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Comment > Lyn Scully: Mother Of All Intervention by Carol Ann Wood

It feels just as if Lyn Scully, played by Janet Andrewartha, has never been away from Ramsay Street. So familiar are long-time viewers with the catastrophes afforded the character, she has slotted back into the role with ease. We could guess that once we had witnessed the return of troubled daughter Steph (Carla Bonner) Lyn wouldn’t be far behind. She was bound to want to try to sort out the latest problems facing her Stephie. Once she had got wind that Steph’s road to recovery in Ramsay Street was problematic, she hotfooted it to Erinsborough to help and advise, Lyn style. And Lyn’s style often involves acting before thinking matters through!

Despite Lyn being aware of some of Steph’s recent tribulations, such as being wrongly suspected of (but thankfully later exonerated from) starting the Erinsborough high school fire, Mother Scully still had a lot to discover upon arrival which would give her cause for concern. Firstly, there was the revelation that Steph had been in a relationship with a woman. As was Toadie’s initial concern, Lyn worried that Steph had been exploited by her former psych nurse, Belinda. But once Steph had assured her mother that this wasn’t the case, Lyn’s desperation to prove her broad-mindedness was hilarious. She ‘liked k.d. lang and had watched Ellen,’ she told Steph. During this spell in Erinsborough, Lyn has probed no further into her daughter’s recent love-life, as there were bigger priorities, but you could be sure she was itching to give her opinions on it! Her attentions turned to her own ex-husband Paul Robinson, once she discovered he had swapped Steph’s medication to convince people that she was still mentally unstable. With the troubled history between Lyn and Paul, you could be sure that Lyn was eager to give him a piece of her mind. She had already enjoyed goading him about his community service payback, advising him that she’d never thought orange – his high-vis vest – was his colour.

Those who knew Lyn of old were anticipating the impact her visit would have on Steph. Whilst Steph loves her mother dearly, and knows that Lyn always has her best interests at heart, she also knows from experience that her mum tends to go into interfering mode, often with disastrous consequences. Lyn was immediately invited to stay with Karl and Susan. Currently, there is a distinct lack of young folk for Susan to fuss over since Nate’s been gone, and the Kennedy couple never last long without a visitor. Susan and Lyn go back a long way, so Susan knows how impulsive Lyn can be. She was only too happy to try and prevent her friend from complicating Steph’s recovery with her interfering. If that were possible!

Sure enough, Lyn had been in Ramsay Street a matter of days when there was awkward history dredged up. Confronting Paul and admonishing him for the way he had treated Steph, she then appeared to succumb to his wily charm, agreeing to have dinner with him. ‘Don’t go there, Lyneee!’ we willed her, remembering the fallout from the pair’s brief and disastrous marriage. Few fans could forget seeing Lyn turn up as Paul was about to marry wife number five, Rebecca. Lyn hit the couple with the bombshell that her divorce from Paul’s had never been finalised. There was much mud-slinging, including a physical altercation between the two women. What a relief, then, as we realised Lyn was not about to get romantically involved with Paul once more. She agreed to the dinner but had evidently smelt a rat, rather than a casserole. Paul was being nice to her, and as anyone who has ever been involved with Paul Robinson knows, he is rarely nice unless he has an ulterior motive. Usually monetary.

Paul had the audacity to utilise landlady Terese’s kitchen to cook up his scheme, but Lyn anticipated his deviousness. She didn’t know exactly what he was after, but bided her time with amiable conversation until he casually mentioned the shares he had bought her as a wedding present. Practically worthless, he admitted, and a bit of a con. Except that, they weren’t worthless now. Lyn realised that Paul had done his research and was desperate to get his hands on them. The look of shock on Paul’s face was a gem, as Lyn rejected his advances and he realised she had sussed out his true intentions. She then told him, to his horror, that he’d been ‘romancing the wrong Scully’ because she had signed the shares over to Steph so she could rebuild her life after prison and psychiatric hospital.

We knew that learning Steph owned the shares wouldn’t stop Paul from pursuing them. Predictably, he set about persuading her to use them to invest in a run down motel, comically named The Erins-Burrow. After all, he reasoned, they both needed a lucky break, albeit for different reasons. And equally predictably, when Steph considered the proposition and decided to go ahead, Lyn blew a gasket, wobbling her head, waving her hands around, and raising her voice a few octaves. Good old Lyn, we can always rely on her for drama. One can understand her alarm but, as even she had to admit, Paul has a lot of business experience. It’s just that much of it is dodgy!

Lyn didn’t just meddle in Steph’s business aspirations. She did something which could have meant Steph never regaining access to her young son, Charlie. Bringing Charlie to Ramsay Street for the day without the permission of Charlie’s dad Max (and unbeknown to Steph, too) wasn’t the most sensible thing to do. Particularly as Max’s present wife had told Steph that she intended adopting Charlie, meaning a potentially difficult custody fight. Lyn meant well. She always does. But the horror of her actions hit home when Toadie, being an experienced lawyer and ready to represent Steph, told Lyn that she would have to hide Charlie from Steph for the whole day or it could put Steph’s custody case in jeopardy. Charlie was unaware of his mother’s presence on the street, and the pair’s meeting would have been avoided were it not for Jimmy Williams inadvertently revealing to Charlie that he liked Steph and enjoyed spending time with her. It was fortunate, not least for Lyn, that despite Charlie’s initial animosity towards Steph when he went to find her and confront her, he began to realise that his mother was getting well again and loves him. Had he not softened, Steph might have – justifiably – been so angry that Lyn would not have been welcome in her life for the foreseeable future.

Feeling hopeful that her daughter and grandson would one day be properly reunited, Lyn once again focused her meddling on Steph’s business involvement with Paul. When she discovered that Paul had apparently conned Doug Willis, who is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, out of $20,000, she thought she would be able to prevent Steph going ahead with investing in the motel. But she hadn’t bargained for Doug’s reaction when questioned by his family. He was insistent that he was willingly investing his money and that despite Paul’s shady reputation, he thought the motel was a good prospect. It was his money, he said, and he wasn’t confused all the time. He wanted one last chance to do something positive before his condition worsened. And whilst Steph was initially disgusted with Paul’s method of obtaining Doug’s money, she decided to go ahead as long as the business was run transparently. All Lyn could do was beg Steph to be wary and for Doug’s family to keep a close eye on proceedings. 1-0 to Paul, then. For now.

So as I write this, Lyn has departed again, but it seems unlikely that she'll be gone for long. If Steph faces a difficult time either in her custody battle for Charlie, or with her investment in the motel, you can expect Lyn to periodically breeze in and kick up a storm, probably making things ten times worse but somehow managing to convince Steph that everything she does is for the best. Lyn won’t change, and despite the many disastrous situations she has been in, she will always intervene if she feels that the situation requires it. Viewers have always been divided on the Lyn Scully front, some loving her and others finding her extremely irritating. Which shows just how good an actor Janet Andrewartha is, because Lyn is both believable as a character and incorrigible in her actions. We all know someone a bit like that. The sort of person who you despair of, exclaiming ‘she just has to go and stick her beak in again!’ And yet, you can’t help but smile at some of her antics and her ripostes, and it’s undeniable that she would do anything to protect her children.

My own favourite Lyn moment, this time round, was when she enthusiastically suggested other potential business investments to Steph. How about a burger van at an alternative festival which would appeal to ‘like-minded women’ she trilled? So, once the festival goers knew that Steph was bisexual, it would boost customer numbers? Oh Lynie! I would like Lyn to stick around more permanently, and I hope that this latest visit sets a precedent for re-appearances. I think she would make a perfect sparring partner for Sheila, the two having already been suspicious of one another, but I could also see them becoming allies. After all, both are good at meddling and both are fiercely protective of their families. Keep breezing in, Lyn, and keep meddling when you see fit. We know you mean well!

This article originally appeared on Carol's blog, Levelling The Playing Field.