|Portrayed by||Andrew Bibby|
|First appearance||3 October 1995|
|Last appearance||29 July 2005|
|Introduced by||Bill Searle (1995)
Stanley Walsh (1996)
Ric Pellizerri (2005)
|Other names||Lance Hails (birth name)|
Sci-fi convention organiser
Lance Charles Wilkinson (also Hails) is a fictional character from the Australian soap opera Neighbours, played by Andrew Bibby. He made his first on-screen appearance on 3 October 1995. Bibby was cast in the recurring role of Lance after an audition. After a year, Bibby auditioned for another character called John and the writers chose to turn him into Lance. Lance was a bookish, paranoid boy, with a kind heart and keen wit. Lance departed on 29 March 2001, but Bibby reprised his role in July 2005 for the show's 20th anniversary.
Neighbours was Bibby's first major long-term role. Bibby said he went for a general audition, where there were five parts available. Bibby was given the role of Lance, a three-month occasional role. A year later, Bibby auditioned for another character called John, who the writers decided to turn into Lance. During the audition, Bibby had to share a scene with various girls to see how they looked together as twins. Brooke Satchwell, an actress Bibby had met before, came in and was given the role of Lance's sister, Anne. Bibby's first day of filming was on location outside the coffee shop set, a day later the actor had to perform a kissing scene with his co-star Rebecca Ritters (Hannah Martin). Bibby said it was "a bit embarrassing!"
In April 2005, it was announced that Bibby had reprised his role of Lance for Neighbours' 20th anniversary in July of that year.
Lance became the man of the family after his parents, Ruth (Ailsa Piper) and Bill (Ian Stanley Pearce), separated. Lance is initially portrayed as a "bookish" character, who is also nervous and paranoid. A writer for the BBC said Lance is kind hearted and has a keen wit. When he was asked how Lance has changed in the three and half years he had been on the show, Bibby said "He's changed a lot, and needless to say, has grown up a great deal. I suppose the biggest change for him was when his family left - his mum Ruth, and the inlaws, Phil and Hannah. That's when he had to move out of the nest and really grow up." Bibby went on to explain that after Anne left, Lance was "on his own" and that moving in with Toadfish Rebecchi (Ryan Moloney) and Joel Samuels (Daniel MacPherson) gave him the chance to "let loose" and have some fun.
Bibby enjoyed working with Moloney and McPherson as it gave his character something different to do, other than getting involved in romantic entanglements. Of Lance's friendship with Toadie and Joel, Bibby said "Together, we have this dynamic and kind of compliment each other, I guess you could say. We bounce off each other and we know how each other works, yet we are constantly thrown into situations that we have to try and get ourselves out of. That's where the humour comes from." Bibby opined that viewers liked Lance the way he is and he agreed with them, saying "I just want to see him stay the way as he was when I was cast. I want him to be individual, and not get too hooked up with the other characters or their character traits." Bibby revealed that he had become more distant from Lance, rather than like him. The actor added that he had become more mature and had done a lot of growing up, which the writers picked up on for Lance.
After Lance placed some bets while watching the horse racing, he soon became hooked on gambling. The problem worsened when Lance became involved with an illegal bookie, who later gave him a fright when he came to collect his money. Lance learned to conceal his addiction and Bibby explained "He only realises he has a problem when Amy ends their relationship. She finds out he's been lying to her and has lost a lot of money. What started out as a bit of fun has become very dangerous." Lance's gambling problem continued to get out of hand and after using up his money to bet on the horses, he eventually decided to steal from his mother to make another bet. Bibby commented that Lance could not stop himself. Lance decided to make one last bet to wipe out his debts and he took his mother's fob watch. Lance then faked a break in. Bibby said "He feels really guilty about what's he's done, but convinces himself that this will be his one last bet." Lance won the bet and his friend, Chris Burgess (Nathan Bocskay), delivered his money to him during Anne's birthday party. Anne witnessed the exchange and threatened to tell Ruth and Philip (Ian Rawlings). Bibby told an Inside Soap writer that Anne's threat is what makes Lance finally begin to realise that his gambling has got out of control.
Hannah Martin develops a crush on Lance, a student in Year 9. Lance eventually asks Hannah out and they begin dating. Lance takes his mother's jewellery and gives it to Hannah to impress her. When Lance's father reveals the truth about the jewellery, Hannah is furious, but forgives Lance. After boasting to his mates that he had had sex with Hannah, Lance is dumped. Lance changes schools and moves to the other side of Erinsborough. Lance returns and he and Hannah become friends again. Ruth and Philip Martin, Hannah's father, are opposed to their children hanging around together. After a while, things calm down and Lance returns to Erinsborough High and Ruth rents Number 32 from Philip. Lance gets a job at a plant nursery, so he can raise some money to send them on holiday in the hope they will get back together.
After denting Karl Kennedy's (Alan Fletcher) car with a shopping cart, Lance takes extra work at the nursery to pay for the damages. He discovers that his boss, Ned Goodman (Brett Tucker), is involved in some illegal activities and Lance's sister Anne urges him to stop Ned. Lance teams up with Toadie, so they can set Anne and Billy Kennedy (Jesse Spencer) up together. Lance finds Ruth and Philip kissing and he takes it very badly, as he hoped his parents would get back together. Ben Atkins (Brett Cousins) arrives in Erinsborough and reveals that he is Ruth's son. Lance agrees to bond with his half-brother. Amy Greenwood (Jacinta Stapleton) shows an interest in Lance and he is thrilled. However, Amy's friends do not like him. Jacinta Myers (Caroline Morgan) frames Lance for printing caricatures of Susan Kennedy (Jackie Woodburne), resulting in Lance's suspension. Toadie and Amy work together to get Jacinta to confess and Susan lifts Lance's suspension.
After returning home from a camping trip, Anne finds a snake in her belongings. Lance tries to save his sister and he is bitten. Lance becomes jealous when Amy begins spending a lot of time with Drew Kirk (Dan Paris). Philip and Ruth marry and Lance reassures Hannah about their new family. Lance and Amy break up and Lance begins exhibiting strange behaviour. Lance develops a gambling problem and the stress leads him to collapse. Harold Bishop (Ian Smith) offers to be an invigilator when Lance sits his exams at home. Lance's results are not what he expected, but good enough for him to study Horticulture at Eden Hills University. Amy introduces Lance to her boyfriend, Damien Smith (John Ridley), and he begins gambling again. Lance fakes a robbery at Number 26 after he pawns Ruth's fob watch. Lance is ashamed and he writes a letter of apology and begins attending Gamblers Anonymous meetings.
Philip, Ruth and Hannah move to Darwin, so Lance moves in with Toadie and Joel Samuels. Lance reconciles with Amy, but she starts avoiding him and eventually reveals that she has been seeing Damien and that she is pregnant. Lance finds out Anne knew and he stops talking to her, but ultimately is responsible for Amy and Damian getting back together because he wants Amy to be happy and knows it will be with Damien, rather than himself. Both Lance and Toadie compete for Stephanie Scully's (Carla Bonner) attention after she moves into the street. Lance meets Allana Truman (Josephine Clark) at a sci-fi convention and he falls for her. Allana sets Lance the task of completing Seven Labours of Love to win her heart. Lance completes the tasks and he and Allana begin a relationship.
Lance helps Allana get away from her mother and they decide to go travelling in America. Lance enters a radio quiz in order to win some money. He becomes popular with listeners and the radio station bosses decide to feed him the answers, to keep him on air. Lance exposes the scam and he and Allana leave Erinsborough for the United States, where they set up their own sci-fi convention. Four years later, Lance returns to Erinsborough for a Star Trek: Deep Space Nine convention and he decides to visit his old friends. He attends the viewing of Annalise Hartman's (Kimberly Davies) documentary about Ramsay Street and is surprised to see Amy make an appearance. Lance competes with Connor O'Neill (Patrick Harvey) for Toadie's friendship before heading home to Allana.
A writer for the BBC's Neighbours website said Lance's most notable moment was "discovering that a possum had pooed in the veggie ragout" on a camping trip. After Lance was seen dropping a washer into a public pay phone, the Australian national phone company said Neighbours would be found accountable if viewers began to copy the trick.
- "Andrew Bibby Interview". Neighbours.com. June 2000. Archived from the original on 6 March 2001. Retrieved 19 May 2011.
- Green, Kris (14 April 2005). "More Neighbours returns confirmed". Digital Spy. Hachette Filipacchi UK. Retrieved 20 May 2011.
- "Character: Lance Wilkinson2". BBC. Archived from the original on 5 September 2004. Retrieved 20 May 2011.
- Dasey, Annette; Brand, Claire (9–22 January 1999). "Hooked!". Inside Soap. Attic Futura (UK) Ltd (118): 16.
- "Problem child". Inside Soap. Hachette Filipacchi UK (131): 21. 10–23 July 1999.
- "Character: Lance Wilkinson1". BBC. Archived from the original on 30 August 2003. Retrieved 20 May 2011.
- Herbison, Jason (10–23 July 1999). "Money for nothing". Inside Soap. Hachette Filipacchi UK (131): 45.