Car accidents are the stuff parents' nightmares are made of - and last week on Home and Away, that nightmare became a reality for Dr Sid Walker, played by veteran actor Robert Mammone.
Sid's son Dex (Charles Cottier) ends up in a coma after rolling a car and, on tonight's episode of the Seven soap, Sid, who has been maintaining a constant vigil by Dex's bedside, is concerned by his son's lack of improvement.
Will Dex wake up and will he be the same lovable lad?
"We've got some pretty serious stuff going on," Mammone says over coffee at the show's Sydney studios in Redfern.
That's something of an understatement as Dex only ended up in hospital because Ruby (Rebecca Breeds) had tampered with the vehicle's brakes.
Fatherhood is a new concept to Mammone, who doesn't have children of his own.
But, despite the extreme ups and downs, Mammone says being a dad to Indi (Samara Weaving), Dex and Sasha (Demi Harman) in Home and Away is something Sid is taking in his stride.
"His life is a balancing act of trying to be a good dad and trying to be a guiding light and setting a really good example, which he didn't do to begin with," he explains.
"He was a rather loose sort of bloke and let's just say that he couldn't keep it in his pants so he didn't really have the trust or respect of his kids.
"He has spent some time building up that trust and the simple fact is that he didn't live with his kids and he had a lot of time on his hands so he was virtually a bachelor."
The role has been an adjustment for Mammone, who has had a solid career in TV and film with roles in the Matrix franchise, Underbelly, Blue Heelers and Sons and Daughters.
"It's kind of strange actually because there comes a time in your acting life where you go from being a man about town to playing dad roles and that's kind of happened suddenly for me," he says.
"But all three of them (Weaving, Cottier and Harman) are terrific to work with and they're not kids with stars in their eyes which is really impressive.
"For guys that are so young, that's a shock but really admirable as well. I feel a sense of patriarchal protection."
Like Sid, Mammone - who made his first appearance in Summer Bay in July 2009 - has come to a time in his life where he wants to settle down.
"I've had the pleasure of working with some of the best actors and some really great directors from all over the world," he says. "I just thought, at this point in my career, what I need is a regular job.
"There are times when it's pouring with rain and three degrees and it's meant to be summer but that's a small price to pay."
For Mammone, one of the drawcards of a role on Home and Away was the show's high production values and transformation into a reputable international drama.
"You don't go for 25 years without it being something decent," he says.
"The fact that the network and the producers continually update it has kept the audience intrigued.
"We are filming like a regular film or TV series. We're no longer filming like a soap style of making television where you just light the s*** out of everything and point and shoot.
"People are saying to me, 'Home and Away is looking good, isn't it' and there's no way people would have said that 10 years ago."A double episode of Home and Away airs today at 7pm on Seven/GWN7.
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