Ramsay Street has been rocked by the murder of Hamish Roche, plunging Neighbours into a thrilling whodunnit as the investigation into how the duplicitous baddie came to be found drowned in the Cannings’ hot tub puts the locals under suspicion.
Despite only being in the show for a short time, the character of Hamish made a raft of enemies in Erinsborough as he lied and schemed his way around the sleepy suburb. Introduced as the long-lost father of Tyler Brennan, who learnt from guilt-ridden mum Fay that his late dad Russell was not his biological parent and that he’d been the product of an affair, suave Hamish swept into town wanting to make amends with his estranged son.
It soon became clear he had a sinister secret agenda as he manipulated Tyler and executed a plan to get his hands on a boat so he could sail off and escape prosecution for fraud. Tyler was one of the last people to see Hamish alive, and having discovered his web of deceit there was a violent showdown between father and son… Speaking exclusively to RadioTimes.com, actor Travis Burns reveals that Tyler is now firmly in the frame as the murder mystery develops.
“Tyler and Hamish had a massive argument the night before he died,” says the actor, who joined Neighbours in 2015. “He admits to his brothers Mark and Aaron that he hit Hamish across the back of the head with a garden gnome in the Cannings’ backyard! Tyler feels guilty that he had something do with Hamish’s death, but he was conscious when he left him. Mark thinks Louise McLeod, Hamish’s partner in crime who he betrayed and put in a coma, must’ve come back and finished the job…”
That’s still conjecture at this stage, so does Burns believe his sweet-natured character is capable of cold-blooded murder? “Knowing Tyler he would not have done it on purpose. He’s the kind of guy who’s always in the wrong place at the wrong time, which has happened a lot in his three years on the show. But that’s the only way something bad like this would happen.”
Big brother Mark is so sure of his sibling’s innocence he leaps into action to destroy the evidence, stealing the gnome and wiping it clean of Tyler’s prints to eliminate him from the investigation. Although his intentions are good, Burns reckons this just makes things worse…
“Mark’s not only wiping Tyler’s prints off the gnome, he’s wiping any prints – Gary and Sheila Canning have also touched it so he’s rubbed off any fingerprints meaning it now can’t be used in evidence at all. But it’s typical Mark, swooping in trying to fix his family’s problems. Whenever he does stuff like that Tyler feels like a little kid. Mark doesn’t even tell Tyler what he’s done, and it ends up causing friction among the brothers at a time when they need to stick together.”
Hamish’s presence threatened the tight-knit Brennan clan as he opened old wounds and jeopardised their future. Does Burns think Tyler regrets even meeting Mr Roche now?
“There are mixed feelings. He’s glad to have found out who his biological father is and to have got to know him, but the fact he turns out to be so duplicitous and bad reflects back to Tyler and his own childhood. He was abused by Russell, and at first he thought Hamish was everything he wanted in a father – then it turned out to be the complete opposite.
“He feels Hamish deserved comeuppance for his lies, but did he really deserve to pay for what he did with his life?”
Tyler is just one of seven suspects (read our rundown of their motives here) but does Burns want his character to be eventually unveiled as the murderer? “Yes and no – yes because Hamish had it coming, but no because Tyler would end up in prison for years!
“This is going to be a very long investigation, I can tell you that. The various suspects will go in and out of the spotlight, there’s a lot of back and forth and tricking the audience. And it’s not who you think it is!
“It’s a fantastic plot, I take my hat off to the writers. The amount of planning for a sophisticated, complex storyline like this is amazing. There’s been times when it’s been confusing for the actors, until we get the next script and then it all starts fitting into place. We get six episodes at a time each week, so it’s been a case of waiting for the next batch of scripts to find out what happens!”
Neighbours continues weekdays on Channel 5 at 1.45pm and 5.30pm.