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Jingle Hell
Mark Rogers ABC1's A Moody Christmas

For many Australians, Christmas involves a swim at the beach, scorching heat, copious amounts of food and drinks, a game of backyard cricket and a hint of family dysfunction. It's a potent mixture but we've been making it work for years.

The ABC's new comedy, A Moody Christmas, takes this uniquely Australian experience and exaggerates it, reminding viewers the silly season really does bring out the best and worst in all of us.

The six-part series follows the lovable but overbearing Moody family over successive Christmases, telling their story through the eyes of 25-year-old Dan, the black sheep of the family.

Dan left Australia for London, where he lives and works as a photographer but he still makes the annual pilgrimage to Sydney to spend Christmas with his loved ones.

Perth-born actor and writer Ian Meadows, who grew up in Collie, plays Dan Moody in the series co-created and co-starring Phil Lloyd (Review with Myles Barlow), with TV veterans Tina Bursill and Danny Adcock and Offspring's Jane Harber.

Meadows left Perth to chase his dream of being an actor soon after he graduated from WAAPA in 2005 - but, like Dan, he still spends Christmas at home.

"I'm not in London but I am still quite far away and I end up coming back most years for Christmas so I really identified with that idea," Meadows explains from his home in Sydney.

"Over the years both you and your family change quite a bit. When you come back you have to readjust to who you are and who you have been during that year but then you also reconcile that with who your family know you are. It's an interesting mix."

In the seven years since he left Perth, Meadows has cemented his place in the Australian television industry.

One of Meadows' first acting jobs out of WAAPA was on Seven's popular soap Home and Away, where he played Rocco Cooper, the former gang member who stabbed much-loved Sally Fletcher (Kate Ritchie) before being beaten to death.

He has appeared in Rush, The Pacific and East West 101, and written for shows including Offspring and Slide.

Currently, Meadows is dividing his time between writing and performing in his play, Between Two Waves, in Sydney. While it keeps him fairly busy, the 29-year-old says he wouldn't have it any other way.

"I am not one of those people who just sits down and out pours something amazing or who gets in front of a camera and Daniel Day-Lewis pops out," he laughs.

"I still work pretty hard at acting and writing to get them up to speed but I love both."

Meadows boasts an impressive resume but says nothing could compare to the fun he had shooting A Moody Christmas. In fact, he enjoyed filming the show so much that he struggled to contain his laughter on set.

"I was supposed to be playing this straight person but I was surrounded by all of these hilarious actors so the hardest thing for me was not laughing during takes," he confesses.

"I literally had the greatest time shooting this show and hopefully it reads that way."

For Meadows, the most appealing thing about A Moody Christmas was the fact most Australian families, including his own, could relate to it.

Though he speaks very highly of his family, he isn't afraid to admit there are a lot of politics at play when they come together for Christmas.

"People want Christmas to be perfect and it often ends up anything but," he says. "It's always the moments you aren't ready for, when you're drunkenly doing the dishes or recovering at the beach that make this time of year quite special and hopefully this show reminds people of that."