Andrew Fenton, The Daily Telegraph, reports
Tearing off her new lover's shirt and getting hot and heavy against a tree certainly looks racy on screen, but the reality of filming was anything but, says Brooke Satchwell.
"It's pretty hysterical to be honest," the star of Ten's new 22-part comedy-drama Wonderland reveals. "There ain't no romance."
Satchwell explains that what viewers won't realise is that as her uptight lawyer character Grace Barnes gets down to business with hot Brazilian engineering student Carlos dos Santos (Glen McMillan) there's an unseen third corner to their love triangle.
To get into the right position for the camera a "rather generous" production assistant was called into service, and had to bend over in front of McMillan so Satchwell could rest her full body weight on him.
"So that's actually a threesome you see on screen, you just don't know it. I felt very sorry for him as I was doing my up and down gyrations, 'I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry, I've destroyed your innocence!' " she says with a huge grin as she mimes rocking back and forth.
From the people behind Wentworth and A Moody Christmas, Wonderland is about the lives and loves of a group of young couples living in an apartment block on Sydney's eastern beaches. There's young Romeo Tom (Michael Dorman) who's agreed not to sleep with any more flatmates on pain of losing his beloved Falcon - which is when his perfect woman, Miranda (Anna Bamford) moves in. There's Gen Y PR princess Dani (Jessica Tovey) and her new husband Steve (Tim Ross), restless teacher Colette (Emma Lung) and her all-round good guy hubbie Rob (Ben Mingay), and of course Grace (Satchwell) and her new Latin lover (McMillan).
With two shows in production in different states - Wonderland in Sydney and weekly celeb gossip comedy panel show Dirty Laundry Live down in Melbourne - Satchwell is satisfied with life both professionally and personally, even if she is a little bit busy. Having gone through the media wringer due to her troubled relationship with the abusive Matthew Newton and her close call with the Mumbai terrorists, she knows a few things about the intense focus on celebrities' private lives her panel show looks at.
"As I've learnt from Dirty Laundry, one of the top-selling stories is, 'I've never been happier - life's great,' " Satchwell says.
"That's the next story that everybody wants. And it's true. I just don't need to do a photo spread about it."
The "never been happier" part no doubt has something to do with fiancé David Gross, and if she ever finds a window in her schedule she may even get around to marrying him.
The pair met more than a decade or so ago on a film set, and stayed in touch, thanks to their mutual interest in filmmaking.
One day, about five years ago, he called her up with a job offer. "Do you have a valid passport, can you leave the country in three days? I need an assistant on a job," Satchwell recalls. "That was pretty smooth. And the rest was history."
They fell in love during the Cambodian shoot and he popped the question when they returned to the country for a holiday in October last year.
While Cambodia would seem a likely candidate for the wedding, Satchwell's afraid it might be too big an ask of their families.
"It does feel like there'd be a nice kind of natural progression to do it there, but it's very important for both of us that we share it with the people we love, so I don't know how easy that would be logistically," she says.
And logistics are a big enough problem, anyway.
"It was meant to happen in February and what are we now, in August?" she laughs.
"I'm a little busy in case you hadn't noticed."
Satchwell's current fevered workrate is in stark contrast to her almost four-year break from TV screens, between the short-lived medical drama Canal Road for Nine in 2008 and getting a gig on Packed to the Rafters last year.
It seems no coincidence her decision to shun the limelight came at the height of media interest over the Newton and Mumbai incidents.
"I think those factors absolutely did have an impact and I'm a very straightforward human being and that kind of swirling mass of sh-- storm that was pervading my life is not who I am. It was nice to take a sideways step and be able to fully immerse myself in the creative environment
She spent the time away learning the ropes behind the scenes, which she believes has made her a better actor.
Even though she only spent a year as Frankie Calasso on Rafters she believes the producers did the right thing calling time while the ratings were still high.
And although her next project, Dirty Laundry Live, hasn't set any ratings records, it's certainly been noticed - mainly for host Lawrence Mooney's use of the "C" word to describe Charles Saatchi after he choked Nigella Lawson.
Choosing her words carefully, Satchwell says she doesn't associate the term with its "logistical connotations" but rather sees it as "expressive".
"Culturally, it is one of the most offensive things you can say and I figure within the context of how it was used it was highly appropriate," Satchwell says.
All this sex and swearing in her life means the nice girl image many still have of Satchwell from her Neighbours days, is no longer a good fit.
"People like to cast me as the girl next door … there is this kind of wholesome, homogenised image they want to attribute to me and that's really flattering but I think there's a little bit more light and shade."
So Satchwell has a dark side?
"Sure," she says.