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Reference > Erinsborough News > A Friend And Neighbour

Rachel moves into Ramsay Street amid two big dramas…

Quietly-spoken Rachel Friend is emerging as Neighbours’ new ratings weapon after the departure of TV Week Gold Logie winner Kylie Minogue.

Rachel, 18, has a 13-week contract with the series and, judging by the reaction of insiders, it is likely she will stay on. It is hoped Rachel will fill the void created by Kylie, who is taking a break from the series to pursue her singing career.

Rachel – no carbon copy of Kylie’s alter ego, Charlene Robinson – will play the effervescent Bronwyn Davies, who makes her debut on July 7 following the disappearance of Des’ (Paul Keane) baby son, Jamie.

Ian Smith, who plays Harold Bishop (Charlene’s stepfather), echoes the thoughts of the cast and network staff when asked about the exit of Kylie and his confidence in Rachel. “I’ve been in television too long to say someone can be successfully or regretfully replaced at any given time,” Ian says. “I don’t know whether to be happy or sad about Kylie. She’s been a good friend and a huge asset to the show. She is also a very unselfish actress, always sharing the scene and screen. There wouldn’t be a member of the cast not wishing her well or hoping she will come back. But we’ve got a beautiful girl (Rachel) taking over. She has great appeal and will be a total replacement. She won’t have any of Charlene’s characteristics.”

Bronwyn’s first contact with Des is at the shopping centre. A girl steals Jamie while Des’ attention is diverted, then abandons the baby. Bronwyn finds Jamie and returns him to Des.

“She (Bronwyn) certainly has a lot to say in her early scenes,” an excited Rachel says. “She tells Des he’s an incompetent father, then ends up becoming Jamie’s new nanny.”

Bronwyn also plays a part in the emotion-charged break-up of Mike (Guy Pearce) and Jane (Annie Jones). Bronwyn brings Des to the realisation that Jane’s interest has progressed beyond friendship.

“Bronwyn is very confident and outspoken,” Rachel says. “With Des and Jane, she really puts her foot in it without meaning harm. It also turns out that Mike is a little jealous of her.”

Rachel completed her HSC at Sacre Coeur, in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, and has deferred until 1989 a commerce course at Melbourne University. “I decided I would take this year off to get as much acting work as possible,” Rachel says, “so I’m really rapt about getting the part (in Neighbours). Up until this year I had been concentrating on the schoolwork so it’s good to have a break.”

Neighbours is Rachel’s first solid commitment to a television series, having appeared in guest roles in Prime Time, Zoo Family and The Bartons. She was also in a feature film, Frog Dreaming, four years ago.

This article originally appeared in TV Week magazine, dated July 2nd 1988, and was written by Darren Devlyn

Article submitted by Steve


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