‘Rake’ star Damien Garvey reflects on the end of the franchise

10 September, 2018 by Don Groves

Damien Garvey and Mark Mitchinson in ‘Rake’.

As a regular in the ABC’s Rake since the second series, Damien Garvey has a ready explanation as to why the fifth series is the last.


“This series plays more like a documentary than a satire,” says Garvey, who plays Cal McGregor, the resilient former government minister, jailbird and now blow-hard TV show host.

“The scripts were written 12 or 15 months ago, depicting the most ridiculous scenes. Now you turn on the TV and what you see is very similar. You can’t make up enough stories like that about politics anymore.”

In Sunday night’s episode Cal was offered a vacant seat in the House and a ministerial portfolio while his ambitious wife Jane (Sonia Todd) has her eyes on the seat.

Garvey is a huge admirer of Richard Roxburgh – “he works very hard on the show” – and co-creator Peter Duncan and has thoroughly enjoyed being part of the Rake ensemble.

The actor is also part of the Jack Irish ensemble as Stan, the Prince of Prussia publican. He relished working with Guy Pearce and such troupers as Terry Norris, Roy Billing and Shane Jacobson, observing, “In between takes there are a lot of stories told about old TV shows and experiences in the theatre.”

As for the future of the Easy Tiger-produced series, he says: “If Guy wants to do it again I am sure it will happen.”

Garvey played a cop opposite Ioan Gruffudd’s forensic pathologist in ABC/Hoodlum Entertainment’s Harrow and praises the Welshman as a “very generous actor.” Asked if he will return for the second series, he will only say that’s in discussion.

He has a guest role in Hoodlum/Netflix’s Tidelands and will shortly appear in Paramount’s live action movie Dora the Explorer which is shooting on the Gold Coast but can’t talk about either due to irksome non-disclosure agreements.

A relative late-comer to acting, Garvey worked as a musician in several bands until he turned 35 and figured that a career as an actor made more sense. He made his screen debut in 1998 in the Network Ten series Medivac. He recalls, “I was nervous and my character got beaten up.”

Among his most memorable roles, he nominates Rake, Jack Irish, Safe Harbour, The Kettering Incident and The Leftovers.

His movie resume is less extensive. He says: “With movies you never know how they will turn out. I take the attitude that it is all good experience, if not always successful.”