TV

Wentworth's Tammy McGregor on her character's shock death and the friends she has left behind

''The places we have to go require every ounce of our energy, attention, research, rehearsal and commitment.''

If you're a Wentworth fan then you would have been as shocked as the rest of us when 'Top Dog' Kaz Proctor was ambushed in a corridor and brutally murdered with one swift action of a knife.
It was so sudden and violent, who saw that coming?
The badass yet equally maternal and protective character of Kaz will be missed, not least of all by the woman who played her, Australian actor Tammy McGregor.
In an interview with TV Week, Tammy revealed that she is grateful to have been able to play a character like Kaz.
"If you told me when I was 18, doing The Flying Doctors, that I'd be playing scenes like this, I would have gone, 'I don't think I would ever be able to do something like that...'
"It's great to watch the show and know you've done things in your career you never imagined you had in you. The depth of the psychological trauma, the violence, the high-stakes survival of the women...
"The places we have to go require every ounce of our energy, attention, research, rehearsal and commitment..."
Tammy cant' speak highly enough of her former cast mates, two of whom she has become especially close friends with, Celia [Ireland, who plays Liz Birdsworth] and Susie [Porter, who plays Marie Winter]."Don't get me wrong – the boys are amazing too – but it's just such a great group of women, with absolutely no egos. There are no prima donnas, no 'I want my name on a trailer' – none of that."
"I call Celia 'Shazza', my 'Melbourne Wife'," Tammy reveals. The two women are based in Sydney and travel to Melbourne to film the show. While they stay in separate accommodation Tammy says they like to "connect after each day".
"Or, if we have days off, we'll go to the Botanical Gardens and walk it off; take photos of flowers and bees. We have a really great friendship that just works."
Of Susie, Tammy says: "The really mesmerising thing about watching Susie is that she doesn't play anything obvious. Sometimes your direction is very obvious – with anger, or guilt or a sly manipulation. Sometimes you see this stuff coming, but with her, she holds everything in this cloud of ethereal nothingness. You watch her eyes, and they roll over ever so gently, like rolling a little seed in your hand. It's this really beautiful thing – you can't take your eyes off her. She's put a really subtle sophistication into Marie."
Filming away from her family allowed Tammy to completely embrace Kaz, she says.
"For this job, I couldn't have done it in Sydney. I couldn't imagine going home to my house, prepping dinner, doing all that, then looking at my scenes and researching the stuff I have to look at online. Some of the graphic, disgusting, horrifying things I have had to research while being on this show – child sexual abuse, alcoholism, beatings, having to research brothels, child trafficking – all that stuff.
"Shazza and I, whenever we come down to start a new series, we realise that when we get to the airport with our bags, we start to feel a little breathless. It's akin to having been in a car accident and then going back to where the accident happened, a year later, at the same time of night. You get memory cell information going, "Alert! Alert! Don't go there – danger! Danger!" And this place also holds the energy of everything that has happened here."
Even the Wentworth set has a "dark energy to it", Tammy says. "And you clothe yourself in that energy.
"Celia and I will get down here and do our few days [filming in Melbourne], and then go home to Sydney in the afternoon and go, "Oh, my God – I can breathe again."
She has her theories on why Wentworth is in its eighth season, and showing no signs of running its course:
"There's really nothing else like it. I think both men and women are really enjoying seeing these role reversals; seeing strong women who can do anything they put their minds to – whether it be violence, love, joy... And I think people like seeing leading women in great roles; seeing women just rock it."