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Reference > Erinsborough News > Charlene ‘Floats’ Into Neighbours

From cloud nine, teenager thanks her lucky stars…

Young Melbourne actress Charlene Fenn was almost walking on air when she landed the role of Helen Daniels’ niece Nikki Dennison, in the Network 10 soapie Neighbours. Charlene, 17, was ‘discovered’ while doing Saturday morning workshops at the National Drama Theatre in Melbourne.

“The casting agent from Grundys saw me at the National and I auditioned while studying for my Higher School Certificate exams,” Charlene told TV Week. Winning the part put the drama student on cloud nine.

“I was six feet off the ground when I first heard, but now I’m down to about two feet,” bubbly Charlene said. The small actress is no stranger to heights, as last year she tried parachuting. “I’ve only had one jump, but I’m hoping to go again this year,” she said. However, for the moment Charlene is happy to concentrate on the character of Nikki Dennison.

“Nikki originally came from a small Queensland town, but she attends a boarding school in Melbourne. Her mother is Helen Daniels’ (Anne Haddy) sister, so sometimes Nikki spends weekends with the Robinsons.” The situation seems simple enough, but for Nikki the set-up is far more complicated.

“Nikki’s widowed mother works in a bar to send her to a good boarding school. But Nikki doesn’t really appreciate this because she feels her mum has forced her into a position where she has to lie to be accepted by the other girls.” Consequently Nikki puts on false airs and graces during the week but is a normal, fun-loving teenager at weekends.

“It’s good having the two sides to her; it makes her more interesting,” Charlene said. “I like the real Nikki, the one who doesn’t have to impress everybody, because she’s genuine and fun. She can be quite charming when she’s with the people she loves – the people who she knows love her simply for herself. But I’m not too keen on the Nikki who attends the boarding school and who has those nasty elements of bitchiness, snobbishness and social climbing.”

The character of Nikki will casually enter Neighbours on one of her ‘usual’ visits to the Robinsons. The reason for her more frequent stays may be her interest in Danny Ramsay. But Danny (David Clencie) is not impressed by the schoolgirl image now that he is working at the bank.

“Nikki and Danny don’t get off to a good start,” Charlene said. “She gets a friend over to impress him, but it doesn’t work.” Nikki is Charlene’s first television role and she has settled in quickly to the new surroundings.

“The cast are lovely and friendly. I was a bit apprehensive but they have been really helpful and nice.”

This article originally appeared in TV Week magazine dated 1st February 1986 and was written by Kelly Bourne

Article submitted by Steve


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