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Comment > Love Thy Neighbour: Cody Willis by Steve

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.