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Interviews > Helen Hopkins

Playing no less than four separate guest roles in the space of three years, Helen Hopkins has had plenty of experience in front of the Neighbours cameras and here she shares some thoughts on her time in Erinsborough...

Can you tell us a little about your career prior to first appearing in Neighbours?
I was working with a company called Performing Arts Projects who were producing innovative theatre such as Loving Friends about the Bloomsbury group and In Angel Gear about drug users.

How did you first role on Neighbours, as a nurse in 1992, come about? Was it just a typical audition for you?
I actually don't remember the audition, it was so long ago!

Can you tell us a little about your time on set back then?
Playing the nurse was my first TV role so it was quite exciting but also nerve wracking. I had actually worked behind the scenes on Neighbours and other shows that were shot in the same complex, so I knew a lot of the crew which really helped. One of the cameramen,who I knew, made a special point of making sure I had a good closeup! I remember the crew saying they didn't know of anyone else who'd worked behind the camera who managed to make it onto the screen. However I was an actor well before I worked as crew.

You went on to appear in three other guest roles in the 90s, as Mark’s housemate Claudia, Linda Walsh and gymnastics coach Eileen Ong. What do you remember about winning and filming each of those roles?
All of the roles were filmed quite quickly so my experiences were brief. It still felt a bit like coming home because I still knew so many of the crew. Working behind the scenes is a great experience as an actor as you can watch so many other actors at work.

Were there any cast members you particularly enjoyed working with?
All of the actors I worked with were friendly and welcoming.

Would you be interested in making a permanent return to the series if the opportunity were ever to arise, or do you prefer making shorter, guest appearances?
I think it would be fun to work on a more lengthy role.

Which of your various Neighbours roles was your favourite to film?
Probably Claudia as I had more to do!

Having appeared in other Australian dramas, such as Blue Heelers and MDA, how does Neighbours compare?
I've enjoyed all of them but the longevity of Neighbours makes it special.

Are you a viewer of the series yourself?
An occasional viewer.

What have you been doing since your most recent Neighbours appearance in 1995?
A lot! A few highlights are: playing Beatrice in a musical version of Much Ado About Nothing, performing in The Women's Jail Project in Dublin and two films Sensitive New Age Killer which has just been released on DVD in the U.S. and Hamlet X which has been shown at film festivals around the world. I also worked with Marisa Warrington [Sindi Watts] on an outdoor production of Twelfth Night for the Australian Shakespeare Company in 2002. I played Olivia and Marisa played Viola and we had a ball!

Interview by Steve. Added on 11th August 2007