Thursday, September 11, 2014

Sonia Todd

Today I'm going to learn about Sonia Todd. I've been watching her on McLeod's Daughters. I also saw her brief appearance in Come in Spinner, and I know she was one of the stars of Shine.  I think recently she's been one of the stars of Neighbours or Home and Away.

I don't know yet if I like Sonia Todd, but I do like Meg Fountain, the character she plays on McLeod's Daughters.  How would I describe Meg Fountain? Maybe calming? I think she's the kind of person I'd want around during a family drama or emergency. Yet, she's also fun. She might be a nice person to have along on a traveling group. Although you know what. I can actually imagine her getting annoying. I picture being with this tour group. We're looking at some kind of statue in Italy. I'm getting tired. My feet are sore. I'm ready to have an end and go get some gelato. But then Meg Fountain has to ask the tour guide another question. She hasn't had enough. She's so overly eager to gain more knowledge. And we all have to sit there listening to the answer.

Now I'm all caught up in my little scenario. I'm wondering what kind of gelato Meg Fountain would order.

No. You know what. She's not ordering any gelato. While the rest of us stuff our faces, she's sitting there kissing up to the tour guide again. And even he's getting annoyed. He wants to get gelato, and he can't because he's dealing with this overeager Aussie tourist.

Okay. I got that story out of my system. I'm ready to learn about Sonia Todd.

I'm trying to figure out a way to better handle the filmographies.  It's taking me way too long to go through them, and it's going to stop being fun for me...and for anyone reading. So I'm going to try to concentrate on the highlights of people's career.  And this is going to be very subjective and ego-centric.  A lot of times it will be what I care about, personally. For example, I don't watch Sea Patrol, so if an actress appeared on a couple of episodes of that, I'm going to skip mentioning it.  But I did watch Offspring, so if an actress appeared on that, I will mention it.

As for movies, I'm only going to mention ones in which Lord Wiki can give me information and/or there's a trailer available. If it's some quiet unknown movie, I'll probably skip it.

Before I go over Sonia Todd's IMDb filmography, I'm going to look at her IMDb biography info.

She was born in Adelaide in 1959. She's younger than I thought. I imagined she was my parent's age, which would have her being born in the late 1940's.

I'm not trying to be insulting. I know for some people, it's horrible to look older than they are.

But I don't think I misjudged Todd's age because she's had premature aging.

Maybe it's more about the role she played on McLeod's Daughters. She was the oldest woman there, and kind of took on a matronly role. I felt she was kind of like a mother to all of them—her own daughter Jodi, along with Claire, Tess, Becky, and baby Charlotte.

I'm doing the math and it's quite shocking.  The season I've been watching lately is from 2003. That means Sonia Todd was only 44. That's only about two-years older than me! But it seems I look matronly too. At my niece's Bat Mitzvah, my sister's friend thought I was my sister's mother.

Some of us look younger than we are and some of us look older. Sometimes it's about premature or delayed aging. Other times it's our personality, the way we style our hair, the clothes we wear, our family situation, etc.

I should get back to the biography.

Todd is married to an actor named Rhett Walton.  They have two kids together. Well, sort of. They made only one of the kids together. That's Sean, and he was born in 2001. Then she made another baby (Lewis) with her previous man. He was born in 1992. But even if Lewis wasn't made by both of them, it doesn't mean they're not raising him together.

Todd wasn't planning on being an actress. She was actually a ballet dancer. She trained for 16 years, and went to Europe to pursue that. Then somehow she ended up at NIDA. I think it's very important for Aussie actors to go to NIDA. I rarely find an actor or actress who hasn't attended the school.

Well...now it's time for the Sonia Todd filmography.  I hope it goes well.

Here's something I didn't expect. Todd's first screen thing was in Come in Spinner. I kind of pictured her having a career before that. Although IMDb did say she graduated from NIDA in 1985, so I probably should have known better.

Todd would have been only 31 when she was in Come in Spinner.

In 1992, she played a policewoman on an episode in the 5th season of Mother and Son. I might have seen it. I can't remember which seasons I watched of that show.

1996 was the year Todd was in Shine. She played Sylvia. Who's Sylvia? Is that Helgott's wife?

No. Lord Wiki says his wife (or girlfriend?) was played by Lynn Redgrave.

I went to YouTube to see if there were any Sonia Todd Shine scenes uploaded. I ended up finding this 1992 McDonald's commercial with Todd.

I'm watching the trailer for Shine now. Todd's character is a waitress at the restaurant in which Helfgott suddenly starts playing the piano.

Crap. I made a major IMDb mistake—the same mistake I always make.

Todd's first screen thing wasn't in 1990. It was in 1989. I should have scrolled up.

From 1989- 1996, Todd was on Police Rescue.

I wish IMDb placed TV shows in the filmography at the time of the show's beginning rather than their end. It would confuse me less.

But still. I shouldn't blame IMDb. It's my fault. After all this time, I should know better.

Here's an episode from the show.

According to the credits, the BBC was involved. It's an ABC-BBC thing.

Oh! This is the show that Kerry Armstrong was in—the one that had it's pilot almost two years before the first episode.  What I'm watching now is that first episode.

I see another McLeod's Daughter star in the credits: Marshal Napier.

Sonia Todd appears at around 8:09.

I'm going to skip ahead to 1998, which is two years after Todd finished with Police Rescue. She was on thirteen episodes of the third season of Water Rats. Her character was Detective Louise Bradshaw. Bradshaw was an undercover cop in a relationship with one of the main characters. But then she was tragically killed in a shoot out.

In 2000, Todd was in a miniseries based on the Bryce Courtenay book The Potato Factory.  I read one of the books in that series, but not the first one. I made a mistake when ordering from Powells.

I just looked at my bookshelf. The one I read was Tommo and Hawk, which is the second book in the series. The Potato Factory was the first.

Sonia Todd played Hannah Solomon. I think maybe that's the mother of the two boys? I'm not sure, though.

From 2001-2008, Todd was on two TV shows: McLeod's Daughters and All Saints. But she was only on 15 episodes of the latter, and 107 of the former.

And on All Saints, she played two different characters. In season 4, she played Kate Larson. Then she came back in season 10 and 11 playing Dr. Elizabeth Foy.

Lord Wiki says Kate Larson is a NUM. What's that? Well, whatever it is, she had the job of talking a guy out of committing suicide.

Lord Wiki is helping to remind me that I watched season 10. I vaguely remember Dr. Foy. Maybe.

Now let's move onto McLeod's Daughters.  It looks like she's not on the show much in the later seasons.  She's in four episodes of season 6; two episodes of season 7; and then appeared on the series finale.  That's unfortunate. Was the show able to keep ANY of their actors?

Holy shit. I'm looking at the second to last episode. There's not one actor from the first season! No Claire, no Tess, no Alex or Nick. No Meg or Jodie. No Terry. No Becky.

I guess the show could still be good, though...if the viewers got used to the new characters. But for the most part, I think it's ridiculous. Can you imagine if the last season of Friends didn't have Rachel, Monica, Joey, Chandler, Ross, or Phoebe?

I mean really! The Walking Dead has ZOMBIES, and they still have some of their first season characters.  Only four, I think. Still... The thing is zombies are a good excuse for losing characters. But rural Australia? I know it can be dangerous on a farm, and with medical care so far away. But if Georgia folks can survive a zombie apocalypse, people in rural Australia can manage to keep things together a little better.

In 2012, Todd was in a short film called Spirit-ED.  It's about a school for guardian angels. It sounds kind of cute. Here's the trailer.

I think there's a Harry Potter professor in it. What's her name? I remember seeing her on Q and A. She was born in the UK and later obtained Aussie citizenship.

Here we go. It's Miriam Margolyes, and she played Professor Sprout in Harry Potter.

It looks less artsy than most short films. It looks more like a kid's program.

I went backwards again. Rewind to 2009.

Sonia Todd started working on Home and Away. Her first episode aired on Australia Day.

For 322 episodes between 2009-2013, Todd played Gina Palmer.  Well, first actually, she's Gina Austin. Then she becomes Gene Palmer. I'm going to assume the name change is due to a marriage. Or it could be a divorce.

I'm going to learn about Gina Palmer from the Bay to the Bay website.

She's divorced from Mr. Austin and her new man is John Palmer.

Gina first appeared on the show to attend the funeral of her nephew.

I think I'm just going to read through and see if there's anyone I know.

So far...there's not.

I think one of Gina's big storylines is that she has an autistic son.

Oh! Here's someone I know. Finally! Roo. Where does she come into the picture?

Well, Roo gives Gina a letter from Hugo. Who's Hugo? I don't know. But the storyline is about people smuggling. Roo, what have you gotten yourself into?

This description of Gina's life is very long and detailed. I think I'm going to stop reading it. I'm a bit lost about who is who.

I'll read Lord Wiki's shorter description.

He says Gina Austin is a good person who doesn't wallow in self-pity.  She's a down-to-earth mother of three sons.

She gets a job teaching science at Summer Bay High; then she becomes principal. So she took over Andrew Foley's job and Donald Fisher's. Well, not exactly. They left their posts before she came along. At least Foley did. I'm not sure when Mr. Fisher retired.

Gina meets John Palmer (her future husband) when he comes to the school to talk about surfing.

The show gets pretty dark. One of Gina's sons dies, but her reaction is more disgust than grief. Why? He was involved with human-trafficking. Yikes.

Wait! We shouldn't get too upset. It turns out Hugo didn't die, after all.  He's alive and Gina helps hide him from the police.

Was Hugo innocent?

I should move on.

The last thing on Sonia Todd's filmography is a TV show called Janet King. Or it's a miniseries. Sometimes I can't tell.

The show was a spin-off. I was talking to an Australian on GoodReads, and she said she thought spin-offs were more of an American thing. I though she was probably right. But now we have an Aussie spin-off.  Any others?

I can't easily find any. Please tell me if you know of some.

So...Janet King is a spin-off of a show called Crownies.  I thought spin-offs were usually done with very successful shows.  It's kind of like exploiting that success. But with Crownies, it was that the show did NOT do well. And Janet King was the creator's way of trying again.  It's not a bad idea. If a show isn't working, but you feel it's worth saving, why not reformat it.

I guess it would depend, though, on why the show has failed. If it's getting bad reviews from critics and from viewers, it's probably best to just end things. Even if you manage to make something decent, people might not be willing to give it much of a chance.

I'm thinking, though, of things that were well-loved and failed. Like Freaks and Geeks. Why the hell was that was canceled? I don't know. But it would have been nice if they could have rescued it in some way. Maybe they could have done a show about Bill at summer camp.

I chose Bill because he was my favorite character.

I went to see if Lord Wiki has anything to say about Sonia Todd. There's not much.

So what should I do next?

How about an interview?

I found one about her leaving Home and Away. There's a photo of her, and I think here she looks younger than her age! Or at least she looks younger than Meg Fountain. The article is from 2013 which would put Todd at about age 54. But I think she looks about 40-45.  What the hell?

You know what. Maybe Sonia Todd is like that Benjamin Button. Maybe she's aging backwards!

The interview itself isn't really exciting. It's the basic story of a character being killed off because their actress wants to do something new.

While looking for an interview with Sonia Todd, the Aussie actress, I found an obituary of a cancer victim named Sonia Todd. She wrote her own obituary, which I think is pretty cool. And her obituary actually made me laugh out loud. Anyone who can write their own obituary and make it funny...well, I'd say they're pretty awesome.

I'm not finding many articles or interviews about the actress Sonia Todd.

Maybe I'll have some luck with social media.

Nope. I'm not having luck with that either.

The Australian Television website has a little bit of information about Todd.

She said Police Rescue was blokey, and with McLeod's Daughters she utilized her feminine side.

Todd says, With Meg, the glass is always half-full. She makes the best of situations and has a natural joy of living

I don't know if I agree with the glass half-full thing. Is Meg an optimist? She's not a pessimist. But can't you be somewhere in-between?  I do agree that she makes the best of situations.

It's like with Claire's accident. I think a glass half-full person would insist that Claire survived. She's going to be fine. Don't worry. I don't think she was like that. But once they learned Claire had died, she had that aura of we'll-find-a-way-to-get-through-this.

Then again, Meg did have a bit of an optimist streak when it came to Terry's cancer scare.  That's like all people really though. I think a lot of us are neither glass half full people nor glass half empty ones. The way we see the glass depends on the situation.

Here's a  Sonia Todd fan page on Tumblr.

Or maybe it's not a fan page. Whoever put it together doesn't seem to know what's what. It might be some kind of automatic thing? I say this because there's a quote about Girl Scouts attributed to Sonia Todd. I followed the link and it took me to a blog of someone named Sonia Todd. But it's not the right Sonia Todd.

But most of the website is about our Sonia Todd.

I'm going to see if I can find any more good stuff on YouTube.

Here's another commercial.  Todd plays someone preparing to get married. The commercial is for AMP, which is some kind of Australian financial institution.

Someone uploaded a video of Gina Palmer dying on Home and Away. He's not just being morbid. The guy says the car is the one Gina dies in. He rented it out to Home and Away. Really is that how shows get their cars? I guess it makes sense. Because in some shows, the characters don't often use their car. It really wouldn't make sense to buy it. Borrowing (or renting) is probably a better idea. I wonder how they find cars, though. Do they approach people in parking lots? Is there some kind of website where they advertise their need?

As for Gina's death; it's a sad and scary death. An aneurism. Those things scare me.

I hate to end on that note, but I can't really find anything else.