During a recent visit to the UK, we caught up with long-time Neighbours star Jackie Woodburne, to get all the gossip on her character Susan Kennedy and the rest of the Ramsay Street regulars! Are you pleased that Susan is now Editor of The Erinsborough News? "Yes. Most people in their lives have two or three careers. So it’s a pretty close reflection to real-life. She was an English teacher, so she’s stayed close to that by moving into journalism. She’s one of those people who can’t do things by halves. She can be quite bossy and controlling!" But Paul is trying to sabotage Susan’s job on the newspaper? "The Susan/Paul conflict will escalate. There’s a real power struggle as to who will come out on top. Paul is bitter that Susan got the job so now he is trying to dethrone her. But I love the relationship between them. Susan treats Paul with absolute disdain. She lets off rounds left, right and centre. And he gives back just as good! Were you upset when the writers decided to split up Karl and Susan? "Devastated! Alan Fletcher (Karl) and I have loved working together all these years. But all of a sudden it’s very different. We’re out of our comfort zones! I think Karl and Susan are a great couple when their relationship is working. But I would like to see them get back together again. We’re campaigning!" If you could pick a past cast member to return to Ramsay Street, who would it be? "There have been so many. I’d like Janet Andrewartha who played Lyn Scully to return. I always liked the fact that Lyn had a contemporary friend on the Street. But I’d have to pick an icon, too. Harold!" What’s been your most memorable moment on Neighbours? "The Karl/Susan/Izzy love triangle was a great storyline. It unfolded over a couple of years. Alan, Natalie Bassingthwaighte (Izzy) and I enjoyed working together. Susan was never normally mean to anyone, but she had some classic lines with Izzy. That was great fun!" We’d love to see a reunion of all the Kennedy kids, including Jesse Spencer! "I actually caught up with Jesse in LA about a year ago, when he was filming House. We had a great night out. He’s just the same. It’s no surprise to me that he’s been as successful as he has. He was always a very committed and hardworking actor… and gorgeous, of course! He’s made a great life for himself over there. I know Jesse would make a guest appearance in Neighbours if he could. He appeared for the 20th anniversary. He got a video camera and a mate went down to Malibu beach and pretended that he and his girlfriend, Anne ,were on holiday. He got his own costume and worked out what Billy would be like now. He was very happy to do that." Kym Valentine had to leave the show in 2011 due to health problems. Any plans for her character Libby to return? "It would be lovely to have Kym back, but I don’t know that there are any plans at the moment. But I think she’s doing well." What’s next for Susan? Is there anything you’d still like to see the character do? "She’s done everything, including retrograde amnesia! If you remember, she slipped on some milk. When she woke up, Susan thought it was 1972. It was the morning of her 16th birthday and she wondered who the old man (Karl) was who was calling her darling! Still, I did get to wear flares for that storyline!" Did you think the writers were joking when you saw the script? "We all joked about it. But then you have to try and find the truth in it. It was actually based on a story of a woman who lived in England. The same thing happened to her. She fell over in a supermarket. Between leaving the supermarket and getting home, she’d lost 30 years. I don’t think she recovered. She had a husband and grown-up children and she had no idea who they were. Imagine the terror and the fear of being surrounded by these people who tell you that they are your family. But you feel nothing." We hear that Susan is now the longest-running female character in Neighbours' history? Congratulations! "Alan and I have both been on the show for 18 years now. When I say that out loud it’s a revelation. I can’t believe it’s been so long. It’s gone so quickly. I feel very lucky to have been employed as an actor for 18 years."
Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix.
An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.
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