Christine Rodd Trudy Hellier
Christine 'Chris' Rodd 2006-2007
Marital Status: Allan Steiger (divorced 2005)
Children: Heidi [Pepper]
Occupation: Carpenter's Mechanics Manager
Following the breakdown of her marriage to police Senior Sergeant Allan Steiger, Christine Rodd moved on with her life and came to terms with the fact that she was gay. She struggled to break the news to her ex-husband, or their daughter, Heidi (or Pepper as everyone called her due to her tendency to sneeze when nervous), particularly when her prim sister Miriam took the news badly, and instead pretended that girlfriend Carol Sinclair was just her housemate.
After Chris took the job of head mechanic at the local Carpenter’s Mechanics business, it wasn’t long before her world collided with those of Allan and Pepper. Pepper had taken a room at a house in Ramsay Street and a job teaching PE at Erinsborough High, nearby, and her new neighbour, Janae Hoyland, had recently started work with Chris at the garage, as an apprentice. The pair had failed to hit it off after Janae was late on her first morning, then started talking to a satisfied customer, which Chris saw as the new girl taking credit for someone else’s work. By the end of their first day together, Chris asked Janae if she was serious about being a mechanic, as it was a difficult world for a woman, but Janae insisted that she wanted to make a go of it.
When Janae returned to work after a couple of weeks away – both for a training course and some personal problems – she was delighted to learn that a reporter was writing a story about the all female garage for the Erinsborough News. However, when Janae turned up all glammed up for the photographer, Chris sent her home, warning her that she was on her last chance. When Janae later saw Chris hugging Pepper at the bar, she immediately jumped to the conclusion that her new boss was a lesbian and discriminating against her straight colleague. Janae was embarrassed to realise that they were mother and daughter, and Chris soon had other things to worry about when she explained that Allan had done a police check on Pepper’s new fiancé, Frazer Yeats, and found that he didn’t actually exist. A flustered Pepper claimed that it was nothing sinister and he’d just changed his name after leaving home, but when her parents threw her a surprise engagement party, Pepper was forced to admit that she and Frazer had made the whole thing up, in the hope that by acting as a respectable couple, they’d have more chance of finding a room.
Meanwhile, Janae and Chris had another falling out, this time over Janae’s suggestion that they wear pink overalls. When rival garage owner Rex Colt, of Black Stallion Motors, then offered Janae a job, she was happy to accept, but it ended badly when Rex locked her in his office. Fortunately, Pepper and Allan were passing and heard her scream. They managed to save her, and a sympathetic Chris gave her her old job back, just in time for Janae to catch Chris and Carol kissing. Janae was then forced to lie to Pepper to stop her from also walking in on them, and Chris later admitted to Janae that she was worried about how Pepper might react to the news. Janae promised to keep her bosses secret, but Chris realised that she had to tell Pepper. As Christmas arrived, Pepper decided to invite her mum and dad over for a Christmas Eve dinner, in the hope that the pair might finally get back together, and was thrilled to learn that her dad was going to propose. The day ended badly as Chris was stunned by the proposal and forced to admit that Carol wasn’t just her housemate, but her girlfriend.
Just as Chris had feared, Pepper reacted badly, accusing her mum of being a liar and refusing to speak to her, even when Rex sprayed some anti-gay graffiti on the garage doors in an effort to ruin the business. Janae, however, assured Chris that Pepper just needed some time and that proved to be true, as, a couple of months later, when Pepper was falsely accused of hitting a student and suspended from work, she turned to her mum for support. Mother and daughter agreed to put the past behind them, and Pepper offered to have Chris and Carol over for dinner, to apologise properly.
Several months later, Chris was delighted to hear that Pepper was planning to marry her boyfriend, Englishman Adam Rhodes. But as Chris got excited for her daughter and started talking about plans for relatives to fly out for the big day, Pepper and Adam broke the news that they were only marrying so that Adam could get residency. Though understanding of their predicament, Chris was upset that Pepper wouldn't be able to have the grand wedding that she'd always dreamt of and, after visiting the registry office, Pepper and Adam understood her point-of-view and agreed not to go ahead with it. A few days later, Chris and Carol came to dinner with Pepper and Adam and Chris quietly mentioned to her daughter that there was another way that former cop Adam could get residency - by joining the Australian police force. Pepper pointed out that there were reasons why Adam had left the police, and England, but when Carol arrived late and immediately mentioned the idea to him, Adam opened up to her and Chris about the murder of his former police partner. But, realising that it might be their only chance, he agreed to look into it.
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Biography by Steve