Neighbours spoilers follow for UK viewers.
Neighbours star Nicholas Coghlan has spoken to Digital Spy about the future of Shane Rebecchi's drugs storyline, warning that it's just the beginning of bigger dramas to come.
Shane is currently struggling with a secret addiction while dealing with the stress of his work, study and family commitments. So far on UK screens, Shane's friend and workmate Roxy Willis (Zima Anderson) is the only person who has found this out.
Upcoming episodes see Shane's wife Dipi (Sharon Johal) also start to realise that he's keeping secrets, leaving her upset as she becomes desperate for answers.
Speaking to Digital Spy about the ongoing trouble, Nicholas explained: "This is probably the biggest peak for Shane in the whole time that he's been on Ramsay Street. It's definitely the most serious storyline he's had to go through. It feels pretty good to have some meaty material to work with.
"Up until this storyline, Shane really hasn't had any kind of 'A-storyline' or story arc. But coming into the show, I had no expectations at all. Doing the job was part and parcel of being an actor – a gig comes up and you do it.
"I suppose the writers' focus since I started has been really pleasurable, as it's been fun to mostly joke around. There's been some serious stuff, but it's mostly been fun.
"Now with this story, things are getting a bit more serious. It's probably the first time I've really been put through my acting paces in a real sense. So it's good. It's been a long time coming, I suppose, but it's been really good to stretch the muscles."
Asked whether Shane's crisis will be a long-running storyline or whether he'll get help quickly, Nicholas replied: "I think initially, it resolves reasonably quickly but then it rolls on – in one way or another!
"I think there's a lot of trauma to be explored in this storyline, on lots of different characters. I think this is just the beginning. It's the beginning of a long fall, I think."
Nicholas also opened up about why Shane was tempted into using drugs in the first place.
He said: "I think it's complex. Shane has a lot of baggage and unresolved issues. He clearly feels a real sense of worthlessness and he has low self-esteem. He fears the judgement of people and particularly of Dipi.
"Shane is driven to want to succeed in some way. He wants to get his degree – this piece of paper that proves he is capable of something. He feels he hasn't amounted to much in his life, so he's driven to get his degree.
"The course that he's taking is an accelerated programme – it's three years compressed into one or something like that! So the pressure is great and he's not coping."
Asked whether he's hoping Shane and Dipi can work things out, Nicholas replied: "Yeah, I am. I think it's going to be a long road ahead for them as a couple, regardless of what's happening.
"Shane's low self-esteem, and Dipi's frustrations with that, are difficult issues for them to work out. I hope they do work it out but it'll be difficult."
Neighbours airs weekdays at 1.45pm and 5.30pm on Channel 5 (UK) and 6.30pm on 10 Peach (Australia).
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