How are you feeling arriving on Ramsay St as Ned Willis?
Absolutely dreading it! No, just kidding of course not! I’m very excited, the first week here was really enjoyable working with Scott Major and Kip Gamblin. Visiting Ramsay St was uncanny, it’s the same as when I watched the show 10 years ago! It was an amazing and nostalgic experience working there for the first time. I was a bit nervous, it’s a massive moment when Ned comes back and I want it to live up to the fans' expectations of who he is. I really wanted to make an entrance as a fully developed, interesting character.
Who is your favourite Neighbours character, past or present? Doesn’t have to be a Willis!
Kip would want me to say Brad! I’ve watched him many times over the years and I do love his work. But to be honest, my favourite character would have to be Steph (Carla Bonner), I love her work. She nails it and just knows how this genre works. She always makes her scenes interesting and her expressiveness is great!
Where has Ned been all this time?
Ned left with his mother Beth almost 20 years ago after her and Brad split up. They took off to Sydney and then Ned was later sent to Darwin to live with his Nan and Pop. Doug and Ned have a bit of a history, there’s some stuff that’s gone on. When Brad and Ned get back together there’s a bit of tension and a few things left for them to sort out.
Will Ned and Brad be able to get along?
That is a good question and I’m pretty sure Ned doesn’t know whether they’ll get along but he’s definitely going to try. He comes back with the right intentions but whether he will succeed is another thing entirely. It’s a lot of pain to get over, it’s a lot of hurt to be left by your father. To suddenly try and reconcile after twenty years is not going to be easy!
How will Ned react when he meets the rest of the Willis clan?
It’s a big family, imagine if you hadn’t seen the majority of your immediate family for 20 years - you’re going to feel out of the loop. Ned’s going to love getting to know his sisters and hopefully getting ‘back in’ with the family. Having missed out on a childhood with his immediate family he will now have a different learning experience. Learning how to be a brother and a son, all those things. He gets it right sometimes and he gets it wrong sometimes too.
What are your three favourite things about Ned as a character?
My favourite thing about Ned is that he prefers actions over words. As in, if Ned believes in something he goes out and does something about it rather than just saying he’s going to do it. He shows his feelings through actions rather than just saying meaningless words. Another thing I like about Ned is, though he’s quite conflicted internally about things, he’s always trying to better himself and trying to work things out. Third, he’s a tattoo artist and that’s kind of cool. I don’t think there have been many other tattoo artists in Erinsborough. There’s quite a bit of mischief involved with that so it’s going to be quite fun.
How have you found working with Kip Gamblin and Terence Donovan as your on screen father and grand father?
Those two guys are two of the funniest people I’ve ever met on set - they are ridiculously funny! I didn’t realise that Terence is 80, if I can remember lines and give a performance like he does at that age I will be chuffed! I was blown away when he told me his age because he just has so much energy and he makes me laugh. Kip’s similar, it’s so good that Terence plays his father as you can see that the humour runs in the Willis family. They’re both very fun to work with which makes for a very relaxed working environment.
Can you give us any hints at what’s in store for Ned?
Ned actually has some feelings for someone on Ramsay St but I don’t think anyone will suspect who it is. It’s very risqué! Ned also doesn’t let things lie and he will get his own back on some people...