Home’s where THE PART IS
It wrapped up last year with an avalanche of drama, romance, breakups, smiles and tears – plus a life-inthe-balance cliff-hanger.
As soapie stalwart Home and Away returns for its 26th season on Australian screens, the recipe at Summer Bay is proving as palatable as ever.
The show has launched the careers of a swath of young Aussie actors in the US, and has made household names and pantomime stars of others.
Rhiannon Fish and Charles Cottier, who play on-again- off-again couple April and Dex in the show, have similar hopes. But for now, the photogenic duo who joined the series about three years ago, are staying put at Summer Bay, thanks to a juicy season-starter storyline in which their relationship faces new challenges that may tear them apart.
Fish’s April and Cottier’s Dex have had a colourful history.
Since joining the show they’ve had the classic teen angst pairing, of almosttogether, then totally together, then breaking up.
In the middle of last year the two characters finally reconciled as a couple, but Dex was then involved in a car crash. His struggle to deal with the after effects, which include seizures, in 2013 will test the couple’s bond.
For Cottier, 20, who joined Home and Away in 2010 and in 2011 was nominated for a Silver Logie for most popular new male talent, it’s a chance to explore a more mature relationship in a role he landed when he was straight out of high school and attending night classes at the Australian Acting Academy.
He auditioned on the Gold Coast and the very next day was told he had the role, prompting a move to Sydney.
The past three years have been an apprenticeship of sorts – an experience he compares with “being at university”.
In 2012, as his character matured, so did Cottier.
“It was a great year for me. I moved in with my girlfriend – until then I’d been sharing with ( co-star) Luke Mitchell, I turned 20, and my character went through, and is till going through, some testing times,” Cottier says.
“As we start 2013, for Dex and April, it’s a more mature relationship, but he is struggling with seizures, and doesn’t know if he will be returning to work.
“He wants to be normal again, and he doesn’t want April to have to worry about him or care for him. She wants
The great thing is there’s always hope for the two of them, they belong together
– Debbie Schipp
• Home And Away
Monday-Friday, 7pm, Seven to go and be a doctor and he needs constant care. So there are some rocky times ahead.”
When he landed the Home and Away gig, all Cottier knew was that he wanted to be an actor.
Three years on he has learned plenty and is now certain of his choice.
“I don’t have a master plan, but the dream I suppose is always to make it overseas,” he says.
“For now, I think I have a fair bit of time left on the show. Certainly there’s more to learn about Dex.”
For Fish, 21, the relationship difficulties her character April faces with Dex are a far cry from real life, in which she remains smitten with boyfriend, X Factor winner Reece Mastin.
The duo became an item last June, after she ended a long-term relationship with another former Home and Away actor, Lincoln Lewis.
Now, Fish and Mastin are regularly caught indulging in public displays of affection and declaring their love for each other.
But for April and Dex, it’s an entirely different matter.
“His accident has changed their relationship completely,” Fish says.
“He’s not telling her about the seizures, he doesn’t want to trust her with it and feels it will ruin her life as well as his.
“She’s almost been thrust into this mother role.
“The great thing is, there’s always hope for the two of them, because I think at the end of the day they belong together. Charles thinks that too. I just want her and Dex to live happily ever after.”
Fish and Cottier are close on the set, and not just because they are coupled up as characters.
“He’s probably my closest friend on set, that’s for sure,” Fish says.
“I started on Home and Away only a few days before him in 2010. Ultimately I think we’ll leave at the same time.”
But the Canadian-born beauty confesses while she dreams of a Hollywood role, for now she loves her life just as it is.
“Work-wise and personally, last year was the best year I’ve ever had. I’m still learning every day on Home and Away. It’s a safe environment, and there’s so much experience to soak up,” she says.
“I want to give LA a crack at some point, but I’m still young, so I just want to play it by ear.
“I’m so content with where I am. I just don’t want to mess with that.”