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Reference > Erinsborough News > Lucky Jim!

The Neighbours favourite finds romance is a cure for loneliness

Hot on the heels of his son Scott’s recent wedding, Ramsay Street’s lonely widower Jim Robinson is headed for romance. The new light in his life is Dr Beverly Marshall, a newcomer to the series. But it’s hardly a case of love at first sight… more like loathing!

Dr Marshall is played by London-born actress Lisa Armytage, who has been signed to Neighbours for 12 months. The role marks Lisa’s return to acting after almost two years absence – she took time out to have a second child and was determined not to rush back to work.

Lisa was last seen on screen with Nicholas Eadie in the hit mini-series The Lancaster Miller Affair, playing Lancaster’s wife Anne. Before that, she co-starred with Jon Blake in the feature film Cool Change and had a three-month stint in Cop Shop, playing the girlfriend of Constable Benjamin (Greg Ross).

Lisa is coy about revealing just how far Dr Marshall’s relationship with Jim Robinson will go. But she makes it clear that they don’t really get off on the right foot. “She’s not even interested in him to start off with,” Lisa says. “Jim thinks he has been set up by his cousin Hilary, which makes him very much on the defensive. He’s prepared for us to go out to lunch, but he treats Beverly so abominably, and she is very huffy when she realises what he thinks… So it take a while before they start to relate to each other properly.”

Alan Dale, who plays Jim Robinson, says the introduction of a new character to become involved with Jim was the result of discussions he had with the writers and executive producer of Neighbours. “I felt it was a bit odd that Jim was wandering around the place without a woman. We had discussions about it and as a result Lisa was signed on for 12 months.”

Despite the coming on-screen romantic difficulties, Lisa is happily married to a lawyer, and is mother to two young children. The couple met and married in England – where Lisa studied drama – before moving to Australia seven years ago. Lisa says it was a difficult decision to sign up with Neighbours for 12 months.

“It was hard because the children are so young and I didn’t intend taking on such a major commitment at this stage. But if I felt guilty about it I wouldn’t be doing it. I think you can combine the two, but you have to be very careful and very aware. You have to say ‘Is this the right time and are we ready as a family to take it?’ We talk about it together and it seems to be working very well.”

“We’ve got a mothercraft nurse looking after the children. So I have arranged for myself to be looked after. I’ve had to fork out enough so that I’m not stressed this year and can enjoy it.”

Is Lisa ready for the recognition that will come with starring in one of Australia’s most popular shows? “I’m a bit nervous about that,” she admits. “But I look quite different without make-up and normally I go shopping without make-up. I haven’t had any trouble so far.”

Lisa, who was studying for a Bachelor of Arts degree before she became pregnant with her first child while working on Cop Shop, once planned to become a primary school teacher. But now that idea has been shelved, for now at least. “The only immediate plan is to concentrate on acting and looking after the children – and keeping my private life balanced with my work.”

This article originally appeared in TV Week magazine dated July 18th 1987 and was written by Allan Webster

Article submitted by Steve


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