Rodger Corser loves it when his Doctor Doctor character Hugh Knight goes on bender

Doctor Doctor: Each new day in Whyhope brings a different crisis.
Doctor Doctor: Each new day in Whyhope brings a different crisis.

Twelve months has passed since we last visited the fictional town of Whyhope. During that time we learn that Dr Hugh Knight (Rodger Corser) has been a good father to his baby, a good farmer and a good doctor.

Considering he was sent to work at Whyhope's hospital on probation due to his unruly drug and alcohol-infused behaviour, it seems he has changed his ways.

Well, that wouldn't make for good drama would it? So, into the mix we throw a new boyfriend (Dustin Clare) for the doctor's former flame Penny (Hayley McElhinney); a new female doctor (Kate Jenkinson) also sent to Whyhope on probation; Hugh's American mother-in-law (Robyn Nevin); the return of Charlie (Nicole da Silva) who wants to win Matt (Ryan Johnson) back from April (Miranda Tapsell); shifting alliances in the family between matriarch Meryl (Tina Bursill) and Ajax (Matt Castley) and Hayley (Chloe Bayliss); and a takeover at the hospital - phew!

"This season really feels like such a strong ensemble with the addition of some pretty big guns to the people who we already have," says Corser. "We've got some amazing actors on board and we're lucky to get them. The hardest thing is to serve all the characters."

Corser has played action roles in Water Rats, Underbelly and Rush and has been a doctor in the Doctor Blake Mysteries. Which does he prefer?

"I'm kind of greedy, I like playing both. I went into this season after I came off the back of doing Glitch (ABC). There's not many gags in that role." Writer's note: The show is about seven people who return from the dead in perfect health but with no memory.

"You get to flex your acting muscles when you do different things. I did a bit of theatre, but not a lot after Rent, I get bored easy once you're past the scared part of performing in front of a live audience.

"Rent was my first ever gig. I was trying to learn and catch up with everyone else. I was lucky to have a director who nurtured me.

Doctor Doctor is a great gig, but it's really cheating on my part. It seems like it's my show, but it's such an ensemble.

Rodger Corser

"I like to have the new pages coming in, and the new characters. But someone is dragging me back into that [musical] world, so I am trying to get my voice back. It is working with a swing band, which will be interesting, as I haven't done that before."

Corser says television works so fast and these days even prestigious acting school NIDA is focusing their courses more on working in TV.

"I spoke to some NIDA students last year, and we talked about the different skills needed [for television]. How you have to be engaged in the scene and be in the moment, but still be aware of all the equipment all around you."

Since his first foray on stage in Rent, Corser has worked consistently in what is often a difficult industry to succeed.

"When you get a couple of things at once people think you are so busy. Doctor Doctor is a great gig, but it's really cheating on my part. It seems like it's my show, but it's such an ensemble.

"I have been lucky. In the last 10 years, I haven't had a year without a gig. There's been some downtime, but now I am pushing through to being a producer."

Corser says one of the things that drew him to the role was the scope of show. He says there is always something new to do, a wry take on his moral compass, dramatic moments like Hugh's best mate dying and his dad dying. Then there's room for comedic moments and procedural scenes in the hospital and in the field.

"There is the focus on the limited resources in the country, too, and it's a combination I hadn't seen before."

As to what he likes about playing Dr Hugh, Corser says when you play a bad boy or girl anti-hero as such, in an ongoing show, you have to have some redeemable quality.

"Despite Hugh's ego he has had a chance to walk away from his family but he doesn't. He realises he can't leave the town or the community behind. His behaviour may come from ego, but his commitment never slacks off from his work, and that can make him endearing as well.

"It's fun balancing all that, but I do love it when he goes on a bender."

Corser says it was a directive from the network to make him more dangerous in this season.

"You've always got to be an advocate for your character. I've never thought about what I don't like [about him] - even if he's done the wrong thing he's been justified. I probably want him to be a bit more - like some of the decisions he has had to make, if it was me I might have said he's let them off the hook."

There are some great directors working on the show on a regular basis, Corser says.

"We have regular directors and some come in on a few episodes. They have a balancing act to honour the ongoing machine. They can't come in and change everything, but it is a collaboration and you can have an injection of someone else's perception of the scene.

"We have had some great camera tricks going on, When Hugh is having a bender instead of the camera moving towards me, the director put a chair on a dolly [moving platform] and moved it toward the camera."

There is a great camaraderie among the cast and Corser looks forward to what lies ahead for each of them.

"There's classic romantic comedy, unresolved romance, conflict between suitors, the younger characters like Ajax are growing up and want more responsibility, Meryl is past the initial mourning or losing her husband, there's the introduction of the new doctor who is a female equivalent to Hugh, so much scope.

"So please everyone watch our show, we're really chuffed at all the support we've received in the past few seasons."

Nine's popular drama series Doctor Doctor returns on Wednesday, February 5, at 9pm.

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