> Guest Character
Andrea Townsend Gina Gaigalas
Andrea Lassiter (née Townsend) 1986
Lived: 28 Ramsay Street
Marital Status: Jack Lassiter (1986-)
Conniving Andrea Townsend met Des Clarke at a party in 1974, when she spilt her drink all over him. They started dating, but Des’ mother, Eileen, was against the relationship and soon put a stop to it, with the Clarkes leaving the area soon after. Eleven years later, Andrea was forced to mysteriously flee her home in Perth with her son, Bradley. She headed straight to Erinsborough and the home of Des. He was pleased to see Andrea again, but he was one of the few in Ramsay Street to welcome her. It wasn’t long before she revealed her true reason for turning up – Des was Bradley’s father. He decided to keep this information between members of the household only, which also included lodger Zoe Davis. Andrea seemed extremely agitated by Zoe’s presence, but, despite many attempts, she couldn’t get rid of her. Although Des agreed to Andrea staying, he insisted on separate rooms, making it clear that he wanted their relationship to go no further than friends.
Bradley’s poor behaviour and friendship with neighbour Lucy Robinson caused plenty of headaches, as Andrea refused to believe that her son was a naughty child and would not punish him. Des attempted to discipline his son, while Andrea tried her hardest to get close to him, even mentioning that they should get married to give Bradley a stable family home. Des wasn’t very keen on the idea and tried to avoid all discussion on the subject. It seemed that Andrea was on the verge of really getting her claws into Des when his mother, Eileen, turned up. She claimed that Des hadn’t been in touch for weeks and was shocked to realise who his new houseguest was. It became clear that Eileen and Andrea had crossed swords in the past, with Eileen having managed to get rid of the woman once before. This time, she was astounded to hear that Bradley was Des’ son, and she refused to believe a word of it, searching for evidence in her old diaries, then heading to Perth, where she found her proof – Bradley’s birth certificate. As Eileen, Andrea and Bradley waited for Des to get home from work, Bradley managed to swipe the certificate from Eileen’s bag, and gave it to Lucy to look after.
Although her proof was gone, Eileen also revealed that she had learnt, whilst in Perth, that Andrea was lying about Bradley’s age, and had given birth to him some months before she even met Des. Armed with only the name Gavin McKinley, Eileen traced Bradley’s real father and told him of his son’s whereabouts. Just as Andrea thought she’d removed the threat of the truth being revealed, Gavin arrived in Ramsay Street and tried to abduct Bradley. In the chaos that followed, Andrea was forced to reveal the truth – Des wasn’t Bradley’s father. She explained that, one year earlier, she’d been in desperate financial straits and Gavin had offered her $15,000 for custody of Bradley, in order to provide a male heir for his father’s fortunes. Andrea had always intended to get Bradley back, but had invested the money poorly, so she simply took Bradley from his boarding school one day and fled to Erinsborough. Des accepted this story, but Eileen was still anxious to get the woman out of her son’s life, so she arranged a meeting between Gavin and Bradley one day while she was babysitting. Eileen was horrified when Gavin grabbed Bradley and took off for the airport, but fortunately Clive Gibbons and Shane Ramsay were on hand and, together with Eileen, they gave chase, catching Gavin just in time.
Following the abduction, Des told Andrea that, despite all that had happened, he still thought of Bradley as his son. He offered them both a roof over their heads, until Andrea was in a position to support them both financially. Andrea set to work trying to sort her life out, and her blossoming relationship with Paul Robinson came in useful. Paul was trying to convince Jack Lassiter to sell Lassiter’s Hotel to the Daniels Corporation. He offered Andrea $2000 if she could flirt with Jack and help him to make up his mind. Unfortunately, Andrea was rumbled during her first drink with Jack, but this didn’t stop the two of them forging a strong friendship. Jack realised that, deep down, Andrea had a good heart and he offered her a job at the Waterhole pub. As the weeks went on, their friendship grew stronger and she asked him to number 28 for dinner. Jack was only too happy to accept, but the couple hadn’t banked on Bradley being so unhappy with their friendship and he managed to ruin the evening with snide comments. In the end, Jack smacked Bradley and Andrea was forced to ask him to leave, explaining that she had to put her son first at all times.
Fortunately, Jack came back and apologised and, after he had a chat to Bradley, the young boy accepted that him mum might one day get married. That day came sooner that either of them had expected, when Jack suddenly proposed to Andrea. He told her that he wanted to take care of her and Bradley and could provide the security that she’d never known. She was touched, but before accepting, she told Jack that although she cared deeply for him, she didn’t love him. They realised that what they had was the basis for a happy life together and announced the engagement to Bradley. Although wary at first, he accepted it, especially as Des had become engaged once again to ex-fiancee Daphne Lawrence and they would soon need to find somewhere else to live. Andrea was concerned, though, when Jack talked about selling the hotel and moving to the outback. Having grown up there, Andrea had no desire to return, but she realised that Jack was serious and agreed to a trial for a few weeks. However, he turned the tables and made her dreams come true when he announced that, following their wedding in Perth, they’d be leaving for Paris and spending six months touring around Europe. With everything arranged, Andrea thanked the close friends she’d made in Ramsay Street, including Zoe, Daphne and, particularly, Des. She, Jack and Bradley then left for their big adventure. After six months away, Jack sold the hotel on to the Daniels Corporation and Lucy joined them in Europe as they decided to extend their trip.
Notes: Regina Gaigalas returned to Neighbours in 1995 in the guest role of Linda Carpenter.
Biography by Steve