Main Pages

Actors & Crew
Year by Year
Magic Moments

Message Board

Interviews > Ellis Ebell

2006 saw Ellis Ebell corner the market in Neighbours hospital administrators, and he'll be back for more in 2007. Here, Ellis chats about his career and his experiences working as a Neighbours guest star...

Can you tell us a little about your career before your first appearance in Neighbours last year?
Acting for me commenced many, many years ago, starting out in amateur theatre as most actors do. Melbourne in particular has a number of really good community theatres, and is an excellent city for young actors to gain experience. You can play a variety of roles and work with some of the best directors in a diverse range of fantastic plays. Many of our non-professional companies mount works that professional companies are unlikely to tackle. This is either because of the plays content or the ďbums on seatsĒ financial imperative. As far as television is concerned Iíve appeared in Embassy, Janus and some commercials. Iíve also dabbled in some film work.

How did your first role as Roger Nixon come about? What was it like filming that part?
The role of Roger Nixon was rather a difficult role as I only had one very long speech and had very little interaction with other characters. I literally went in, did my bit and left the studio. It is strange coming on to a set where all the regular cast and crew know each other well.

You returned later in 2006 for a few episodes as hospital manager Gerard Hancock Ė were you surprised to be asked back in a different role so quickly?
It was a bit surprising and the roles were not all that different, in fact they could have used the same characterís name. However, this time I did actually work with Dichen [Katya] whoís a regular and another actress who, like me, was in for a couple of episodes. Itís good to be able to build up some rapport with your fellow actors.

What was that filming experience like?
Because I spent a couple of days shooting it felt a lot more relaxed and I had a little time in the Green Room to get to know some of the other cast members.

Which of your two roles did you prefer?
The latter was more enjoyable because of the fact that I did interact with others. Iíve just shot another episode (last week) where I play another hospital administrator, Ray Krebbs. All of this was shot outside; it was an extremely hot day but a good experience.

Were there any actors you particularly enjoyed working with?
Many of the Neighbours cast are young and theyíre very enthusiastic and professional in their attitude. Iíd worked with Alan Fletcher before in Embassy, itís always good to see a familiar face. I must say that the whole Neighbours company is very well run. The organisation is extremely professional and efficient, everything seems to just happen.

How did it feel to be working alongside such an established cast?
It is always a bit daunting for an actor to walk onto the set where everyone is so used to working together, however, the cast are all very welcoming and friendly, I guess they can all remember how they felt when they first entered the show. Also they have so many actors coming in to do small roles, the permanents go out of their way to make you feel at home.

Would you ever consider a permanent role in the series, if the opportunity arose?
I think most actors would enjoy a permanent role in an on going series. However, I donít know how Iíd cope with a long running role as some of them have done.

Have you ever been a viewer of the series yourself?
Neighbours goes to air here in Australia at 6.30 pm. Itís a busy time preparing dinner etc. and Iím a mad news freak and world news is on in the same time slot.

Do you ever find yourself running into familiar faces from your Neighbours days, either through work or socially?
I have worked with quite a few over the years and occasionally see familiar faces in theatre foyers.

What have you been doing since your most recent guest stint?
Iíve just shot an episode of Kick a new series going to air in Australia later this year on the SBS Network. Iím also directing Honour by the Australian playwright Joanna Murray Smith in July this year so Iím working on that now. The play was seen in the West End last year with Dianna Rigg playing one of the principal roles. Maybe Ray Krebbs will appear in a future script for Neighbours. Who knows.

With Neighbours about to begin its 23rd season on Australian screens, what do you think is behind its huge success?
It seems to relate well to a number of different types of viewers. There are a lot of young people in the cast and they appear to tackle lots of issues relevant to young people today. As far as overseas viewers, it certainly gives a good impression of some aspects of the Australian lifestyle.

Interview by Steve. Added on 3th March 2007