> Love Thy Neighbour: Cody Willis
Cody was one of the elite few Neighbours characters to have been played by
more than one actor. However, despite being portrayed by two different
people, Cody never lost her spirit or her wicked sense of humour.
Arriving on her own as a schoolfriend of Todd in 1989, Cody was joined a few
months later by the rest of her family. She was always one to say what was
on her mind, causing numerous run-ins with her parents, teachers and
friends. Cody's remarkable ability to talk herself out of trouble would
generally come into play at this point, saving her from further problems and
providing a lot of the comedy in the Willis household for the first year or
so. After spending a couple of years in America on an exchange programme,
Cody returned with a new face but a very similar attitude and personality.
Her studious nature, presumably developed after spending time in the
American schooling system, defined the new Cody Willis and she had a strong
desire to go to medical school, following her mother, Pam and brother, Adam,
into the profession. She also had a much better relationship with her
parents, having done a lot of growing up. Even when her family moved away to
Darwin, Cody still found many homes on Ramsay Street, where she always
managed to fit in effortlessly - first with Marlene, then at number 24 with
Phil and Helen.
Cody's love-life was fairly erratic - even by Neighbours' standards. After
seeing Josh Anderson for a while, she and Melissa then bizarrely swapped
boyfriends and Cody ended up much happier with Todd. Cody and Todd were
love's young dream for a while, even running away together. However, after
Cody departed for the USA, the relationship seemed to fizzle out. By the
time Cody returned, Todd was dead, but Cody didn't hang around to find that
out. She had, while in America, got herself a husband. A quick divorce
later, and Cody was one half of another dream couple - the other half being
Rick Alessi. They went through a lot together - until Rick left for Darwin
to work for Lassiter's. As always with Cody, out of sight meant out of mind
and she moved on to various other men - Stonefish Rebecchi had always been
very fond of Cody, but they had too little in common for it to be a great
romance. Lecturer Adrian Ewart quickly turned into a sleazebag, almost
setting Cody up to fail her uni exams, until she managed to get him sacked.
An unexpected romance came along for Cody when things developed with her
good friend Sam Kratz. Once again, it was not to be, as fate stepped in with
a cruel twist...
While both actresses to play Cody - Amelia Frid from 1989 to 1991 and Peta
Brady from 1993 to 1996 - made her a bright and happy character, most people
had a preference, and for me it was Peta. In her hands, Cody would light up
the screen, making even the most mundane of scenes into something amusing.
Many 'Cody Moments' are some of my favourite scenes in Neighbours' long
history. The moment when she called Joanna Hartman 'vacuous, inane and a
waste of space' (echoing most viewers' opinions). The moment when she
fainted during her first class at medical school, when faced with a cadaver.
And especially the moment when we first witnessed Willis Kennedy - Cody
dressed as a man in an attempt to show up sexism on the cricket team.
Cody's death was one of the most effective and surprising in Neighbours'
history. Only days before, she had announced that she'd be moving to
Newcastle to attend medical school there and stay with her brother Adam. She
explained this to Sam, who she had only recently begun seeing and they
decided that their relationship just wasn't destined to be. Meanwhile, the
police were staking out number 28, as drugs had been discovered in an old
car that Mal Kennedy was doing up, and the police were waiting for the
dealers to come and retrieve them. After a tussle in the street, a shot rang
out and Luke was horrified to find that Cody had been shot in the stomach.
Cody's mother, Pam, came down from Darwin and it seemed as though Cody was
going to recover - until she suffered a heart attack and died. Most fans
knew that Peta was leaving, but the twists and turns in her final few weeks
cleverly kept everyone guessing about how exactly her departure would come
about. The subsequent memorial service was also very nicely done -
remembering Cody's old friends Jen and Rick, who sent messages. Sam also
received one final visit from Cody, when she appeared as a vision to tell
him to move on with his life. Then Pam took the body back up to Darwin for
burial, and Cody was never mentioned again.
Cody was rare, in that she bucked many trends for teenage characters on the
show. She was very serious about her studies and tended to avoid a lot of
the teenage angst displayed by those around her. She was enormously
supportive towards her friends - particularly when best friend Debbie was
battling bulimia - and always ready to fight her own corner - when husband
Drew tried to win her round and when Adrian thought he could bully her into
keeping quiet. She had so many positive qualities, it was really only
fitting that such a popular character should leave the show in such a
dramatic way. There's never been anyone quite like Cody since.