Erik Thomson speaks out after 800 Words cancelled: "It didn't have to end"
Soon to be reaching his 30th year of acting, Erik Thomson’s hugely successful show 800 Words has not been approved for a fifth season.
The show, which earned Thomson a win in the Best Actor category at the Logies, will end after the fourth season, set to air soon on TVNZ.
Thomson’s character George Turner is a newspaper columnist, in the fictional New Zealand seaside town of Weld. And now, due to the show being shelved, season four will be the last time we see George Turner on our television screens.
The 51-year-old actor finds the situation “disappointing” as he believes the show still had potential and a great viewership.
“800 Words could have run for more seasons,” Thomson told TV WEEK.
“The plan was to jump ahead a year to see how things panned out, but that’s not going to happen, unfortunately.
“Networks these days are interested in the shiny new ball, but not always in ways to keep that ball shiny.”
Thomson believes reality television is partly to blame, with television networks strongly relying on reality shows. The actor says that scripted drama is not given the priority it deserves.
“In many ways, reality shows have become like drama series,” he says. “They cast all these archetypes. There’s the villain, the smart arse and the underdog. I get it, but hopefully with a bit of luck the pendulum will swing back to more scripted drama that runs for longer than six-to-eight episodes.”
But Thomson is still grateful for the opportunities he has been given.
“I’ve been fortunate to be in shows people just have to be home for on a Tuesday night, whether it be All Saints or Packed to the Rafters,” he says. “I’ve been lucky.”
He added, “This is my 28th year as a professional actor. I’m heading towards that three-zero years in the business. I keep pinching myself!”
As for what the future holds, Thomson is looking into darker roles after shooting horror film Awoken in Adelaide, Australia with his fellow 800 Words co-star Benson Jack Anthony, and will soon be starring in Australian film Storm Boy.
“The journeys I want to go on now aren’t as family-orientated,” he says when talking about his shift from the “nice guy” roles that he is known for playing.
“I’m thinking darker drama or even some edgy, dark comedy projects. I’m working with some writers and there are possibilities floating around.”
And one of those ideas may involve a reunion with Thomson’s Packed to the Rafters co-star Rebecca Gibney.
“We’ve talked about it,” he says. “But Rebecca has just finished Wanted [the TV3 drama series] and everyone is in different parts of the world. I dare say it could happen.”
Are you disappointed that 800 Words won’t be returning after its fourth season? Let us know in the comments below.