2007 saw the return of Lou's daughter Louise 'Lolly' Allen to Erinsborough after more than five years away, with the part taken over by young actress Adelaide Kane, who won the role thanks to a competition in Dolly magazine. Here, Adelaide shares some memories of her six months on Ramsay Street...
Had you done any acting before auditioning for your Neighbours role?
Yes I've had an agent for close on 10 years now but I've mostly been in extra's roles and TV ads. This was my first big role.
You had the unusual experience of winning your role through a magazine competition. Can you tell us a little about that audition process and what it felt like to be told you’d got the part of Lolly?
It all went very quickly once I'd gotten through the first round. There were 4 auditions in total with the final ten boys and girls flying to Melbourne for the last and final audition. By the time the announcement came I had already convinced myself that another girl had gotten the part because not only was she the spitting image of an older Lolly but word around the water cooler said she transformed when on camera, so I was pretty sure they'd made a mistake when they called my name! It was hugely unexpected.
Were you a fan of Neighbours before joining?
Haha I'd like to say I was but honestly I'm more into books than TV. Even now I don't really have any particular shows I watch regularly but of course, like any Aussie, I'd seen a few episodes.
How would you describe the character of Lolly Allen?
She was a teenager! With all the hormones and angst that implies, of course, her situation was beyond normal so I think that’s what made her such a brat in the beginning - that desperate cry for attention. I think she's essentially a good person who’s had to go through some bad stuff.
How did it feel to be new to the cast, but playing a character who already had so much history in the show?
It was actually quite helpful because I didn't have to create too much of a history for her because it already there. History informs the character and their reactions so to have that already in place was really helpful for character construction.
How did it feel to be given such a strong, emotional storyline, with Lolly being abused by her stepmother, so soon into your time on Neighbours?
It was quite intense. It was flattering that I was trusted with such a full on story line so early on but it was also quite scary and intimidating not having any experience of familial abuse myself to draw from. It was definitely a huge learning curve taking that storyline so early but I like to think I didn't do too bad a job haha.
Was there anyone you particularly enjoyed working with? What was it like to work so closely with Tom Oliver?
Everyone was lovely to work with, particularly Tom and Ian Smith. Tom was very supportive - I still keep in contact with him now. Working with Tom and Ian who have been in the business for so long was really incredible, they can slip into character between heartbeats I can only hope it'll be as effortless for me some day :).
What led to your departure from the series after six months?
It was very important to my parents that I finish school and do my TEE. Unfortunately studying and working full time is very difficult and my grades were slipping so I decided to come back to Perth and finish school to the best of my ability so I could get a university qualification later in life if I wanted.
Would you consider returning to Neighbours if the opportunity ever arose?
Of course I would. Work is hard to find and Neighbours was a particularly rewarding experience in many ways.
What are your plans for the future? Do you intend to continue acting?
I hope so! Saying you're going to continue acting and actually doing it are two different things though. When I turn 18 I'll be prowling the Eastern States for more work as there's really very little in Perth so wish me luck!
Finally, after 23 years, what do you think accounts for Neighbours’ enduring success?
To be honest I have no idea. I think most of its appeal lies internationally because Australia is simply so different to anywhere else on Earth and Aussies have such a casual mentality I think that really appeals. I've read fan sites where they've said they like Neighbours because it's not all high drama - you can turn on the TV and see everyone happy and having a laugh and joking around and it makes a nice change. It wouldn't suprise me if 20 years from now Neighbours was still going strong :)
Interview by Steve. Added on 20th March 2008