Kate Ken­dall set for a juicy new sea­son on Ram­say Street as her Neigh­bours se­cret plays out

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - TV Guide - - FRONT PAGE -

WHEN Kate Ken­dall played feisty un­der­cover de­tec­tive Angie Piper in Aussie crime drama Stingers back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, no one would have pre­dicted the ac­tor would be­come one of Aus­tralia’s favourite TV mums.

Piper, teamed with Se­nior Con­sta­ble Peter Church (Peter Phelps), was too busy bust­ing bad guys to get all motherly.

Things are very dif­fer­ent in 2014.

Ken­dall is mar­ried to for­mer AFL foot­baller Wayne John­ston. The pair have a four-year-old son Darcy and Ken­dall is mum to four adult step-chil­dren from John­son’s pre­vi­ous mar­riage.

On Neigh­bours, Ken­dall plays Lauren Turner who, along with hus­band Matt (Josef Brown), has three chil­dren – Ma­son (Tay­lor Glock­ner), Am­ber (Jenna Rosenow) and Bai­ley (Calen Macken­zie).

Ken­dall is a one-woman Brady Bunch with real life and TV fam­i­lies to take care of. Julie Rafter – eat your heart out.

“Neigh­bours works in so well, fit­ting in with fam­ily life,” Ken­dall says. “I’m home at a rea­son­able hour and that was re­ally im­por­tant to me.

“I’m also at a time in my life when I want a bit of se­cu­rity hap­pen­ing. That def­i­nitely played a part in my de­ci­sion­mak­ing (join­ing Neigh­bours).

“Ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Richard Jasek had been a di­rec­tor on

Stingers. See­ing the di­rec­tion the show was tak­ing and the char­ac­ter – I thought, ‘Let’s go for it’.”

Neigh­bours fans know the char­ac­ter of Lauren Turner first ap­peared on the show in 1993 and was orig­i­nally played by Sarah Van­den­berg. The ac­tor quit the fol­low­ing year, re­port­edly af­ter producers said the char­ac­ter would have less screen time.

Lauren is the daugh­ter of Lou Car­pen­ter (Tom Oliver) and in her first stint had an af­fair with Brad Wil­lis (Scott Michaelson). In the fi­nal episode of

Neigh­bours for 2013, Ken­dall’s Lauren dropped a bomb­shell to Lucy Robin­son (Melissa Bell) that she had a baby to Brad, but never told him. She had been keep­ing this se­cret from ev­ery­one ex­cept her mother Kathy (Tina Bur­sill) who helped her hide the preg­nancy.

The baby died and feel­ings of grief still en­gulf Lauren. That has the po­ten­tial to rip her mar­riage to Matt apart. The cou­ple live across the road from Brad. Matt al­ready senses that Lauren still has feel­ings for her for­mer flame.

Lauren’s life un­rav­els fur­ther as she deals with el­dest son Ma­son head­ing off to pur­sue a new job. Lauren had brought her fam­ily back to Erins­bor­ough from Mount Isa af­ter Ma­son was sent to ju­ve­nile de­ten­tion for a lo­cal rob­bery.

“Be­cause Neigh­bours has so many fans, I’m sure there are peo­ple who are bru­tally aware that I do things dif­fer­ently to the orig­i­nal ac­tor,” Ken­dall says.

“It (Lauren’s orig­i­nal ap­pear­ance) was such a long time ago that I was given carte blanche to cre­ate a new char­ac­ter. We still hark back to his­tor­i­cal facts like the re­la­tion­ship be­tween Brad and Lauren but if you’re go­ing to play a char­ac­ter that might be there for a while you can’t be do­ing some­body else’s in­ter­pre­ta­tion on it.

“Lauren has taken lots of in­ter­est­ing turns this year. She has a big heart and is the cen­tre of her fam­ily and home but I’ve been look­ing for in­ter­est­ing ways to por­tray her so that she’s not too much of a do­mes­tic god­dess.

“That (do­mes­tic god­dess) is so far re­moved from me. I don’t bake. Lauren’s al­ways whip­ping out a cake and tak­ing food around to other peo­ple’s houses.

“She is a wife and a mother that on the sur­face could look

quite bland and I wanted to take her out of that area. She has se­crets which makes the char­ac­ter more in­ter­est­ing. It gives her a bit of an edge. Oth­er­wise she could come off as per­fect. If you have kept a se­cret for a long time then there is usu­ally a big­ger ex­plo­sion when it comes out.” Shoot­ing 192 episodes of

Stingers – some­times 40 in a sin­gle year – was great train­ing for Neigh­bours.

Af­ter Stingers ended in 2004, Ken­dall took on a string of the­atre roles in­clud­ing the lead in the Mel­bourne The­atre Com­pany pro­duc­tion of Next to

Nor­mal and a fea­ture part in the mu­si­cal ver­sion of An Of­fi­cer

and a Gen­tle­man.

Ken­dall’s TV work has

in­cluded com­edy The Li­brar­i­ans and teen thriller Con­spir­acy 365.

“Work­ing at such a rapid pace (on Neigh­bours) is a chal­lenge,” Ken­dall says. “You’ve got to be re­ally pre­pared. You lit­er­ally have 25 min­utes for a scene some­times – 40 min­utes if you’re re­ally lucky.

“I re­mem­ber when I first started I also fell into that trap of call­ing Jackie Wood­burne ‘Su­san’ and Alan Fletcher ‘Karl’.

“Work­ing with a new fam­ily was a re­ally tricky thing too. We had to make it real for the au­di­ence – so that it didn’t look like we had just been thrown to­gether. When you do so many scenes with your on-air fam­ily, they do start to feel like your chil­dren.

“In real life, be­ing a step mum has been an amaz­ing ride but it is dif­fer­ent to hav­ing a lit­tle per­son that you have given birth to.

“Moth­er­hood is the best thing.”

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