The Ramsay Street doctor failed to make the cut last year, but he sees a chance to rectify the situation in the coming days when he meets new surgical intern Erin (Elise Jansen).
Seeing that Erin is shy and vulnerable, Rhys pretends to be romantically interested in her - hoping to distract her away from work and get her kicked off the programme so he can take her place. However, Kate Ramsay (Ashleigh Brewer) is shocked by his antics and tries to sabotage his plans.
Digital Spy recently had a quick chat with Ben Barber, who plays Rhys, to hear about the new storyline, life at Neighbours and his character's future.
We've seen you on our screens for about seven months now. How are you finding your time at Neighbours?
"I'm absolutely loving it. The cast are fantastic, we have a lot of fun on and off the set, and while the pace we film takes a bit of getting used to, I think I'm on top of it now and I'm enjoying the challenge."
Fans have seen Rhys as quite a complex character. How do you describe him to people?
"Ambitious is usually the first word that comes to mind! He's also driven and good at getting what he wants. And very, very deep down, he is quite sensitive and he does mean well.
"I think at the end of the day, he just wants to win and he has this ability to justify why he does things, and if people are hurt in the process, it's their fault. His vision is the one that is most important."
What kind of a reaction have you seen from viewers over Rhys?
"I think they like him. They're always wondering what he is going to do next - he is unpredictable. They know he is capable of being manipulative, so they're interested to see what happens next."
How is Rhys feeling after losing out on a place on the surgical programme?
"He is devastated and desperate. This is the Holy Grail for him and also for his ill mother, and through an act of stupidity, he has lost it. So when he starts targeting Erin to get a place on the programme, this is Rhys at his manipulative best. He woos Erin and when she is completely vulnerable, he strikes!"
Were you surprised when you read the scripts and saw how ruthless Rhys would be in this storyline?
"I'm always surprised! I'm stunned at the situations the writers have him in, until I see where it's going and I get a handle of his motivation."
"To Rhys, how Kate feels is of no concern to him. His objective is to get into the programme, and if Erin is a casualty, so be it. And if this appalls Kate, that's her issue!"
We see Erin get a warning at work after Rhys makes her miss an important class. Is there any sense of guilt from Rhys?
"Guilt? Hell no! His plan is falling into place perfectly. You'll see that Kate later tries to tell Erin what Rhys is up to. But the guy is a charmer and is able to make Erin believe that Kate is the one with the problem."
Then he tries to imply that Erin has a drinking problem…
"Yes, he spills wine on Erin's top, so when she goes into the hospital, she wreaks of alcohol. Rhys just has to plant the seed of doubt, fake some concern for his colleague, and rumour and innuendo does the rest…"
Would you like to redeem Rhys in the long-run? Or do you want him to become more and more ruthless as a character?
"The latter definitely, however you need to show that there is another side to the character, otherwise he is one-dimensional and I don't think the viewers would buy that."
Rhys had a one-night stand with Kate last year. Would you like more to happen between those two?
"Sparks definitely fly when Rhys is around Kate. He knows how to press her buttons so, yeah, it would be interesting to see where those two could go."
Can we expect more scenes between Rhys and his mother?
"Definitely. There is a major backstory to Rhys and his mother coming up, which explains a lot about why Rhys is the way he is."
What's next for Rhys?
"Well, speaking of his mother, there is a big revelation coming up, and believe it or not, there is some romance for the doctor - however, it isn't with Kate which viewers may expect."
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Neighbours airs weekdays at 1.45pm and 5.30pm on Channel 5 in the UK and weekdays at 6.30pm on Eleven in Australia. Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad