Reference > Erinsborough News > From Black Bess To Mad Madge
Anne Charleston is set to take a new role in Neighbours
She was hailed as TV’s latest superbitch, the domineering, manipulative and filthy-rich matriarch Elizabeth McArthur, or “Black Bess” on Nine’s ill-fated series Possession.
Now she’s set to return to our screens in the new year when Neighbours makes it historic switch to Network 10 from the Seven Network.
And this time Anne Charleston is going to be making Max Ramsay’s life a misery. Max (Francis Bell) probably figured he had enough problems when his wife, Maria (Dasha Blahova) walked out on him. But, really, his troubles are just about to start – the moment his sister, Madge Mitchell, arrives on his front doorstep.
“When Madge hears from a mutual friend that Max’s wife has left him, she hops on a plane and arrives on his doorstep, complete with 24 pieces of luggage,” Anne told TV WEEK.
Madge is convinced Max needs someone to look after him and that she’s just the one to do it. But Max couldn’t imagine anything worse.
“She’s a real cow,” Anne giggled. “Poor Madge doesn’t set out to be. She means well, but she’s an absolute pain in the neck. Max doesn’t want his sister anywhere near him, let alone in his own house, and he’s horrified to think she’s going to spend one night under the same roof.”
At this stage, Anne said she was signed on for six months’ work with the Neighbours series. But she may well continue beyond that time. Anne doesn’t believe in making any long-range plans.
“I was all set to move to Sydney to live when Possession began early this year,” she said. “But I didn’t want to interrupt my son Nicholas’ schooling in the middle of the year, so I thought I’d leave it six months.”
But it has all worked out for the best for the Melbourne-based actress, as she’s now back on TV with the Neighbours.
Not much is known about Madge’s background. “She was married, but I think her husband died, because she’s already making eyes at Jim Robinson (Alan Dale),” Anne said. “And I can’t imagine her doing that if she still had a husband around. She’s a very prim and proper lady.”
Anne said that when Neighbours started on screen she didn’t see the early episodes. “But then I tuned in on a couple of nights and I have to admit I was hooked,” she said. “I think it’s a show in which the domestic situations are very believable, and it works very well. I was particularly impressed with young Kylie Flinker; she’s fantastic – such a talented and natural performer.”
This article originally appeared in TV Week magazine, dated November 30th 1985, and was written by Patrice Fidgeon