TALENT: Robert Coleby
When Robert Coleby’s character, Douglas Goddard, died after several seasons of Foxtel’s A Place to Call Home, Noni Hazelhusrt wept buckets.
Noni, of course, was playing Douglas Goodard’s grieving wife but Robert likes to believe his last performance was as emotional for the cast and crew as it was for him.
A Place To Call Home launched its final season in Sydney recently with a capacity crowd at the State Theatre. Queues for autographs outside stretched for three blocks. The first episode shown the following Sunday had the largest non-sport subscriber television audience in the country. It’s a testament to the fabulous quality of production helmed by Chris Martin-Jones, and the excellent acting from the cast, effortlessly exuding ‘fifties style sentiment and predudice.
In some ways it’s a shame his role on the series had to come to an end, however dying on the set has become a common theme of late for Robert and some of his contemporaries.
“When I was working on House of Hancock, playing Frank Reinhart, I ran into Jack Thompson at Fox Studios. “Ah Rob,” Jack said, “remember when they were casting for handsome romantic leads and we’d be right up there on the list? Now they just say; “this character dies, – who looks as if they’re about to kick the bucket? “ And there we are again, – right at the top of the list! “.
“I certainly enjoyed my heart attack (in House of Hancock) immensely, Robert continued, “especially the bit where lovely Mandy McElhinney as Gina sobbed over me more than she could over any Khatutt”.
While Robert’s recent characters may have passed on, his career is still thriving. For the next year or so he will be taking the central dramatic role in entirely unique arena spectacular which is, for the moment, completey underwraps.
During his years racking up over 200 stage, film and telly credits, Robert has always been involved in voice work. “I relish the challenge in identifying with a product and putting across the intentions of the writer” he said.
From his first commercial in ’71 with Ridley Scott in the UK, to the latest, a couple of TVC’s for CUA the other day, Robert finds each opportunity hugely satisfying.
He now has a remote home studio set-up using the best of mics for anyone who wants to get a demo or even the final read that way.