As a final farewell to Stingers, TV WEEK asked Peter Phelps – aka Church – to tell us about his best moments from working on the show

The friendships
“It’s been the most genial group of actors that I’ve ever worked with. Every single actor that’s worked on the show, I could always call and say, ‘What are you up to? Let’s get together.’ Katie Kendall (who played Angie Piper) and Ian Stenlake (who played Oscar Stone) particularly will be lifelong friends. They’re like my brother and sister.”

The romance
“I met Donna (Fowkes), my wife. She owned a restaurant and we used her restaurant as a set for a couple of days. I asked her out, but she was married at the time. Three months later I was on set in Sm ith Street in Collingwood (Melbourne) and the crew was up the road a bit, and she didn’t realise and she said, ‘What are you doing?’ and I said, ‘Well, I’m working,’ and showed her my gun. She was separated at that point and we had our very first date that night.”

The humour
“Probably the most encyclopaedic jokester is Gary Sweet (who played Luke Harris). He knows every joke in the book and he’s very funny. So is Ian Stenlake. They crack me up. I’m trying to chase bad guys and I’m laughing my head off because these guys are just so funny. When you’re doing 13-hour days, it’s good to have these clowns around you.”

The injuries
“It was very physical, that role, because I was pretty hands-on. A stuntman, a friend of mine, threw me across the room. I said, ‘Look, I can take it,’ but I proceeded to fall on things, and tables fell on me and I broke a couple of ribs. I was still hurting a year later. And I broke a finger doing a fight. I was trying to impress Donna on the first day I met her and threw a guy into a dumpster, and I broke my finger and knocked this poor guy out!”

Acting with Rebecca Gibney
“Being a friend of Rebecca’s (who played Ingrid Burton) for some years, it was great to go toe to toe in the acting sense. And it was very funny. It’s always strange doing love scenes with a friend. You just laugh – it’s kind of a weird feeling – but we got through it alright. We told our respective partners that we didn’t really go that far!”

Favourite episodes
“The episode where Ian Stenlake’s character is killed because it was just wonderfully written and acted. It was an emotional time, too, because he’d become one of my best mates and he was leaving. Also the episode where Roxane Wilson (who played Danni Mayo) is having a baby to me and loses her baby. It’s just great to have an Australian drama dealing with these life-and-death situations. And the episode with Gary Sweet and Katie Kendall’s characters getting married. It was bittersweet, it was funny, it was dramatic.”

A message from Peter
Farewell, fellow Stingers,
When it was publicised that Stingers was ending its brilliant six-year run, I received an unprecedented amount of goodwill from many of you who watched the show from beginning to end.

As I say cheerio to what became the longest and most rewarding job of my career, I’d like to thank Stingers’ loyal fans, many of whom I met personally and by mail.
Your support for a quality Australian drama has always been an inspiration and motivation for myself and my co-workers, especially on those icy winter mornings when the Stingers’ posse, sometimes miraculously, created a one-hour television show in five days.

I, too, will miss Churchy and the Stingers team. I like to think that Church and Angie walked away from that last scene to live the rest of their crime-fighting days in love – finally.

This was a series that proved that we truly can produce first-class television on our own doorstep.

Thank you, one and all,

Peter Phelps

Source: TV Week