If there is one person in Neighbours you do not want to get in the way of, it’s Sheila Canning (Colette Mann)… she did once leave a pigs head in someone’s car after all.
But Clive Gibbons and Jane Harris (Geoff Paine and Annie Jones) are about to be in her sights when a night on strong eggnog leads to them waking up next to each other the following morning.
But as the pair navigate whether they have feelings for each other, they soon realise how much of a problem it could be when Sheila finds out.
Geoff has been talking to RadioTimes.com about the story and what we should expect in the coming weeks.
“We thought it was terrific,” Geoff said of how he and Annie found out they would be working closely together again. “It’s such a surprise, like all the storylines, the shock is one thing and then it’s the aftermath of how they deal with that.”
“It’s kinda funny to begin with, but it’s also very vulnerable as they are not teenagers. They are middle-aged adults who are dealing with a mountain of emotions and they have to negotiate Sheila too. It’s awkward and very sweet. There is a great deal of ducking and weaving, some bushes will be discovered that nobody knew were there and doors will be hidden behind. There is some great comedy in the story. It’s so much fun to play that stuff.”
As for Sheila, Geoff describes her as “the hurricane of Ramsay Street” adding that “Clive and Jane are thinking how do we not set off this ticking time bomb, knowing that at some stage when she finds out that the bomb is going go off. Sheila is very proactive in reaching back into the past to see if she can manipulate the future. I won’t say too much except she makes a phone call. Sheila would make the Godfather scared when she gets worked up about something.”
On whether he thinks Clive and Jane could go the distance, Geoff is optimistic for them. “They probably could. They have a lot in common. He’s quite attracted to Jane’s stability compared to Sheila’s erratic spontaneity. Both Jane and Clive are looking for a relationship o be solid and that’s what they are gonna have to explore.”
Long-time Neighbours viewers know that Clive used to be the joker of the street and has been far more serious since his return and Geoff is interested to find out how that change came about and what happened in the missing years to cause him to be in the corporate job he is now in.
“It’s interesting to find out how they fill in the missing decades because he did start out as a bit of a rebel and a free spirit, trying to break away from a conservative life and then the question is what has happened in the past 30 years to make him the serious type. It comes out in him from time to time, the cheekiness of Clive of old and the playfulness and it’s lovely to see it. There was nothing he wouldn’t have a crack at back in the day.”
We also nearly has more Clive than just Neighbours with a spin-off planned for the character called City Hospital. The show would have seen him move to Sydney and he returned to Neighbours in 1989 in a guest role that was supposed to set the new show up. Alas, the show was axed before it ever began.
“That was one of those near misses. This was 1989 they were preparing to put City Hospital together and Network 10 was sold and one of the first things they got rid of was all the new projects. I was about to get married and move down to Sydney to start production and it never happened. It was a great lesson early on to just have to shrug and move onto the next thing. It’s interesting to think of what City Hospital could have been.”