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Character Profiles > Wendy Rodwell Candice Leask

Wendy Rodwell 2021, 2022, 2023-
Lived: 26 Ramsay Street
Marital Status: Andrew Rodwell
Children: Sadie
Occupation: Bar Staff/Manager at The Waterhole, Teaching Student

The wife of Erinsborough's police sergeant Andrew Rodwell, Wendy was first encountered by a few of the Ramsay Street residents when she attended that year's police ball at Leo Tanaka's vineyard. Never one to think before she spoke, Wendy told Leo that he was "lanky and handsome" before commending Amy Greenwood for "spreading the love around" in her polyamorous relationship with Ned Willis and Andrew's colleague, Levi Canning.

A few months later, Levi's love life was the reason Wendy ended up visiting Ramsay Street - Roxy, who was married to Levi's cousin Kyle, was concerned that Levi was getting himself in too deep with his new girlfriend, Freya Wozniak, who was desperate to track down her ex-boyfriend Gareth. With Levi helping with the search, Roxy was convinced that Freya and her former associate were dangerous, but knew that neither she nor Kyle could say anything, for fear of alienating Levi completely. Having started going power walking with Wendy, Roxy then started dropping hints about her concerns for Levi, with Wendy falling for it, and offering to speak to Andrew, who promptly gave him a bigger job to work on at the police station, meaning he'd have no time to help Freya.

Wendy and Andrew's daughter, Sadie, was also busy getting herself into serious trouble, as she and her friend Aubrey launched a bullying campaign against newcomer Zara Selwyn, which culminated in their attempts to frame Zara for a fire at the school. When the truth eventually came out, Sadie and Aubrey were expelled from Erinsborough High, but the ramifications would be far-reaching - Hendrix Greyson had been forced to rescue his girlfriend Mackenzie from the burning building. Although she soon recovered, Hendrix was left with long-term health problems, eventually dying after his body rejected a lung transplant, shortly after he had married Mackenzie.

When Andrew and Wendy attended a party for Roxy and Kyle - an attempt by Levi to keep them in town as they considered moving to Darwin - they liked 26 Ramsay Street, and when it was put on the market, they made an offer. Although Sadie was already on the outer with most of the street, they hoped that it might be a fresh start for them, and Wendy went on a charm offensive, getting up to speed on all of the gossip, visiting everyone with gift baskets and letting herself into their houses with her trademark call of "Yoo hoo!" Following Hendrix's death, things proved difficult for the Rodwells and, having overstretched themselves by buying the house, they started to consider leaving, even going as far as putting the house back on the market, only a couple of months after buying it. With many other Ramsay Street residents planning to sell up at the same time, they saw it as a good time to go, but when minds started to change, and plans started to fall through, the Rodwells again followed suit and decided to stick around.

A couple of years passed and the Rodwells became firmly entrenched in Ramsay Street. Wendy had been promoted to manager in her job at The Waterhole and, having initially struggled to make friends on Ramsay Street, Wendy was now close to several residents, and one of the first to greet the street's newest family, the Varga-Murphys, when they moved in.

As she watched her friends and neighbours juggle families and careers, Wendy began to feel insecure about her own achievements in life, deciding that she was going to apply for the job of Building Manager at Lassiters. At the same time, JJ Varga-Murphy was found by Sadie at no. 26, having let himself in, and claiming that he just needed to borrow some milk. When Wendy’s watch then went missing, it was assumed that he’d stolen it, leading to a very public confrontation between the Rodwells and the Varga-Murphys. With Cara and Remi having decided to buy no. 30, following a short stay at no. 24, it looked like the new neighbours had gotten off to a very bad start, only made worse when Wendy found out that Cara had been given the Building Manager job over her. Convinced that there was something dodgy about Cara, after spotting some materials in her truck addressed to the Linwell brothers’ building company in Werribee, Wendy decided to get to the truth. After getting a look at her CV, and not seeing that Linwell brothers on it, Wendy contacted them, surprised to find that they were very interested in learning about Cara’s new home and job.

When Wendy then found the missing watch, it was several days before she owned up to Andrew, who forced her to come clean to the Varga-Murphys, who were horrified that she’d allowed a teenaged boy to take the blame for so long. Matters only got worse for Wendy when she found out from Andrew that the new neighbours were being targeted by the Linwell brothers, as Cara was due to testify against them about their unsafe work practices. Having tampered with a fan that Cara had put up at The Waterhole, then smashed Remi’s car window, they then sent an envelope containing white powder to no. 30. As she’d been the one to open it, Remi stayed inside, fearing that it was anthrax, whilst her concerned wife and kids waited outside. When Wendy found out what had happened, she was forced to admit her part in bringing the Linwells to Ramsay Street, and her guilt led her to sneak into no. 30 and wait with Remi, unable to let go through the ordeal on her own. When word finally came back that the substance was just baking powder, they were all very relieved, but Cara immediately blamed Wendy, and said that she didn’t want the Rodwells to have anything to do with her family.

It was then that JJ blurted out his secret - he believed that Andrew could be his biological father. JJ explained that he’d found the diary belonging to Phillipa Wade, Cara’s best friend who had died. All those years ago, Andrew, who had also known Phillipa, had offered to give her and her girlfriend a sperm sample when they’d wanted to have a baby, but she’d changed her mind when she and her girlfriend split up. Andrew also had second thoughts about the whole thing, with Wendy and a very young Sadie at home, and Phillipa had assured him that she’d destroyed the sample. However, she had given it to Cara, who, with wife Remi, had been trying to get pregnant using an anonymous American donor. Having used both samples, then fallen pregnant, Cara was unsure who the father was, but had kept this to herself, thinking that nobody would ever have to know. As Remi and Wendy struggled to deal with what they were hearing, both marriages suffered, with Wendy struggling to understand how Andrew could have done something like that. As Andrew had been giving driving lessons to JJ and getting to know him, Wendy wondered if he wanted the boy to be his son, so that he could finally have the second child that she’d been unable to give him. With some advice from Susan, Wendy decided that none of this was JJ’s fault and that she’d accept him into her family, but then the DNA test results showed that Andrew was not JJ’s father. Feeling that Andrew was disappointed by this news, Wendy continued to struggle to forgive him and to move on from what had happened.

When Nicolette Stone showed Wendy the online petition to save Erinsborough High from closure one day, they both agreed that something needed to be done before it was too late. Nicolette decided to go behind the back of her mum, school principal Jane, and contact people to arrange a protest, hoping that it might be enough to make the council and the Board of Education take notice. When Nicolette suggested that Wendy should keep the protest a secret from Andrew too, she was only too pleased to go along with it, happy to finally have a secret of her own. As the protests got out of hand and people started breaking into the school, the police were called and Andrew was shocked to learn that Wendy and Sadie had been involved in organising it. Though the police and security managed to get everyone out of the building, Melanie Pearson was left badly injured and Nicolette was arrested and charged for her part in proceedings.

Feeling that she was getting preferential treatment, Wendy marched into the police station and demanded that she also be arrested, knocking some pens off the front desk when he felt that Andrew wasn't taking her seriously. She was then finally charged and taken for questioning, but the tension remained at home. Realising just how unhappy his wife was, Andrew finally found a way to get through to her when he gave her a Christmas gift - a sketch of the two of them with Sadie. He made it clear to her that, no matter what had happened in the past, his wife and daughter were enough for him, and he didn't want another child. Wendy then admitted that she'd always felt like a failure for not being able to give him a second child, and that feeling of inadequacy had followed her around ever since. She admitted that hearing about Phillipa had brought up a lot of those old feelings, but she now knew that she had to figure out a way to fit in, and feel worthy, in her family. Having patched things up and finally reached a turning point, Andrew and Wendy decided to take a short break to the beach together, with Wendy hiring Aaron Brennan to cover her shifts at the Waterhole.

With things back on track for Wendy and Andrew, she was delighted when the time came for Sadie to pick the university course she would be doing. Though Wendy was sure that Sadie would be going to study childcare, following her time working as nanny to Abigail Tanaka, Sadie was struggling to tell her mum that she didn't want to go to uni, but would prefer to become a make-up artist. Wendy was horrified, feeling that it was a career with no prospects, and went ahead with making her daughter's online application to study childcare, leaving Sadie to announce that she was going to move out of home. It was left to Andrew to smooth things over, as he convinced Sadie to return home, and made Wendy see that she was projecting her own fears onto her daughter, and they had to allow Sadie to make her own way in life. Following a chat with Karl Kennedy, Wendy suddenly had a brainwave, telling her husband and daughter that she was going to work out what she wanted to study, and then apply to university herself, ultimately deciding that she was going to train to be an art teacher.

When Sadie then refused her parents' offer to pay for the remainder of the course, they were pleased that she seemed to be showing such a mature approach, wanting to work and pay off the debt herself. However, when David Tanaka died suddenly, after a fight broke out between him and Eden Shaw, Sadie worked out that Paul Robinson had been responsible for sending Eden in David's direction, hoping that Eden could be the thing that split up Leo and Krista. With Paul blaming Krista for what had happened, and being very public with his accusations, Sadie finally snapped when Paul started verbally assaulting Krista during David's wake, and she blurted out what she knew. Wendy and Andrew were shocked to learn that Sadie had managed to get videos from the hotel's CCTV to prove her theory, and that she'd taken Paul's money to pay for her course, in return for her spying on Leo and Krista's relationship. They made it clear to Sadie that what she'd done was wrong, but admitted that maybe their own behaviour, with Wendy asking Sadie to take photos of Cara's CV, and Andrew not telling his wife about donating sperm to Philippa, could have made Sadie think that she was doing nothing wrong.

Just as that drama was coming to an end, the Rodwells were hit with a new problem when Andrew's brother, Felix, got in touch, due to be released from prison on parole and wanted to stay with the family. Though Andrew was happy to give Felix a chance, he was concerned about something else - when he'd told Phillipa that he'd changed his mind about donating his sperm to her, Felix had suggested that he could take his place and do it instead. Andrew knew that a party had taken place just after Felix made that suggestion, and that he hoped he'd talked Felix out of it, but the relevant pages were the ones that were missing from Phillipa's diary. Andrew decided to visit Felix and ask him directly if he'd made the donation and, when Felix claimed that he hadn't gone through with it, Andrew agreed to help him with his parole application. Felix was worried to learn, however, that the woman Phillipa had given the sperm to, Cara Varga-Murphy, was now living across the road from Andrew with the son who'd been produced from that donation, JJ. Once alone, Felix pulled a letter out of his pocket, which had been sent to him by Phillipa and contained the missing pages from the diary, which confirmed that Felix had actually gone through with accepting payment from Phillipa for his sperm.

When Felix then arrived on Ramsay Street, Andrew made it clear that he wasn't going to put up with any hint of criminial activity, and his younger brother insisted that he was going to do his best to prove himself. But when Felix then spotted that JJ had a birthmark on his back, very similar to his own, he started to panic, seeing it as proof that he was indeed the teenager's father. JJ had approached Andrew for some boxing lessons, hoping that it would keep him safe from Slade Westall and his gang who'd been terrorising Erinsborough. But when Felix helped JJ to fend off the bullies by standing up to them, using psychological means rather than physical, JJ was impressed and started turning more and more to Felix for advice. Convinced that he wasn't cut out to be a father, Felix started to make plans to skip town, confiding in his girlfriend Jools - the only person who'd stuck by him during his recent stint in prison - that he was going to rob the worksite at Eirini Rising where he'd recently scored labouring work, and then use the proceeds to take her to the Philippines.

With Andrew completely oblivious to all of the secrets his brother was keeping, he was forced to question Felix when Harolds Cafe was trashed one night. Having been with accomplice Slade planning the worksite robbery, Felix refused to give an alibi, but then JJ stepped in and claimed that he'd been with Felix, getting tips to defend himself. After almost changing his mind about his plans to leave, Felix decided to go ahead with it, but JJ overheard him talking to Jools about the robbery, later offering to step in and help when Slade was arrested. After Holly Hoyland found a map of the Eirini Rising site in a book that Felix had given her, she noticed things written on it which made her suspicious and showed it to Andrew, who then caught Felix and JJ in the act. Unfortunately, a panicked JJ reversed their van into some scaffolding, which fell on Andrew, leaving him in hospital with concussion and broken ribs. As Andrew recovered, JJ came to him to confess, while Wendy tried to work out where Felix had disappeared to. As she checked his bags, she found the missing pages from Phillipa Wade's diary, which confirmed that Felix had donated the sperm that she'd given to Cara. Felix explained that he and JJ had the same birthmark in the same place on their back, and Wendy went to Andrew with this information. They realised that they had to tell Remi and Cara, who were stunned by the news, particularly concerned by the bond JJ had been unwittingly forming with the man. Remi then asked Felix not to have any contact with JJ, who spent weeks writing to his father and getting his letters returned. When he eventually found out that his mums had told Felix to freeze him out, JJ was deeply upset, eventually persuading Andrew to let him join him on a prison visit. With Andrew only visiting his brother because he'd been told that he was ill, he took JJ along, but Felix made it clear that he didn't want a son in his life. Grateful that his brother had been honest with JJ, but still disgusted with him, Andrew asked him not to get in touch again.

As well as his newly-discovered nephew, Andrew was also finding it difficult to understand daughter Sadie, after finding out that she was dating Byron Stone. As well as worrying about the age difference, Andrew was also concerned about the difference in experience between them, as the slightly older Byron had previously been a male escort. Though Wendy was trying, a little too hard, to be the cool, approving parent, Andrew immediately took against the relationship, even going as far as warning Byron about the tyres, having it marked as unroadworthy when it wasn't. With his concerns growing about dating a younger woman who still lived at home, this was the final straw and Byron suggested to a devastated Sadie that they should take a break from each other. However, after seeing how upset Sadie was, and following his stint in hospital, Andrew apologised, promising to keep his nose out, and getting the unroadworthy warning removed from Byron's car. Sadie and Byron then got back together, and, apart from a small mix-up when he and Wendy mistakenly thought that their daughter was about to get engaged, Andrew kept his promise and left them alone.

Meanwhile, Wendy had started her teaching course at uni, but was finding it difficult to be around so many younger people, admitting to Andrew and Sadie that she was finding it difficult to make friends. Having failed to join any of the cliques that had formed early in the course, she was finding herself more and more isolated, until eventually striking up the courage to approach some of the other students. Wendy quickly managed to bond with Parker Reed and their friends, complimenting their outfit and handing out some of her handmade jewellery. When she was then invited to join the younger students on a night out, she worried that she might not be able to keep up with them, but decided to go along anyway...

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Biography by Steve