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Comment > Love Thy Neighbour: Sharon Davies by Steve

In the late eighties and early nineties, long before the arrivals of such wild kids as Danni Stark, Amy Greenwood and Sky Mangel, there was a girl who broke many of the rules in terms of Neighbours teenagers. Sharon Davies, played by Jessica Muschamp, was a classic Neighbour. With all the tact of a block of concrete and a serious lack of foresight, she regularly found herself in situations she couldnít get out of.

Sharon arrived in Erinsborough with a bang, interrupting the happy life of her older sister, Bronwyn. She often found herself living under the watchful eyes of some of Ramsay Streetís strictest residents. A character would be considered unlucky to have had to lodge with Mrs. Mangel , but to then live with Aunt Edie and Hilary Robinson, Sharon must have done something really bad in a former life. She always managed to get herself in some kind of trouble with her landladies, including the time she put vinegar in Nellís entry to the cake contest, which resulted in Sharon being evicted. One of Sharonís biggest disasters came when she left a discarded cigarette in the bin at the coffee shop one day, resulting in the building exploding with Des inside. Although Des was fine, Sharon let her boyfriend of the time, Nick Page, take the blame, until she couldnít take the guilt any more and confessed to Harold.

Sharonís storylines often handled the fairly difficult topic of her discomfort with her body image. When troubled by her weight, she decided that the only way to change would be to eat less, which gradually developed into her eating practically nothing. It eventually resulted in her collapsing and almost drowning. Further problems occurred when Sharon attempted to improve her tan, in an attempt to impress the surfie boys. After spending many hours on the beach, Sharon collapsed once again, this time with sunstroke. Both of these stories offered lessons for many of the teenagers watching, without the advice seeming forced. In Sharonís hands, the problems seemed real and believable and, even more believably, Sharon frequently failed to learn her lesson.

Romance was never easy for Sharon. She was very quickly paired up with rebellious graffiti artist, Nick Page. The relationship was a typically tumultuous one with both Mrs. Mangel and Aunt Edie showing how much they disapproved at various stages and trying to end the relationship. The pair even ended up running away at one stage, when Nick was in trouble. Sharon, in typical Sharon style, decided that she had to go with him and they ended up working on a farm, though it didnít last long. Problems arose between the pair when Sharon fell for Skinner, a guy who was causing trouble for many of the residents, and Nick forced her to choose. Although their relationship survived these obstacles, it didnít last much longer and soon Nick left Australia for an art scholarship. After his departure, Sharon had very little romance in her life, despite her frequent attempts to impress the opposite sex.

Sharon also brought a lot of comedy to the show. Her hilarious attempts to stop Edie buying number 30 by dressing up as an anonymous bidder backfired as she realised that she couldnít pay anyway, and Edie ended up with the house. When Nick noticed his girlfriend was acting strangely and disappearing for hours on end, he decided to follow her one day. He quickly stumbled upon the truth Ė Sharon was working as a nude model at an art class Ė as he walked in just at the moment she disrobed. Sharon also partook in one of the mainstays of early Neighbours Ė a feud. When Sharon realised that Lucy Robinson, back from boarding school, fancied Nick, she quickly tried to put an end to it, resulting in her pushing Lucy into the pool.

Sadly, in her final few months, Sharon was extremely underused by the Neighbours writers and producers. As time went on, she was reduced to serving someone in the coffee shop or eating dinner with Madge, Harold and Eddie as her contribution to an episode. Nobody was greatly surprised when Sharon announced plans to go and live with Henry and Bronwyn in New Zealand. Viewers has realised that the character had gradually been pushed into the background after her sisterís departure, Sharon had no real purpose or direction in the show anymore and, no doubt, Jessica Muschamp was getting very little out of playing the role anymore. Itís a shame, as Sharon was one of the few truly believable teens in the history of the show; she wasnít perfect by any means, but she had the spark and the heart that made her a true Neighbour.