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Gibney admits to a mothering tendency
Gibney admits to a mothering tendency

As one of Australian television's most lovable mums, Packed to the Rafters' Rebecca Gibney admits that she can become that pesky, nagging mother on set.

"I'm very much a mother to all those kids on the show, I'm actually a mother to everybody, I can't help myself," she laughed. "I mother the crew, I even mother Erik (Thomson) and Michael Caton, and they're all like 'Oh for God's sake'."

But given the 48-year-old actress has worked alongside most of the tight-knit Rafters cast for six seasons, it's no surprise she's developed a close bond with her on-screen family.

"It's a very natural tendency for me, particularly on this show because we've been together for so long," she said. "So certainly with the (coming) storylines it's almost like an instant reaction for me to play the mum. It's not even acting for me."

Much to Gibney's joy, reuniting with her on-screen children for seasons five and six played out like a real family reunion.

"It was fabulous, because like I said I'm like the mum, so it was like my kids coming home," she said. "We hung out away from work as well and it was just heaven. I speak to them all the time, I got a text from Jess Marais just the other day and saw Jimmy (Stewart) the other day and Hugh (Sheridan) and I are in contact all the time. We're going to know each other forever, it's great."

But Gibney - who has an eight-year-old son, Zachery Bell - also admits that her motherly instincts with the younger cast have come on so strong that she felt a little squeamish watching former on-screen daughter Marais as the seductive Lily Diamond in the gritty TV series, Magic City.

"There's a part of me that's a little bit reticent. I've watched the first episode and I was like 'Oh that's a bit risque'. I don't want to see my Jess in those kind of scenes," she said with a nervous giggle.

"But as I said right from the beginning when I met Jess, she's got that X factor . . . I'm so thrilled that she's finding such phenomenal success and I will watch all of Magic City. I do want to see it."

With the remaining episodes of season five due to return next week, one thing that hasn't been forgotten is the marital tension between Julie and Dave Rafter. In last year's final episodes, the couple's rocky relationship came to a head following revelations that Dave had locked lips with pretty electrician Frankie Calasso (Brooke Satchwell) and Julie had developed feelings for spunky newspaper editor, Adam Goodman (Cameron Daddo).

Gibney said she was relieved that the writers chose not to ignore the couple's troubles in the season return.

"When there's been a betrayal of trust in any relationship, and in this case, both of them have experienced a betrayal of trust on one level, you have to try and build that up again," she explained.

"I like the fact that (the show) reflects reality, because these sorts of things happen to couples all the time, particularly if they've been together for a long time.

"So I was happy that they didn't just go 'OK, well let's just make it all fabulous again' because that's not reality, because the reality is that it does take a while.

"Having said that, we did spend so many months yelling at each other and being apart from each other and Erik and I get on extremely well so we did find that challenging. But it would have been a bit dull heading into season five and six if we didn't have some kind of drama in our lives."

Angus McLaren - who returns as the loveable Nathan Rafter after a brief departure from the series - also has a few surprises in store for fans.

"At the end of the (fourth) series, Nathan heads overseas on a trip initially with Coby (Ryan Corr) and Ben (Sheridan), then when he actually comes back, he drops two bombshells," he said, adding that his confidence in Rafters' was still strong: "There's still a healthy audience there, and I mean they'll keep watching and there's always that new hot thing that comes in, but we just put our heads down and do what we do and hopefully people continue to watch."

All in all, Gibney hoped loyal Rafters fans would warm to the upcoming storylines.

"It's classic Rafters all round," she said. "There's some amazing storylines coming up with Angus as Nathan, and we'll see the return of Jess McNamee and Jess Marais, and Hugh.

"Let's hope they put seasons five and six on back to back. We'll just convince everyone that we're not over yet."

'When there's been a betrayal of trust in any relationship . . . you have to try and build that up again.' Rebecca Gibney