> Stephen Whittaker
1993 saw Phoebe and Stephen Gottlieb take in lodger Russell Butler, whose odd behaviour quickly gave them cause for concern and it later emerged that he had mental problems, and was viewing Phoebe and baby Hope as replacements for his own wife and child. Here, actor Stephen Whittaker, who played Russell, takes time out for a quick chat about his time in Neighbours...
Had you done much acting before you
joined Neighbours in 1993?
Mainly in the theatre and a tv series called Chances.
How did the role of Russell come about? Was it just a typical audition for you?
Russell Butler was offered to me, with no audition.
What do you remember most about working on the Neighbours set?
I enjoyed it, what I remember most was the speed of production.
What did you think of Neighbours’ handling of Russell’s mental illness?
It was confused... in the end I had to decide what he was suffering from... a combo bi-polar and schizophrenia.
Was there anyone you particularly enjoyed working with during your time on the show?
Kimberley Davies [Annalise].
Two years before playing Russell, you were a regular in the ‘adult soap’ Chances. How was working on that series different to working on Neighbours?
It was a lot sillier but a lot of fun.
Would you ever consider a regular role on Neighbours, if the opportunity arose?
What are you up to these days?
Still acting, and I own a bar.
Have you ever been a Neighbours
by Steve. Added on 17th November 2007