It has not been a fun time for Karl Kennedy (Alan Fletcher) in Neighbours as not only has he had to worry about Susan’s (Jackie Woodburne) visions of the evil Finn Kelly (Rob Mills) but he has found himself under suspicion for pushing Olivia Bell (Alyce Platt) down a flight of stairs.
Since the accident, Karl has reflected on his actions and while he didn’t push her, he does feel guilty about what happened. It is that guilt that led to shock scenes that saw him arrested for assault.
Alan Fletcher chats to RadioTimes.com about the story, how Karl feels about it all, and what it was like to have Rob Mills back on the set.
“Well, we had to make some choices because a story like this comes along and you have to look at the script and work out just how strong Karl gets here with his vilification of Olivia,” Alan says of the thought process behind Karl’s actions. “We made the decision to really go for this and that was really fun to play”.
As for why Karl is reacting so strongly to Olivia, Alan thinks that her deception last time has instantly put on him high alert. “Well, Karl was incredibly embarrassed about what happened with Olivia the first time around because she kind of manipulated him into giving her a lot of information about Finn – so he feels deceived by Olivia and of course, Susan and Karl’s marriage was taken to the absolute brink because of that first book.”
“So when Olivia turned up again and we’re looking at the possibility of Susan cooperating with her, Karl was completely opposed to it. Firstly because he doesn’t want the whole thing rehashed as it is a reminder of his own foolhardiness, and also he is genuinely worried about Susan’s mental health and whether or not she can cope with revisiting the horror that is Finn. He is adamantly opposed to ever having anything to do with the book.”
When Olivia did fall, Karl had no idea what was going to happen after, nor did he think through his decision to go back to Olivia after being accused – something that makes his situation far worse.
“This is the problem here – he isn’t in control of his anger and that’s a big issue. It’s an issue of today where men are violent towards women and it is something that needs to be looked at and addressed and that’s why we went as strong as we did. Karl realises he is not blameless and that leads him to apologise to Olivia for anything he had done that contributed to her accident.”
“He thinks the conversation went very well and that Olivia accepts his apology, but he is very quickly arrested almost straight afterwards as Olivia just goes to the police and tells them that he has admitted guilt – the police have no choice but to arrest Karl.”
Olivia soon came up with a solution to the situation: if Susan agrees to take part in her book then she will drop all the charges. It’s something that Karl is extremely worried about.
“His whole life is in turmoil, and he feels immense guilt about everything so in a way he feels that he should cop what comes to him and it is his responsibility to take. He doesn’t get angry with Susan for agreeing to take part, the time for anger has passed, but he is definitely fearful that this could push Susan over the edge.”
As for the recent return of Rob Mills, Alan had nothing but positive things to say about his co-star. “It was superb (to have him back) as we all love Rob very much. He brings so much to the set and it’s one of those stories wherein the hands of lesser actors, you might laugh and think his return is ridiculous – but the performances from Jackie and Rob were fantastic.”