I always remember an argument around our family dinner table when I was a teenager. My father said, Ask the boy what happened on Days Of Our Lives 20 years ago and he can tell you, but no one ever made an income out of doing that.
I now feel vindicated as I do know what happened on Days 20 years ago and, with that knowledge, I make a really good living. See, it did pay off.
My earliest memories of TV are as a child and I had a TV in my own room -“ I was weaned young.
Soap operas fascinated me. What I loved was the storyline device and that they are not finite stories. With the local soaps, I was drawn to people who sound like our own voices and whose situations are familiar.
What, then, attracts a nine-year-old boy to a show about incarcerated, angry women dealing with their loss of power and dignity is the stuff that might keep a psychiatrist busy, but I loved Prisoner.
I thought it was fabulous and, in hindsight, a very brave show. It broke taboos at that time and told stories other shows would not touch.
Dynasty, however, is in a class of its own. It was fabulous and I was drawn to it as it was pure escapist drama. I liked Pamela Sue Martin who played Fallon best. As a restless and disaffected teenager, I thought of her character as a kindred spirit.
I always wanted to be a journalist as I liked writing and I saw it as a ticket to anything -“ a job which puts you in the path of garbage collectors and prime ministers.
I was a bit of a computer nerd as a kid -“ my ambition was to edit the computer supplement of The Australian.
But while I was doing my cadetship on The Daily Telegraph, I discovered the TV writer, Gerri Sutton.
It never twigged with me that someone did that for a living, but once I realised TV writing was a real job, I thought that was great.
When I was asked if I was interested in writing for that round, I said absolutely and it went from there.
I am a total star fucker and I think you have to be in order to do the job well. If I don’t believe they are stars and that they are interesting, then I have nothing to convey to the reader.
You actually have to believe these people are stars and my job is to communicate that and participate in weaving the illusion. If I lose my fascination, then I am not doing my job.
Every now and then, along comes a great story, and Joan Collins was one. I travelled with her for a week for a story and it was amazing. She was iconic and worth every minute.
Some, however, are bitterly disappointing and you have to walk away.
One thing I think is so unreal about the Australian TV business is we often do it better and have almost always done it first. Gay characters like Joe Hasham on Number 96 and Judy Nunn on The Box were amazing.
Americans often say there are things they would never do on TV, and yet we did them 30 years ago. We don’t give ourselves credit for being a mature TV society compared to the rest of the world.
I have the best job description. I get paid to watch TV for a living and that has to be the world’s best job. If anyone can come up with a better job, I am happy to entertain the thought of it, but I still don’t think there is anything better.
I get to play in a sandpit I love and still can’t imagine doing anything else.
Interview by John Burfitt