In January of 2018 I was curled up under my down comforter, trying desperately not to throw up. I’d had major abdominal surgery 2 months before and now my family all had the stomach flu and I had a fever and chills and really did not want to make anything hurt worse. I was popping Zofran (anti-nausea meds) like candy and begging my Facebook friends for television show recommendations that could distract me from my current situation. I got 75 replies in just a few minutes, but – for some unknown reason — I didn’t take any of them. Instead, I remember thinking, “Someone once told me I should watch The Doctor Blake Mysteries.” I thought this seemed like a good time.
I feverishly clutched my phone and watched three episodes in a row and thinking two things: 1) I don’t know why the housekeeper is so annoyed with Lucien and 2) I’m gonna need to google this and see how many seasons there are. I can’t emotionally invest in just one season.
Here’s what I found – five beautiful seasons of television, a light to carry me through months of fear and pain, and a community of friends unlike any others.
At that time, my body wasn’t just in pain, I was in a bad place. My mother was working hard to help care for my kids, my husband was caring for the house and the bills, and I could barely get out of bed, in the darkest part of the year, and everywhere around me I saw death. My soul felt thin. When I turned on Dr. Blake, Lucien’s calm demeanor and joyful smile went right to my heart. I drank it up like it could heal me. It truly felt like I had found “a place of light in the darkness” as Lucien in season one.
When I ran out of episodes, I pulled Craig McLachlan up on YouTube. Being American, I had not grown up with him as a household name, so had no idea what to expect. But he took that pink ukulele and sang at the camera and I instantly knew why I loved Lucien. Craig was just full of joy and it came through all the staid reserve of his character. I read about how much his costars loved working with him, and felt like their love and joy was woven into each line and had found its way to me when I needed it.
Much later, I went back through my Facebook feed to see where I got that idea. It was from the father of an old college friend that I hadn’t seen in 20 years and he suggested the show a year ago. It shouldn’t have come to mind, except that sometimes we are set on a path, given a sign, handed a gift. This was one of those gifts.
I’ll forever be grateful to Craig and all involved in putting the show together. And I’ll forever be a fan of Craig and his joy for it.