Lucy Robinson (Neighbours)
Melissa Bell as Lucy Robinson (2013)
|Portrayed by||Kylie Flinker (1985–87)
Sasha Close (1987–89)
Melissa Bell (1991–2014)
|Duration||1985–89, 1991–92, 1993, 1995, 2005, 2013–14|
|First appearance||18 March 1985|
|Last appearance||30 January 2014|
|Created by||Reg Watson|
|Introduced by||Reg Watson (1985)
Don Battye (1991)
Ian Bradley (1993)
Bill Searle (1995)
Ric Pellizzeri (2005)
Richard Jasek (2013)
Lucy Robinson is a fictional character from the Australian soap opera Neighbours, played by Melissa Bell. The character has previously been portrayed by Kylie Flinker and Sasha Close. She was created by producer Reg Watson as one of the serial's original characters. Lucy was a prominent figure during the early 90's of Neighbours, with Bell playing her on and off for five years. Portrayed originally as being clever, a recast was implemented to fit the character's transformation and she became the stereotype of a ditzy blonde female. She has been involved in storylines including battling a brain tumour, coping with blindness, incest, modelling and addictions to drugs, alcohol and spending. She has also been positively and negatively received by critics for her "busty blonde" image while played by Bell. Lucy made a brief return on 6 May 2013 and returned again on 5 December.
Lucy was created by Reg Watson as a young child, to help the serial appeal to all ages. She was originally played by Kylie Flinker until 1987 when she quit in order to concentrate on her school work; the role was recast with Sasha Close playing her. Close said she was very lucky to get the part, with Lucy's storylining leading to departure for the character, Close agreed to film on a recurring basis until she was in her final year of school. In 1991 Lucy was recast once more after producers decided Lucy would feature in the show on a permanent basis, with Melissa Bell taking over. This allowed Lucy to become one of the show's central characters.
"I love my character Lucy. She's so strong and stands up for what she believes in. Some of the soap characters around are far too wimpy and not feisty enough."—Bell on Lucy's personality. (1993)
Whilst Lucy was young she is described as being an innocent child who never does any wrong. A writer for the Neighbours Pocket Trivia Book noted that Lucy has her "fair share of adventures" while growing up on-screen. She is Jim Robinson's (Alan Dale) "spoiled little girl" and behaves "terrible" towards her father's girlfriend Zoe Davis (Ally Fowler) taping "ugly threats" from television shows and playing them over the phone to scare Zoe. She is also a "disobedient snooper" and causes trouble for Rosemary Daniels (Joy Chambers) by exposing letters sent from her ex-fiancée Gerard Singer (Bryan Marshall) and mother Helen Daniels' (Anne Haddy), confessing their love. But Lucy does have "a good side" to her curiosity; for instance she helps the police catch the culprit of a robbery that occurs at Clive Gibbons' (Geoff Paine) house. In her teenage years she was described as giving her father plenty of reasons to worry, going from dead-end job to the next and being incredibly flirtatious. During the character's return in 2005, whilst an interviewed by Digital Spy, Bell spoke about how Lucy has grown up and learned from her mistake, changing from a rebellious young woman into a clever business woman and stated: "I started in 1990 and I've come back many times, the last about eight years ago. Now I'd describe Lucy as a centered woman with her life together, very focused on her business. But she probably yearns for a family and for love. Just growing up does that to people. She's grown from her early twenties to her late twenties, and she's very different to when she was at earlier stages of her life." She also made light of the fact that Lucy has Robinson qualities and can be a bit ruthless at times. A Channel 5 writer described Lucy as a feisty character who is often embroiled in the dramas surrounding her corrupt brother, Paul (Stefan Dennis).
Lucy had often been portrayed as an immature and spoilt character. But a car accident forces her to reevaluate her life choices. Lucy gets drunk following an argument with Jim and attempts to drive home. With Brad Willis (Scott Michaelson) as her passenger she crashes the car into a lake. Bell told an Inside Soap reporter that Lucy behaves without thinking, then cannot concentrate while being "all over the place". The actress did not drive the car into the lake. But she and Michaelson did film in the lake on a night shoot. They were given belts to keep them floating in scenes. However the belts only managed to drag them down into the surface mud below. On-screen Lucy faces the consequence of her ordeal and as Bell stated; "this is the incident that really shakes her, she realises that she could have killed someone, and that really makes her stop and think." She believed that her fictional counterpart's story would help viewers to be vigilant about driving under the influence of alcohol.
Departure and 1993 return
In 1992 Bell quit her role as Lucy in order to host a chat show, of her exit she revealed she was sad to leave but the producers decided to leave the door open for her to return in the future, already having agreed to return to filming in 1993 for a three-episode stint especially for the 2000th episode of Neighbours. Lucy's departure storyline played her deciding to take a modelling job in Singapore. Bell explained [to an Inside Soap reporter] that "I think that was what she originally said she wanted to do, and then she went through about sixteen career changes before landing that particular job." Bell kept her promise and Lucy appeared again in 1993. The return sees Lucy attend her grandmother Helen 's birthday party. But she also announces that she has married her agent, David Kazalian (Frankie J. Holden). Bell told from Inside Soap that "Lucy hasn't taken the very conventional route in her life so far. She's been off around the world modelling and she fell in love with the man who looked after her." Lucy's family are not impressed with her new marriage. Helen becomes worried as she thinks that they behave in a cold manner around each other. Bell described David as "not the warmest of men" and they do not spend much time "canoodling". Bell was happy to reprise the role because Lucy is "fun" and "very versatile" character.
In 1995, Bell returned to Neighbours for three months. Bell wrote a letter to the then story editor with suggestions on how Lucy could return. Delighted with her ideas they telephoned her to discuss Lucy's imminent comeback. The storyline saw Mark Gottlieb (Bruce Samazan) find her working as a go-go dancer in "a seedy strip joint". He took her back to her family, where upon Lucy revealed that her marriage to David had broken down and her dreams of becoming a model had been "shattered". She then became desperate and began dancing to make money. Lucy moved back in with her family, but her problems did not end. Bell told Victoria Ross from Inside Soap "She starts taking drugs and drinking heavily, but because it's Neighbours you won't see too much slurring or staggering about!"
20th anniversary return
In 2005 Neighbours celebrated its 20th anniversary; Bell along with numerous other past cast members had been asked to return. Her return was later confirmed and it was stated that she would re-appear towards the end of 2005. Bell has stated that producers approached her with a proposal to return six months prior to filming. During an interview with media reporting website Digital Spy, Bell was asked what it was like playing Lucy after two previous actresses had taken the role; she replied: "It was really easy because I took over the character when she left boarding school and was grown up. I started when I was 18, and looked at old tapes to see her character and her relationships." In another interview Bell said: "I love Lucy so much. She is so me. I played Lucy at such a young age; only 18 years old. So playing her at 32 was wonderful for me, as she had changed so much over the years. Bell told Herbison of All About Soap that Lucy returns to Ramsay Street to visit Paul. She wants to help him reconnect with his family and change his life following an accident.
In May 2010, Bell told Jason Herbison [interviewing then for Inside Soap] that she wanted to return to Neighbours and that Lucy was her "best friend". She noted that a return would be viable because of Paul's presence and suggested that Lucy could control and expand Lassiters. On 14 March 2013, it was announced that Bell had reprised her role and would be returning to Neighbours. Bell filmed her scenes a few weeks prior to the announcement and was on-screen for two weeks from 6 May. She told Thomas Mitchell from TV Week that her first day back on set was not as strange as she had thought it would be and she had enjoyed stepping back into Lucy's shoes, especially as the character is in control of her life. Bell admitted that despite being the third actress to play Lucy, she felt like she owned the character. She said "I've played the character since I was 17 [now aged 40], so I took her from a young woman to a mature adult business-woman. I've always loved the character and it was really fun for me to come back and revisit Lucy."
Lucy's return coincided with a storyline involving her brother Paul and a "crucial time" in his life. Bell stated that she was glad Paul was always up to something as it made for an interesting storyline. Lucy has become the head of Lassiter's Worldwide and she returns to sort out the corruption and bribery that has taken place. On Paul's reaction to Lucy's visit, Bell stated "Paul and Lucy have always had a close relationship. She's looked up to him over the years and she'll always be his little sister. But, now she's the boss, overruling him and he doesn't like it. They get along at first, but just how long will that last?" Lucy fires a lot of Lassiter's staff and she is "astonished" to learn how Paul's been running the business. Bell added that Lucy is not married and is very focused on her career. She is "more assertive than she used to be" and has learnt a lot. While she is in town, Lucy also becomes keen to meet her niece, Kate Ramsay (Ashleigh Brewer), for the first time. During an August interview with Kylie Gillies and Larry Emdur from The Morning Show, Bell revealed that she would be returning to Neighbours again. Lucy's return was a factor in Bell's personal decision to lose weight via a gastric balloon. She returned on 5 December 2013. Series producer Jason Herbison indicated that Lucy would continue to appear in the show and described her as "part of the extended Neighbours family".
Lucy's mum Anne died in 1973 giving birth to her and she was raised by Jim and her beloved grandmother Helen Daniels (Anne Haddy). From the show's inception in 1985, Lucy was originated and played by Kylie Flinker. During this period, Lucy was a mischievous, yet intelligent little girl, who had great fun with her brothers, loved her grandmother and father, and played with her dog Basil. She got into much strife. Lucy was the flower-girl at her older brother Paul's wedding to Terry Inglis (Maxine Klibingaitis). In late 1986 she fell down a drain and was trapped for many days. She was eventually found, but was left temporarily blinded by the incident. Lucy's good friend Bradley Townsend departed to go to Europe with his mother Andrea and her new partner, Jack Lassiter. Lucy promised to go and visit him. In early 1987, while everyone was at the beach, Basil fell into the water and drowned when the tide took him. Lucy was devastated by the incident, but Scott's (Jason Donovan) friend Mike Young (Guy Pearce), who had failed to save Basil, tried to cheer her up by getting her a new puppy, Bouncer, whom Lucy adored.
In 1987, Lucy went on a trip to Europe for a few weeks to visit her friend Bradley. This storyline was to cover the departure of Flinker from the cast. When Lucy returned in May 1987, She had grown considerably and was now played by Close. Lucy had become a bit of a snob during her time in Europe but after no one came to her dinner party, she learned to be humble and soon fit back in. She was present at both Scott and Paul's weddings. Lucy's behaviour became odd. She let go of Bouncer's leash while taking him for a walk, was dropped from the school netball team and began acting strangely at home, forgetting things and becoming clumsy. No one could work out what was wrong with her until one night Scott tried to wake her up but Lucy remained unconscious. After being taken to Hospital it was discovered that she had a massive brain tumour. Her family were devastated but remained hopeful as the doctors did a procedure and managed to save Lucy's life. She was able to return home but had to remain resting for several months due to trauma. At Christmas of that year, Lucy and Mike tried to sell the almost pure bred puppy spawn of Bouncer. On Valentine's Day 1988, Lucy was present at Jim's wedding to Lucy's much loved doctor, Beverly Marshall (Lisa Armytage). On the same day, Paul and Gail Robinson were married for the second time and Lucy met her new step-cousins Todd Landers (Kristian Schmid) and Katie Landers (Sally Jensen). In mid 1988, Lucy was sent off to the Alumwood boarding school where she stayed for two years, returning each school holidays.
In 1991, Lucy returned to Ramsay Street permanently, now played by Bell. Upon her return she was different than she was before she had departed. The high-level intellectual was gone, replaced by a stereotypical 1990s blond bimbo bombshell. Lucy's major storyline in 1991 was her incestuous relationship with half-brother Glen Donnelly (Richard Huggett). Scenes showing their relationship were edited out and cut by the BBC in their UK airing.
During this period, Lucy's relationship with lifelong friend Emma Gordon (Tamsin West) came to an end when Lucy betrayed her in the race for a job. Lucy departed the cast again in late 1992 to pursue a modelling career in Europe. She returned briefly in September 1993 to celebrate Helen's birthday. During this visit, Lucy revealed to her family that she had married her agent David Kazalian.
Lucy was not seen again until early 1995 when Mark Gottlieb discovered her working in a local strip club. He coaxed her back to Ramsay St when he informed her of sister Julie's death the previous year. Lucy returned to her family but there was something amiss. Local kids Toadfish Rebecchi (Ryan Moloney) and Lucy's niece, Hannah Martin (Rebecca Ritters) discovered a pornography magazine which featured Lucy as the centrefold. Lucy tearfully confessed to her Grandmother, Helen, that she had a serious drug and alcohol problem and that she had divorced David. Helen told her she was only disappointed that she had not come for help earlier. Lucy eventually departed Ramsay St again to work for Rosemary her aunt, in New York.
After Paul is injured and has to have his leg amputated, Lucy returns to Australia briefly to support her brother through his ordeal. She also stays to watch Annalise Hartman's (Kimberley Davies) documentary about Ramsay Street. Lucy is now an interesting hybrid of her previous incarnations. While still played by Bell, Lucy seemed to have regained some of the intelligence she lost in the 1990s, and was now a successful business woman, like her brother. She soon returned to America.
Eight years later, Lucy returns to Erinsborough. She reveals to Paul that she is the new head of Lassiter's Worldwide and has come to sort out his life and the business. Lucy catches up with Lauren Carpenter (Kate Kendall), who has since returned to Erinsborough with her family, and meets her niece, Kate. Just before she leaves, Lucy hires her ex-boyfriend Brad's (now played by Kip Gamblin) wife, Terese (Rebekah Elmaloglou) to be the new general manager of Lassiters. Lucy returns to Erinsborough at Terese's request to help solve problems with Paul. He informs her that he intends to remove the hotel from Lassiter's chain. Lauren then confides in Lucy that she left Ramsay Street pregnant with Brad's child. Lucy encourages Lauren to tell Brad about her pregnancy, before she leaves town. When Lucy returns, she learns that Terese has quit Lassiter's. Lucy asks Lauren for her help in catering a charity event. She also expresses her worries that Lauren has not dealt with losing her baby and tells Lauren that she needs closure. Paul informs Lucy that he has offered the management of Lassiter's to his children, but she tells him that they will not accept the offer. Lucy is proved right and Paul is disappointed, so she takes him to Ramsay Street and gets him to open up to her. Paul tells Lucy that he is not happy with her becoming his superior. Lucy is relieved when Paul decides not to leave the Lassiter's chain and reinstates Terese.
A writer for the BBC's Neighbours website said Lucy's most notable moments were "Receiving emergency surgery from Clive on the dining table at Number 26. Being almost deafened by Zoe while making a prank call. Being temporarily blinded after falling down a well. Being diagnosed with a brain tumour and becoming an alcoholic." In 1993 during a debate on female exploitation, at the Oxford Union with feminists who opposed their argument, Pete Gowers publicly criticised Bell and her character for exploiting their 'assets', stating: "The only character in Neighbours to have a surfboard named after her – because she's good for a ride, but not much else." Zena Alli from What's on TV said that Bell had a "tough time" taking Lucy through her teenage phase noting "the rebel of Ramsay Street had an incestuous relationship with half-brother, Glen, was kidnapped, then broken-hearted soon after the ordeal. Then came the drinking and huge credit card bills. Now, with a modelling contract secured, Lucy's future looks certain."
In 2008 daily British newspaper The Times profiled 15 top Neighbours moments according to them. On the list Lucy Robinson was noted, they were critical of the character stating that whilst played by Flinker she looked like any ordinary girl, played by Close she was just a 'butch' version of the character. They compared this with Bell's portrayal, stating that she changed the character positively into the 'blonde, busty, saucy Lucy', they also slated her portrayal branding her acting as poor and ruining the character, but added that the positive attribute was she looked like all the other 'blondes' suddenly invading Aussie soaps around the time of the 1990s. Katrina Tweedie from the Daily Record said that Lucy had an "amazing facelift" during the time of her recasting, noting that Lucy had always had short brown hair until Bell took the role.
Ruth Deller of television website Lowculture gave Lucy a 3.5 out of 5 for her contribution to Neighbours, in a feature called "A guide to recognising your Ramsays and Robinsons". Deller said "Lucy’s dramatic tenure(s) involved being one of the first of many Ramsay Street residents to fall down a drain and to experience temporary blindness (although she combined the two mishaps), getting sent away to boarding school, engaging in a spot of incest, modelling, marrying a rich older man and having a drugs problem".
In 2010, to celebrate Neighbours' 25th anniversary Sky, a British satellite broadcasting company profiled 25 characters of which they believed were the most memorable in the series history. Lucy is in the list and describing her life in the show they state: "Janine Butcher, Tracy Barlow – you can't have a soap without an oft-recast daughter who swings between 'in control competent woman' and 'nutcase'. Lucy is Neighbours entrant to the list: early on she was an adorable tyke with her puppy Bouncer; then she returned with drug and alcohol problems and a job as a stripper; and finally she became a businesswoman in the Rosemary Daniels mould for subsequent visits". Sally Beck of the Daily Mirror branded her a fesity female complete with "techno" style attire. Media company Virgin Media praised the character stating: "Melissa became a household name as Ramsay Street's Lucy Robinson. Viewers loved her character's close relationship with grandma, Helen Daniels, and her wayward teenage antics."
The Daily Mirror's Mark Dowdney also labelled her a "wild child" character. When asked if viewers should be excited by Lucy's 2013 return, Jon Horsley from Yahoo! TV commented "It'll be nice to see her back – but be warned it may make you feel OLD." An All About Soap reporter described Lucy as a bossy character. An Inside Soap writer observed her Lucy's style upon her 2013 return and concluded that she looked like Pat Butcher (a character from the British soap opera EastEnders, played by Pam St. Clement). A writer from TV Magazine branded Lucy a "Ramsay Street legend" with a "brightly coloured wardrobe". In 2005, Herbison said that Bell's portrayal of Lucy is the one viewers recall the most. Tony Stewart from the Daily Record branded Lucy a "bolshy businesswoman".
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