Neighbours legend Jane Harris is returning to the show permanently and bringing her daughter with her, Australian soap bosses have confirmed.
Producer Jason Herbison previously teased to RadioTimes.com a much-loved character who returned for the 35th anniversary earlier this year would be making a full-time comeback, and after much speculation we now know it’s Plain Jane Superbrain, who first appeared in the Kylie and Jason era of the 1980s.
Annie Jones reprises her famous role once more, having popped in as a semi-regular since 2018, and joining her is newcomer Charlotte Chimes as Jane’s estranged offspring Nicolette Stone.
Jane’s return as a single lady sadly means her marriage to old flame Des Clarke has already hit the rocks, despite having only tied the knot a few months back as part of the soap’s milestone celebrations that saw five weddings in a week from different eras.
The former face of Lassiters is reunited with Nicolette, who also lives in Erinsborough, but mother and daughter have had a fractured relationship since Nicolette came out as a lesbian in her teens. Expect sparks to fly…
Since Jane’s 2018 reappearance there has been talk of the family she raised in the years she was away from the sunny Melbourne suburb during her failed first marriage, but this is the first time fans will get a full insight into her past.
Speaking about her full-time return, Jones said: “Jane is returning to her old neighbourhood and bringing with her an insight into what her life away from Ramsay Street has been like for the past 30 years. Audiences will learnt more about her family, as fans are introduced to her daughter Nicolette for the first time.
“I’m so thrilled to be back, and grateful to again be working with the dedicated cast, crew and team at Neighbours.”
Jones first appeared between 1986 and 1989, initially as a frumpy schoolgirl swot who earned the derogatory nickname Plain Jane Superbrain, until best friend Charlene Mitchell (Kylie Minogue) gave her a makeover which basically involved removing her glasses and hair slides to reveal her true beauty.
Jane and boyfriend Mike Young (Guy Pearce) would double date with Charlene and Scott (Jason Donovan), and were bridesmaid and best man at the couple’s historic wedding in 1987. Ms Harris initially left in 1989 to live with granny Mrs Mangel in the UK.
Since 2018 we’ve seen her try and track down buried treasure in her old house on Ramsay Street, start a romance with former boss Paul Robinson, become the victim of a catfishing scandal and be reunited with Des, who she was briefly engaged to back in the 1980s.
The actress admitted to RadioTimes.com she’d enjoyed being back in her old stomping ground and had not ruled out another return – clearly the wheels were in motion for this summer’s comeback. “I hope she’s been well-received again by the audience for the anniversary storyline,” she told us. “As for another return, or being back full-time – never say never.”
Jones has enjoyed a steady TV career in Australia, cropping up in popular shows including Wentworth Prison, Jack Irish, City Homicide and Secret Bridesmaids’ Business.
Rising star Chimes, meanwhile, has appeared in Aussie mini-series Schapelle and Catching Milat, produced two online series and is part of two professional improv troupes.
Jane and Nicolette will be on screen together from late July in the UK.