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Anti-soap excels at defying expectations

“When we left Sabine at the end of episode 16, she was really confronted by the way her boyfriend, Dane, treated her,” says McKim, who has cerebral palsy. “He said something along the lines of, ‘I don’t want to pity-bang you any more’. As a disabled person, that’s your worst fear – that people just pity you. They only treat you a certain way out of pity. They don’t see you as a whole. So it was really hard for Sabine and I think we can expect a lot from her.”

How Sabine and her friends cope with the fallout from Dane’s particularly nasty form of revenge is a modern lesson in female empowerment.

“The show deals with things that are real and honest and brutal and confronting. For someone like Sabine, it’s really cool that, not only do we see her coming to terms with her disability, but we also see her navigating what it means to be a young woman – how she deals with people not respecting her and putting her down and being manipulative. I think that’s something that every woman, at some stage in her life, has to confront. We’ve been able to explore that in a way that’s presented in an honest and true sense. It doesn’t beat around the bush and it’s accessible to everyone.”

As would be expected for a show that wraps multiple storylines around each other over a total of 30 episodes, shooting schedules are tight. Actors often “tag team”, filming scenes simultaneously with four-camera crews. But, McKim says, there is always time to rehearse. She learnt a lot from working with experienced cast members such as Marcus Graham, Shari Sebbens, and her on-screen mum Roz Hammond, whose character Claudia cops a bit of back-chat from her sassy daughter.

“I don’t think I would dare talk back to my mother like Sabine talks back to hers. I’ve got an amazing relationship with my mum and it’s really open and honest. But Sabine and I are at different stages of our lives and that affects how you communicate with your mother.”

Since the show first aired in March, McKim has received plaudits for her genuine portrayal of disability.

“It made me realise how few disabled characters we actually have on our screens. I was contacted by so many people with disabilities and by parents of children with disabilities, and even people who aren’t disabled who were just so excited to see someone who is disabled on their screens. To me, that’s still fascinating that that’s a revelation. I mean, it’s 2019. Why is it a revelation? But I feel lucky to be a part of it, and it’s exciting that we’re making change. We’re getting there.”

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