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Comment > Golden Couples: Frazer and Rosie by David

They packed in a classic see-saw romance, a love triangle, various struggles against psychological demons, a fairytale wedding and a rollercoaster ride of a pregnancy, but after just 18 months on the street, we bid an all too soon goodbye to arguably Erinsborough’s couple of the decade; Frazer and Rosie.

Hitting screens in late 2006 as part of a gang of four fresh faces, Rosetta Cammeniti and Frazer Yeats were a breath of fresh air for Neighbours. At a time when many of the prevailing storylines were over the top and the home of young singles, no. 30 (AKA “The House Of Trouser”) had fizzled out after becoming stale, the distinctive new twenty-somethings were just what the soap needed.

Rosie Cammeniti - Carmella’s older sister - was introduced as an interesting extension of the family. Rather then being carefree and fun loving like Carmella, Rosie was a workaholic who suppressed her emotions and had no experience of romance. She moved into no. 30 in an attempt to gain some independence from her controlling mother who had recently tried to marry her off to the serious minded Johnny Brown. It was this arranged engagement that first introduced Rosie to Frazer Yeats. Frazer was in fact George Brown, the money hungry, risk taking younger brother of Johnny. Although George had left his family in his late teens and taken on a new name, he kept an eye on the Browns and had been interested to hear that his brother was going to marry into the wealthy and influential Cammeniti family. Once it fell through, Frazer decided to swoop in where Johnny had missed out. He tracked Rosetta down, discovered she was applying for a room in Ramsay Street’s share house, and managed to bag himself a place in the same home. Not only was he plotting to marry Rosie for financial gain, he was also pretending to be engaged to dizzy blonde Pepper Steiger, as they felt it would increase their chances of being accepted if they seemed like a reliable professional couple. And so it was on these shaky grounds that the relationship began; Rosie was terrified of sharing her heart, and Frazer seemed heartless. Fortunately things were set to change.

Within days of getting to know Rosie, Frazer’s money grabbing plan dissolved as he began to fall for her for real. A no-strings romp with shapely Pepper was a momentary distraction but it was clear that he only really had eyes for the brunette. Eventually the truth of Pepper and Frazer’s sham relationship was revealed but Rosie’s lack of experience with men still proved a big hurdle in the path to love. As did Frazer’s feelings of guilt over his secret identity and original plan to marry into the Cammeniti’s wealth. But as the housemates grew closer as friends, Frazer finally admitted the truth; unfortunately, Rosie had fallen asleep and not heard a word of it.

At around the same time, Rosetta had become close to local businessman, Paul Robinson who was on the verge of marrying mumsy Lyn Scully. Viewers found it hard to believe but Rosie was getting drawn into an affair with middle aged letch Paul, rather than hunky Frazer. A brief kiss in a wine cellar was enough to scupper the Robinson’s marriage as Paul left Lyn on the wedding night saying he could never promise to be true. It’s testament to the likeability and acting talent of Natalie Saleeba and Ben Lawson that they were able to portray characters with genuine flaws, who could make such big mistakes, and yet still remain so loved by fans.

Becoming increasingly desperate to lose her virginity, Rosie had made a pact with Pepper to become experienced before Christmas night. Throwing herself at Frazer, she was gallantly rejected as he felt she wasn’t doing it for the right reasons and he still felt guilt for not telling her the truth of his identity yet. This rejection sent Rosie running into the arms of the newly single Paul, but she had a last minute change of heart when romantic Frazer caught up with her to give her a bunch of flowers. So with two men after the lovelorn Rosetta, she was able to make a choice; but not before a bit of fun competition dating which showed Rosie that for all Paul’s sophistication, Frazer was the one with the real heart and much better suited for a long term relationship. Just as it looked like they might be on the right track, Frazer finally revealed his identity as George Brown and the relationship was over as soon as it had begun, with Rosie unable to accept his lack of honesty.

Things got even more complicated (and comical) when, during a girly chat with best mate Pepper, Rosie momentarily doubted her own sexuality and kissed Pepper. However Pep was convinced that she was only a “Saysbian” (one who says they are gay even though they aren’t) and devised an ingenious way to prove her theory. Hooking Rosetta up to a heart monitor, Pepper opened her trench coat to reveal herself in skimpy underwear, which resulted in no change to Rosie’s pulse, but when Frazer then paraded himself in his pants, the Italian’s blood ran hot. The scene also successfully cemented Frazer’s position as a sex symbol in the minds of many lustful fans - but that’s by the bye.

The couple still couldn’t get it together though, as Rosie managed to knock herself out while preparing for a date, and when she did turn up she saw Janae kiss Frazer after misreading signals. Frazer then became upset that Rosie thought he’d taken advantage of young Janae, and he then moved on to the shallow Milly Hallsworth. However, just as us viewers were beginning to fear that the “will they won’t they” relationship never would happen, a cruel accident would finally bring them together once and for all. While at the racetrack with Rosie, heroic Frazer rushed out across the course to save a little girl and ended up knocked to the ground by one of the ponies. In his new paralysed state, Milly didn’t last two minutes, but Rosetta stayed by Fraze’s side through even his darkest and most bitter moments. The two of them finally got it together and admitted their love for each other. In a touching episode, Rosie got Frazer back to the racetrack to propose, but he turned her down, however he then revealed it was only because he had already planned to make his own proposal that day, and he wanted to do things the old fashioned way.

Before long, plans were afoot for the wedding of the year, but Frazer remained wheelchair bound and doctors had told him that it wasn’t a physical problem holding him back but a mental one. With support from Rosetta, Frazer was able to open up to his mother Prue about their frosty relationship, and she divulged the dark family secret that Frazer had mentally suppressed for years; he’d witnessed the accidental death of his baby brother Paul. With this weight off his shoulders, Frazer began to gain feeling in his legs and, miraculously, on the day of the wedding, he was able to get out of the wheelchair and walk down the aisle with his new bride. Although predictably soapy, you’d have to have a heart of stone not to recognise it as a beautiful moment in a fairytale wedding. And just to add to the romance, the couple had waited to have sex until after their vows. They really pulled out all the stops for this pair.

As a newlywed couple who had been through so much to reach their utopia, it seemed fitting that they were given some time off from high drama as they settled into married life. Over the next few months, little could burst their bubble, although they did both have to support their respective siblings, Ringo and Carmella, through their own heartaches. However, after a while some critics were beginning to comment that the new golden couple were being left on the side lines with little more to do than chat at Charlie’s or turn up to parties to drink wine.

One is forced to wonder if this lack of investment in the characters may have been partly down to the news which broke in September 2007; Ben Lawson and Natalie Saleeba had both decided to quit. Fans around the world were devastated that two of the most popular new characters on the show had chosen to leave after such a short time. Many had already come to dub them “the new Karl & Susan”. Praise doesn’t come much higher than that. The only silver lining to the departures was that we could be confident that they would leave together rather than them having to split or one of them die.

And so as the count down to their departure began, we viewers hoped that they’d get one last good story to go out on - and indeed they did. Rosie discovered she was pregnant. Frazer was over the moon at the idea of being a dad, but once again, Rosie’s problems connecting with her emotions held her back from embracing the maternal instincts. Things came to a head when Frazer was forced to give Rosie an ultimatum; if she really didn’t want to be a mother, he would raise the child without her. Luckily it worked and she realised she couldn’t lose her husband - and it wasn’t long before the idea of motherhood seemed hugely appealing to her. It seemed the couple would leave Erinsborough on the verge of becoming a family - but there was still time for one final hiccup. During their first ultrascan, the doctor realised that the pregnancy wasn’t real; it was merely a growth which had fooled Rosie’s body into all the symptoms of pregnancy. Some dark days were ahead as Rosie went into denial and Frazer became terrified that the growth would become cancerous if she didn’t have it removed. They finally agreed to have one more scan. Another little miracle occurred; the doctor found the baby this time round!

So, to celebrate this good news, the couple decided to take the honeymoon they’d missed out on by flying out to Italy for a few months. Of course, seasoned viewers now know what a few months in Neighbours usually mean. Talk of work in the Cammeniti family hotel and Frazer selling off his half in the new business venture of The General Store added a finality to their story. Having hopefully stabilised wayward Ringo and taken another step towards fixing the problems between Frazer and Prue, the spouses packed their bags and made a low key exit for the airport.

It’s rare when a couple as interesting and as charming as Frazer & Rosie come along in Neighbours, so the briefness of their tenure is all the more tragic. That they were played by hugely talented actors, Ben Lawson and Natalie Saleeba, probably played a part in their decision to leave. They could be confident they would find success elsewhere. We wish them well of course, but can’t help but hope they’ll one day make a return to the roles and the partnership we grew to love.