Well, that was dramatic, wasn’t it? Neighbours continued on from its action and nostalgia-filled anniversary week with a rare two-hander episode that centred on the characters of Susan Kennedy and Finn Kelly.
Finn, having unleashed havoc on the island, returned to Erinsborough and took Susan on a road trip to see Bea who he claimed was staying in the snowy mountains. Only it wasn’t long before Susan caught a glimpse of Aster and realised something was wrong.
From there, the situation turned into a nightmare for her as she dealt with a Finn who was very much a ticking time-bomb by this point. At the end of the episode, the bomb went off and it seems Finn has a terrifying end planned for the woman he once saw as a mother figure.
RadioTimes.com was lucky enough to chat with Jackie Woodburne who plays Susan about filming these episodes and what is to come for her troubled character.
When you first heard that you were going to be, not just central to the culmination of the Finn story, but a part of a rare two-hander with Rob Mills – what were your first thoughts?
I was thrilled because I saw the episode that Even and Ryan had done and it was utterly gripping and so different to our normal Neighbours, so to be given the opportunity to do something like that, outside of our normal storytelling- I was very excited.
Were you surprised to hear that Rob Mills was returning to be a regular on the show following his comatose exit in 2018?
I wasn’t surprised and I was very pleased. I knew that the audience had really enjoyed the character, and there was so much more that could be done, so many different stories that could be told that would involve all of the Kennedy’s- that for me was great. Sometimes scripts come along and because you’re such a big ensemble cast, you get a B storyline or a C storyline but with this, I just knew this would really up the stakes for all of us; so I was very thrilled. And Rob is a terrific guy, he’s great fun and a hard worker, so I was very happy to be working with him again.
What was your reaction when you heard that Damien Richardson’s character, Gary, was going to be one of Finn’s victims?
That was awful, it was a very sombre time. Because he was such a great character and he’d been in the show for so long- we all loved him and were gutted to see him go. Damien can do it all. He can do the funny stuff, he can do the drama, the kitchen sink stuff. Gary’s a wonderful character and a great foil for Sheila so it’s a huge loss for us, I think. What a great ending he got in End Game though; I don’t think any of us were expecting that.
The fallout for Susan over this is going to last for some time. What can you tell us about the aftermath?
This is obviously quite a traumatic experience that she’s been through and the aftermath of it, she’s just in complete shutdown. She has no idea how to deal with it, she has enormous guilt, she feels responsible for everything that has rained down on the street, on the people that she loves. And a lot of people blame her, so she’s not just copping it from herself, but from loved ones as well. Karl is trying to be supportive, but he does kind of feel like she brought this on, so there’s a lot of tension there, a lot of unhappiness there and a sense of how do they move forward? The two girls, Elly and Bea are equally traumatised, and this isn’t a quick fix. There’s nothing easy about coming back from this situation.
You’re filming around three months ahead- are we going to see some lighter Susan stories in the not too distant future?
We’re very much still in the thick of the drama. We’re approaching a very gentle resolve with Karl and Susan, but obviously you can’t just snap your fingers and have it forgiven and forgotten. They’ve been so troubled over what’s happened, they’re so sad, so hurt and so broken by all this and it’s going to take some time. They [the writers] have to take their time with this. You can’t just bounce back from this type of thing. I know it’s a soap and it’s heightened drama and all the rest of it but for us, we have to find the truth in that storytelling, and the truth here is that these people have been absolutely assaulted by a psychopath and people have died. It’s a long recovery.
Given that there will be some empty rooms in Number 28 with Elly leaving, can we expect new faces to move in soon? And if not, who would you like to see? It feels like we’re overdue a visit from Billy and Anne’s children.
Hey, put that in an email to the writers because that would be awesome. Any relation to Billy and Anne would always be welcome in the Kennedy house.
Finally, after so long on the show, is there a Susan storyline that stands out as a favourite to film?
I mean Izzy, Karl and Susan is one, but I have to say this Finn storyline has taken Susan to new places and it’s given me a challenge that I haven’t had before. I got to find those darker places end explore those less appealing, I guess less attractive characteristics of her, so I have to say I have really enjoyed this storyline. It has been a dark place to be for the last several months and I’m not sad to be moving out of that, but it has been very challenging and difficult. But I’ve loved it and that challenge part has been really rewarding. I’m so proud that they gave us the opportunity to do this. It’s been a real learning curve for me, and I’ve just loved it.