Neighbours: “Terese is falling apart because of Piper” – Rebekah Elmaloglou interview

Can Piper ever forgive her mother for betraying her?

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Neighbours’ Terese Willis saved daughter Piper from prison by telling the police the teenager had gone on the run with murder suspect boyfriend Tyler Brennan.

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But instead of being thankful for her freedom Piper sees her mother’s actions as a huge betrayal, having lost Ty to a hefty jail sentence because of Terese’s tip off.

Initially blaming best friend Xanthe Canning for reporting the flit to the cops ahead of Tyler’s trial, Piper now knows it was Terese who made the call while Xanthe took the rap. With relations between mother and daughter seemingly irreparable, Rebekah Elmaloglou, who plays Terese, tells us about the fallout for the fractured family.

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Did Terese consider letting Piper and Tyler escape?
Absolutley not. Her natural instinct was to go straight to the police. The rest of her family have dissipated and Piper is her life. She is overprotective of her, and remember Terese was against the relationship at first, which caused massive dramas for a long time.

Has she ever accepted them being together?
Probably not. Then all this happens and Terese feels she can’t have her daughter go to jail because of Tyler’s actions.

Does she feel guilty when Xanthe takes the blame for calling the police, causing a rift with Piper?
Once they’re caught Piper is totally off her mother and doesn’t want to know her, it’s upsetting and devastating for Terese and so Xanthe takes it on. Terese lets that carry on for a short time but as Piper really turns on Xanthe she realises she can’t let her do it, she’s going to have to admit it was her.

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Do you respect Terese’s decision to confess to Piper?
Absolutely. You can’t let a teenage girl like Xanthe take that on and ruin a friendship when you, as the adult, know the truth. Terese can’t watch two best friends fall to bits because of her actions. Any decent adult would hopefully do the same.

How does Piper react?
She does not want to have a bar of her mother and moves out to live with the Brennans. Terese is devastated, and is now completely childless in that big, fabulous family house!

What’s the atmosphere like between Terese and Piper at Gabe’s naming ceremony?
She goes to see Piper that morning but she doesn’t want to know, it’s another dagger to the heart. Piper’s coldness and harshness on the day tips Terese over the edge – along comes a waiter with a nice cold glass of bubbly and unfortunately she just gives into it and temporarily falls off the wagon. She’s been so strong with her sobriety, it’s a shame that what’s meant to be a beautiful family day goes wrong…

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Terese gets drunk and falls into a pond in front of everyone, how was that to film?
Luckily it was only a little pond but they had nice stunt double fall in it for me! I would’ve been happy to do it, although I did have to get in and submerge myself under the water in the middle of winter which was pretty cold! It was a fun day, something a little bit different! But it’s not Terese’s finest hour, that’s for sure – she’s mortified!

Do you think Piper should forgive her mum?
After the naming ceremony debacle, there is still no forgiveness from Piper, but there is concern to an extent towards her mother. She knows Terese is falling apart because of her and it appears to be the start of a thawing. Piper wants her mum to look after herself.

Are Terese and Piper too similar?
She has got her mother’s fire! Piper’s a feisty little thing, and kooky too, she has so much going for her. It’s the same with the rest of the Willis kids – all my soap children were amazing! I did such a great job!

Piper is the last of Terese’s kids still in Erinsborough, do you enjoy working with Mavournee Hazel?
I love her, she’s fabulous and incredibly talented. Mavournee is my little angel, we’re so close its ridiculous. I’ve taken her under my wing and we confide in each other about everything.

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What’s in store for Terese’s future?
Stay tuned with the whole Gary/Paul drama, as always that’s ongoing. There might be something a bit different and exciting popping in there down the track…

Neighbours continues weekdays on Channel 5 at 1.45pm and 5.30pm.