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Interviews > Ally Byrne

Ally Byrne made her Neighbours appearance in 1999, as Megan Townsend, the girl who broke Lance Wilkinson's already-fragile heart. Here, Ally shares her thoughts on her time in Ramsay Street and her various connections to its residents...

Had you done much acting before your Neighbours appearance as Megan in 1999?
Other than a few TV commercials, school productions and years of drama school, I had been working professionally at a Theatre Restaurant called Hunchbax. That was actually my version of drama school.

How did the role of Megan come about? Was it just a typical audition for you?
I remember being quite upset that I missed out on the role of Jamie Lee Duggin (a smaller role). Then another audition came up... the Megan role! But it was your pretty run-of-the-mill audition.

Did you enjoy your time playing Megan? What do you remember most about working on the Neighbours set?
I loved it! Considering the tight schedule and amount of television they pump out every week, it's a very relaxed environment. I remember thinking how gorgeous Jesse Spencer [Billy] was... his character hated my character though!

Was there anyone you particularly enjoyed working with during your time on the show?
Andrew Bibby [Lance] and I got along very well. I also enjoyed working with the wonderful Alan Fletcher [Karl - who is now a close friend of mine - my boyfriend Tommy Rando is in Al's band The Waiting Room]

What was it like to work alongside such an established cast?
Just fine. They are so used to new characters coming and going...they are so welcoming.

Are you still in touch with anyone you worked with on Neighbours?
Yes, Alan of course and now Kym Valentine [Libby - Tommy plays with Kym in an accoustic duo]. Many of the others you see out and about quite regularly. My best friend Maria Mercedes is currently playing Natalie Blair's [Carmella] mum!

Having appeared in several other Australian dramas, such as Stingers and Blue Heelers, how did Neighbours compare?
You don't really get as much time to prepare for scenes on Neighbours. It's more fast-paced. Other than that, the work is extremely similar.

Have you ever been a Neighbours viewer yourself?
Of course! I grew up with the show. I LOVED the days of Mrs Mangel, Scott, Charlene etc, etc. I even wrote to Grundys as a 12 year old and asked them if I could please be on the show. They never replied! Funny... ten years on, it happened!

What are you up to these days?
I appear on stage every night in Melbourne as a singer/cabaret performer! That's my current full-time job! I LOVE IT!!! I have also just finished an Australia-wide tour of a beautiful Welsh play by Dylan Thomas called Under Milk Wood I played 10 of the female roles! (maybe my favourite job to date).

Would you consider a regular role on Neighbours, if the opportunity arose?
I think so. I would desperately miss the live stage though!

Finally, as it enters its 23rd season on Australian television, what do you think accounts for the show’s enduring success?
The fact that it is still about the people over your back fence! It has remained simple and fun. We all know people like those on Neighbours even if they are slightly larger than life!

To read a character biography of Megan Townsend, click here...

Interview by Steve. Added on 19th May 2007