SERIES two of Frayed is returning to ABC TV and with it the "binfire of a human" that is Sammy Cooper.
Those are Sarah Kendall's words, not mine, and they were said with more than a hint of affection.
Kendall wrote and starred in series one of the dark comedy, which was nominated for five AACTA Awards. Kendall herself was nominated for a BAFTA Television Award for best female performance in a comedy program for her portrayal of Cooper.
Set in the late 1980s, Frayed is thestory of a wealthy London housewife who is forced to return home to Newcastle when her husband dies in a drug-fuelled mishap with a prostitute. It was filmed in Newcastle and London.
Season two kicks off in London, where the lives and secrets of the Cooper family continue to unravel as they deal with the ramifications of season one's explosive finale, and their Australian past insists on catching up with them.
Having made it out of Australia, Sammy (Kendall) and her kids, Lenny (Frazer Hadfield) and Tess (Maggie Ireland-Jones), find themselves living in a tiny London flat, as Sammy frantically tries to prove that her lawyer, Rufus (Robert Webb), stole her house. Barely able to make ends meet working in a muffler repair shop, Sammy is desperate to find a way to reclaim her opulent London life. She also needs to keep her kids far away from Australia and the truth about what happened to their neighbour, Terry.
Meanwhile back down under in Newcastle, an ambitious cop named Fairbank (Hamish Michael) has been brought in to head up the missing persons case and simply does not believe Terry would just disappear. With Jim (Ben Mingay), Jean (Kerry Armstrong) and Abby (Alexandra Jensen) trying to keep their secret hidden, and con artist Bev (Doris Younane) lurking on the scene, it's only a matter of time before the truth catches up with Sammy.
Kendall grew up in Merewether and moved to London in 2000, where she still lives with her husband and two children.
"I went to Merewether High, but no there was no drama or acting. I wasn't really interested in that, I was into comedy really early on," she tells Weekender.
"Film, sketch, stand up - I loved the way it made me feel but also figuring out why things were funny, the machinery of how jokes worked."
Since first performing at the Edinburgh Festival in 2001, Kendall has frequented many of the world's leading comedy festivals and has numerous television writing and performing credits to her name including Beehive and Comedy Cuts.
I went to Merewether High, but no there was no drama or acting. I wasn't really interested in that, I was into comedy really early on.Sarah Kendall
Her television and radio appearances include As Yet Untitled with Alan Davies, Russell Howard's Good News and Spicks and Specks,and her recording of A Day In October won her the best scripted comedy prize at the BBC Audio Drama Awards.
She competed in the 11th season of British comedy game show Taskmaster.
"I feel really lucky to work with the people I work with, and the friendships that have come from my job," Kendall says.
"I love funny people and I love professionally-funny people, my workmates and friends from this job have enriched my life enormously. It's a wonderful thing to find your tribe."
Kendall's childhood experiences and memories provided the framework for the characters in Frayed. The Newcastle she grew up in is quite different to the Newcastle of today - but then again, growing up in the 1980s anywhere in Australia is vastly different to growing up today.
"The thing that stands out for me is that the pace of life was slower back then," she says.
"There were no phones and devices or internet - it could be nostalgia but I felt a lot more connected to a small community. My friends and I had to make our own entertainment back then, we were bored a lot of the time but that meant we spent a lot of time amusing each other.
"I knew a lot of really funny people, so I was lucky. There was also a surplus of very odd people in Newcastle back then too, which I think we embraced."
Sammy Cooper is, she says, "lots like me".
"She can be terribly pompous, but that hides the fact she's basically a binfire of a human," Kendall says.
"I also like that she's a pretty scrappy fighter, she doesn't back down easily. I think what makes a lot of her behaviour acceptable is that she'll do anything for her kids. She is always doing her best for them, even when it comes out in the worst possible way."
One of the secrets to Frayed's success is the sense of nostalgia created by the costumes, the settings, even the language used.
"All that credit goes to the crew - the director, director of photography, set designers, wardrobe, make-up - everyone was so passionate and fired up to make this show look great," Kendall explains.
"I think the world of Frayed is a world that has disappeared, so there's a level of nostalgia there, and maybe curiosity for younger viewers (not that kids even watch TV anymore).
"I also wanted this show to be a strong ensemble. There's a lot of characters and I try to write them all stories and predicaments that I care about. Hopefully that means other people will care too."
Asked if she was surprised at the success of Frayed season one, Kendall says she has learned over the years not to enter into a project with expectations.
"My experience with creative work is that you do your absolute best and then you have to let go of it," she replies.
"I try to manage my expectations of how any of my work will be received - it can drive you mad and stymie your ability to produce anything at all. I still feel so lucky to have been able to make this show in the first place, so yeah, getting a second season was a great feeling. I love the cast and crew, getting to hang out with them all again for a 10-week shoot was a joy.
"Thankfully, I've finally grown that fringe out too - after six months of wearing a hat."