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Reference > Erinsborough News > Glen Crashes Out

Building site accident leaves him a paraplegic.

Neighbours begins 1992 with a drama involving TV Week Logie-winner Richard Huggett, who leaves the series next month after a year as Glen Donnelly.

In the final episode of 1991, Glen fell from a building site. When Neighbours returns on January 6, Glen is taken to hospital in a coma, with his neck in a brace. He wakes to learn he is paralysed from the waist down.

The accident throws his loved ones in turmoil, particularly his fiancée Gaby (Rachel Blakely). To prepare for the storyline, Richard visited the spinal injuries unit of Melbourne’s Austin Hospital to talk with paraplegics.

“It was pretty horrible,” he says. “I talked to one guy who had fallen out of a tree only two weeks before. He was about to have his 40th birthday and he was going to buy a motorised go-kart so he could go racing with his kids. I looked into the guy’s eyes and they were just pools. It was really sad.”

Richard also talked to doctors and nurses. “The psychological effects go from disbelief, doubt that they will cope, then guilt at the burden they will be on their families,” he says. “Also, something like 60 per cent of spinal injuries are caused when people are drunk and doing stupid things, like falling off balconies or having car accidents.”

“There was a great sadness for there people. It made me aware of them. I was depressed.”

When Glen realises he is a paraplegic, he makes some important decisions, the first being to call off his wedding to Gaby.

“Glen thinks Gaby will waste her life on him and he doesn’t want that so, although he’s in love with her, he tells her he doesn’t love her and wants her to go,” Richard says. “She doesn’t believe him, of course, but he insists.”

In the next three weeks, Glen tries to comes to terms with the accident. Richard’s final episode screens on February 6.

“I am glad that I left with something dramatic rather than just wandering out,” says Richard, now holidaying overseas with his girlfriend Myriam. “I’ve really had enough of TV. This holiday is long overdue.”

This article originally appeared in TV Week magazine, dated 4th January 1992, and written by Chrissie Camp

Article submitted by Steve


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