Neighbours star Colette Mann is to reunite with her old Prisoner: Cell Block H pal Val Lehman when the iconic Aussie actress arrives in Ramsay Street later this year for a guest role, marking the first time the pair have worked together in over 30 years.
Lehman played the legendary ‘top dog’ of Wentworth Detention Centre, Bea Smith, in the iconic drama also known as Prisoner (now successfully reimagined as Wentworth Prison), alongside Mann’s ditzy inmate Doreen Anderson. Both actresses were original cast members from 1979 and remained with the show until 1983.
Although they were firm friends on screen in Prisoner, things won’t be as warm between the women this time round as Lehman will play an old enemy of Mann’s character, mouthy matriarch Sheila Canning…
“It’s an interesting role because on Prisoner my character Bea was the protector of Colette’s character Doreen, whereas in this story we are very much at odds!” teased Lehman.
Neighbours is filmed at Melbourne’s Forest Hill studios, where Prisoner was also made. “It’s my old home and was nice working with Colette because even after all these years the rapport is still there,” continued Lehman. “I was surprised and delighted to receive the call about the role.”
“It felt very comfortable working opposite each other again,” added Mann. “We whipped through the scenes, maybe because the director didn’t want to mess with us!”
Lehman is joining the cast for a short stint and will be on screen in December.
Neighbours continues weekdays on Channel 5 at 1.45pm and 5.30pm.