Neighbours' UK fans have been introduced to newcomer Terese Willis this week following her appointment as the new manager of the Lassiter's hotel.
Terese made her first appearance in Tuesday's episode (June 11), but viewers can expect to see much more of her in the next few weeks as she moves into Ramsay Street with husband Brad (Kip Gamblin) and their twin children Joshua and Imogen (Harley Bonner and Ariel Kaplan).
Former Home and Away actress Rebekah Elmaloglou, who plays Terese, recently chatted to Digital Spy about joining Neighbours and what's to come.
How well have you settled in at Neighbours over the past few months?
"Like a duck to water! Everyone has made me feel so welcome and really helped me ease into things, but honestly, it hasn't been difficult at all. I feel like I've been here for ages."
How did the role come about? Is a part on Neighbours something you've always had your eye on?
"Well, my agent asked me to go for an audition like you do for all roles. I've been in lots of series but never Neighbours, so sure, it was something I thought would be interesting to do - particularly after being on another soap."
Has your time at Home and Away helped you to be well-equipped for Neighbours, or are the two shows quite different?
"They're very similar in terms of pace and structure, even down to the colour of the paper used in the production schedule, so it's no surprise to me. It's been nearly 20 years since I was on Home and Away, and production techniques have evolved of course, but the speed is still the same. Although Neighbours is probably a little faster because we film six episodes per week!"
How do you feel about being part of the revamp at Neighbours? Does it put you under any pressure?
"It's actually very exciting. I don't feel any pressure because I think I've come into the series at a great time. The story team are terrific, we have brand new sets and what is coming through for all the characters in terms of stories is really compelling. I'm loving it."
How do you describe Terese?
"She's ambitious, organised and extremely capable when it comes to her job, and can come across as a tough nut. However, there is definitely a softer side when it comes to her husband and family which I really like about the character - she's very changeable which makes her interesting.
"Terese has a lot to sort out at Lassiter's which means dealing with Paul Robinson, which is always a challenge. There are also some issues in her own family that need to be addressed, so she has a lot on her plate."
Terese does come across as a very warm character outside of work. Could there be another side to her, though?
"There isn't a devious side if that's what you mean. But she is ambitious and probably a bit too self assured at times, as she'll make decisions on behalf of others which doesn't always sit well in some situations."
Do you think Terese is capable of holding her own against someone like Paul Robinson?
"Absolutely. In her work environment, she certainly holds her own. It will be more a case of Paul having to keep pace with her!"
How will Terese feel about living in such close proximity to Brad's old flame Lauren?
"She is totally relaxed about it at the moment. She's known about Brad's relationship with Lauren, and she is very confident and secure about her marriage. That's not to say that it's a perfect marriage but in her mind, they're in a good place."
Should Terese be worried about Lauren's unresolved feelings for Brad?
"At the moment, she isn't aware of Lauren's feelings for her husband, so she isn't pre-empting any issues. But you'll have to wait and see how this plays out!"
Would we see a different side to Terese if she felt that her marriage was under threat?
"Definitely. Terese is devoted to her marriage and her family, and she'll fight for them."
Do we find out more about Terese and Brad's history over time? Are there any skeletons in the closet?
"Hmm, it wouldn't be fun if there weren't skeletons! The story will unfold over the coming months, so stay tuned."
We'll see that Imogen often feels neglected in the family in comparison to her twin brother Joshua, who's an elite swimmer. Do you think she's justified in wanting a bit more attention from Terese and Brad?
"Anyone that has a child that excels at a particular sport will appreciate the commitment by the parents and the whole family. While it's not intentional, I can certainly see how other children can be overshadowed. Terese and Brad will find themselves having to deal with fall-out of this in the near future."
Can we expect to see Terese form friendships with other characters on the street like Toadie, Sonya, Karl and Susan?
"Yes, absolutely, she is very social!"
In real life, who have you made friends with from the cast?
"Oh, gosh, everyone! My on-screen husband Kip [Gamblin], we've been friends for a long time. Also, Kate Kendall, Colette Mann, Jackie Woodburne and of course, my children - Harley and Ariel... everyone!"
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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.
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