and her reign of terror is about to kick off again now that she is alive.
But despite her character’s notoriety, Pamela Rabe has admitted that she is pleasantly surprised by the reaction she gets when people see her out and about – and she often forgets she is even in the show and that it might be a double take for someone to see The Freak buying her groceries, without any leather gloves donned.
She told Metro.co.uk: ‘I do just walk round supermarkets and keep forgetting. It’s extraordinary the global reach that Wentworth has but in Australia it is still on a pay to view platform so has a relatively small proportion of viewership.
‘Having said that, over the years, it’s just hitting a critical masse and people know the series and characters and I am taken by surprise. People love the show but what surprises me is that they can still know the line between fiction and real life. It’s pretty rare that anyone approaches me and screams ‘Freak!’ or runs away across the street screaming!
‘Mostly they tend to be enthusiastic and often speak to me and address me by my name, not Joan’s s that makes me feels so good – I see that as a gesture of respect for me and the show. I am thrilled – I have never been involved in a show that has this kind of international reach. But I am not surprised because it is such a high quality show.’
And Pamela herself is just as much a fan of the show herself.
She added: ‘One of our newer actors, Jane Hall who plays Ann Reynolds – she’s just a newbie to the experience as well. She keeps telling me while she is watching the new series, she says: ‘I get so wrapped up in it and then a scene comes up and I gasp “Oh, that’s me, I’m in it!”.
‘Funnily enough, I feel the same way, I get incredibly drawn in and then I pop up and I feel “Wait! That’s me! I’m in the show, I’m so lucky!”
‘They put cat nip in these episodes – just one more episode before I go to bed! But there’s so much to come up, it’s tricky not to give spoilers because there are so many big things to happen.’
Watch this space – as a shocking development is to come with life changing consequences…