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Character Profiles > Melanie Pearson Lucinda Cowden

Melanie Pearson 1987, 1988, 1989-1991, 2021-2022, 2023-
Lived: 28, 30, 32 Ramsay Street
Born: c. 1965
Parents: Bill and Mrs Pearson
Siblings: Justine
Martial Status: Joe Mangel (1991-1993; divorced), Toadfish Rebecchi (2022; divorced)
Family Tree: Pearson/Mangel
Occupation: The Robinson Corporation Secretary, Personal Assistant, Co-Owner of The Drinks Diva Truck

Born and raised in Erinsborough, madcap Melanie Pearson was a scatty, fun loving young woman with an outrageous seal-like laugh, wacky dress sense and a fondness for collecting porcelain pigs. Although prone to putting her foot in it and getting in a muddle about things, Melanie was universally loved and had a heart of gold.

After finishing school, Melanie enrolled in a secretarial course but she found it tough going. After four years, she still hadn't grasped shorthand. Melanie's unique personality endeared her to the equally fun-loving Henry Ramsay and they dated for a time. But when Henry brought Melanie home to meet his mother Madge, sister Charlene and her husband Scott, the entire Ramsay family recoiled in horror when Melanie burst into her animalistic laugh moments after being introduced to them. Madge and Charlene sprung into action to try and find a new man for Melanie, and Charlene introduced Mel to her friends Mike Young and Gino Rossini in the hope that she would fall for one of them. Although Melanie didn't actually hook up with either of them, Henry got the wrong end of the stick when he walked in on Gino handing Melanie his phone number, having invited her to attend a disco. The relationship with Henry then fizzled out, but Melanie remained fond of him and when he embarked on relationships with Sally Wells and Bronwyn Davies, Mel was on hand to throw a spanner in the works.

After finally graduating from secretarial school, Melanie landed a job with a temp agency. And despite her zany personality and general wackiness, Melanie managed to impress hard nosed businessman Paul Robinson when she filled in for his regular secretary Jane Harris at the offices of The Robinson Corporation one day. In fact, Melanie left such an impression on Paul that he took her on full-time when Jane was promoted. Despite their very different personalities and lifestyles, Melanie and Paul became good friends, and underneath all the sparring and volatile exchanges around the office, there was a mutual respect between the two. There was a slight deviation from their professional relationship one night, however, when Melanie comforted a down in the dumps Paul over his broken marriage and they slept together. However, the following morning, they both agreed that it was a momentary lapse and vowed to forget about it. And Melanie was thrilled for Paul when he went on to find love with Christina Alessi, twin sister of his Number Two at Lassiter's Caroline.

Following on from a brief stint sharing a flat with Sally, Melanie made Ramsay Street her home when she moved into No.28 to lodge with Sally's brother, widowed bank manager Des Clarke and his toddler son Jamie. Melanie's connection with Des stretched back quite a bit, as his mother Eileen had lived in a unit next door to Melanie and her family for a number of years. Melanie injected a much-missed sense of fun and games to the Clarke household and quickly brightened up the place with her collection of pigs scattered around the kitchen and living room. But Melanie infuriated Des when she interfered in his engagement to Jane by telling her that her trip to England to visit her sick nan was hurting him. This prompted Jane to phone Des later and call off the wedding, having decided to stay in England permanently. Although Des was angered by Melanie's interference, he came to realise that things would never have worked out with Jane anyway and forgave Melanie for her indiscretion.

To make amends with Des, Melanie took on the task of finding Des a new career as her pet project. He had become disillusioned with life in the bank and sought a change, but Des certainly wasn't expecting his resume to be changed so fundamentally as when Melanie got her hands on it. While her spicing up of Des' CV initially paid off when Des landed a job with a top stock-broking firm, it quickly backfired when Des was invited by his boss to indulge in a spot of canoeing and rock-climbing – two of the hobbies Melanie had added to his resume. The only problem was Des was terrified of heights and water.

Always on the look-out for love, Melanie was an old-fashioned romantic who dreamed of a fairytale wedding and the man of her dreams. She regularly consulted the famed Erinsborough astrologer Madame Zolga on her love life and was forever talking about her to her friends. Melanie thought she had found her soul mate when she started dating hapless Kelvin Stubbs, a waiter at the Lassiter’s Brasserie. But she was shocked when the seemingly mild-mannered Kelvin made a pass at Christina, and was then exposed as a serial love-rat. It looked as though Melanie had finally found Mr. Right when she met and fell in love with Roger Walsh while on a month-long cruise. And Melanie was quick to accept when Roger proposed and they returned to Erinsborough announcing their engagement. Most of Melanie's friends were concerned, however, because Roger was twice her age and the father of two teenage children. But Mel and Roger proved them wrong by staying together. However, the arrival of Roger's bitchy daughter Tania on the scene changed things. From the moment Tania met Melanie, she took a dislike towards her, and Melanie was deeply hurt when she realised Tania couldn't stand her extroverted personality, not to mention the constant comparisons she made between Melanie and her late mother. Tania eventually came to appreciate that underneath the wacky clothes and zany exterior, Melanie was a loving and caring person, and she gave her father her blessing. The engagement was called off by Mel, however, as she knew she'd never fully be accepted by Tania.

When Des sold No.28 to Doug and Pam Willis, Melanie moved into a nearby flat, where she was plagued by neighbours from hell and a pervy landlord. When her friends in Ramsay Street realised how unhappy Mel was in her new home, Joe Mangel came to the rescue and invited Melanie to lodge with him at No.32. Joe had recently lost his wife Kerry in a shooting accident, and Melanie proved to be a valuable asset to the Mangel household as she got on famously with his two children, Toby and Sky. In fact, Melanie was so devoted to them that when Joe nearly lost custody of Sky to her natural father, she offered to marry Joe if it meant him standing a better chance of holding onto Sky. Although Joe was deeply touched by the gesture, he politely turned Melanie down and as it turned out, Sky remained in his custody.

Ever the klutzy figure, Melanie managed to bring a zany slant to Paul and Christina's wedding day when she brought the wrong dress to Chrissie's on the morning of the wedding. Mel rushed home and collected the correct dress, but as she raced across Erinsborough to Chrissie's mum’s house (where the bridal party was holed up), she realised she would never make it in time. With no other alternative, Melanie was forced to don Chrissie's wedding dress herself and pretend she was late for her own wedding in order to procure a taxi ahead of the waiting masses at the taxi rank. Paul was stunned when Melanie then turned up at the church in the bridal gown, and she had to hurriedly rush for the vestry to rectify things with Chrissie. At the reception, which was held on a cruise ship which Paul and Christina were departing on for a honeymoon cruise, Mel had one too many glasses of champagne and fell asleep in the bathroom. After all the guests had left the ship and had been waved off by the newlyweds, Paul and Christina were shocked to return to their cabin and find Melanie there – evidently joining them on their honeymoon, since the ship had just left the port.

Meanwhile, Joe had started to fall in love with Melanie, but she was oblivious to his feelings and started dating dashing hardware businessman Simon Hunter, a client she had met at The Robinson Corporation. Simon literally wined and dined Melanie and it wasn't long before Simon had popped the question. However, Joe remained unable to tell her how he really felt and Melanie, ever the cupid, recognised his longing to find a new love and enrolled him as a contestant in the TV game show Dream Date. Joe reluctantly went along, but Melanie ended up taking part herself when one of the female contestants pulled out at the last minute and Mel was plucked from the green room by a panicked producer to fill her shoes. Joe ended up choosing Melanie as his date and the two were sent off on a romantic weekend together. It was here that Melanie finally admitted that she was in love with Joe too. Once back in Erinsborough, Melanie broke the news to Simon that she was with Joe, and before long, the couple became engaged.

Melanie and Joe opted to marry sooner rather than later, and despite a slight crisis with a reception venue, the Robinsons came to their rescue and offered them the use of their back yard for a marquee. With Toby as best man and Sky as flower girl, Joe and Melanie were pronounced man and wife by Melanie's good friend Reverend Richards. And in typical Melanie style, she burst into tears as she said her vows – and had the entire congregation in stitches as she quipped that she always cried at weddings, so why not her own?

After a few days honeymoon in the country, word reached Joe that his mother had suffered a heart attack and would need to sell No.32 to pay for her medical expenses. Joe and Melanie decided to travel to England to be with her and follow that with an extended tour around Europe. Although Sky was going to be with them, they decided to leave Toby behind to continue with his schooling and he moved in with Dorothy Burke next door at No.30. In a tearful goodbye at the airport, during which Toby gave Melanie the ultimate seal of approval by calling her 'mum', Joe, Melanie and Sky set off for England.

After a few months in Europe, Melanie returned to Australia with Joe and Sky, and set up home in the countryside. And once a new school opened in the district, Toby joined them. However, Melanie's life as Mrs. Joe Mangel wasn't to last, though as her marriage to Joe was to be a tempestuous one. After a few years, they decided to separate and Melanie later moved to London.

In 2021, still visiting Madame Zolga, still collecting pigs, and now back in Australia, living in the neighbouring suburb of Anson’s Corner, Melanie was thrilled to be contacted on social media by Des, who wanted her to meet up with him and Jane. Des and Jane had been briefly married in the intervening years, but Jane had moved on to a new relationship with Clive. Clive’s jealous ex, Sheila Canning, however, was determined to get him back, using Des to try and keep Jane away from Clive, with a meeting with Melanie the latest part of her plan. Jane was slightly taken aback as Melanie chatted about her life, then caught up on theirs, immediately suggesting that Jane and Clive weren’t really suited to each other.

Sheila’s plan failed to work, as Jane and Clive continued with their relationship, but Melanie returned a few weeks later, this time having met local lawyer Toadie Rebecchi on a dating app. The date was a moderate success, with Toadie attempting to make Melanie laugh, after learning that she made quite the ‘unique’ noise when she laughed. Unfortunately, though Mel was keen to see him again, he wasn’t sure that she was quite the right woman for him. Nonetheless, they met up again, with Paul, having spent weeks trying to avoid bumping into her or answering her messages, annoyed to learn that Toadie had employed Melanie as his new PA. Working closely together, the lines between love and friendship became blurred for Toadie and Melanie, a situation then only worsened when he mentioned that he’d been involved romantically with Rose, his previous PA, and Mel told him that she’d once slept with Paul when she was his secretary. Things became even more complicated, with Toadie having asked Mel out to dinner, to thank her for the hard work she’d been doing, but failing to realise that it was Valentine’s Day, then receiving a card, which he believed that Mel had sent to him (it was actually from his daughter, Nell). The dinner became awkward, until Clive and Kyle, who’d each been invited as a ‘buffer’, told Toadie and Mel that neither of them wanted to date the other, and it had all been a misunderstanding.

Soon after, Melanie was working on something at the office, trying to keep it a secret from Toadie. It later emerged that Melanie had downloaded divorce papers for Dipi, who had recently split from Toadie’s brother Shane, who himself had been hoping that they were about to get back together. As the situation descended into chaos, Toadie was furious with Mel for conducting legal business that she wasn’t qualified to do, though she pointed out that she hadn’t, and managed to make it up to him by negotiating a further ten percent reduction in rent for the law firm, which had been working out of a hotel room whilst work was done on the complex.

Over the weeks that followed, an attraction developed between Toadie and Melanie, and they started having secret hook-ups. As Toadie started overcompensating and being stricter with Mel at work, Rebecchi Law employee Mackenzie Hargreaves noticed the strange atmosphere. After a few near misses, friends Mackenzie and Karl began to think that Toadie had a new woman, though neither realised just how close to home she was. Melanie then suggested that she could find a different job, at a law firm in Anson’s Corner, so they could continue hooking up, and Toadie’s reputation would be safe if the truth came out. Unfortunately, Mackenzie and Karl had come to the conclusion that Toadie was secretly seeing the ‘polarising’ Angela Lane, who he was actually doing some legal work for, and as things threatened to spiral completely out of control, Toadie had to reveal the truth about him and Melanie, who admitted that the mix-up with Angela had made her jealous, and that she was developing stronger feelings for him. Unfortunately, as the truth about the relationship came out, Toadie then lost a huge contract with Mr Carmello, who disapproved of workplace relationships and moved his business elsewhere. Mel, wrongly believing that Angela was the one who’d reported them to Carmello, arranged for a pile of horse manure to be dumped outside Angela’s house. Wrongly believing that Karl was behind it, Angela then had manure dumped outside his house, and Mel was forced to come clean, leaving Toadie stunned that he was proving to be more mature than the older woman he was dating.

Having met Toadie’s kids, Nell and Hugo, Melanie was pleased to be getting along well with them, but was annoyed when they started calling her ‘Granny’, with Paul’s encouragement. Though Toadie had wanted to break the news when the time was right, Melanie decided to tell the kids that she was dating their dad, insisting that she hadn’t told them because she was embarrassed about the age gap, but because Nell and Hugo didn’t understand where she fit into the family. After talking through their problems, they both agreed to move on, but Melanie dumping manure on Angela’s doorstep came back to haunt her when Angela turned up on the street, demanding an apology. As the two woman argued, Hugo snuck away, and as Angela then started to drive away, Melanie panicked that he’d been run over, until Toadie appeared, carrying his son. The incident made Melanie wonder if she was cut out to be a stepmother again, or if she could ever live up to the memory of Toadie’s late wife, and Nell’s mum, Sonya. Beginning to wonder if she should just end things with Toadie, Melanie ended up having a heart-to-heart with Paul, who explained that, although Sonya was a wonderful person, she also had a lot of addiction issues. Realising that she was overreacting, Mel spoke to Toadie and they got their relationship back on track.

After a few more weeks together, Toadie began to struggle with Melanie being around him everyday, and decided to lie that he was working late, just so he could have an evening on his own, slobbing out and watching wrestling. Not wanting to hurt Melanie’s feelings, when she then turned up at the house, Toadie escaped out of the window to the Kennedy house, where a hurt Melanie later found him. Rather than taking it too personally, however, she admitted that she knew that people found her a lot to deal with, and that she and Toadie needed to find a balance in their relationship. However, it soon emerged that it wasn’t just Toadie who was struggling with Melanie’s constant presence, but also Mackenzie and Yashvi, who lived at no. 30 and were finding it hard to live with her attempts to change the house - and her laugh. When the girls started encouraging Nell to imitate Melanie’s laugh, they, and Toadie, were caught out by the woman herself. Admitting that she’d always been self-conscious about her laugh, she forgave Mackenzie and Yashvi, in exchange for them buying her a round of cocktails. As Toadie was one of the people who’d known about her self-consciousness, Mel struggled to forgive him for going along with it all. Desperate to talk things through with him, Mel decided to help him out by organising his time better, even helping out at Sonya’s Nursery. Unfortunately, when Toadie arrived and saw her, he had a flashback to Sonya and became upset. Worried about his reaction, Toadie started to push Mel away, until she finally realised what was going on. As Toadie explained that he was worried about pushing the memories of Sonya out of his life, Melanie insisted that there was room for both her and the memory of Sonya in his heart.

Having decided that finding another job, and going part-time at Rebecchi Law, might help her relationship, Melanie started looking for other work, but struggled to find anything. When Mackenzie offered to help with her search, she pointed out that Mel had once worked as Executive Assistant to Justin Buke, a well-respected lawyer, but didn’t have it on her CV. Mel wasn’t keen to talk about it, but didn’t argue when Mackenzie offered to update the CV for her, though she quickly binned the new version of the document. Having overheard mention of Justin Buke, Karl started to do some digging, remembering hearing a story about Justin and his wife, Dr Anna Buke. After making a few phone calls, Karl learnt that the Bukes’ marriage had come under threat a few years earlier, when Justin had an affair with his assistant - Melanie! As Karl and Susan struggled to work out whether to tell Toadie, it wasn’t long before word got to street gossip Sheila, who tried to find out more. Sheila got Melanie chatting about terrible past relationships, at which point Mel admitted that she’d once had a restraining order taken out against her. Sheila was quick to relay this information to Susan, who was becoming increasingly concerned, and decided to arrange a meeting with Anna Buke, who had treated Susan for her MS. As the two women caught up with each other, Susan lied that Melanie had applied for a job at the school, with Anna immediately warning her not to hire ‘that woman’. Anna explained that Melanie had started stalking Justin after the affair ended and, when she’d told her back off, she’d retaliated by hiding a bag of prawns in her car.

Karl and Susan decided not to tell Toadie, convinced that he and Melanie worked well together, and that he didn’t need any more drama in his life. Unfortunately, events were about to conspire to force the truth to come out - Mackenzie decided to help Melanie with her job search, by sending her CV - including Justin Buke as a past employer - to every big law firm in Melbourne. When Anna found out, she tracked Melanie down at Lassiters and warned her off, reminding her that the restraining order was still in place. Upset to learn that Karl, Susan and Sheila had been digging up her past, Melanie explained to Toadie that she’d believed that Justin’s marriage was over when she’d been seeing him, and that he’d made her out to be a lunatic when her wife found out. With Anna believing that she was a crazy stalker, Melanie had decided to show her what crazy really looked like, by hiding the prawns in her car. Whilst Toadie accepted this explanation, Mackenzie then found out that there’d been other affairs, at other law firms, which was why Melanie had wanted to keep several other companies off of her CV. As Melanie was then forced to explain all of this to Toadie, he began to worry that she just had a thing for bosses, and that she’d move on from him as soon as she got a new job.

As Toadie began to realise that Melanie actually made him happy - the happiest he’d felt since Sonya’s death - a new problem arose, as clients started to leave Rebecchi Law, after word of Mel’s shady past got out. Melanie decided to help fix things by resigning, and Toadie told her that he just wanted them to have a fresh start and try to work things out. Unfortunately, when Toadie’s previous PA, Rose Walker, returned as the PR Manager for a short film festival being held at Lassiters, it quickly emerged that she wanted Toadie back. With Toadie planning to sponsor one of the categories at the festival, Rose soon found a way to spend time with him, but made sure to make Melanie feel uncomfortable. When Rose told Melanie that she didn’t want her to volunteer at the festival, given her recent controversy, then Rose’s car windscreen was found smashed, Melanie became the prime suspect. Melanie insisted that she’d had nothing to do with it, but given her history with manure and prawns, Toadie struggled to believe her. Mackenzie, however, felt that Melanie was telling the truth, managing to convince Toadie. Believing that Rose was only in town to get Toadie back, Melanie started to wonder if she’d sabotaged the car herself, to try and make Mel look like a crazy, jealous person, but the truth came out when a witness came forward to identify Anna Buke as the person who’d damaged Rose’s car, wrongly believing that it was Melanie’s.

When Toadie and Rose then ended up sharing a kiss, Toadie admitted everything to Melanie, but also told her that he wasn’t completely sure about how he felt. Rose continued to plot to try and find ways to stay in Toadie’s life, then arranged for him to see Melanie chatting with Justin Buke. Rose had planned the whole thing, asking Justin to contact Melanie and arrange a meeting, in exchange for Rose dropping the vandalism charges against Anna. Toadie walked right into the trap, accusing Melanie of contacting Justin as revenge for him kissing Rose, with Melanie deciding to end the relationship, leaving the door wide open for Rose to get her claws into Toadie. After learning that Rose set up the meeting with Justin, Melanie realised that she’d been right about her all along, and hatched a plan to win back Toadie. As the film festival got underway, Melanie put in an entry of her own, in which she visited a fortune teller, and made a speech about how much she loved Toadie and how she thought they could have a wonderful future together. After winning first prize in the film contest, Melanie also won Toadie back and, realising she’d lost out to a better woman, Rose left town again.

After months of ups and downs and misunderstandings, it looked like things were finally on track for Toadie and Melanie, thought they both agreed that they weren’t ready for the next step of living together. Meanwhile, whilst playing wrestling with Toadie and the kids one day, Melanie fractured her wrist and at the hospital, was told that she might need more scans, as the injury could be a sign of osteoporosis. Determined that there was nothing wrong with her, and worried that it might highlight the age difference between her and Toadie, Melanie refused to have any tests, until Toadie mentioned that he wished that Sonya’s cancer had been detected earlier, as things might have been very different. Finally agreeing to go to the hospital, Melanie learnt that she did indeed have osteoporosis, and that they could start her on a treatment plan right away.

That Christmas, at a costume party at The Waterhole, Mel dressed as a psychic, using her crystal ball to contact people. As Nell watched on with interest, she then asked Melanie if she could contact Sonya. Not wanting to break Nell’s heart, Melanie agreed to do it, telling the little girl that her mum loved her very much, and that she also loved the dress she was wearing. When Toadie found out, he understood the awkward position that Nell had put her in, but things soon started to become more difficult as Nell refused to change out of her dress and wanted to learn to use the crystal ball herself. With Toadie wanting to handle the situation himself, he only made matters worse when he accidentally dropped and smashed the crystal ball, leaving Nell devastated. Eventually, he agreed to let Melanie speak to her, and Nell admitted that she knew all along that it wasn’t real, but she just enjoyed pretending that she could speak to Sonya. As Mel reminded Nell that her mum would always be in her heart, Toadie was impressed, and told Melanie that she was really becoming a mother figure to Nell.

With Toadie’s friend, Amy Greenwood, struggling financially, having taken on a food truck - which she turned into a drinks truck named The Drinks Diva - Mel was surprised when he asked her and her daughter, Zara, to move in with him. The arrangement seemed to be working out well, but when Amy became obsessed with following her dream of becoming a fashion designer and considered selling the truck in order to show her designs at Montana Marcel’s fashion week. When Mel expressed an interest in becoming an investor in the truck, it seemed like the perfect solution, and she and Amy became equal partners, with their first gig together selling cocktails from the truck at fashion week. The fashion week gig then almost ended in disaster when Montana was revealed to be bankrupt and tried to use the van to escape before being arrested, then a few days later, the truck was vandalised by Corey Smythe-Jones, in an attempt to frame Harlow Robinson for the crime and isolate her from friends and family. Melanie used the vandalism as an opportunity to rebrand the truck, and, where Amy holding a tray of drinks had been painted on the side, she was joined by Melanie, with the truck renamed The Drinks Divas. When Amy reacted badly, and Toadie took her side, Melanie pointed out that he seemed to have been siding with Amy a lot lately, and she was beginning to feel pushed out of her own relationship. As Toadie realised how he’d been treating Melanie, and apologised, she pointed out that he’d been doing this for months and that he hadn’t even bothered to introduce her to his family. Amy and Melanie then had a chat and patched up their differences, and Amy agreed to look after the van while Toadie took Melanie to the USA to meet his son, Callum.

When they returned, it was the day of Mackenzie and Hendrix’s wedding, but tragedy followed soon after, when Hendrix died suddenly, following a lung transplant which his body rejected. When Nell became upset over Hendrix’s death, Melanie comforted her, reminding her that, like Sonya, Hendrix would always be in her heart. As Toadie overheard this conversation, he suddenly decided to propose to Melanie, which took her by surprise, as she hadn’t really considered it herself. She then suggested that she could move in, and they could take it from there and see how things worked out. As Melanie - and her pig collection - moved in, Amy was becoming increasingly uncomfortable with her presence, with Zara pointing out that it looked like her mum was falling for Toadie. As Amy attempted online dating to try and ignore the growing realisation that Toadie was her ideal man, Melanie had struggles of her own, with the constant reminders of Sonya all over no. 30. As Mel became increasingly upset about living up to Sonya, she confessed everything to Amy, explaining that it was all reminding her of having to live up to Kerry’s memory after she married Joe. Amy immediately relayed this information to Toadie - subconsciously hoping that it might spoil things between them - with Toadie telling Mel that he just wanted her to be happy, offering to remove his wedding ring as a sign that he was ready to move on from Sonya.

As Mel then started to hint that the time might be right for another marriage proposal, Toadie got down on one knee and she accepted, just as Harold returned to town for a surprise visit. Upon learning about the proposal, Harold became agitated, and with Zara also believing that Toadie would be much happier with Amy, it seemed that the newly-engaged couple weren’t in for an easy ride. With the wedding plans in motion, Melanie worried that Harold was avoiding her, eventually getting him to admit that he was concerned that she’d leave and hurt Nell and Hugo, the way she had done with Sky and Toby. Unfortunately, Harold had been led to believe, by a drunken Joe, that Melanie had been the one at fault and that the kids had been badly hurt, when actually, they were just being quiet about Mel’s departure because they didn’t want to upset Joe. Harold apologised to Melanie, and Amy also started to move on from Toadie, deciding that she was going to have another baby and raise it on her own. The final obstacle proved to be Toadie’s mum, Angie, who turned up for their engagement party, full of criticism for everything Melanie said and did, until Mel finally pushed back and told Angie not to be so rude. Angie then admitted that she’d just been testing Melanie to see if she was ready to join the Rebecchi clan. A couple of weeks later, the wedding took place, with family and friends, old and new, gathering to witness the ceremony, before everyone went back to Ramsay Street for a huge party.

However, as the wedding was taking place, Melanie had something far more serious on her mind. A young woman named Krista Sinclair had arrived in town, reminding Melanie of one of the worst periods of her life. Whilst living in London, Melanie had worked as housekeeper for the wealthy Sinclair family and had become close to teenager Krista. As Krista struggled with her absent mother and lack of attention from her father, she started acting out and developed a drug problem. Wanting to help Krista, Melanie went to meet with her dealers and try to convince them to leave her alone, but the plan backfired when Melanie was left holding the drugs and the police arrested her. Krista bailed her out and, as Melanie was known to everyone with the surname Mangel, but her passport was still in the name Pearson, Krista managed to get her out of the country and back to Australia.

Melanie then spent many years as a fugitive, constantly worried that the police would turn up, and feeling that she wasn’t worthy of love or friendship. Having finally moved on with her life and found love with Toadie, Melanie was desperate to get rid of Krista before she ruined everything. When Krista insisted that she just needed some money so that she could go travelling and forget about her family, Melanie finally gave in to her demands, taking $2000 from the Drinks Divas and giving it to her, hoping that would be the end of the matter. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. Krista then met Karl Kennedy’s daughter, Holly, and her boyfriend, Eden Shaw, who’d been passing through and planning to go travelling themselves. Opportunist Eden soon felt that Krista was a better meal ticket than Holly and, as their travels continued, he and Krista started hooking up behind Holly’s back. Eden then continued to manipulate Krista and persuaded her to hit up Melanie for more money as they headed back to Erinsborough.

Melanie was horrified when, almost a year after last seeing her, Krista started sending postcards from the Great Ocean Road as she made her way back towards Melbourne. Back on drugs and under Eden’s influence, Krista turned up on Ramsay Street, asking Melanie for more money. When Melanie refused, Eden then started following her and intimidating her, even sabotaging the steps on the drinks truck, almost leaving Hugo badly injured. Since Amy had moved to Queensland, Paul's son, David Tanaka had become Melanie’s new partner in the truck and the two had become good friends, so she found herself confiding in him about what was going on, eventually explaining the story to Paul, Aaron and Nicolette too. Having decided that she needed to tell Krista, in no uncertain terms, to get out of her life, Melanie met her at the rooftop pool at Lassiters. Krista refused to listen, resorting to blackmail and warning Melanie that she’d go to the police if she didn’t pay up. Melanie then lashed out, pushing Krista who fell back into the pool, hitting her head as she went down.

Melanie dragged her out and, believing that she was dead - and with her phone at the bottom of the pool - she rushed to Paul’s penthouse, begging to use his phone to call for help. Paul, however, told her that he would deal with it, but by the time he got to the pool, Krista’s body was gone, and Eden was there waiting. Eden told Paul that he’d dealt with the matter, and blackmailed Paul into giving him half a million dollars to keep quiet, and avoid destroying Paul and the hotel’s reputations, not to mention the involvements of Melanie and David - who was already on probation. Paul went along with it, telling the others that it was all dealt with, and with Aaron and Nicolette siding with Paul, the five of them agreed to keep quiet about what had happened. Unfortunately, Melanie couldn’t cope with what had happened and, soon after, she walked out on Toadie and the kids, leaving a letter explaining that she couldn’t cope with being a stepmum. Paul, meanwhile, ended his relationship with Terese, walking out on her as they were about to renew their wedding vows, unable to drag her into the whole mess. And as David grew more resentful of Paul and what he’d done, he, Aaron and Nicolette also left Erinsborough for a fresh start in the country.

Over the year that followed, Melanie spent time living in Violet Town and reconnected with old friend Sharon Davies. But Nell struggled with the loss of her stepmum, and with Toadie and Terese finding comfort with each other and eventually marrying, she couldn’t understand how everyone had moved on. Toadie finally told her about the contents of the letter, and although Nell then started to accept Terese into the family, she couldn’t give up on Melanie. When Sharon turned up, Nell tried to get information out of her, eventually managing to get Melanie’s new address, claiming that she just wanted to send a birthday card. However, Nell ended up skipping school and going to the house, looking for Mel, but instead finding Eden, who had broken in and knocked Nell to the ground as he rushed out. When Melanie returned about found Nell, she realised that Eden had found her and that she couldn’t keep running from him forever. That day, she, David, Aaron and Nicolette all returned to Erinsborough to face the music.

After explaining everything to the police, Melanie was taken into remand, frightened but content in the knowledge that she was finally being honest about everything that had happened. She soon received a visit from Terese, who asked her if she was still in love with Toadie. Mel couldn't deny it, and Terese then asked her to stay away from him and the kids, warning that they'd suffered enough. She was then surprised to be visited by Susan and Jane, who explained that Krista had been found alive, with Eden getting her hooked on drugs again, and making sure she stayed away from Erinsborough, as she had no memory of the incident at the rooftop pool, and he could continue to blackmail both Mel and Paul as long as they believed she was dead. There was more positive news when Susan returned with Nell, who was desperate to see her former stepmum, relieved that she might be out of jail soon.

Melanie was released, though she was still facing charges for covering up the accident and potentially for fleeing the UK all those years ago. As she awaited her fate, Melanie was cheered up by continued visits from Nell, who bought her groceries and even encouraged Toadie to find Mel a better lawyer than the one who'd been assigned to her. This appeared to be a turning point, as she learnt that, with Krista cooperating, she was unlikely to be facing any further charges over the drugs arrest in the UK. With things looking more positive, Melanie attended a protest at Erinsborough High, where many former students, teachers and locals had turned out to fight the school's planned closure. When the police turned up, things started to progress into a riot, with protestors getting into the school and having to be herded out again by security. Unfortunately, as Melanie was following a group out of the school, she found herself stuck behind a scuffle between teacher Marty Muggleton and security guard Neil Martello, who unwittingly knocked her backwards down the stairs. Melanie was then left lying unconscious at the bottom of the stairwell, as the school was locked up, with nobody realising she was there. As the protest ended, Jane realised that Melanie was unaccounted for, and a search began, with Toadie finding her at the bottom of the stairs. After briefly acknowledging him, she slipped into unconsciousness and was rushed to hospital, where she was diagnosed with concussion and a shattered shoulder.

As Melanie's friends gathered at the hospital, several of them feeling guilty about the part they'd played in the protest, they were all left feeling helpless as she suddenly lost consciousness again and was rushed into surgery. Everyone was relieved when Melanie pulled through the surgery and, the following week, as she prepared to leave hospital, she was visited by Toadie. He explained that, knowing that Melanie wouldn't be able to manage on her own with her arm in a sling, Terese had suggested that she could stay with the Kennedys during her recovery. Initially reluctant, Melanie realised that she had little other option, and hoped that she, Toadie and Terese would be able to cope with living in such close proximity.

It soon seemed that, despite everyone's best efforts, the past was going to continue to haunt both Melanie and Toadie, as she struggled to cope during a visit to her and Toadie's old home at no. 30, and he became upset at constant reminders of his wedding to Melanie. During a trip to the beach to mark Nell's birthday, Melanie and Toadie ended up having a heart to heart and opening up about their struggles. Having seemingly turned a corner with Toadie, Melanie then prepared for an interview to decide if she and Krista would be extradited to the UK over the historic drugs charges. Aware that she would need some positive references, Melanie was reluctant to approach Toadie, so Nell decided to take it upon herself to ask him. Mistakenly believing that Melanie had approached Nell and asked her to speak to her dad, Toadie was furious and wrote a scathing reference about how Melanie couldn't be trusted. After reading this, Melanie fired her lawyer and decided to face the interview panel alone, but when Toadie found out the truth, he wrote a more positive reference and took it to Mel's lawyer. This was enough to make Melanie realise that she wanted to fight for her freedom and, coupled with Krista making it clear that Melanie wasn't to blame for anything that had happened, it wasn't long before she heard that she wouldn't be extradited.

There was more good news for Mel when she found out that someone had bought her old Drinks Divas truck back for her. After reading Toadie's glowing reference, she immediately believed that it was him, before learning that it had actually been bought by Krista, as an apology for everything she'd put Melanie through. Still confused over Toadie, however, Mel attended one of Nell's counselling sessions, where both Nell and Toadie were very open about their feelings, telling Mel how badly she'd hurt them, with Toadie becoming especially upset as he admitted that he'd loved her more than he thought he could ever love anyone again. The counselling session left Melanie more confused than ever, but when she spoke to Toadie the next day, he made it clear that it was just old feelings bubbling up, and that he was committed to Terese. When Melanie then asked for a hug, it was witnessed by Nell and Terese, and Nell later told Mel that she should maybe keep her distance from Toadie, as it was just hurting Terese.

Melanie then decided that the best thing she could do was to move on with her life, and she created an online dating profile. Unfortunately, the first date proved to be a disaster when he didn't show up, and as she walked home, a group of kids started hassling Mel. She quickly realised that they'd been the ones contacting her online and matters only got worse when Slade, the ringleader, threw a cup of liquid muck over her. Distressed by what had happened, Melanie was helped by Mackenzie and Haz, who had witnessed the attack, but when Mackenzie started talking about getting CCTV footage and going to the police, Melanie insisted that she didn't want to. She told Mackenzie that she was beginning to feel like everyone else was making all of the decisions in her life and she wanted to take back some control, so she told Karl that she was going to move out.

Trivia Notes
• In 2005, Melanie made a cameo appearance in Annalise's 20th Anniversary Documentary
• Melanie returned for a guest stint in early 2021, before becoming more of a recurring presence and being added to the opening titles as a 'regular guest' from episode 8706
• Lucinda Cowden wasn't credited for her appearance in episode 8904, and was incorrectly credited as 'Melanie Pearce' from episode 8935 onwards
• Melanie collected pigs
• Melanie once spent a summer working on an alpaca farm
• To read our interview with Lucinda Cowden, click here

Tenure
544-545, 616, 713-720, 833-834, 1062-1549, 4773, 8532-8562, 8602-8903, 8904, 8935-

Magic Moments
Episode 544: Melanie's Arrival
Episode 1537: Joe and Melanie's Wedding
Episode 1548: Joe, Melanie and Sky's Departure: Part One
Episode 1549: Joe, Melanie and Sky's Departure: Part Two

Biography by Moe

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