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Reference > Erinsborough News > Rebel, Rebel!

Who’d have thought a school dropout would end up playing Ramsay Street’s new teacher?

For a guy who admits to have been “a right little bastard” when he was at school, who’d have thought that Aussie actor Jonathan Lee would end up playing a school teacher?

“Ooh, I was a real terror at school!” laughs 29-year-old Jonathan who plays Ramsay Street’s new school teacher Wayne Duncan, “and that’s why I can relate to Wayne. I used to be the kid in the class who gave the teachers a hard time so I know what he’s facing.”

As the school rebel, Jonathan often found himself in trouble (“yeah, I was always getting caned”) but reckons that his wayward nature gave him his biggest break in life.

“When I was 15 I was offered the chance to go to Nepal,” recalls Jon, “and my headmaster told me in no uncertain terms that he thought I’d learn more by travelling than staying on at school.”

Jonathan’s four month stint in Nepal gave him a real taste for travelling and for the next ten years of his life, he travelled around the world, only coming back to his native Australia to earn money to continue with his journey. Jon says he had a ball backpacking around the world although one incident made him wish he’d stayed at home.

“I lived in Tahiti for six months when I was 16,” he recalls, “where I worked as a pig farmer. It sounds horrible I know, but the pigs were really lovely creatures and I took a real shine to one of them. He was a real character – he had a twisted neck and a black eye and I felt sorry for him because he looked so ugly. For six months, I looked after him and made sure he got enough to eat and then one day the family I was living with served him up as dinner! I was heartbroken!”

Jonathan’s the sort of guy who could keep you amused for hours with his travellers tales, but he’s the first to admit that there’s a limit to how long a person can stay travelling before they suss out that there’s more to life than just beaches, backpacks and sunsets.

“I’d always done bits and pieces of acting and a lot of commercials when I came back to Sydney,” says Jonathan, “and I realised that I could make it as an actor.” After two years of training, he managed to land the role of Wayne and it’s been pretty plain sailing from there. A lot of people in this business are really snobbish about soaps but I think they’re a brilliant way of learning your trade. And when you realise that only three percent of actors are ever in work, getting a full time starring role can’t be bad!”

In true soap fashion, Wayne’s life is destined to be anything but quiet and top of his agenda will be an on-off romance with Gaby Willis. “They have a nightmare relationship!” groans Jonathan. “They’re really attracted to each other but because they’re both stubborn and extremely fiery, they have a terrible time together.”

So will they resolve their differences? “Well, I’ve had a couple of relationships likee theirs in the past,” says Jonathan mysteriously, “and in my humble experience they always end in tears.”

This article originally appeared in Inside Soap magazine, dated February 1993

Article submitted by Steve


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