Nick Page

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Nick Page
Nick Page.jpg
Neighbours character
Portrayed by Mark Stevens
Duration 1988–90
First appearance 22 July 1988
Last appearance 14 March 1990
Introduced by Don Battye
Classification Former; regular
Profile
Occupation Erinsborough High Student (1988-90)
Artist
Home London

Nick Page is a fictional character from the Australian Network Ten soap opera Neighbours, played by Mark Stevens. He debuted on-screen in the episode airing on 22 July 1988 and departed the serial in 1990.

Casting[edit]

Stevens joined the cast of Neighbours soon after taking part in Young Talent Time.[1] The actor was required to complete one screen test and soon secured the role.[2] Stevens' first scene consisted of Nick trying to find his stolen Walkman. He told a reporter from Fast Forward that he was terrified prior to filming, adding "I stood outside with my knees knocking. I was so nervous I went to the toilet 60 times!"[3]

Development[edit]

Josephine Monroe, author of Neighbours: the first 10 years described Nick as one Helen Daniels' (Anne Haddy) many waifs and strays, a budding artist and having a recalcitrant personality.[4][5]

Nick has a backstory that entails the role reversal of care between himself and his guardian. In The Neighbours Programme Guide, Monroe described how Nick's parents had died when he was eight years old and his grandmother assumed parental responsibility. She was poor but Nick never went without and he remained close and loving to her.[6] But as she aged Nick was forced to care for her. He took a part-time job at a supermarket to fund their living and subsequently began to miss school. When she became too ill he stopped going to school, she was unable to discipline him and he "went off the rails". It was at this point he attracted the attention of residents of Ramsay Street.[6]

Nick is caught spraying graffiti on Jim Robinson's (Alan Dale) workshop.[7] In his book The who's who of soap operas, Anthony Hayward said that Nick becomes "homeless and lonely" following the death of his grandmother. Then Jim's mother, Helen invites Nick to move into the Robinson family home.[8] A reporter from Neighbours Who's Who noted that Nick's life changes when he is "more or less adopted by Helen" who believes that he has real artistic talent.[9] But other residents are initially suspicious of Nick and even accuse him of theft. He also gets into a number of fights during his tenure.[9] Stevens told Kesta Desmond in the book Neighbours Special that "even when it's not his fault it seems as though he always gets himself into fights."[10] In The Official Neighbours Annual 1990, Clive Hopwood branded Nick a "tearaway" who is always in trouble for graffiting walls. Stevens told Hopwood that his "street wise graffiti artist" character is not a role model for Neighbours viewers. Stevens added that Nick is still a "rough boy and you have to earn his respect but he's settling down a bit".[2] Nick's art work even begins to gain exposure when Harold Bishop (Ian Smith) agrees ti hang some in his coffee shop.[10]

Nick forms a friendship with Todd Landers (Kristian Schmid).[11] In the Neighbours: The Official Annual 1991, authors John McCready and Nicola Furlong refer to the duo as a pair of "rascals" and "loveable rogues". Each time a window is smashed or there is trouble at Erinsborough High they get the blame. They writers noted that the two characters both have had "a rough time" in their pasts and being on Ramsay Street helps improve their lives.[11] Stevens added that "Nick is a street kid and I find playing him very natural. 50 per cent of him is me".[12]

Nick's first romance is with Sharon Davies (Jessica Muschamp).[9] McCready and Furlong wrote "Sharon and Nick's relationship is a turbulent one. They play games with each other's emotions. At one point Sharon started to see Nick's arch enemy Skinner (Mat Stevenson). This caused a great deal of tension as Skinner is the bad sort. As usual they sorted out their differences."[13] Sharon later ends their relationship. In another storyline Nick contracts meningitis.[14]

Nick was written out of Neighbours in 1990 and he left to take an art scholarship in London.[15]

Storylines[edit]

Nick graffities Jim's fence at his workshop. When Henry Ramsay (Craig McLachlan) spots Nick, he runs off. Henry and Jim's nephew, Todd set a trap to catch Nick, which catches him as he tries to respray the fence. Nick pleads with Jim not to phone the police for the sake of his grandmother. Jim's mother-in-law, Helen decides to give Nick a reprieve and suggests that he paint over his graffiti. Nick rejects Helen's offer of art classes and sees it as form of charity but eventually relents. When Nick accepts Helen's offer of a room at Number 26, Jim and Todd are resistant but eventually grow to accept Nick and support him after his grandmother dies.

Nick begins a romance with Sharon much to the chagrin of Sharon's aunt Edie Chubb (Irene Inescort). On the night of a school dance, Bruce Zadro (Myles Collins) hassles Sharon and Nick picks a fight with him but ends up with a black eye. Nick stands trial for a prior graffiti offence the following day and the magistrate spots his black eye. Helen and Sharon defend him and Nick is sentenced to 30 hours community service. When Sharon burns the Coffee Shop down after discarding a cigarette, Nick agrees to take the blame. Sharon later confesses to Harold that she was the culprit. Nick tries to stop Todd and Skinner from committing a raid on a warehouse, which results in Nick's arrest. Todd confesses that Skinner is the culprit and Nick is freed. Nick apprehends Skinner when he terrorises Todd and his sister Katie Landers (Sally Jensen).

Nick faces more problems when Zadro reappears and frames him for spray-painting Principal Kenneth Muir's (Roger Boyce) car and the school, resulting in expulsion for Nick. After a plan by Sharon to extract a confession from Zadro succeeds, Muir reinstates Nick at Erinsborough High. Nick refuses to go back and drops out. When Hilary Robinson (Anne Scott-Pendlebury) bans Nick from seeing Sharon, the couple run away and begin work on a farm. When Sharon fights with the farmer's daughter, they are sacked and begin hitch-hiking back to Erinsborough. While hitching a lift, Nick comes face to face with Skinner, who pushes Nick out of the car and drives away with Sharon. After arriving home, Nick tries to warn Sharon about Skinner who she begins dating. After Skinner attempts to force himself on Sharon's older sister, Bronwyn Davies (Rachel Friend), Sharon realizes Nick is right. Nick and Sharon split up later and remain friends. Hilary's son, Matt Robinson (Ashley Paske) arrives from Adelaide and befriends Nick and Sharon.

Nick suffers a fall one afternoon and hits his head on the side of the pool at Number 30. Shortly after, He begins experiencing aggressive moods swings. When Jim confronts him about his behavior, he collapses and is diagnosed with meningitis caused by the skull fracture. Nick begins dating Lucy Robinson (Sasha Close), Jim's daughter who arrives home from boarding school for the holidays. Jim is unimpressed when he finds out that Nick and Lucy are at The Waterhole as they are underage. Nick and Lucy's relationship eventually fizzles out when she goes back to boarding school. Nick receives a chance to take up an art scholarship in London and is successful. Before leaving, he presents paintings to his closest friends Jim, Beverly, Helen and Sharon. Nick later sends Helen a postcard telling her he has fallen in love and his art comes second.

Reception[edit]

The BBC described Nick's most notable moment as being "his first appearance when he was caught spraying graffiti".[16] McCready and Furlong said that "the love lives of those such as Nick Page and Sharon Davies have made the programme perhaps the most popular viewing for teenagers around the world."[13] The episode featuring Nick rescuing Todd and Katie from Skinner was watched by 21 million viewers in the United Kingdom. It was the most watched episode of any show during 1990.[17] Laurence Akers from BIG! magazine said that every good soap opera has a rebel and Neighbours had Nick.[18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Squires, Tony (2 July 1989). "What a soap buster". The Sydney Morning Herald. (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 23 February 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Hopwood 1989, p.98.
  3. ^ "Neighbours the whole story". Fast Forward (BBC Magazines) (47). 1–7 August 1990. 
  4. ^ Monroe 1996, p.42.
  5. ^ Monroe 1996, p.98.
  6. ^ a b Monroe 1994, p.147.
  7. ^ Johnston 2005, p.128.
  8. ^ Hayward 1991, p.154.
  9. ^ a b c "Streetwise Nick Page". Neighbours Who's Who (Star Magazine Group) (12): 6. 1989. 
  10. ^ a b Desmond 1990, p.32.
  11. ^ a b Furlong & McCready 1990, p.43.
  12. ^ Furlong & McCready 1990, p.42.
  13. ^ a b Furlong & McCready 1990, p.19.
  14. ^ Johnston 2005, p.179.
  15. ^ Johnston 2005, p.212.
  16. ^ "Character: Nick Page". BBC. Archived from the original on 21 February 2005. Retrieved 23 February 2012. 
  17. ^ "BARB Since 1981". barb.co.uk. (Broadcasters' Audience Research Board). Archived from the original on 22 June 2011. Retrieved 23 February 2013. 
  18. ^ Akers, Laurence (5–18 December 1990). "Rebel without a tan!!!". BIG! (EMAP) (49): 19. 

Bibliography[edit]

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