“It was our choice”: Luke McGregor on wrapping up Rosehaven


“It’s almost like all the characters in the town have died!”

Over the last four seasons, ABC’s Rosehaven has followed the adventures of Emma and Luke, best friends and real estate agents. Written by and starring Luke McGregor and Celia Pacquola, the fifth season of Rosehaven will be its last. 

Mediaweek spoke to Luke McGregor about wrapping the show up, filming around Covid outbreaks, and the amount of serial killers on screen. 

Ending the Show

Even though the show is ending on its own terms, McGregor says saying goodbye is a strange feeling.

“It hasn’t quite sunk in yet. It’s almost like – this is probably a bit too dramatic – but because it’s the last season it’s almost like all the characters in the town have died! We’ve essentially written the last dialogue they’ll ever say, so it’s sad to think that I won’t hear anything more from, say, Barbara or Damien, or any of these characters that we’ve grown to love writing for, because they do feel like real people to us now. It’s a little weird. 

“It’s sad, but at the same time it was our choice to end it, so if I feel bad about it it’s my fault.”


Working around Covid

As the country continues to play musical chairs with state borders, McGregor says making sure that everybody could be in one place at the same time to film required more planning than it had previously.

“We had a couple of people where we were like ‘let’s just bring them down now’ because we were worried Sydney would suddenly close down, or that we’d write whole episodes around a character and then we wouldn’t be able to get that actor anymore. But we got away with it. There were a few times when we had to just get people down early but otherwise it was pretty ok.”

There was an unexpected perk to the restrictions, though.

“It was the first time ever that we didn’t have a sickness go through the whole cast and crew. Normally if someone gets a cold or gastro or anything, everyone else gets it. Almost every season I’ve lost my voice because I’ve caught something off someone, but because everyone was wearing masks this time, we never had anything spread. 

“We were lucky with Tassie having the good fortune in not having an outbreak. My biggest fear was that Rosehaven would bring Covid to Tasmania, so thank God that didn’t happen!”

Filming in Tasmania

Throughout Rosehaven’s run, the Tasmanian setting has remained an important part of the story. McGregor says that The Apple Isle was the perfect place to set the fictional town.

“The good thing about Tassie is that it kind of looks like a small town anywhere. Also, you’ve got that background with beautiful rolling hills, but then you can drive 30 minutes and you’re in the city. Everything about it felt like if Rosehaven was real, that’s where it would be. 

“When people think of rural Australia, they think of desert and hot and sand and brown, so we wanted to do something a bit more green, and show another part of outback Australia.”


Connecting with Audiences

Over the last four seasons, Rosehaven has picked up 20 award nominations and eight wins. McGregor isn’t totally sure what it is that makes Rosehaven resonate with so many people, but he has some ideas.

“Maybe the fact that it’s a bit more of a slightly slower pace, a bit more gentle. Maybe part of it is that it’s not that common to see a platonic relationship between a man and a woman that’s not will-they-won’t-they get together. And it’s not because one of them has a different sexual preference, it’s purely because they’re just friends and that’s just how it is.”

“I’m not really sure to be honest. It could be our exceptional writing and performing, I have no idea!”

Aussies on Screen

McGregor says that it’s important for Australians to be able to see themselves reflected back at them through the screen.

“It’s really important, and especially in times like these that we’re in, we’re all stuck inside.

“It’s also really important for the rest of the world to see Australia from a different point of view. A lot of our successful films involve criminals and serial killers, so it’s nice to have some other shows as well. I’m a big fan of those shows but it may be better for tourism for people to see something other than a serial killer in the outback!”

Rosehaven season five, starts Wednesday August 4th at 9pm on ABC and ABC iview

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