I'M NO COPYRAT!
Belinda Had Never Even Seen the Show
When Belinda Giblin joined the regular cast of Sons and
Daughters, she admitted she had never seen the serial.
But, she says, that was probably just as well. Because Belinda
has what surely must be the most difficult task any actress
has faced in a soap - taking over the role of Pat the Rat from
actress Rowena Wallace.
"I now consider not seeing it a great advantage because
I really had nothing to go on. Coming in as a sort of new person
gave me a fresh approach I think," she said.
"Let's face it, it's a character brought to life by Rowena
but, nevertheless, it's a character created by writers and I'm
doing what the writers have written for me."
It won't be the same old Pat, of course. Courtesy of a plastic
surgeon, she will have a new face - and, courtesy of the scriptwriters,
a new name, Alison Carr.
Viewers had their first glimpse of Alison in the final seconds
of last Monday night's episode. David Palmer, in South America
to find Pat, was given a photograph of his new-look wife - but
unfortunately the baddies got to him before he managed a look
at the picture.
He got hit over the head and the photograph fell into a gutter
where, for the benefit of viewers, it lay face up while David
went face down for the count.
But what about a new personality to go with that new face?
Is Pat still a rat?
"Well, the operation has a lot to answer for," laughed
Belinda. "She's slightly shorter and thinner but nicer?
Not really. She has done some pretty nasty things already."
When Belinda was first asked to take over the role last year
she refused. "I thought it was an outrageous idea - and
I still do - but then it became a more interesting proposition.
"When it was first put to me it was virtually on the heels
of Rowena leaving when the character was still very fresh in
"It wasn't in my nature to follow on as an understudy
or to emulate her performance in any way and I said categorically
no. It just didn't appeal. Nothing against Rowena - she's a
bloody good actress which was another things which put me off,
the idea of following on in her glory.
"But when they asked me again this year circumstances
had changed, we had bought a house and there were other things
involved including the financial security.
"And also Rowena would have been gone for about six months
and the storyline was quite different. Originally I would have
just come in and replaced her after a very short time. This
time - and this is the stuff of soap operas and requires a suspension
of disbelief - there's the old plastic surgery trick.
"The reason apart from a financial one which influenced
my attitude towards doing it is that she is not recognised by
anyone in the show so there was leeway to create a character
of my own. So I wasn't going to have to copy or imitate, which
I couldn't do anyway. I just wouldn't dare."