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As one of Australia's most loved TV characters, it's easy to mistake long-time film and TV actor Ray Meagher for his small-screen counterpart, the grumpy but loveable Alf Stuart from Home and Away.

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Inviting New Idea into his Sydney home for an exclusive chat, the familiar Aussie TV veteran and his wife Gilly reveal how they live their down-to-earth life outside of the show.

"We enjoy a glass of wine, a nice meal, movies, doing a bit of exercise but nothing formal, just walking around the harbour," Ray says.

And elegant Gilly - who married the actor three years ago - is quick to differentiate her gentle husband from his tough-natured, stoic country character Alf.

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Of her husband's character's iconic catch phrases and demeanor, Gilly says:

"He’s not grumpy like his character... He really doesn’t say things like: “Stone the flamin’ crows!”"

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Despite his relaxed, content Sydney lifestyle, good-humoured Ray says there's no sign of him slowing down just yet.

"I’ll be with Home and Away for a while yet, the good Lord willing. I really like my life right now and retirement certainly isn’t something I’m hanging out for."

For Ray's exclusive interview - including what happened when he met Prince Phillip! - check out this week's issue of New Idea, out now!

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