It made history as the first real-time TV spy series depicting a complete day in the life of its characters and there was uproar from fans around the world when TV bosses decided to axe 24 Hours two years ago.
Now there are moves to bring
24 Hours back — much to the delight of Sarah Wynter who played Kate Warner the love interest of special agent Jack Bauer (played by Keifer Sutherland).
"I always thought there was still huge potential in the series," says the 39-year-old Australian star who now combines a busy career with looking after editor husband Dan Perez and three young children, including twins.
Currently in two hit TV series, Damages and Persons of Interest, Sarah says:"Although I have a really full schedule at the moment I would always make room for 24 Hours, which gave me the break I had always dreamed of.".
In the show, based on 24 hours in the life of Agent Bauer, Kate played a wealthy lawyer who gets involved with Bauer after the death of his wife.
"The whole point of the show was that the series takes place over just one day — each episode relates to one hour of real time," Sarah says. "So I couldn't change my appearance — except to look more tired and haggard as time went by! "I couldn't put on weight, change my hairstyle, get sunburned on the beach or even let my fingernails grow.
The fans were so eagle-eyed that my hair and the length of my fingernails were measured from one episode to the next to make sure that they hadn't altered."
The show was unlike any other on TV — the cast saw the scripts only hours before rehearsal and weren't told any of the twists and turns of the plot. The scripts were also on special paper which couldn't be photocopied. "None of us had any job security," says Sarah. "All you could do was turn up for work each day and hope that the scriptwriters hadn't killed you off..."
Even so, Sarah can't wait to get back to work on 24 Hours." Kiefer's the sweetest guy to work with," she says. "The pace of filming is frantic — far harder than making a movie — and you become like one big family. Sometimes we started at 5am and carried on until after midnight. "When I'm working I see more of the cast and crew than I do my own family. I'm permanently exhausted but I can honestly say I have never been happier. I was a fan of 24 Hours before I was picked for the part."
"Everyone called me an overnight success, but in fact I had worked hard for ten years before I got the break. I wasn't looking to get into TV — I'd been in movies almost exclusively — but someone told me about the part and I tried for it. "Kiefer rang me on my mobile after the audition to say that he thought I'd got it!"
She had — beating 300 other actresses — and a dream she had since growing up in a small town north of Sydney, Australia, came true. Her father, a doctor, died suddenly when Sarah was 13, leaving her mother to bring up Sarah and her brother Brendan. At 17, to her mother's consternation, Sarah moved to New York. "It was a crazy thing to do , but I wanted to act and knew that I had to go to America to get the chance to do it.
"Things were pretty tough at first, to put it mildly. I was kept alive by waitressing and being a nanny and sleeping on friends' floors, until I got a small part in the pilot episode of Sex and the City."
Several movies followed, including Species 2, and The Sixth Day with Arnold Schwarzenegger. She had to put on 20lbs to play the wife of composer Gustav Mahler in Bride of the Wind. Recently, Sarah was in Lost Souls with Ben Chaplin and Winona Ryder.
Refreshingly 'unstarlike', Sarah is realistic about the movie life. "I'm 39 and that's tough in a town where age matters," she says.
"I'm lucky to be working. I know my shelf life is not that long and so I try to appreciate every little bit of this while I can.