The real reason for Izzy Hoyland’s return is revealed in Neighbours next week – she wants another baby with former lover Karl Kennedy!
Since making an entrance at Toadie Rebecchi’s birthday party a few weeks back, Izzy’s presence on Ramsay Street for the first time in over a decade has ruffled a few feathers, with arch-enemy Susan Kennedy snooping around convinced there’s a secret agenda behind the vixen’s surprise visit.
And, of course, she’s right, as Izzy shares with Karl her desire to have a sibling for Holly, and for Karl to be the donor so he is the biological father… “Karl couldn’t have imagined Izzy would suggest this in his wildest dreams,” says Alan Fletcher, aka Dr K. “He never thought Izzy would want another child because since Holly was born she’s been running around being spectacularly selfish! She abandoned her daughter at Christmas, and that wasn’t the first time. And at his age, the notion of being a father again never occurred to Karl.”
Word of Izzy’s unusual request soon reaches Karl’s wife, which is when the fun really starts. “How does Susan react? You can probably guess,” laughs Jackie Woodburne, Fletcher’s on-screen wife for over 20 years. “She’s horrified. It’s a cross between ‘Is this a joke?’ and ‘This is the most horrific thing I’ve ever heard’. It’s so outrageous and ballsy.
“But for Susan the real bombshell is that her husband does not dismiss it as instantly as she does and is actually thinking about it! That could jeopardise everything they have.”
Fletcher points out that Karl, far from being taken in by Izzy’s allure, has more at stake here than his wife realises, and the situation is not as black and white as it seems. Well, he would say that…
“Izzy has promised a generous donation to the hospital wing and plans to name it after Karl, so if he refuses the baby idea he needs to be sure he won’t lose her money. The whole thing is rather Faustian and Karl could be selling his soul to the devil somewhat, but the hospital wing is important to him – he sees it as his legacy.
“Not that he’d agree to having a baby purely for that the wing, but if he can somehow say no to Izzy and still protect the investment by delaying saying no, then it’s worth a shot. Besides, Karl might not even be able to father a child so he could agree to it and be off the hook!”
Susan sees things very differently, as Woodburne counteracts: “Karl imagines the good that can be done with the hospital wing, the lives he could save, so imagines a more philosophical outcome. Susan views it on a more domestic, realistic level. As usual! Basically her husband is having yet another mid-life crisis, and while Susan understands his need for a legacy, at the end of it there could be a child Karl will be responsible for and, by association, so will Susan.”
The plot puts Izzy right back where she belongs, and where fans want her – slap bang in the middle of the Kennedy marriage. Making the most of Natalie Bassingthwaighte’s long-awaited (if only temporary) comeback, Fletcher reckons it could split the loyalties of the fans.
“The interesting thing about the story is that everybody has a justifiable point of view. To Izzy, Karl’s just the donor and needn’t have any responsibility for this baby. Karl wants to save the hospital wing whatever it takes, Susan just thinks it’s outrageous and wants the idea shut down – there will be people in the audience who will see it from each point of view, so it will be divisive.”
“For Susan, Izzy represents the worst time in her life,” adds Woodburne, putting the case forward for her character’s position in the quandary. “Everything she held to be true was smashed thanks to this woman so Izzy’s return takes her back to a terribly dark place. She’s not surprised at her suggestion, this is just Izzy on form with yet another outrageous plan!”
For both actors, welcoming Bassinghtwaighte back to Neighbours for another chapter in the Kennedys’ story was a much happier scenario than it was for their characters. “It was thrilling,” beams Fletcher. “We’re all close friends and had badgered Nat for years to come back. The timing and the story had to be right, and this is very interestingly crafted. It’s one of my favourite stories we’ve ever done – it’s a ripper!”
And it’s not over yet, as Izzy is sticking around for a while – will she convince Karl to be her baby daddy? Woodburne gives us a tiny tease: “Let’s just say Izzy is completely driven by her agenda and won’t let anything get in her way…”
Neighbours continues weekdays on Channel 5 at 1.45pm and 5.30pm.
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