Reference > Erinsborough News > The Life Of Riley
Miranda and Steve's adopted son joins them in Erinsborough...
Ramsay Street's Parker family is completed this week, when eldest son Riley comes to live with them - but it's hardly a joyful reunion, considering that the shaggy-haired surfer is virtually dragged back into the fold by his sister, Bridget. In fact, the newest residents of No 26 seem to be be just as rowdy as the notorious Timmins brood they've replaced!
"Riley has a few issues with his parents, Steve and Miranda. He's an angry dude!" grins Sweeney Young, who plays the estranged teenager. "Both he and Bridget are adopted, but Riley's the only one old enough to really remember what it was like going through the process. Probably his greatest fear is being controlled - by anyone, including his mum and dad - because he had to learn to be independent very early on in his life."
Sweeney says the true depth of the animosity Riley feels towards his adoptive parents won't be revealed until next week - and it dates back quite a few years. On the surface, however, the clash seems to relate to Riley's lack of direction.
"About a year ago, when the family were living in Sydney, Riley was all set to follow in Steve's footsteps and study veterinary science at uni, but he decided to drop out instead," Sweeney reveals. "Since then, he's just bummed around on a surfing holiday. The only person he's made an effort to keep in contact with is Bridget, so he's pretty miffed when she tells Miranda where he is, and the two of them turn up to see him."
Bridget finally convinces Riley to return with them to their new home in Ramsay Street, arguing that their parents are genuinely concerned about his welfare. Unfortunately, familiar tensions bubble to the surface the moment Riley moves in.
"He announces that he has no intention of going back to uni, which frustrates Steve," explains Sweeney. "The real issue underneath it all isn't what Riley's going to do with his career, though - the guy's anger and insecurity run much deeper..."
Sweeney admits that he and Riley do share some similar traits - which may be why he was cast in this role instead of the part he originally auditioned for. "I actually read on a Monday for Declan, who's ended up being played by James Sorensen," he says. "But then they asked me back the following Friday to read for Riley, I guess because they thought I was more suited to him. And in some ways, I am. I'm pretty independent, and can be closed off emotionally at times as well."
Taking on the role of Neighbours' latest heart-throb represents a big break for 19-year-old Sweeney, who's previously made guest appearances in a host of Aussie TV dramas, including Blue Heelers. "I had six missed calls from my agent, so I realised things must have been looking good, but didn't want to get too excited," laughs the actor. "Anyway, I called back and he asked me, 'How do you feel about a three-year contract on Neighbours?'. I was like, 'Oh yeah!'."
This article originally appeared in Inside Soap magazine dated 16th November 2007, and was written by Jason Herbison