Actress Christie Whelan Browne reveals what it's really like to play Neighbours' unhinged Scarlett Brady...
Next week's Neighbours is set to leave fans on the edge of their seats as Scarlett Brady's sinister obsession with Ned Willis comes to a terrifying climax that sees him left fighting for his life after she stabs him in a fit of rage.
As Neighbours' long-awaited Halloween week starts on Monday 28th October (5.30pm, see our TV guide for full listings), Ned's friends and family start to realise that all is not as it seems with sinister Scarlett. But as they put together the pieces of the terrifying puzzle, oblivious Ned is already heading for danger as he goes on a weekend away from hell with Scarlett.
We caught up with actress Christie Whelan Browne to find out all the behind-the-scenes secrets from filming the most terrifying week of Neighbours yet...
Hi Christie. How did you find playing unhinged Scarlett?
It was a challenge for me to get into that lurking and spying mode, but once I got the hang of it I came to enjoy it. Scarlett's very crafty, she really goes the whole length and makes this whole elaborate lie completely believable. The writers have made her appear very intelligent, which I think she is, but she is also just a little unhinged!
What drew Scarlett to Ned in the first place?
When she was down and out at the airport, he showed her kindness and that was all it took. She has had a lot of tragedy in her life after losing her family in the car accident, and so when someone shows her some decent human connection then it makes her ready to move to the other side of the country for them. She just wants someone to replace the family that she lost.
How did you find filming on location for the maze scenes?
Filming the Halloween scenes was brilliant. being on location at the maze felt like a day trip. It was about an hour from where we usually film and being there with the cast and crew was fun. Ben and I watched the episodes together not that long ago and we thought it was brilliant.
Can you tell us a bit about the lead up to the Halloween episodes?
As Halloween week starts Scarlett knows that Yashvi is on to her, but she manages to manipulate her and realises that she needs to her Ned out of Erinsborough if she wants to keep her grip on him. This is the point when she realises the walls are closing in on her. She genuinely loves Ned and wants them to be together, but things get out of control because of the Halloween costume that she wears, which just happens to be a wedding dress, and it sets alarm bells off for Ned and he tells her that things are moving too fast.
What is it about those words that trigger something in Scarlett?
He asks her to slow things down and that brings back memories of what happened with her last two exes when she told them she wanted to get married and they told her it was too soon. She is so desperate for a family that she is in fast forward.
How does she end up stabbing Ned?
Earlier in the week Ned tells Scarlett that he will never leave her, and so she is angry with him because he is going back on his word and reminding her of everything that has happened in her past. After she stabs him, it triggers this horrible side of her. Viewers will know about this dangerous side to Scarlett because Yashvi has spoken to her ex and he's revealed her lies. Scarlett is scared of being alone and she ends up getting aggressive.
But it's not just Ned who ends up hurt, is it?
No, Yashvi and Bea arrive to warn Ned about Scarlett, but when Scarlett sees Yashvi she lashes out because of all the anger she feels towards her. Bea doesn't get hurt, but Yashvi is in a bad way.
Were you pleased with the ending for Scarlett?
It was time for Scarlett to face her up to her behaviour and the repercussions her actions have. I also think she desperately needs some help with her mental health, and now that she has been caught she can hopefully get that.
You're good friends with Ben (Hall, who plays Ned Willis) in real life, did you enjoy working together?
It was just so helpful to me that he is such a good friend of mine. His girlfriend is a close friend of mine and he's a good friend of my husband so we were both a bit awkward about having to kiss each other! But he really looked after me and showed me the ropes. He made me feel so comfortable and he's such a nice person. Everyone has been so lovely though. Olivia (Junkeer, who plays yashvi) and I spent a lot of time together and although our scenes weren't very nice we became good friends.
Were you a Neighbours fan before you joined the cast?
Yes, it has been a life-long dream of mine, although maybe not even a dream because I hadn't dared to believe that it would ever happen. I watched Neighbours as a little girl and never thought that one day I would be on it. It lived up to my expectations and more!
Neighbours airs weekdays at 1.45pm and 5.30pm on Channel 5
Claire is Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch and has been a journalist for over 15 years, writing about everything from soaps and TV to beauty, entertainment, and even the Royal Family. After starting her career at a soap magazine, she ended up staying for 13 years, and over that time she’s pulled pints in the Rovers Return, sung karaoke in the Emmerdale village hall, taken a stroll around Albert Square, and visited Summer Bay Surf Club in sunny Australia.
After learning some tricks of the trade at websites Digital Spy, Entertainment Daily, and Woman & Home, Claire landed a role at What’s On TV and whattowatch.com writing about all things TV and film, with a particular love for Aussie soaps, Strictly Come Dancing and Bake Off.
She’s interviewed everyone from June Brown — AKA Dot Cotton — to Michelle Keegan, swapped cooking tips with baking legend Mary Berry backstage at the NTAs, and danced the night away with soap stars at countless awards bashes. There’s not a lot she doesn’t know about soaps and TV and can be very handy when a soapy question comes up in a pub quiz!
As well as all things soap-related, Claire also loves running, spa breaks, days out with her kids, and getting lost in a good book.
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