EXCLUSIVE: Claudia Karvan reminisces about The Secret Life of Us ahead of Bump’s new season

Plus, the actress shares what it was like working with Dylan Alcott…
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Claudia Karvan has had one seriously impressive career.

But she doesn’t plan on stepping back anytime soon. If anything, she’s just getting started…

The fourth season of Stan Original Series Bump is set to be released on Boxing Day and Claudia “can’t wait to share it with everyone.”

“I’m really proud of it. It’s a real honour to have a fourth series in this climate, not many series go that far,” she tells The Weekly.

Claudia would know; she’s been in the industry for more than 40 years.

But not just as an actress; she pivoted into co-creating and producing in the early 2000s. Why?

claudia karvan bump
Bump, the Stan Original Series that stars and was co-created by Claudia Karvan, is back for its fourth season.

“I was a whinger,” Claudia recalls laughing.

“I was whinging on the set of Secret Life of Us and someone said, ‘Well, why don’t you direct?’ So that’s when I stepped off and went behind the camera for the first time. And the world really expanded and I realised there were other realities beyond just the acting reality, which I couldn’t have conceived of.”

Claudia ended up directing two episodes of The Secret of Life Us in 2003 and it led to the next phase of her career.

“On the back of that, John Edwards [co-creator of The Secret Life of Us] gave me the opportunity to create a show with him. And so we, together with Jacquelin Perske, created Love My Way,” Claudia continues.

“It was John’s support; he can recognise an opportunity, he’s really generous and [was] brave in giving me that opportunity. I owe him my career basically, it’s the truth of the matter.

“I don’t know many producers who would’ve offered me that opportunity – I didn’t know what a producer was. I thought a producer was just someone who crunched numbers, I didn’t know it was such a creative job and I haven’t looked back.”

claudia karvan
Claudia says she owes The Secret Life of Us co-creator John Edwards her career…

She hasn’t looked back indeed. After co-creating and producing Love My Way, Claudia went on to co-create and produce Spirited, Doctor Doctor and the aforementioned Bump.

Bump follows two high school students, Oly and Santi, and their respective families as they all navigate a teenage pregnancy.

Claudia plays Oly’s mum Angie in addition to co-creating and producing the series. But the job she takes most seriously on set is that of producer.

“I see my [producing] role as, you know, I have the ability and the privilege to empower others [on set], so that’s the way I sort of play it,” she says before adding that the Bump cast is like a real-life family.

“It is very much like a family, after four years, we all know each other really well and we all look out for each other. It’s quite a nurturing space and I feel really proud of the culture that we’ve all created. After four series, everyone gets on really well and we spend a lot of time together; it’s beautiful.”

Joining the Bump cast (or should we say family?) for Season 4 in an undisclosed role is former Australian of the Year Dylan Alcott.

claudia karvan bump
Dylan Alcott has joined the cast of Bump.

And Claudia has nothing but praise for her new co-star.

“Dylan is wild. He’s funny, he’s subversive, he’s enthusiastic, he’s a true activist, he’s indefatigable… He was really pumped, really confident. Such a joy to be around and so happy to launch his new career with us, and he just ate it up. He’s fabulous,” Claudia gushes.

“And he came into the writer’s room and suggested – some of the jokes his character says are his own, which was really generous of him and great because it made it closer to material he felt comfortable performing; it made it authentic.”

Authenticity is at the heart of Bump; multiple characters and storylines have been inspired by Claudia’s real life.

“The most regular thing I say to my friends when they’re in the middle of telling me a great story is, ‘Can I put that in Bump? Can I pitch that to the writers room?’

the secret life of us
Claudia’s still in touch with her The Secret Life of Us co-stars Samuel Johnson and Deborah Mailman.

“That’s the beauty of the show: how personal it is.”

It’s a trick she learnt from John as well as Amanda Higgs, Judi McCrossen and Christopher Lee, the creators and lead writers of The Secret Life of Us.

“I think the secret to the success of Secret Life of Us was those four people and how clear their voices were. In the writer’s room, everyone spoke without a filter and it was a very personal show for them, so I think that was the success of it,” Claudia muses.

We’ve spoken a lot about The Secret Life of Us, so we ask whether Claudia is still in touch with anyone from the series.

And to our delight, she shares, “Yes, Sam Johnson and Deb Mailman, we keep in contact.”

Bump Season 4 premieres on Stan on Boxing Day, December 26, 2023.

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