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Interviews > Petra Yared

After making one of her early television appearances as George Brown in 1996, Petra Yared returned to Neighbours last year as Marco Silvani's feisty sister, Mia. Here, Petra shares some memories of her two stints in Erinsborough...

Could you tell us a little about your acting career prior to Neighbours and what led you into the profession?
Before my first stint on Neighbours in 1996 Iíd done a couple of childrenís television series in Australia and New Zealand. Theyíd come about when people had come along to the drama school I was going to and asked me to audition. In a way Iíd fallen into it.

How did that first role as George come about? Was it just a typical audition for you?
Yep, a totally normal audition. In fact, I think Iíd done it in my school uniform after school one day and thought Iíd done a terrible job. I was surprised when I was offered the role.

Had you been a fan of Neighbours before you got the part?
Yes, absolutely when I was younger. I remember when I was first on set and seeing where all the past cast had signed the walls at the back of the set I was excited to be part of it. It felt surreal being in those ďhousesĒ I knew so well.

What was it like working alongside veterans like Anne Haddy and the rest of the established Neighbours cast?
I remember Anne Haddy had a broken arm when I was there so I never met her. But I do remember other cast members introducing themselves and it was definitely exciting and a bit weird!

Who in particular did you like working with during your time as George?
When I played George it was all about Jesse Spencer, Ryan Moloney, Rebecca Ritters, Kym Valentine, Benjie McNair... actually a lot of lovely people! Jesse and I in particular became good friends and have remained friends.

You recently filmed another guest stint Ė this time as Mia. What was it like to return to the show 11 years later? How had things changed?
It was just so much fun! Things hadnít changed much at all. On one of my first days I walked into the green room and was welcomed by Ryan Moloney, Kym Valentine, Jackie Woodburne and Alan Fletcher and I swear, apart from a paint job and some new sofas it could have been 11 years earlier!

Are you still in touch with anyone from the cast?
Not really although there are a number of people from both my first stint and last who Iím always thrilled to bump into.

Would you ever consider a permanent role in Neighbours?
I would consider it. At different times in my life it would have (and may again) suited me perfectly and then at others not so much. If the opportunity came up Iíd weigh up where I was at and you never know!

Youíve gone on to appear in many other successful dramas such as Blue Heelers, MDA and The Secret Life Of Us. How does working on Neighbours compare to those productions?
Neighbours is fast! Compared to the other TV Iíve done there is very little time. They shoot 5 episodes a week compared to the typical 1. That is a challenge but in some ways really great fun too as you just have to do it and move on. There isnít time to dwell too much or make a meal of things. It is also family viewing so it doesnít tend to be too confronting in terms of content. Both times Iíve done Neighbours it has just been really good fun!

What are your plans for the future?
After Neighbours last year I went straight on to another Australian show called All Saints. Itís a medical drama and I played a very confused and pretty messed up nurse. It was quite a lot heavier than my time on Neighbours. Now, Iím living in Sydney and waiting to see what is next!

As Neighbours enters its 25th year, do you have any thoughts on why the show has lasted so long?
I donít know but it works! I think it is easy viewing. Itís engaging but not confronting. It explores relationships and family and everyday issues. I think itís a tried and true formula and made with professionalism and fun.

Interview by Steve. Thanks to Daria. Added on 31st January 2009

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