Kyle Canning

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Kyle Canning
Kyle Canning.jpg
Neighbours character
Portrayed by Chris Milligan
Duration 2008–
First appearance 26 November 2008
Introduced by Susan Bower
Spin-off
appearances
Neighbours vs Zombies (2014)
Classification Current; regular
Profile
Occupation Student (until 2009)
Barman (2010–11)
Car salesman (2011)
Handyman (2011–)
Home 26 Ramsay Street

Kyle Eugene Canning is a fictional character from the Australian soap opera Neighbours, played by Chris Milligan. The actor successfully auditioned for the six week recurring role of Kyle and he made his first on screen appearance on 26 November 2008. Milligan was later asked back every couple of months to do a few weeks filming. After eighteen months of playing Kyle on a part-time basis, Milligan was given a full-time contract deal and he and his character were promoted to the regular cast. Milligan said he was ecstatic about his promotion and looked forward to developing his character further. In August 2011, Milligan had to be written out of Neighbours temporarily, so he could recover from an injury he sustained off screen.

Kyle was initially portrayed as an immature bad boy, whose physical presence made him fall into the role of a bully. However, his low academic intelligence made him vulnerable to people smarter than himself. A traumatic accident and his struggle to secure employment changed Kyle's ways. The character has been described as a larrikin, good hearted and laid back. Following his promotion to the regular cast, the show's writers gave Kyle some character traits similar to Henry Ramsay (Craig McLachlan). Like Henry, Kyle becomes the handyman of Ramsay Street and he later opens his own business, which brings him into contact with many of the street's residents.

Kyle's storylines have often focused on his various relationships and jobs. Kyle engaged in a brief relationship with Natasha Williams (Valentina Novakovic) and developed a crush on Kate Ramsay (Ashleigh Brewer). He later entered into a casual relationship with Jade Mitchell (Gemma Pranita), which turned serious. Following Jade's departure, Kyle began dating Georgia Brooks (Saskia Hampele). Other storylines for Kyle have seen him blackmailed by a corrupt police officer and temporarily damaging his eyesight by looking at the sun during an eclipse. The character has been well received by critics and Milligan was nominated for Best Daytime Star at the Inside Soap Awards in 2012 and 2014.

Casting[edit]

On 20 October 2008, a reporter for The Courier-Mail announced Milligan had landed a recurring role on Neighbours.[1] The actor won the part of Kyle following a successful audition.[2] Milligan said securing the role had made moving away from his family and relocating to Melbourne worth the sacrifice.[1] He made his first screen appearance as Kyle on 26 November 2008.[3] In March 2011, Milligan revealed to TV Week that he initially had a six week guest role as Kyle, but he was then asked back every couple of months for a few weeks filming.[4] After eighteen months of playing Kyle on a part-time basis, Milligan was promoted to the regular cast and given a full-time contract deal.[2][5] His promotion came as the show lost two male cast members; Erin Mullally and Scott McGregor.[5] Milligan told Daniel Kilkelly of Digital Spy that he was "ecstatic" when he heard about his promotion and quipped "Kyle had been a guest character for nearly three years so it's great to be full-time now and to be able to evolve the character."[6]

On 9 August 2011, Milligan snapped his Achilles tendon while playing football and had to be written out of the soap.[7] The actor took a break from Neighbours for around five weeks and the writers were forced to rewrite scenes which featured his character.[7] Executive producer Susan Bower said "We've rewritten some scenes which explain Kyle's absence, and as a former nurse, I'll be monitoring his rehabilitation."[7] A few days later, it was announced Luke Pegler had joined the cast to fill in for Milligan and take over a planned storyline for his character.[8] On 13 September 2011, a Channel 5 writer reported Milligan had returned to the set in time to film the final episodes of the 2011 season.[9] Milligan was still using crutches and a writer for the Herald Sun said his injury would be worked into his storylines.[10] Of his return, Milligan said "After a month of virtually sitting on the couch, I'm rapt to be back at work. I just have to pace myself a bit."[9]

Development[edit]

Characterisation[edit]

"Kyle is an example of a character we started as a guest and we developed, and could see how much the audience liked him. Plus we had time to really define the character. We have lots in store for Kyle. We see him as our resident bogan."[11]

Susan Bower on Kyle (2011)

When Kyle first joined Neighbours, he was an immature "bad boy", who often hung around with school bullies, Justin Hunter (Chris Toohey) and Shane Gregory (Ryan Bate).[6][12] Channel 5 said Kyle's physical presence made him fall easily into the role of a bully and eventual group leader, but his low academic intelligence made him vulnerable to people smarter than himself.[13] Following a traumatic rafting accident on a school trip and his struggle to find employment, Kyle decided to change as he did not want to be the same person anymore.[6] Milligan said his character had a "good heart" and that he was forced to learn things for himself, as he had not had the right people around to show him the way.[4] Kyle has been described as being a "trouble maker", a larrikin and "loveable-but-slightly-hopeless."[2][4][13] The official Neighbours website said Kyle was the "local hottie", who was hard to take seriously, though his heart was in the right place.[14] Kyle was also a "good-time guy", who developed a thirst for adventure.[13]

Shortly before Kyle's promotion to regular character was announced, TV Soap reported the Neighbours writers were going to give Kyle some Henry Ramsay-like traits.[15] Of this, executive producer Susan Bower explained "He was at school with the gang and he's been back and forwards quite a lot, and we certainly feel that he has a future for the show - in much the same way as Henry Ramsay was sort of the handyman around the place. We've got some good plans for him."[15] Kyle has been employed at both Charlie's and Erinsborough Motors, but he had dreams of opening his own handyman business.[12][13] During an interview with Digital Spy in June 2011, Milligan revealed Kyle would eventually start his own handyman business, which would bring him into contact with all of the Ramsay Street residents.[6] Kyle later became involved in a storyline that saw his business threatened by the development of a new shopping complex.[11] Milligan said Kyle was "pretty laid-back" and would become an unexpected friend to some of the characters.[6] In August 2011, Bower told Daniel Kilkelly of Digital Spy, that Kyle was a guy with double standards, who "goes out and shags indiscriminately, but the girl he wants to marry has to be an angel."[11] She revealed the writers were going to challenge this aspect of the character.[11]

Family[edit]

In May 2011, Milligan stated that it would be fun to see some of Kyle's friends and family introduced to the soap.[6] Following an injury in early August, Milligan was forced to take a break from filming and Luke Pegler was brought in and cast as Dane Canning, Kyle's cousin.[8] Dane arrives in Erinsborough to take over Kyle's room at Number 26 and look after his business, while he goes to care for his sick mother.[16] Dane and Kyle have similar personalities and Pegler revealed that he spoke to Milligan about finding "some common ground" for their characters.[16] Pegler stated that Dane and Kyle come from the same place and have developed the same habits. He quipped that they both have "bravado", while being softies underneath.[16] Pegler later commented that Dane has "Canning DNA" and is just as oblivious to things around him as Kyle is.[17] Milligan hoped that Pegler would return as Kyle's cousin as he was "fantastic to work with" and his character was popular with viewers.[18] He added "Now the Canning family is expanding, hopefully that will include a cousin or two coming to stay."[18]

In January 2012, new executive producer Richard Jasek revealed that Kyle's grandmother was being cast and it was later announced that Colette Mann had received the role of Sheila Canning.[19][20] Sheila comes to Erinsborough to make a surprise visit to Kyle, but after she meets his neighbours and begins to like the life he has, she decides to "stick around to keep an eye on her beloved grandson."[21] Of Kyle's relationship with his grandmother, Milligan told a What's on TV writer "The Cannings are a very close, working-class family and his gran rules the roost. He adores her, but also knows that he needs to keep a tight rein on her when it comes to him making his own decisions. She is also quick to judge people."[18] Milligan said that Sheila does not approve of his relationship with Jade Mitchell (Gemma Pranita) as she perceives her "independence as arrogance".[18] Susan Hill of the Daily Star reported that Sheila adores her grandson and would do anything for him, which rubs Jade up the wrong way.[21] She added "It's going to be a very tricky time for Kyle as he tries to please them both."[21]

The Canning family was expand again in late 2012 with the introduction of Kyle's cousin Harley (Justin Holborow).[22] A Channel 5 website writer stated that Harley shares the same good looks as Kyle, but he does not share the same moral compass.[22] Harley turns up in Ramsay Street in the back of a police car, which shocks Kyle.[23] However, in a bid to show how responsible he has become, Kyle decides to take Harley in. He then learns that Harley has been in trouble with the law before and becomes determined to help him.[23] Hill wrote "He realises someone needs to step in to straighten out Harley. But viewers will be left wondering whether Kyle has taken on too much."[23]

Relationships[edit]

Kate Ramsay[edit]

"Any action for Kyle is good action, but deep down he wants a girlfriend - even though he still likes to put on a bit of a show."[4]

—Milligan on Kyle's love life (2011)

In January 2010, Kyle goes on a date with Kate Ramsay (Ashleigh Brewer).[24] Kyle asks Kate whether she accepted his offer because she is trying to make Declan Napier (James Sorensen) jealous, but Kate denies it and tells Kyle she wants to get to know him better.[24] Declan is not happy and when he sees Kate and Kyle together and he sabotages the date.[24] In May 2011, Milligan revealed Kyle has always liked Kate because she is nice and is unlike the other girls he has dated in the past. Milligan said while Kyle like her, he would never push Kate into liking him.[6] When Kyle sees Kate has been hurt by her ex-boyfriend, Mark Brennan (Scott McGregor), he feels protective towards her.[6]

Kyle worries about competing with Mark for Kate's affections, as he is not as intelligent and successful as him. Kyle also knows Kate is very smart, which further dents his confidence.[6] When Mark learns Kyle is interested in Kate, he asks her out, but is later forced to postpone the date.[25] Kyle decides to take advantage of the situation and invites Kate to spend the evening watching films with him. Kate accepts and enjoys the time she spends with Kyle.[25] Mark later accuses Kate of trying to make him jealous and Kate decides to put him behind her, by agreeing to go on an official date with Kyle.[25] When asked who he thought the right woman for Kyle is, Milligan said "That's a hard one. He and Kate would make a nice couple, but I think he needs someone who is going to challenge him."[26]

Natasha Williams[edit]

Following her split from Andrew Robinson (Jordan Smith), Natasha Williams (Valentina Novakovic) starts dating Kyle.[27] The following month, she decides to dump him, but to her surprise, Kyle gets there first. TV Soap explained Natasha grows bored of Kyle's company, but Kyle also becomes bored with his younger girlfriend and he "wastes no time severing their ties."[27] Kyle's actions embarrass Natasha and he agrees to let her pretend that she dumped him.[27] She then lies to Andrew that "she's kicked Kyle to the curb", instead of the other way around.[27]

Kyle fell in love with his housemate Jade Mitchell (played by Gemma Pranita).

Jade Mitchell[edit]

When asked who she would like to see her character, Jade Mitchell, find love with, Gemma Pranita suggested Kyle.[28] Pranita thought Jade and Kyle's "contrasting personalities" would work together if they entered a relationship.[28] She explained "I think the characters can learn a lot from each other. Jade is very worldly and smart and Kyle has a more simple and uncomplicated nature."[28] Kyle and Jade share a house together and on the night of their housewarming party they kiss, which thrills Jade. However, Kyle still sees her as a friend.[29] Kyle and Jade later have sex together and Kyle suggests they engage in a friends with benefits arrangement, to which Jade agrees.[30] During a feature on soap couples that should be together, Inside Soap said Kyle should give up lusting after Kate and realise Jade is "The One."[31] The magazine opined that while neither of them have had a relationship for more than twenty four hours, it does put them on an even playing field.[31]

When Jade was given a chance to work in the United States, she and Kyle began a long-distance relationship.[32] Upon her return to Erinsborough, Jade invited Kyle to accompany her back to the US. However, after learning that Jade would be away for a year, Kyle made it clear that his life was in Erinsborough. A devastated Kyle then decided to break up with Jade, even though he still loved her.[32]

Georgia Brooks[edit]

When Kyle supported Georgia Brooks (Saskia Hampele) through a tough time at work, she began to question her relationship and future with Scotty Boland (Rhys Uhlich).[33] When Georgia decided to spend the afternoon at a fundraising barbecue with Kyle, instead of being with Scotty she felt guilty.[34] Hampele said Kyle was a distraction for Georgia. When Georgia has a good time at the fundraiser, she realised there was an attraction.[34] When Georgia made a quick exit from the fundraiser, Kyle got confused and thought she had developed a crush on his house mate Rhys Lawson (Ben Barber).[34] Believing that her feelings for Rhys would lead her to have her heart broken, Kyle urged Georgia to stay with Scotty.[34] Hampele quipped that Georgia liked Kyle and thought he felt the same way, so it came as "a blow to her" when he pushed her away.[34] Georgia and Kyle continued to hide their feelings for each other and Kyle dated Jana Noviac (Kyrie Capri).[35] Milligan commented that Kyle did not go out looking for Jana, but she sort of appeared and made Georgia jealous.[35]

Georgia later ended her relationship with Scotty. When asked if Kyle would "step up to the plate", Milligan stated "I think he's almost scared by his feelings for Georgia. He's one of those guys that when he gets a girl he thinks is right, he wants to marry her."[35] When Kyle came to Georgia's place to fix the pool, she offered to put some sunscreen on his back and TV Week's Thomas Mitchell declared that "the electricity is off the grid!".[35] However, Georgia's aunt, Angie (Lesley Baker), interrupted them.[35] Georgia got back together with Scotty and they became engaged.[36] However, when Kyle learned that Scotty had made sexual advances towards Chris Pappas (James Mason), he told Georgia the truth and Scotty left town.[36] Milligan told an Inside Soap writer that Kyle had "a knack for finding the most complicated girls."[37] Kyle and Georgia eventually began dating when Kyle helped Georgia clear her name after she was accused of stealing drugs from the hospital. When they believed their relationship was in a good place, Kyle and Georgia had sex with each other for the first time.[37]

Blackmail[edit]

When Kyle decides to hold a sale at the car yard to bring in extra revenue, it attracts the attention of Constable Wes Holland (Daniel Hamill).[38] Wes demands money from Kyle in return for providing security for the event. Kyle is stunned and Milligan told Inside Soap that he does not know how to react.[38] The actor explained "Holland makes it clear that if Kyle doesn't pay up, big trouble will come his way - and how do you respond to that?"[38] Kyle is shaken up by the confrontation with Wes and he turns to Kate, who advises him to speak to Mark. Kyle is reluctant because of his history with the detective.[38] However, when Kyle returns to the car yard to remove the sale signs, he gets another visit from Wes. The officer gets physical with Kyle and threatens to destroy his stock. Kyle then decides to go to Mark for help.[38] Kyle explains the situation to Mark, but the story is not very believable. Milligan said "At first it isn't easy for them to work together because it's hard for Kyle to seek help off someone he's already had problems with, and he knows how Brennan feels about him - plus it's another cop, so he isn't convinced that Brennan will believe him."[6] Mark is under the impression Wes is a trusted colleague, so he decides to get proof before he believes Kyle.[38] Mark finds the evidence he needs and he and Kyle confront Wes.[39] When asked if the situation would be a turning point for Kyle and Mark, Milligan said that it was. He added while they would not become best friends, they would not be enemies either.[6]

Temporary blindness[edit]

During a solar eclipse, Kyle looked up at the sun, which caused him to go temporarily blind.[40] While enjoying a spa with Georgia, Kyle's dog, Bossy, stole his safety glasses and he decided to look directly at the eclipse.[40] Kyle damaged his retinas and Georgia quickly rushed him to the hospital, where he was told that he had to wear eye patches. Kyle was then forced to rely on those around him, causing him to become frustrated.[40] When Kyle started to miss his independence, his housemate, Chris invited him down to the car yard to help out.[41] Milligan explained "He needs to get out of the house. Everyone is on his case trying to help him out, but Kyle pushes them away. Chris invites him down to the car yard, and Kyle will take anything to get out of that little bubble. Chris is being a good mate and trying to offer Kyle something to do. But even Chris gets to a point where he tells Kyle he needs to rest."[41] Realising Chris does not want him around, Kyle stormed off and put himself in danger by walking onto a busy intersection and into the path of an oncoming car.[41] Chris managed to rescue Kyle in time and dragged him back to the pavement.[41]

Storylines[edit]

Shortly after moving to Erinsborough, Kyle befriends school bullies Justin Hunter and Shane Gregory. Kyle invites Zeke Kinski (Matthew Werkmeister) to join them when they decide to skip school. Principal Andrew Simpson (Peter Flanigan) bans pranks on muck-up day and suspends the boys when they run through the school wearing balaclavas and spraying silly string. During a school rafting trip, Kyle and Justin cause their raft to capsize during a prank, throwing them and Zeke, Bridget Parker (Eloise Mignon) and Libby Kennedy (Michala Banas) into the river. Zeke goes missing and Kyle is traumatised by the accident. Kyle agrees to pose as Zeke's radio personality, Lost Boy, to keep Sunny Lee (Hany Lee) from discovering the truth. He also bullies Harry Ramsay (Will Moore) and goes to the debutante ball with Donna Freedman (Margot Robbie). Libby later learns Kyle has been blackmailing Sunny into writing his English essays. Months later, Kyle asks Kate Ramsay on a date. The date ends when Kyle fights with Declan. Kyle gets a job at Charlie's bar and briefly dates Natasha Williams. Kyle gets a trial at Lou Carpenter's (Tom Oliver) second hand car business. He realises Lou does not trust him to close a sale and he quits. He later returns when Lou apologies.

When Kyle suffers financial trouble, he is given a job with Jade Mitchell. Kyle accidentally exposes his buttocks while changing in his car and Mark Brennan charges him with indecent exposure. The fine leaves Kyle without money for rent and Jade fires him. Kate decides to help by employing him at Harold's for the day. Kyle and Kate go on another date. Kyle is blackmailed by corrupt police officer Wes Holland and he asks Brennan for help. The next time Wes turns up, Brennan arrests him. Kyle moves into Lyn Scully's (Janet Andrewartha) spare room and later rents the house from her. He asks Jade to move in with him and when they struggle with the rent, Brennan moves in. Kyle quits his job and sets up a handyman business, which Lou invests in. Kyle and Jade kiss at their house warming party and begin a casual relationship. When Brennan leaves, Kyle and Jade let Michelle Tran (HaiHa Le) move in, but they soon get fed up of her behaviour. Michelle leaves when Rhys Lawson (Ben Barber) poses as a property inspector and tells her she needs to pay for damages to the house. Kyle invites Rhys to move in and he dates Rhys's colleague Danielle Paquette (Georgia Bolton).

When Kyle learns a new shopping complex is being built in Erinsborough, he realises it could ruin his new business. The company behind the development offer Kyle a large amount of money for his business, but he refuses to sell. Kyle tells Jade he has feelings for her, but she rejects him. He then goes to Frankston to care for his sick mother. When Kyle returns, Jade opens up to him about her commitment issues. The moment is ruined when Kyle discovers she had an affair with Malcolm Kennedy (Benjamin McNair). When Jade tells him she loves him, Kyle walks away. But he later chases her to Melbourne and they become a couple. Kyle's grandmother, Sheila, comes to visit and tells Kyle that she does not think Jade is the right girl for him and he should be with Kate. When Kyle asks Kate to pose as his girlfriend to help woo some potential clients for Dial-A-Kyle, they end up kissing. Kate tells Jade about the kiss and Jade throws Kyle out. Sheila urges Kyle to win Jade back, admitting that she was wrong to encourage Kate to pursue him. Jade tells Kyle she still loves him and they get back together. Kyle takes in his cousin Harley in. Kyle encourages Jade to take a job opportunity in Los Angeles and they break-up.

Unable to deal with Harley's bad behaviour, Kyle asks Sheila to take him back to Frankston. Chris Pappas moves in, as does Sheila. Kyle develops feelings for Georgia Brooks even though she is in a relationship with Scotty Boland. He briefly dates Jana Noviac, but realises that he does not have a connection with her. Kyle tells Georgia that Scotty made sexual advances towards Chris and Scotty leaves town. Georgia later asks Kyle on a date and when she is fired from her job, Kyle stands by her. He later arranges for Scotty to talk to Georgia so she can move on with her life. Kyle is temporarily blinded when he looks at the sun during an eclipse. During a break from Georgia, he has a one-night stand with Kate. She later has a pregnancy scare, but learns that she has premature ovarian failure instead. Seeing that her boyfriend is not supporting her, Kyle takes it upon himself to be there for Kate. Kyle and Georgia get engaged. Georgia's cousin Gemma Reeves (Kathryn Beck) arrives and manages to cause tension between Georgia and Kyle. She later reveals Kyle and Kate's one-night stand to Georgia, who ends the engagement. Kate tells Kyle she loves him and they try dating, but Kyle realises he loves Georgia and ends it. Kyle learns Georgia is pregnant and manages to convince her to stay in Erinsborough by proving that he is able to take care of her and the baby financially. Georgia suffers a miscarriage and she rejects all comfort from Kyle. They reconcile after Kate's death, realising that life is too short. Kyle proposes to Georgia for the second time and she accepts. Kyle bans Sheila from his wedding when she falls out with his aunt Naomi (Morgana O'Reilly). When he learns that they have fallen out because Naomi kissed Toadfish Rebecchi (Ryan Moloney), he apologises to Sheila. Kyle and Georgia briefly fall out when Bossy is bitten by a snake during a walk with Georgia. The veterinary treatment is very expensive, and sets their wedding plans back. Georgia learns she a large nodule on her throat and Kyle encourages her to have surgery to remove it. While she recovers, Kyle moves in with her to support her. When a tornado hits Erinsborough, Kyle goes to Lassiter's to help board up windows, leaving Georgia alone with Bossy. When he learns that they have gone missing, he heads out searching for them, and goes missing. Georgia and Bossy later find Kyle trapped in a portable toilet. Kyle and Georgia marry.

Weeks later Kyle discovers that Sheila is in contact with his father Gary (Damien Richardson), who has been absent in his life since he was eight. Georgia convinces Gary to meet with Kyle. Gary tells Kyle that he left as he was being threatened by a pair of criminals after witnessing an armed robbery. Kyle begins to accept him back into the family, until Gary assaults Ezra Hanley (Steve Nation) and goes to jail. Sheila has a heart attack. When she comes home, Kyle worries that she is working too hard, and he briefly works alongside her in the pub. Kyle asks Georgia to try for another baby and she agrees. However, she later tells him that she has not stopped taking the pill, as she is scared of miscarrying again. They agree to wait. Kyle defends and supports Georgia when Nick Petrides (Damien Fotiou) tries to seduce her for a bet and then sabotages her career. Georgia helps Kyle to win a contract for the council's beautification project. Georgia leaves for Germany to be with her mother, who is undergoing treatment for cancer, while Kyle remains behind until his work for the council is completed. Kyle clashes with Amy Williams (Zoe Cramond), but soon employs her at Dial-A-Kyle to help with the beautification project. Feeling tired, Kyle buys some supplements from Josh Willis (Harley Bonner), but he soon collapses. Karl informs him that he had an allergic reaction, while Josh apologises for selling him the supplements. Paul fires Kyle when he fails to stand up for Amy after she is sexually harassed. After Kyle agrees to file a formal complaint at Amy's request, Paul gives him his job back.

Reception[edit]

A writer for Holy Soap said Kyle's most memorable moment was "When he thought he had killed Zeke in the raft race disaster."[12] Jaci Stephen of the Daily Mail branded the serial "The Kyle Show" after the character became the centre of more storylines in 2011.[42] A What's on TV reporter called Kyle a "lovable troublemaker", while a Channel 5 writer thought he was a "cheeky chappy."[26][43] A reporter from the Daily Record called Kyle a "wannabe-Romeo" during his pursuit of Kate.[44] Another reporter said he was a "lovable idiot", which made him irresistible to Jade.[45] Sarah Ellis of Inside Soap wondered how long Kyle and Jade's friends with benefits deal would last until they saw what the rest of the world could.[46]

In October 2011, another reporter from the Daily Record praised Kyle's promotion to regular cast member, saying "whoever decided to bring him in on a permanent basis deserves a big pat on the back."[47] The reporter added that Kyle had been a breath of fresh air ever since he moved into Ramsay Street.[47] Cameron Adams of the Herald Sun called Jade and Kyle's relationship "bumpy" and he praised Milligan for not letting his torn Achilles stop his character from hobbling around on crutches.[48] In 2012, Milligan was nominated for Best Daytime Star at the Inside Soap Awards.[49] He received a nomination in the same category in 2014.[50]

References[edit]

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