Neighbours star Jackie Woodburne on Finn Kelly's return

Daniel Kilkelly
·6-min read

From Digital Spy

Neighbours spoilers follow for UK viewers.

Neighbours legend Susan Kennedy bravely confronts her past this week as she uses a visualisation technique to get answers over Finn Kelly.

Susan has agreed to help Olivia Bell write a new book about Finn's crimes, but this means dredging up some highly traumatic memories.

With so much still unanswered over Finn's behaviour, Susan tries to 'see' Finn and ask him the questions that still haunt her. Rob Mills has reprised his villainous role as Finn for these special scenes.

Digital Spy recently caught up with Jackie Woodburne, who plays Susan, to hear more about the storyline.

How did you feel about the Finn story being revisited in this way?

"It's terrific. It was such a huge story and the audience responded to it so strongly the first time around, so to revisit it in this way was a great idea.

"The way the writers plotted the story was also very clever. Finn isn't a ghost or a hallucination, but Susan is trying to visualise him to answer the questions that remain unanswered because Finn died."

When did you find out that Rob Mills was coming back to play these scenes?

"The producers called me in and explained the idea for the story ahead of time. They gave me a very detailed synopsis of what they were planning to do. I was told about Olivia coming back to town because she wanted to write another version of her book.

"That then became the springboard for Finn reappearing on screen. It was quite a slow-burn story, because we had a couple of weeks of scenes with Olivia before Finn returned. So there was quite a good, solid build-up to it."

Why has Susan chosen to work with Olivia after her past betrayal?

"Susan's initial response was a knee-jerk reaction. Just the mention of Olivia and her first book brought back so many horrific memories for Susan, so that's why her response was a blanket 'no'!

"Susan told Olivia that she didn't want to know her or anything about the new book. It was a 'fight or flight' response, because of those terrible memories that Olivia triggered for her.

"But as the story has developed, Susan has come to change her mind. She has agreed to work with Olivia on the book because she wants the truth to be told. Susan wants the opportunity to really drill down into what happened and get some sort of resolution."

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

What can you tell us about the visualisation technique that Susan uses?

"When Susan talks to David about it, he suggests the visualisation technique. He explains that Susan can try to 'see' Finn in order to get answers to the questions that she can't ask him because he's dead. Susan decides to give it a go in order to try to find some answers."

What was it like to work with Rob again?

"It was great. Rob and I had such a brilliant time doing the original Finn story. We had a lot of fun together. We both knew it was a big storyline and the audience response to it was so great. We were very, very happy to have an opportunity to do it all again, but this time from a slightly different perspective."

Susan has mixed feelings over seeing Finn again, doesn't she?

"Yes, ultimately when Susan tries this visualisation technique and it's successful, she gets such a shock and is so confronted by the sight of Finn that she just shuts it down. Then in the light of day, she thinks: 'No, I need to do this'.

"Susan tries the technique again and is able to visualise Finn. Gradually, she's able to start asking him the questions that have kept her locked in the past, making it impossible for her to move forward and have closure. She's able to find out why she has been unable to get past it all."

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

Will this give Susan and Karl the chance to finally close the door on Finn?

"After Finn, Susan no longer trusts her ability to be able to read people. She no longer trusts her instincts. She thinks she can never let anyone else into her life and she can never trust herself to be vulnerable, because she got it so wrong with Finn and so many lives were damaged because of that.

"Susan wants to try to understand that. In talking to Finn through these visualisations, she's able to understand that inherently she's a good, decent person. So if she wants to have the joy of having loving and deep relationships with people, then she has to let that go, trust again, let people in and take the risk.

"Sometimes she's going to be wrong, but it's the only way she's going to be able to have more joy with these people in her life again."

How are the next few months looking for Karl and Susan?

"Karl is very upset with Susan for excluding him from this process, but Susan doesn't want to include him because she thinks that he'll catastrophise.

"Susan also wants to have full control of it. Even though Karl is so concerned about the impact this is going to have on her mental health, she is determined to see this through and get through to the outcome, whatever that may be.

"So they are at odds for a little while, but ultimately, Susan realises that she can't change the past. The Finn situation happened, but she cannot let it inform the rest of her life.

"Once she makes that breakthrough, Karl relaxes and they're able to proceed and get back to an even keel."

How have you coped with the past year? Has it been a welcome relief that Neighbours has kept going?

"Our industry has suffered a great deal – more than most, probably. So many of our colleagues have found themselves totally unemployed and unable to seek work. It's like a door closed.

"So for those of us who have been able to go to work every day, albeit in very different circumstances, we understand how lucky we are and we're very grateful.

"We're just counting the days until the industry can get back to normal. We're just starting to see theatres reopen again with reduced houses, so that's been good. A lot of the bigger theatre shows are getting back on track.

"Fingers crossed that keeps going and all of our wonderful artists can get back to what they love doing – and audiences can get back to watching them."

Neighbours airs weekdays at 1.45pm and 5.30pm on Channel 5.

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