I was on set art director for 4 of the 8 episodes of this new Australia/New Zealand co-production with Channel 7.

“Channel Seven wants Erik Thomson’s drama 800 Words to be the next Packed to the Rafters.

Packed to the Rafters final episode, Rebecca Gibney, Hugh Sheridan, Erik Thomson, Angus McLaren, Michael Caton, 2013 Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

THE cast of the new Erik Thomson series 800 Words has been announced and it includes former McLeod’s Daughters star Bridie Carter.

Channel 7 has described the family drama as very much like Packed to the Rafters in tone, but it’s not following that Aussie classic in being shot here.

Thomson plays recently widowed dad George Turner in the Aussie-New Zealand co-production.

Turner quits his job as a popular 800 word columnist for a Sydney newspaper who moves to the fictional New Zealand seaside town of Weld.

Actors Erik Thomson and Rebecca Gibney starred in ‘Packed To The Rafters’. Source: News Limited

Thomson starred opposite Rebecca Gibney as dad Dave Rafter in Packed to the Rafters. The hit show ended in 2013 when Thomson and Gibney decided to pursue other projects. Gibney is currently starring in Seven crime drama Winter. 800 Words is Thomson’s first major show since Rafters. Melina Vidler (Mako: Island of Secrets) and Bensen Anthony Jack (Underbelly: Razor) will play Turner’s teenage children, Shay and Arlo.

Actor Simmone Jade Mackinnon and Bridie Carter on horseback from TV program “McLeod’s Daughters”. Source: News Limited

Seven program chief Angus Ross has described 800 Words as similar in tone to Packed to the Rafters.

“If you think this show has a bit of the same feel and vibe as Packed to the Rafters, you’re dead right — and we make no apologies for that,” Ross said late last year.” (quoted from news.com.au)