New beginnings
Asher Keddie. Picture: Supplied

Offspring lives up to its name in its fifth season, with new babies and new beginnings shaping the storylines after the tragic death of Dr Patrick Reid near the end of season four.

The drama opens six months later, with Dr Nina Proudman (Asher Keddie) raising her baby, Zoe Proudman-Reid, with her sister Billie (Kat Stewart).

After falling out for much of last season when Nina accidentally pocket-dialled her family during a revealing counselling session, Billie has moved in to help Nina while estranged from her musician husband Mick (Eddie Perfect), who is on tour in the UK.

"It really galvanised Billie into stepping up and focusing her life," explained Keddie by phone from her rural Victorian home.

"She is just so supportive of Nina, moves into the house and they are raising the child together.

"And I guess through the deeper stages of grief, the initial grief the audience won't see, Billie has been her rock really, her great support."

Although fans were devastated when Patrick succumbed on the operating table to a head injury after a seemingly minor brush with a car, Keddie, who last week picked up a pair of Logies for most popular and most outstanding actress, said most had understood why the quirky drama had taken that direction.

"Obviously it was a really big reaction and people were very moved," she said.

"Talking to people on the street, if they did ever ask me about it at the time, there was a sort of appreciation I suppose, for a few reasons.

"One was that we hadn't tiptoed around difficult issues in drama and also they seemed to really appreciate the way we told the story. For me it was a wonderful reaction.

"I am really pleased we have not cheated the audience. It was important to all of us, the writers in particular, that we allow the audience to move through some of the journey with Nina as opposed to just sitting outside and watching her go through it.

"It has been a fine balance but it is balanced with this incredible joy with this beautiful baby as well.

"What life does present you with after such an enormous loss can be really, really positive.

"There's really great joy in this series - it's very optimistic. I would say it is equally as moving as it was last year but in a different way."

The good news for fans of Matt Le Nevez is that Patrick still appears in Nina's fantasies.

"When we come into the fifth series we do see Nina still moving through her grief and it shifts often and there are spikes of it," Keddie explained.

"She is OK and she feels like she can move forward. Then there's self-delusion that comes into play, indulging in fantasies of Patrick

"He's in it quite a bit. He is in it when Nina really needs to indulge in the fantasy of him and getting his support in her own mind, and when she is struggling he appears at times.

"It is beautiful the way the fantasies are played out.

"Sometimes she gets angry at herself for indulging in the fantasy and sometimes she just really goes with it because she needs to.

"I think it will be special for the audience to see this incredibly moving footage."

The already close - some might say interfering - Proudman clan have become closer since Patrick's death, with Jimmy and Zara expecting a second child.

"They live in each other's pockets; it is very much focused this series on the family, I'd have to say, and their rallying to support Nina," said Keddie, who is also this year making the political drama Party Tricks for Ten.

"Relationships are as hilarious as ever and ridiculous."

Given Nina's predilection for over- analysing everything she does, what is she like as a mum?

"She's a great mum, she's doing her best after such an enormous loss.

"She is always trying; what I have always enjoyed about playing Nina is that she tries,s she's a trier, she is active as a character and . . . there are only moments where you see her stuck or wallowing.

"For the most part she's a really active character and an active mum

"Look, she gets it wrong sometimes, so does everyone. It's not perfect by any means, she's not the perfect mum but she's doing her best."

The West Australian

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