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Interviews > Josephine Clark

Josephine Clark has been two different Neighbours guests in the past decade. In 1997, she was runaway Jamie Lee Duggan, who burnt down Lou's restaurant bus, and she returned in 2000 as Allana Truman, the girl who won Lance's heart and took him out of Erinsborough. Here, Josephine chats about those roles and her career so far...

Can you tell us a little about your career prior to your first appearance in Neighbours in 1997?
I began my television career in 1995 at the age of 16 in a show called Law of the Land, set in Rural Victoria, starring Lisa Hensley. I played a character called Nickie Stanley who was not unlike Jamie Lee Duggan, where I ran away from home, and was taken away from my mother by the courts because she was unfit to control me. I had also been involved in an educational CD Rom game called heronymous. The aim of the game was to figure out how to get the family to stop using energy and save the environment. I played the daughter who showered too much. It was a great experience as I got to work with a blue screen.

How did your first Neighbours role, as Jamie Lee, come about? How would you describe that character?
I actually auditioned for a different role and got a call out of the blue saying I had got the role of Jamie Lee Duggan. I don't remember the who the original character was, I think it was for a role of Toadie's girlfriend. It was a couple of weeks after and they offered me the role of Jamie without me auditioning, which was great. She was a character full of attitude and had a problem with authority, although underneath she was a good kid. I loved the fact that she blew up the bus!

What was it like working with the late Neighbours legend Anne Haddy during that time?
Anne was great she gave me lots of good pointers from her wealth of experience. She was in a bit of pain then, having problems with her hip, but you would never have known when she was on screen because she was so professional. She was very easy to work with, and so lovely too.

You returned in 2000 as the very different character of Allana Truman. How did that role come about? Did you enjoy playing Allana?
Well Jan Russ already knew me because of my role of Jamie earlier so they got me in to read for Allana. Allana was quite a bit of fun actually, all the outfits and fantasy stuff. My favourite bit was dressing up as Princess Laia, for the little video I sent Lance as part of his 7 tasks. The writers all had a ball writing for my character because they were allowed to go a bit further than usual. The Barbarella outfit was great too.

Which of the two characters did you prefer playing?
Well Allana was a meatier role, so I got to explore her a little bit more, plus all the unusual bits to the storyline made it more interesting. Allana was definitely more fun.

You worked closely with Andrew Bibby, who played Lance, before providing his exit story from the show. What was it like to work with Andrew?
Andrew was great to work with. We had big kissing scenes (and I had never had screen kisses before) but he talked me through it and was really good about it all. I felt very comfortable playing his girlfriend. He isn't at all egotistical and is really down to earth, I think he is a good actor too. We had some scenes together that worked really well

Having acted in other Australian dramas series, such as Something In The Air, how did Neighbours compare?
One of the biggest differences I noticed was in the cast. Most of the major cast on Neighbours have been working together for a year or two so understandably they are quite close whereas when I worked on Something in the Air they were still in their first series, and I didn't feel as much of an outsider. Plus neighbours have five episodes a week to film so it's go go go, but Something in the Air could afford to spend a little more time on a particular scene as they only had to film one episode a week.

Is there anyone in the Neighbours cast that you particularly enjoyed working with?
I mainly worked with Andrew, but there were a few people I saw in the green room and stuff. Ian Smith, who plays Harold was really funny and lovely too.

Are you a viewer of the series yourself?
I used to watch it when I was in school, but these days I'm never home in time, of course I did manage to catch most of my episodes.

Would you ever consider a return to Neighbours, either as Allana or a new character?
Hmm I think 2 characters is the maximum you can do. I'd go back as Allana, but I think she is still travelling around America some where, and good on her, I'd love to travel for that long.

What have you been up to since playing Allana? What do you have planned for the future?
I've been doing mainly theatre in the past couple of years, I went over to the UK after Neighbours and did the Panto thing, which I swore I'd never do, but I'm so glad I did because I had an absolute ball playing Cinderella. I did a small guest role on Blue Heelers as well. I have the lead role in a show coming up with Theatre in Decay for the Melbourne fringe festival ironically titled The Taking of Ramsey Street, written and directed by Robert Reid. It basically takes the cronulla riot and places it in soap opera fantasy Australia. I'm planning to do some feature films in the near future as well.

With Neighbours now on screen for over 21 years, what do you think is behind its huge success?
This is a question I asked at the time of playing Allana I was trying to study university as well, and used the show as a research project for one of my subjects. I came to the conclusion asking so many people that no one really knows. Maybe because the characters always change, there's always someone new on Ramsey Street so it's constantly reinventing itself. Maybe because people know what to expect. Maybe because it's been around so long, people can't help but watch it. Maybe because of it's time slot?

Interview by Steve. Added on 7th October 2006