Jackie Woodburne (Neighbours' Susan Kennedy) Interview

As Dr Karl’s long-suffering wife Susan Kennedy, Jackie Woodburne has portrayed many poignant, deeply emotional scenes.

However, Jackie’s most vivid recollections of her role are those which include plenty of hilarious incidents.

“On at least three occasions, Karl and Susan were caught naked,” she says. “Once was at the beach, then there was Lou’s spa, and the other time was when a group of Japanese tourists came across them skinny-dipping in the bush.

“Alan Fletcher, who plays Karl, and I, weren’t really nude, though; we couldn’t possibly have subjected the film crew to that! In fact we were shot from the shoulders up and the legs down. We just laughed hysterically throughout it all because it was so ridiculous.

“Whenever Alan laughs, he cries. So when I watch an episode of Neighbours, I’ll always know whether he’s been laughing because his eyes will be watery still.”

One of Jackie‘s other favourite storylines involved Karl turning feral in his ‘back to nature’ phase.

“He grew a bushy beard and decided to keep chickens,” says Jackie. “We had a lot of fun with this because the chickens had lice, which our characters caught. But Karl was so keen to be a nature boy that he also bought some sheep and let a horse come into the house!”

On a far more serious note, however, Susan is currently experiencing what turns out be a major health problem that will have a profound impact on her and her family’s lives.

“Susan has dizzy spells and causes a terrible accident when she falls asleep at the wheel of her car,” says Jackie.

“Her symptoms are misdiagnosed, but when the real condition she is suffering from, is revealed, it’s a shock for everyone. Susan is such a strong person mentally, but her body is letting her down. There’s a big emotional struggle for her ahead.

“I must admit, I found it very distressing to play these scenes. I’m so attached to Susan that I felt as if I really was going through the same illness as her.”

Born in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, Jackie‘s family emigrated to Australia when she was three.

She trained at the National Theatre School in Melbourne, and went on to play Julie Egbert in Prisoner Cell Block H.

Her other TV credits include: Cop Shop; Sons and Daughters; A Country Practice and The Young Doctors.

She was nominated in 2005 for the Best Female Performance in a Soap Opera award at the prestigious international Rose d'Or TV festival.

Neighbours makes its debut on Five on Monday 11th February 2008 in its traditional slots of 1.45pm and 5.30pm every weekday.