If you thought Neighbours‘ Fake Dee/Real Dee saga was already one of the most bonkers plots in soap history, prepare yourselves: the blockbuster saga is about to crank up with new revelations that confirm the identical blondes are actually identical twins who were separated at birth – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
On Thursday 25th July, Dee Bliss and Andrea Somers (both played by a very game Madeleine West) receive the results of a DNA test revealing they are sisters, despite Andrea’s unstable mum Heather Schilling (Kerry Armstrong) insisting this wasn’t true and that she gave birth in unremarkable circumstances to one daughter.
Andrea wonders if the mysterious red-headed woman who featured in painful childhood memories accessed through hypnotherapy could be her and Dee’s real mum, and the siblings were adopted out to different families. But the truth is far more outlandish…
Incarcerated Heather agrees to undergo hypnosis on Friday 26th July, and long-buried memories come flooding to the surface that tell a tragic and shocking story: Heather’s memories of delivering Andrea are constructed fake ones that mask the truth, the vulnerable young mum actually gave birth to two girls in a shelter called Gartside Grove in the care of evil nuns, one of whom stole Dee and gave her to the childless couple, Mr and Mrs Bliss…
“Deep down in my gut I knew Heather was the mother of both Dee and Andrea,” Armstrong tells RadioTimes.com, as we all digest the latest fantastical twist. “Our producer Jason Herbison spoke to me at the start of the year and said he felt the same thing. It all goes back to the stolen generation, these stories of women who had their children removed.
“She’s completely and utterly blocked it out,” continues the award-winning actress, who has created one of Neighbours’ most memorable characters in the unpredictable parent. “But there is a murmur, an echo deep down. Incredible damage was done to Heather and consequently she has felt lonely and as if something is missing all along.”
The development certainly sheds light on Heather, explaining her barmy behaviour which may elicit surprising sympathy from fans who have previously viewed her as the villain of the piece. “Heather is the child – she is scared of Andrea who is the ruthless one, the real baddie,” she continues. “Poor Heather, she dresses up and wants to be like Kim Kardashian or Posh Spice – but she looks more like Shabby Spice! It’s very sad.
“People think she’s a sociopath but she has feelings. Heather has never an inch of care her whole life, ironically until she met Toadie and Sonya. She just wants to belong and has been so damaged, having her child taken has left her with an echo of displacement, everything she does is wrong because she has no idea what right is.”
Where on earth the story goes from here is anyone’s guess, but there is still more to play – believe it or not. In light of these revelations about Heather’s past, Armstrong hopes the community, and the audience, will have a newfound understanding of her fragile alter ego.
“I’d like there to be forgiveness. Heather is so deeply damaged and needs to be repaired – she loves her grandchildren, Hugo and Willow. I’ve so enjoyed playing her, as an actor I want to tell stories that lift the audience out of their seats.”
That’s certainly been achieved here…
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