Pamela Rabe opens up about Wentworth and working on stage

On television she is known as Wentworth’s Joan ‘The Freak’ Ferguson. Actor PAMELA RABE, 61, splits her time between Melbourne and Tasmania and is starring in the world premiere of The Last Season as part of Sydney Festival

Before this interview I actually felt a bit nervous and realised it’s because I just binged season eight of Wentworth. How does it feel to play a character who provokes such a visceral reaction?

By the time my work meets its audience it’s always a good 6-12 months after it’s finished so I’ve generally well and truly moved on and [the reaction] takes me by surprise. Generally speaking, people are pretty good. Just occasionally I see a shift in eyes. Some people hyperventilate a little bit but I’m not sure if that’s more to do with the fact that somebody they’ve had in their loungeroom for a binge session has suddenly materialised in front of them or whether it has something to do with the terror Joan Ferguson wreaks.

Pamela Rabe | Photo by John Appleyard (2017)Pamela Rabe | Photo by John Appleyard (2017)

Thinking about one’s ability to change, is it a case of once a villain, always a villain?

Well, that would be sad, wouldn’t it? We all have a — probably never more so than now in the middle of a pandemic — a desire for things to be normal and not to change. So maybe if people want to put things in a box. I haven’t found that personally. If it’s a question of a professional “once a villain, always a villain”, that’s certainly not been the case. I’m lucky enough to work across a lot of different media doing a lot of different roles that stretch me in different ways. But I don’t ever take for granted the great gift and privilege it was to play that villain. I’m certainly not the first person to say villains are wonderful to play. (more…)

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Wentworth Prison star teases “pressure cooker” season 8 finale and 2021’s last ever episode

Johnaton Hughes published an exclusive interview for radiotimes.com today:

Pamela Rabe also reveals how the hit Australian drama kept calm and carried on through two Melbourne lockdowns.

After weeks of violence, twists and tension, Wentworth Prison reaches its explosive eighth season finale on Wednesday 7th October on 5STAR, and stakes for the inmates could not be higher as the show edges towards the last ever episode in 2021.

The gritty Australian drama, a reboot of cult favourite Prisoner: Cell Block H, was saved from the axe in 2018 by campaigning fans who persuaded Foxtel network not to lock up the show and throw away the key as originally planned.

Committing to two more years to complete the story and bringing iconic villain Joan ‘The Freak’ Ferguson back from the dead, Wentworth Prison is now on the home stretch to its final season – so what can we expect from this week’s sign-off?

“There is a sense of pressure from the repression of Joan’s amnesia,” says Pamela Rabe, the award-winning actress who plays Joan, speaking exclusively to RadioTimes.com. (more…)

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Read more about the article Metro Interview: Wentworth Prison star Pamela Rabe only returned if Joan and Vera would have scenes
Pamela Rabe | Interview for metro.co.uk about the final Wentworth season

Metro Interview: Wentworth Prison star Pamela Rabe only returned if Joan and Vera would have scenes

Duncan Lindsay shared his latest exclusive interview with Pamela Rabe for Metro.co.uk earlier today:

Wentworth Prison star Pamela Rabe reveals what made her return and her favourite scene

No character’s journey in any recent TV show has been quite as complex and morbidly fascinating as that of Joan Ferguson in Australian prison drama hit Wentworth. And during the eighth season, we have seen a much more vulnerable and challenging side to the character, who has lost almost everything about her and is certain that she is Kath Maxwell.

It’s something that Pamela Rabe, the majorly talented star behind the icon (or is it the other way round?) found highly difficult as she returned – but it was a process she enthused to Metro.co.uk that she thoroughly enjoyed.

She smiled: ‘As I’ve said to you before, it’s always a joy with that group of people. It comes with all its challenges – when they push the character to extraordinary extremes and take away her memory, it’s hard to hold on to a character who is credibly the same person for the audience.

‘So we had to make decisions on which characteristics, qualities and appearance remained the same even if her memory of her actions had disappeared. It was a great challenge – I wouldn’t call it a joy but exciting and good, hard work!

Joan/Kath has been on an incredible journey (Picture: Channel 5)

‘We’re all like that here. As every season builds to a finale, there’s always someone going through high octane laundry press moments – Danielle (Cormack), Nicole (da Silva), Tammie (MacIntosh) – we all go through it. It was my turn for it to come round! (more…)

Continue ReadingMetro Interview: Wentworth Prison star Pamela Rabe only returned if Joan and Vera would have scenes

Foxtel Interview: Wentworth Season 8: Part 1 Finale – Pamela Rabe On The Freak’s Freak Out!

WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS

Wow, what a journey it’s been for the character who came back from the dead! After we were teased with a glimpse of Joan ‘The Freak’ Ferguson, played by Pamela Rabe, in last season’s finale of Wentworth, this year she returned to our screens, although much different to what we’d seen before.

After being mugged in episode two, she claimed to have no memory of who she was or what she’d done – something plenty of people (including fans!) doubted. However, in the final moments of the gripping finale to season eight’s Part 1, it appeared that Joan was speaking the truth as we witnessed her horrified realisation of her past evil deeds. In a twist, however, this has occurred after her committal hearing, where it’s already been decided that she’s in a fugue state. It’s a situation ripe for the character to use to her advantage.

Pamela Rabe talks to us about her character’s return to the show, her journey in the first part of season eight and what it bodes for her in the second and final instalment!

Foxtel Insider: What appealed to you about returning to play Joan, who we all thought was dead?

Pamela Rabe: The first thing that appealed to me was just the opportunity to work with who I consider the most wonderful work family I’ve ever had the pleasure and privilege to collaborate with. I just wanted to make sure that the reasons for her return were grounded in something that could be credible for an audience and that’s tricky when she’s required to handle some of the more gothic, melodramatic aspects of the storylines.

Having said that, it was just then a really great challenge to be able to tackle: who is she if she’s not the person that she and the audience remembers? It ended up becoming very rewarding, learning about the aspects of this character that we’d all created, how they would manifest, you know, without some of the obvious things like the black gloves and the glint in her eye.

Pamela Rabe in Wentworth Season 8 | Edit by www.Pamela-Rabe.com

Insider: For pretty much the entire season of Part 1, no-one – neither the characters in the show nor the fans! – knew whether she really did have amnesia. How did you approach playing that?

Pamela: I think probably the same way that Joan would if she was trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes! But that’s actually the dilemma for her, really, isn’t it? The little girl who cried wolf. If you’ve been a master at playing people and playing games, how do you convince people that you’re not? [However] even with memory loss, she’s still the same person and she has the same intelligence and knowledge of the world in a way – she just doesn’t remember aspects of her own behaviour. She understands that she is not to be believed in a dangerous place where the alliances that you make and the things that you do really affect your survival rate. It’s a real dilemma but, as I say, a delicious one to tackle.

(more…)

Continue ReadingFoxtel Interview: Wentworth Season 8: Part 1 Finale – Pamela Rabe On The Freak’s Freak Out!

TV Week Interview “It’s fun being evil” – Pamela Rabe on The Freak’s reign of terror

‘Scaring people is wonderful’
Pamela Rabe, the woman behind “The Freak”, speaks out

The make-up room on the set of Wentworth, has a row of headshots of all the cast. At some point during shooting the latest season, the cast started replacing the photos of themselves with photos of themselves as young children. Pamela Rabe, who plays Joan “The Freak” Ferguson, stuck up a photo of herself as a four-year-old. “I’m gazing at the camera with a very Joan Ferguson expression with a lollipop in my mouth,” Pamela, 61, tells TV WEEK with a laugh. “I’ve just realised that look has obviously been in my arsenal for a very long time!”

That expression has terrified and enthralled Wentworth fans ever since Joan arrived as the prison’s new governor in the show’s second season. She’s quite possibly the scariest woman on TV, something Pamela thinks is “wonderful”.

“You try to tell stories that people can be engaged with and entertained by, but also to feel something,” she says. “So if people feel scared, that’s as good as anything.”

There are times when Pamela has witnessed the fear on people’s faces when they’ve seen her standing in front of them.

“Just occasionally you get a little squeal, a little hand clasped over the mouth,” she says.

Growing up in Canada, Pamela was still very young when she realised that baddies were the most fun to play on stage or screen.

“I played Goldilocks in kindergarten and that didn’t go well,” she remembers. “In second grade, I was handed the Queen in Alice In Wonderland, and I thought, ‘Oh, there’s no turning back from this.”‘ (more…)

Continue ReadingTV Week Interview “It’s fun being evil” – Pamela Rabe on The Freak’s reign of terror

Pamela Rabe about “Freakytits” – ‘It’s very deliberate!’

Duncan Lindsay posted an exclusive interview with Pamela Rabe about Wentworth and the “FreakyTits” relationship for Metro.


Ever since Joan ‘The Freak’ Ferguson donned her leather gloves and strode into Wentworth Prison, there have been definite and undeniable vibes between her and Vera Bennett – and Pamela Rabe, who plays the returning former governor, has revealed that they love playing with that side of the relationship. With an almost Killing Eve edge to their cat and mouse relationship, the pair don’t only loathe each other but also seem to almost enjoy the chase, have a warped mutual respect and a real co-dependency. With some fans even shipping the pair as an end game couple, Pamela smiled when speaking with us at Metro.co.uk: ‘It was born out of the relationship that Kate and I found in the very first scenes we shot. We enjoyed each other as fellow performers and a dynamic was set up. ‘It was interesting and oddly co-dependant as a mentorship relationship. They found a level of trust and shared secrets. Kate and I get off on performing with each other so the fact we enjoy each others’ company probably fed into the writer’s room. So in time yes, it became very deliberate and we’re all very aware of it and enjoy playing with that.

(more…)

Continue ReadingPamela Rabe about “Freakytits” – ‘It’s very deliberate!’