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Interviews > Kylie Flinker

On 18 March 1985, a young actress made her TV debut on Australian television uttering the words "I can't sleep". Kylie Flinker was cast as Lucy Robinson, youngest member of the Robinson family after she left producer John Holmes with a lump in his throat at her audition. Now, 19 years on, we catch up with the show's other Kylie to reflect on her childhood days on Neighbours and what she's done since...

Can you give us some information on what you've been up to since leaving Neighbours?
That was 17 years ago - a lot happens in 17 years so I will try and keep it short. I was nearly 13 when I finished the show; I went back to school full time. After finishing at school I studied a hospitality diploma for two years before deferring to travel overseas. I travelled for about 18 months before returning home to Melbourne. On my return I got a job with a furniture manufacturer and completed an interior design course. I have now been with the same organization for nearly 10 years. I am the manger of one of the companies within the group.

How did the role of Lucy Robinson come about? How many other actresses auditioned for the part?
The character of Lucy was one of the original 14 main cast members. I don't know how many girls auditioned for the role but I do know it was an Australia wide search. Timing is everything in the entertainment industry. I got lucky by being in the right place at the right time.

Were you nervous being the youngest member of the cast when the series began? Were you given much support from the older members of the cast?
I think for the first week I was nervous - but because we were all starting from scratch everyone was in the same boat. When you are working long hours every day with the same people, relationships form very quickly. The people around you (both cast and crew) become like family.

In 1988 Sasha Close took over the role, and was later recast again in 1992. How did it feel seeing another actress playing Lucy? Would you have liked to have continued with the role?
To be honest, it is quite flattering to think that a character I originally brought to life and played for two years was considered fundamental to the show that producers felt the need to recast. It had been my decision to leave the series and whilst I enjoyed working on the show, it is not a decision I regret.

Did you ever get the chance to meet Sasha?
I met both Sasha Close and Melissa Bell a few times.

Do you have any specific or enjoyable memories of being on set?
I had many enjoyable memories working on the show. I got to work with some amazing and very talented people - some of whom were quite renowned in the theatre world. Some of the promotional requirements were a lot of fun and included added bonuses like helicopter flights. I got to attend a Logie Awards night and I got to meet a few international stars along the way too.

Was there anyone in the cast you particularly enjoyed working with?
Stefan Dennis (Paul Robinson) was always a lot of fun to work with, so was Maxine Klibingaitis (Terry Inglis), Geoff Paine (Clive Gibbons), Bradley Kilpatrick (Bradley Townsend) and many of the crew.

Do you still keep in touch with anyone from the show?
Not really. I used to catch up with Stefan on a semi regular basis but then he got some work in England and we lost contact.

Do you still watch the show today? Would you ever consider a return to the series as Lucy if the situation presented itself?
I don't watch the show these days, mainly because I am not home from work when it is on here. I do catch a glimpse every now and again - but there isn't anyone left that I know. I am very happy in the life that I now lead and quite successful at what I do. Whilst I enjoyed working on the show, the reason I quit was I wasn't comfortable with the extra attention you receive when in the lime light. I wouldn't consider returning to an acting career - it is just not a life for me.

Can you tell us a little bit about your memories of working with the late Anne Haddy, who went on to become the show's longest serving cast member?
Anne was a pleasure to work with. She had presence about her that allowed her to command an audience effortlessly. She was gracious and graceful and always incredibly professional.

What do you think accounts for the phenomenal success Neighbours has enjoyed for 18 years?
I don't think anyone can really explain the Neighbours phenomenon. Perhaps it is the realistic characters that audiences can relate to, or the light hearted and simple story lines that are easy to follow. Whatever the formula is, the show has now become an icon of Australian life and continues to entertain, enthrall and endure audiences all around the world. I wish the Neighbours family continued success - to last this long they certainly deserve it.

To read a full character profile of Lucy Robinson, click here.

Interview by Barry. Added on 20th March 2004