Exclusive interview for Daily Star: Wentworth star Pamela Rabe has teased her terrifying character Joan ‘The Freak’ Ferguson’s payback plot on those around her after being buried alive and left for dead
Wentworth season eight is will under way, with UK fans getting to watch the third episode on Wednesday night – however Joan Ferguson was nowhere to be seen.
The last fans saw of her was her being unconscious on the floor after being attacked by a homeless man, though it was clear she had some sort of dastardly plan in store for Vera and baby Grace.
However Pamela Rabe has suggested Joan doesn’t want revenge, despite the fact that Vera was one of the “terrible trio” that tried to get rid of her.
The iconic actress exclusively told Daily Star Online: “I’m not so sure that Joan Ferguson sees these things as revenge. She sees something that she wants or needs.
“There certainly might be a sense of retribution in terms of payback, or that someone is collateral, and in her mind Vera’s value may have slipped somewhat due to her complicity in Joan’s fate in that box.”
She teased: “Frankly, Joan’s got something else on her mind. It changes a little bit as we go on down the track.
“Vera Bennett is someone who’s clearly very important to Joan Ferguson and there’s business that needs to be finished there.”
Despite Joan going through challenge after challenge – managing the prison, being a prisoner, being buried alive, to living on the streets – the character keeps bouncing back.
Pamela spoke of Ferguson’s terrifying resilience, saying: “One of the wonderful things is she’s not always in control – each wobble probably teaches her something new, but that’s the strength of the character.
“She is a cockroach. Every challenge, every opponent, every dilemma, is something to be climbed out of, crawled over, and the fact she never gives up is also one of her greatest strengths.
“It’s also what makes her terrifying in the kind of B-movie villain way, it’s the thing we fear most. The ghoul, the evil force, the uninvited guest. That person or your greatest fear that just will not go away.”
But Wentworth fans know there is more to The Freak than evilness, as there have been glimpses of her humanity, fear and ability to feel love in past seasons.
Pamela told us: “As presented by the writers, just when you think she’s become the out and out personification of evil, they will just hit a note, or give me a note to hit, which is just a wobble in her where you get suddenly a glimpse of a possibility, or her own imbalance, and in that imbalance there’s a search for something that might be missing.
“So the fact she’s not completed I think means there’s something there that has a way to go, there is something that has a potential to be redeemed.
“There are so many forces within her that are working with great strength against all that, that’s the tension in her, but I think she’s incredibly strong.”
Viewers will surely be dying to know how Ferguson got out of the box, but Pamela told us there are plenty of clues in past episodes – and that that really isn’t the most interesting part of her story.
She said: “I’m less interested in how she got out than what she’s been doing, making sure that’s all grounded and clear.
“There were things that were seeded in previous seasons, whether that was producers hedging their bets – the fact the DNA has never really cropped up, but also there was someone clearly witnessing the burial and the terrible trio at the gravesite, so we knew there was someone watching – so in hindsight those are some of the pieces of the puzzle that need to come together, and those things will be worked in coming episodes.
“But for me what’s really interesting is what has Joan being doing and now what is on her mind?”
While viewers have to wait to find out what’s been going on for Joan and what she’s really up to, Pamela revealed just how tight-lipped show bosses were about her shock season seven return.
She told us: “We had well and truly wrapped and it was six or so months after the wrap, they’d organised a very secret squirrel day of filming where they re-shot the ending of series seven and the reveal of Joan around that oil drum, and then we were off. Pretty exciting.
“It was a wonderful night, it was also a great opportunity for me because it had to be so top secret, none of the other cast even knew about it, my name was changed on the call sheet so nobody knew that I was going to be present.
“And there was an issue of other people being on camera – normally you’d have extras – because they didn’t want word getting out so they had to keep it all completely in house, so all the people around that oil drum with Joan at the end were in house staff, the writing crew, other employees.”
And with the show sadly coming to an end after the final 20 episodes, Pamela spoke of her sadness at leaving behind the role.
Looking back at her time on the show, she told us: “I’m very proud with what this family has created and I will be very sad to see it finish up.”