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Played: Tom Ramsay
Appeared: 1986, 1990-1991
The only Australian to ever complete the three years training at Montreal’s National Theatre School of Canada, Gary Files spent his early acting years in Canada before moving to the UK. After touring Europe with the play Oh What A Lovely War, he approached Gerry Anderson and became one of the voices in shows such as Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons and Joe 90 and The Secret Service. After several more years in both the UK and Canada, and appearances in The Dirty Dozen and The Frankie Howerd Show, Gary returned to Australia with his daughter, Gemma.
In Australia, Gary worked in the theatre – in plays including Insignificance and Stephen Poliakoff's City Sugar, film – in The Money Movers, The Club and Evil Angels and television, with roles in series’ including Prisoner (as Fred Ferguson). In 1986, Gary was approached by Neighbours casting director Jan Russ, who asked him to audition for the new role of Tom Ramsay. At first intended as a guest role, the part of Tom suddenly grew in importance when actor Francis Bell (who played Tom’s brother, Max) quit suddenly, leaving Gary to replace him in quickly rewritten scenes.
In a 2005 interview with this website, Gary explained the experience of suddenly taking Max’s place in the show: “…when Francis dropped out in a rather dramatic fashion and suddenly I was taking his place with an open ended contract - starting immediately - I was running scared. Thank God the cast and crew helped me unstintingly through that first frantic week of O.B.'s. People would quickly tell me in rehearsals just before we rolled camera who it was that I was addressing so familiarly and the general attitude to the character concerned, ie. “this guy is a shit and we all hate him, because he did so and so, etc.” By the time we got to studio the week after I was well into the saddle and very happy to be doing the show and the character of Tom. Despite all my original early scripts being marked as Max instead of Tom, I still had hopes that the writers would be able to give me some sort of character breakdown for Tom. They said they'd be able to do that after they had watched me for several weeks. It quickly became apparent to me that I would have to establish just who he was and what he was like. And so I did.”
After six months in the role, Gary was offered a lead role in the play Hurly Burly and, believing that the character of Tom was not intended to stick around, he accepted. Guest appearances in other Australian dramas, such as A Country Practice and The Flying Doctors followed and, in late 1990, Gary returned to the character of Tom for a handful of episodes, that saw the gruff plumber back to visit his daughter, Gemma.
In recent years, Gary has made further guest appearances in television series’ including Corelli, State Coroner and Marshall Law, as well as numerous different roles in Blue Heelers and the recurring role of Fergus Marshall in MDA. He has also added some new strings to his bow, becoming a theatre director and writer – winning an AWGIE award from the Australian Writers Guild for the latter, as well as forming his own theatre company, Period Pieces in 1993. He has also returned to musical theatre with his 2004 role of Father Smythe in Eureka, which he described as “a tremendous and very satisfying experience.”
Perfect Blend Interview (2005)
Profile by Steve