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'Neighbours' announces talent hunt winner

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Gabriella Darlington has been cast as new Neighbours character Poppy Rogers after triumphing in the soap's UK talent search.

The 18-year-old has secured a four-week guest stint on the long-running programme and will begin filming her role on Monday.

Darlington won the part after competing against fellow finalist Jennifer Hall in live auditions which took place in front of the show's producers in Australia.

Speaking of her victory, Darlington commented: "I can't believe how lucky I am. I never expected to be shortlisted, let alone get to Australia and win. I have had an amazing week and am really excited to start on Monday."

The programme's 'Be A Star On Neighbours' competition was officially launched in April, when female fans of the drama were invited to audition for the role of Poppy by uploading try-outs on YouTube.

Show bosses later whittled down more than 1,500 hopefuls to five, before a public vote picked Darlington and Hall as the final two.

Poppy - described as a "free-spirited" character in her early 20s - will appear on UK screens for the first time on November 10. In the same week, the soap's British broadcaster Five will screen a special documentary about the competition, featuring footage of the two finalists' time in Australia.

Poppy Rogers from Neighbours
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