It’s an emotional day for not only the Australian television industry but every Australian at home who has supported local drama.

My eyes are tearing as I write this post and I’ve decided to keep typing, because the subject I am addressing is something I’d like to talk about candidly.

Tonight marks the final episode of Channel 7’s ‘Packed To The Rafters’… LAST.FINAL.LIKE FOREVER!

All dedicated ‘I Am Starstruck’ readers will know that supporting local Australian content is my number one priority.  So it’s no surprise that I love watching shows like ‘Offspring’ and ‘House Husbands’ which are the most recent examples of sheerly brilliant Aussie TV.

But one show that will always resonate with me and will never be replaced is ‘Packed To The Rafters’.

Why?  Because I’ve never seen anything like it before and I attribute a lot of this to the choice of cast.

Beginning in 2008, ‘Packed To The Rafters’ not only brought Aussie TV veterans including Rebecca Gibney and Michael Caton back on our screens, but launched the careers of budding talents Hugh Sheridan, Jessica Marais and George Houvardas.

The story lines were captivating and relatable for Australians, and it is a massive credit to the excellent production team for combining these compelling story lines with a stellar cast who could portray the emotions realistically.

I began watching the show before ‘I Am Starstruck’ was established and whilst there are so many Rafters memories that I’m deeply fond of, I’d like to share a few of my favourites that happened in those pre-I Am Starstruck days… when I was purely a Ben-loving, Rachel-girl crushing Rafters fan (no doubt I still am, but I also get to enjoy the perks now of interviewing these stars from time to time).


When it all began

Does anyone else remember Julie Rafter in a bathtub in the first episode? “Ahh bliss” is what she said, and I’ve been using that phrase ever since.

Carbo put me in stitches, I was instantly in love with Ben and well Rachel intimidated me at first.. little did I know I’d soon become her biggest fan.

Sexual sparks fly between Rachel & Jake 

There is nothing more fun to watch than some sizzling sexual tension brewing between too super hot characters on screen.  

By this stage, I was starting to love Rachel more and more, and when it was finally the “Ladies Day” episode and Rachel and Jake have fish and chips together after the footy, I just grabbed the remote with my mouth open and then said.. “Wow, Rachel Rafter is so damn gorgeous!  Yes she has blue eyes and really pretty earrings that I want so I better email the Channel 7 costume department, but wow her character is quite raw, driven and heart warming… Forget loving Jake, I just want to be Rachel!”

And que the birth of my Rachel Rafter girl crush – I was head over heels for all of her onscreen style and hilarious antics and this soon extended offscreen to her portrayer Jessica Marais.

Ben and Melissa tie the knot

I’m speaking very candidly once again – if there is one man I’d have to say I’d like to marry, it would be Ben Rafter.  

Forget Zac Efron and his drop dead gorgeous looks because all I know about Zachary is his smooth talking red carpet persona.

Ben on the other hand – well I don’t know where to start (this must be true love because I am speechless)!  

I was stoked to see Ben and Melissa finally tie the knot – they were one of those care free couples so content with the best that they brought out in each other.  It was a rather beautiful union and something I aspired to.

RIP Melissa Rafter

This is not my favourite Rafters moment.  It actually epitomises my Rafters HEARTBREAK.

It had the greatest impact on me in the show’s history and thus I’m concluding with it.

I just mentioned that the Ben/Mel relationship was so joyful to watch and to see it torn apart on our screens in such a tragic manner was shattering.

I hyperventilated on my couch when innocent Ben with a rose in his mouth learnt of his wife’s death.

I also cried five times louder the following episode when he was shaking at her funeral.

There were news articles written at the time about some fans slipping into a form of ‘depression’ after Melissa Rafter’s death, and this was because the writers, producers and actors all worked phenomenally to create a TV family that we literally thought was our own… No one wants a part of their family taken away from them.

I’d like to make a special mention to my good friend Melissa (coincidence much) who took me out for coffee one afternoon and let me talk about my favourite Melissa Rafter memories.  We also then spent an hour googling wedding dress frocks that looked like Mel Rafter’s.

And now it’s time to say goodbye

What an essay I just wrote, but also what a show this was and is – it deserves such a lengthy tribute.

I’m super excited to hear that a lot of the stars are going on to exciting new projects – Hugh Sheridan is to star in new drama ‘Never Tear Us Apart’ whilst Zoe Cramond spoke to me last week about her new project (watch our interview here).

I’ve filmed a video tribute to ‘Packed To The Rafters’ above which I’d love you to watch and I shall end with this:

Cheers to Australia’s favourite TV family.

Cheers to an era of phenomenal Australian television.

xx Leeshie 

Note: To view video, please click into post in top left hand corner

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