YOU DON’T RUN THIS INTERVIEW, I DO: ‘Wentworth’ star Pamela Rabe on Joan “The Freak” Ferguson

by McKenzie Morrell

Every story needs a villain and man, we’ve hit the jackpot! Joan “The Freak” Ferguson is one of those anomalous creatures you hate the love and love to hate. The character, who is played by the incomparable Pamela Rabe, was introduced in season two of Foxtel’s reimagining of the prison drama and let’s just say that Wentworth will never be the same again.

Categorized as one of the meanest women on TV, Rabe sets the bar (extremely) high when it comes to all things freaky. Sporting her black leather gloves and ice cold stare, she might represent the law, but whether or not she upholds it (in a humane and ethical manner) is constantly up for interpretation. Ferguson, who is arguably the best psychopath we’ve seen on our screens in a long time, really brings the thunder with strategic planning, and her twisted sights set on complete and total revenge. Between her manipulative ways (RIP Jodie’s eye), or her struggle for power (all hail Queen Bea), this woman ain’t going down without a fight– and a fight you shall have. (more…)

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Pamela Rabe exclusive Wentworth interview – “I’ll say it, what the f**k, I’ll say it!”

In the third of our four Wentworth Prison interviews, Pamela Rabe talks all things freaky, her villainous character Joan Ferguson and more in a hilariously honest and refreshing interview. Read on to find out what she had to say.

First off, going back really to when you first joined the show, what drew you to Wentworth and the role of Joan Ferguson?

Oo, that’s a tricky one. I suppose, oh goodness. Many, many things. But the first part of it, I would say, I’ve often, because of the way I look really I suppose, and perhaps the way I act, I’ve often been given the opportunity to play some great, very strong women, and often wicked women. Although I wasn’t a huge watcher of the original Prisoner Cell Block H series, I was very aware of it and of its cultural impact. And also Maggie Kirkpatrick who originated the role of The Freak, Joan Ferguson, is a good mate of mine, and we’ve worked together onstage a number of times, so I was very aware of Maggie’s creation, more as a cultural icon than anything but also the impact that it’s had, and I’ve had lots of conversations around that. So I was very aware of what the role was, but not necessarily in its detail or complexity, but just kind of, as an archetype. (more…)

Continue ReadingPamela Rabe exclusive Wentworth interview – “I’ll say it, what the f**k, I’ll say it!”

Wentworth’s Pamela Rabe: ‘People squeal when they see me off set’

EVEN though she’s technically on the right side of the law, Pamela Rabe who plays Wentworth’s Governor Joan Ferguson is arguably the biggest villain on TV.

EVEN though she’s technically on the right side of the law, Governor Joan Ferguson is arguably the biggest villain within the Wentworth walls.

And Pamela Rabe, the woman who portrays her in the third season of Wentworth, which won a Silver Logie for Most Outstanding Drama Series on May 3, says that it’s ‘a gift’ to play the meanest woman on TV.

“I can’t say I lick my lips when I read some of the stuff she’s going to do,” Rabe says of the despicable acts including torture and attempted murder her character undertakes.

“But there’s a professional pleasure in that, yes.”


Continue ReadingWentworth’s Pamela Rabe: ‘People squeal when they see me off set’


‘Wentworth’, Foxtel’s reimaging of the iconic Australian series ‘Prisoner’ has been a ratings smash around the world and the third season is about to start soon. We caught up with actor Pamela Rabe, who plays Joan ‘The Freak’ Ferguson, the governor of Wentworth who joined the show last season inhabiting the role made famous by Maggie Kirkpatrick.

Despite our best interrogation, Pamela wouldn’t give much up about what will happen in Season 3.

Of all the characters in Wentworth, Joan Ferguson has to be the most iconic of them all. Did you have any trepidation before taking on the role?

No, just a lot of excitement. It’s a great role and when I got the phone call I squealed into the phone to my agent.
Maggie Kirkpatrick is someone I’ve admired for a very long time, and I’ve worked with, we played mother and daughter in a play with a very long extended theatrical nm. So I know her well and I’m so full of admiration and adoration for who she is, and what she brought to the creation of this character of Joan The Freak’ Ferguson.
When I found out N be playing this role, it’s like all your Christmases have come at once. (more…)

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Pamela Rabe on Wentworth and The Glass Menagerie

Pamela Rabe has built a reputation for playing the “heavy” roles in the theatrical canon – The Wicked Witch of the West, even Richard III – but for sheer malevolence, nothing tops playing Joan “The Freak” Ferguson, the sadistic black-gloved jailer of the rebooted Prisoner series Wentworth, airing on Foxtel.

Rabe, who is preparing to play a monster of a different stripe in Belvoir’s coming production of The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams, has recently finished filming the third season of the series in Melbourne.

“I’ve known Maggie Kirkpatrick [the original “Freak” from the ’80s soapie] for a long time now,” Rabe says. “We did a tour of The Beauty Queen of Leenane for the Sydney Theatre Company playing a mother and daughter. So there was some serendipity in me being asked to take up the gloves.”

On screen, Rabe lives up to Prison Officer Joan Ferguson’s unofficial title. “I felt like I had to earn that nickname,” Rabe says. “When the audience knows you’re going to get nasty, it’s all about working your way to that destination as interestingly as possible. It’s a great challenge.” (more…)

Continue ReadingPamela Rabe on Wentworth and The Glass Menagerie