Packed To The Rafters

8:30pm Wednesday, May 18 on TV One

Kiwi actress Hannah Marshall joins the cast of Packed To The Rafters, as Carbo’s new love interest, Loretta Schembri, tonight at 8.30pm on TV ONE.

No stranger to Kiwi screens, Marshall, who has starred in local productions Diplomatic Immunity, Burying Brian, and Amazing Extraordinary Friends, says she was grateful, and a little shocked to get a role on the popular Australian series. “It is truly amazing, I love the character – she is quirky and fun, with a good heart. She is a free spirit and eternal optimist, but has an intelligence and truth that makes her endearing.”

While Marshall says she’s never tried online dating herself, she says her character, Loretta, meets Carbo (George Houvardas) when he decides to go wife-hunting on the internet. Breaking rule number one, Carbo tells her his address for their first face-to-face meeting, and when they meet, it is love at first sight.

“Loretta and Carbo just click, they understand each other and connect on a level neither of them have experienced before,” says Marshall.

Witnessing this first meeting, Melissa (Zoe Ventoura) is amazed, but also concerned for Carbo. Ben (Hugh Sheridan) for his part, worries Loretta may be a con artist or, and he’s only half-joking, a serial killer. But love is in the air, and neither Carbo nor Loretta takes any notice of the spoilsports. The thunderbolt has struck for both of them – and Carbo won’t listen to a word of caution.

Describing her character in detail, Marshall says, “Loretta can have a tendency to say the wrong thing, but it is always coming from a good place. She is a believer in alternative therapies, but would never make people listen to her theories if they weren’t open to them. She reads people really well, but this sensitivity can also make her feel like an outsider.”

While Loretta may feel like an outsider at times, Marshall says the Packed To The Rafters cast, including fellow Kiwi actors Rebbeca Gibney and Erik Thomson, have made her feel nothing but welcome.

“Working with the Rafters cast is amazing. Not only are they all extremely talented, they are incredibly generous and warm. They are a really close cast and have totally welcomed me into the fold – I feel very, very lucky.”

Elsewhere on Packed To The Rafters tonight, Dave Rafter (Thomson) prides himself on being easy going and uncomplicated, but when a number of knockbacks occur in rapid succession, life teaches him no human ever has total control of things – and Dave’s easy going ability to roll with the punches fails him. Not all is going to plan for Rachel (Jessica Marais) either, as she settles in to her new job at EMB Agency. Although she succeeds in impressing her new boss, her new colleague Liam, who was in contention for the job that Rachel got, seems friendly on the surface, but is out to make work difficult.

Two more kiwis have joined the cast of popular Australian drama series Packed to the Rafters.

New Zealanders Zoe Cramond and Camille Keenan will both debut on the series in its fourth season in Australia.

Cramond has appeared in the likes of Go Girls, Shortland Street and Outrageous Fortune prior to her Rafters role. She will play a character called Emma who befriends the Rafters family when she moves into the neighbourhood.

Wellington-born Keenan will play a cousin in the Rafters family.

“It wasn’t until last Christmas that I sat down and watched the show,” Keenan said. “I thought I wouldn’t get it because it is so different from anything I’ve done before.”

“It’s a real challenge joining an established cast on such a popular show…it’s a test of my confidence as an actress.”

The show already features several actors with kiwi connections, led by Levin-born Rebecca Gibney and Erik Thomson and Jessica Marais who were both raised in New Zealand.

Source: Herald

8:30pm Wednesday, February 9 on TV One

Rafters parents Dave (Erik Thomson) and Julie (Rebecca Gibney) and their three children Rachel (Jessica Marais), Ben (Hugh Sheridan) and Nathan (Angus McLaren) return for a new series with more heart-break, family turmoil and romance in the third season of Packed To The Rafters.

This season Kiwi actress Hannah Marshall ( Shortland Street, Amazing Extraordinary Friends) joins the cast as Loretta ‘Retta’ Schembri, Carbo’s new love interest.

As the season begins, Julie is recovering in hospital after the birth of baby Ruby, reflecting on how simple Ruby’s life is at the moment, while her adult children juggle the complexities of theirs.

Ben and Melissa (Zoe Ventuora) are newlyweds sharing a house with Carbo (George Houvardas), which is affecting their marriage. Rachael and Jake (James Stewart) are deciding whether to take their relationship to the next level. While Sammy (Jessica McNamee) was last seen walking out on Nathan, leaving their relationship hanging in the balance.

As for Dave and Julie they are faced with the reality of being on call for baby Ruby 24 hours a day and Julie has to deal with other people’s prejudices towards older mums.

Rebecca Gibney, who has played the likeable suburban mum for two years, can relate to the challenges her character faces in having a new baby. Apart from bit parts, she did not work for four years after the birth of her son, Zac, in 2004.

Talking to “I had waited so long to have a child that I didn’t want to give up those precious hours with him,” says Gibney, who gave birth at 39.

Packed To The Rafters producer Jo Porter tells, “the baby has brought a whole new dynamic to the Rafter household.”

She goes on explain “Julie becomes frustrated – it’s not the same as the last time she had kids. They have already had three children so there is an element of been there, done that. They are older and don’t have the same energy they once did. It is very funny to see the different reactions the characters have. Nathan is no longer the baby of the household and Rachel is no longer the only girl so that takes some adjustment. And Ben is still bragging he helped deliver the baby so he feels a special affinity to her.”

It’s not just life in the Rafter household that has changed with addition of the new character baby Ruby; the atmosphere on set has also changed as Porter explains: “everyone adores the baby, as soon as she smiles all our hearts melt. The actors are very respectful when Ruby comes on set. Twins play her and one is actually called baby Ruby in real life too.”

Missed an episode of Packed To The Rafters? Full episodes are available online. Go to and click the ‘Ondemand’ button

As is usually the case, it should be TV One’s night tonight. Packed to the Rafters returns at 8:30pm. Last night in Australia, their fourth season started with 1.9m viewers. Yep, we’re an entire season behind. 

Following Rafters is a doco on William and Kate’s romance.  If you don’t particularly care about that Drop Dead Diva starts over on TV2, following a night of comedy that begins with Two and a Half Men at 7:30 followed by Scrubs, Big Bang Theory and Cougar town.

It’s reality on TV3 with Sudden Impact and Triple Zero Heroes from 7:30 and the drama kicks off at 8:30 with SVU and Sons of Anarchy.

Four has The Biggest Loser from 7:30 for two hours and then Covert Affairs and Friday Night Lights.

Prime has Got to Dance and Wife Swap from 8:30 after that awful program Supernanny.

What are you watching tonight?

Rafters actress leaving show

Packed to the Rafters actress Jessica McNamee has announced her exit from the hit Australian drama series during the third season run across the ditch. McNamee plans to move onto new projects and more diverse roles.

Bilson to return to How I Met Your Mother

Ex-The OC actress Rachel Bilson will return to How I Met Your Mother for the show’s upcoming sixth season. Bilson has previously made a guest appearance in the fifth season of the show.

Wahlberg gets star

Entourage executive producer and film star Mark Wahlberg has been honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Wahlberg has become the 2,414th star to receive the honour.

Dirty Dancing star heading to House

Dirty Dancing’s Jennifer Grey will make a guest appearance on the next season of House. The actress, who starred alongside the late Patrick Swayze in the classic dancing flick, will play the mother of an infant daughter who is displaying signs of a life-threatening illness.

Rafters actor joins Play School

Packed to the Rafters actor Hugh Sheridan has made his debut on the children’s series Play School in Australia. The actor, who plays Ben on the drama series, will co-host Play School several times a week.

Glee merch on sale soon

The range of Glee products soon to be available to the public prior to the second season will feature the likes of a Wii game entitled Karaoke Revolution Glee, a Glee boom box, board games, greeting cards by Hallmark, apparel, stationery, and “small leather goods”.

Another porn star for Entourage

A male adult film star has landed a guest role in the new season of Entourage alongside fellow performer Sasha Grey. Tommy Gunn will appear in an episode to play the ex-boyfriend of the actress.

Actor returns to Dexter

A key former character in drama series Dexter has announced he will return to the series in the upcoming fifth season of the show.

Snoop Doog for Glee?

The latest Glee rumour is that rapper Snoop Dogg is expected to appear on the show next season. It is alleged that actor Cory Monteith (Finn) let slip the news to a journo saying: “I’m pretty sure he is going to do Glee.”

Brian Austin Green heading to Wisteria Lane?

Ex-Beverly Hills 90210 actor Brian Austin Green is lining up a role on Desperate Housewives which would see him feature as “Keith, a single playboy who makes the women’s jaws drop”.

8:30pm Wednesday, May 19 on TV One

On tonight’s episode of Packed To The Rafters (at 8.30pm on TV ONE) the Rafter family, and Dave (Erik Thomson), prepare to give Ben (Hugh Sheridan) and Melissa (Zoe Ventoura) the engagement party they deserve.

For Hugh Sheridan who plays middle child, Ben Rafter, performing has always come naturally. “As a kid I used to love singing and running around getting dressed up and performing. Then when I was five my older sister Zoe enrolled me in acting school, that’s when I decided I wanted to be an actor,” he says.

So when Sheridan landed the role, he was thrilled to learn he would be working such talented actors, “when I met Rebecca Gibney and Michael Canton I was in awe. I remember gushing because they were such huge stars – I had to stop myself from asking for their autographs.”

Also thrilled to be working with other gifted actors, including the beautiful Zoe Ventoura, Sheridan discusses how kissing is one of the highlights of his job, “[Zoe] is a hot chick. Zoe loves to get a pashing scene in. She jokes you get 50 points if you are paid to go to work and get to kiss someone,” he says.

Also in tonight’s episode Melissa is looking forward to the arrival of her parents, and is disappointed when her mother calls and explains her father has an important board meeting and can’t make it. However, when Melissa’s older, womanising brother Dermott arrives he says Melissa’s father had no such meeting and in fact her dad believes she will once again get cold feet and the wedding will never happen.

Meanwhile, Nathan (Angus McLaren) discovers that Steve Wilson is returning from overseas early to attend the party. Having slept with Layla, Nathan is terrified that Steve and, more importantly, Sammy could find out. He swears Layla to secrecy, but his own guilt leads him to confess his wicked deed to a shocked and angry Ben.

Missed an episode of Packed To The Rafters – full episodes are available online. Go to and click the ‘Ondemand’ button.

8:30pm Wednesday, February 3 on TV One

New Zealand-born Rebecca Gibney and Kiwi actor Erik Thomson are back to head the cast of TV ONE’s series Packed To The Rafters (tonight at 8.30pm).

Julie and Dave Rafter still can’t get time to themselves. With two of their offspring residing at home, the third next door, and a growing number of spouses inhabiting their surrounds; it would seem their little bungalow has reached its capacity. But the beginning of the second series spells trouble for the Rafters – not only has Julie fallen pregnant with her fourth child, but the new sandwich-lady at Barrett’s Electrical, with some sort of psychic ability, makes a series of troubling predictions for the family.

Episode one explores the theme of perception and self-perception – how much power people give to others by allowing what they think of them to influence how they feel about themselves.

Lying blissfully awake in the early dawn, contemplating the cosy cocoon of her existence, Julie Rafter is feeling good about her pregnancy, except for the bouts of morning sickness (occurring with clockwork regularity) and the attitudes of others towards her condition. But her peace of mind is soon destroyed by Bonnie and her uncanny predictions. As time goes by, Julie wonders if Bonnie’s insights will come true, and wonders which of the Rafter family will be affected.

Meanwhile, Rachel is planning to attend her high-school reunion, where she hopes to stick it to her school nemesis Tarsha McNeil and first-love Mark Antico. With her design degree and burgeoning advertising career, Rachel feels secure. However, after a coincidental encounter with former school-chum Janice, who happens to be on the reunion’s organising committee – a smug-married with kids and a mortgage – Rachel’s confidence starts to teeter.

Ben is doing his best to play along with Melissa’s determination to take their relationship slowly, while Chrissy has lost her job over a $15,000 shortfall. Certain, but not able to prove, that Warney is the culprit, Chrissy is hurt to find that Dave is taking Warney’s side in the matter. However, Nathan is starting to suspect that some of Warney’s work-practices may not be entirely above board, so when his mum asks him to take a careful look at Dave’s books, he’s primed to guess what his mum might be driving at.

8:30pm Tuesday, November 10 on TV One

Tonight on Packed To The Rafters, the moon is nearly full and something strange is in air (at 8.30pm on TV ONE). Ben begs the moon goddess for five minutes with the lost Melissa; Rob wants to make Rachel the mother of his children; and Carbo waits for his ominously silent mother to explode.

Going off in search of Melissa, Ben calls every Bannon in the Perth phone book, and finds her mum, but she knows less about Melissa than Ben. Dave is the only one who helps when he discovers a camera he found is Melissa’s. He sets up a meeting, and Ben apologises to Melissa and bares his heart.

At a dinner party with Julie and Dave, Carobo’s mother, Rita, remains politely silent as long as she can. She finally makes one comment which sets Julie off, and the two old friends argue in the street. Julie insists it is not her fault Rita’s house was burgled, and Carbo is old enough to choose his own girlfriends. But Rita feels Julie has let her down, and Ben is a bad influence on her son. When she tries to apologise the argument gets worse, and a tearful Julie attacks a contentious tree with a chainsaw.

Over lunch with Rachel, Rob raises the idea of taking custody of his sons, and implies they can all be one big happy family. Seeing Rachel’s reaction, Rob back-pedals, but he decides to experiment by having the boys over for dinner with Rachel. The ploy backfires, and though things seem to go well, Rachel suddenly flees.