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Former Home and Away star Isabella Giovinazzo discusses new Neighbours role

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Neighbours spoilers follow.

Neighbours' polyamorous relationship storyline takes another twist on UK screens next week as Levi Canning strikes up a bond with newcomer Felicity Higgins.

Levi (Richie Morris) is currently in a relationship with Amy Greenwood, who's also seeing Ned Willis. However, things become complicated when Levi gets to know Felicity and insists to Amy that he should be able to have another partner too.

Former Home and Away star Isabella Giovinazzo, best known for her role as Summer Bay's Phoebe Nicholson, has taken on the part of Felicity.

Digital Spy recently caught up with Isabella for an exclusive chat about the new character.

How did the Neighbours role come about?

"I'd worked together with Fremantle, who make Neighbours, on another show this year called Lie With Me. God knows why, but they asked me back to do Neighbours too!

"I didn't have to audition, which was lovely because as much as it's a huge part of being an actor, I still don't really love auditions. I'm really quite bad at them. But doing the job is a different matter so they asked me back to play Felicity, which was really nice."

How did it feel to join another iconic Aussie soap?

"I was really honoured. I'm from Melbourne and Neighbours is such a huge part of the TV industry there. It's like paying your dues – you go and do your bit on Neighbours and you get to be part of that world.

"I hadn't done it yet. I've been acting for around ten years and it just never happened. When my time finally came, I was very excited."

Photo credit: Asanka Ratnayake - Getty Images
Photo credit: Asanka Ratnayake - Getty Images

How would you describe Felicity?

"Felicity is a gutsy girl. She's fiery and she's a firefighter by trade. But she is really sweet, fun and a bit silly. I don't know if she was meant to be silly, but through working with Richie – who was very silly, fun and adventurous – she became a little silly too. I just embraced it, which is lovely.

"Felicity is from Anson's Corner and she comes to Erinsborough to drop in on a Friday pub night, probably with an eye open to maybe meet a sweet guy and have a fun night."

How do Felicity's dates with Levi go?

"They do get on really well because they have a lot in common. They're both emergency services workers, they're both adventurous and they both have strong values. They have a strong belief system of what is right and what is wrong.

"Their dates are really fun. They keep meeting in the same place and they talk for hours, laughing and teasing each other.

"Then later on, a little bit more sexual tension starts to develop, but it's something that is discovered. It's not there initially.

"I don't know if Levi used to have that in his relationship with Amy, but because of the tension of the polyamorous relationship, it's dissipating a bit so he finds that in Felicity instead. Then, as they start to get to know each other, it becomes more than that."

Is Felicity aware of Levi's polyamorous relationship?

"She doesn't know at first. He keeps Amy a total secret. Then Felicity messages Levi post-date because it went well, but she doesn't receive a reply. Levi passes it off as losing his phone, but in actuality, Amy took it and threw it in a lake!

"So there's a bit of confusion there. Things like that continue to happen, as Amy is not frustrated or jealous, but she doesn't know what to do with Felicity or how to fit her into their existing dynamic.

Photo credit: Fremantle - Channel 5
Photo credit: Fremantle - Channel 5

"I found it really interesting how Amy tried to be open-minded and fair – if she has two boyfriends, shouldn't Levi have two girlfriends? But it's not what Amy wants and in the end she has to be honest about that.

"It was really cool to see Jacinta Stapleton work through that and the level of truth, reality and respect she gave to this storyline."

The Levi/Amy/Ned plot is the first time Neighbours has explored a polyamorous relationship. Were you pleased to play a role in it?

"Yeah, it's the first time I've ever had the opportunity to work on a polyamorous story or even to witness it and be involved in some respect.

"I was able to sit back and really think about what it's like – the matter of boundaries and trust and how to portray it. It was really interesting."

Can you tease where the story goes?

"There are so many bumps in the road and occasions where Levi has hidden something from Felicity. Felicity tries to understand the polyamorous relationship because she's really into Levi.

"There are many moments where some new piece of information is revealed, or Amy does something that is weird and uncomfortable or inappropriate!

"Felicity could walk away at a few points but she doesn't. I think she gets pushed beyond her comfort zone and who she really is, because she's so interested in Levi. It's been a while since she met someone like him, who she gets along with so naturally.

"So Felicity ends up doing some things that aren't in her nature and probably aren't a great way to begin a relationship, to try and keep him. It's heartbreaking for her because she doesn't want to be that person."

Photo credit: Channel 5
Photo credit: Channel 5

How long are you in the show for?

"I think I'm around for six weeks or so."

Would you be interested in a more permanent stay?

"I never would have really seen it in my future, just because I've done similar work in the past and then it's nice to do something new. But then after being there, working with Richie and being in the environment at Neighbours, it was such a lovely place to work.

"I loved the character of Felicity. I also loved working with Richie, as he's a really brave actor. If I wanted to try something in the moment during a take, that we hadn't discussed beforehand, I could see his eyes register that. He stepped up to the bar and beyond every time.

"In fun scenes or scenes that were emotional, difficult or heartbreaking, Richie was there beside me and it was really fun. So because of that, I would really consider it."

How do you look back on Home and Away? Was it the right choice to leave when you did?

"It was a really difficult decision and I did question it afterwards because I loved it so much. It was a dream job. I worked at the beach and the crew and the cast were wonderful. I still miss so many people.

"It's this really fun place where all these people aren't wearing shoes and you go for a swim at lunchtime or you play rugby. I got to play so many different amazing stories and Phoebe was crazy, so that was fun.

"My life was changing a lot at that time and I needed to move on for personal reasons, but it was a hard decision."

Neighbours airs weekdays at 1.45pm and 5.30pm on Channel 5 (UK) and Mondays to Thursdays at 6.30pm on 10 Peach (Australia).

Read more Neighbours spoilers on our dedicated homepage

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