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Home and Away lines up massive story for Irene’s exit

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Later this year, when Irene from Home and Away takes a break from Summer Bay, there will be concerns for her in what appears to be a major storyline.

The Back to the Bay crew saw an interesting scene being filmed outside the surf club including Mackenzie (Emily Weir), Levi (Tristan Gorey), John (Shane Withington), and Irene (Lynne McGranger) on one of our travels to Palm Beach back in March.

This block of episodes is expected to premiere in mid- to late-August, depending on Seven’s upcoming schedule.

© Returning to the Bay

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Chris-Martin Jones, the director of this block, walks Emily and Tristan through the scene. © Returning to the Bay

Ordinarily enough, the scene opens with Mac and Levi, who are in love, strolling toward the club while Levi is holding a gift bag.

© Returning to the Bay

© Returning to the Bay

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After catching up with them, John speaks with them briefly before turning around and noticing something further down the road.

John watches as Irene pulls up in her car near to some wheelie bins. She quickly leaves after slyly placing something in one of the bins (Lynne finished this scene in one or two takes, so we didn’t get a decent position to shoot a picture).

© Returning to the Bay

John can’t help but be a little curious because the last time Irene did something similar, she and Bella (Courtney Miller) were disposing of Tommy O’Reilly’s (Adam Sollis) unconscious body outside the hospital after Irene gave him a champagne bottle blow to the skull.

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© Returning to the Bay

When John opens the bins to look around, he discovers empty alcohol bottles within, which really worries him!

Irene is back on the grog, right?

© Returning to the Bay

When we subsequently complimented Shane on his expertly performed bin-diving, he joked, “It’s a career highlight.”

As she got preparing for an impending theater production, Lynne McGranger had previously informed us that she would be taking a vacation from the show this year.

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The week following the filming of this scene, Lynne took off for a quick vacation in the UK. Upon her return, she dove headfirst into rehearsals and is currently starring as Liz in the brand-new comedy musical “The Grandparents Club,” which debuted this week and will be touring theaters in NSW, ACT, and Victoria until August 4.

Earlier this year, Lynne said on Seven’s The Morning Show, “(I’ll be going for) just a little while, not leaving anything permanently.”

Regarding the play, she said, “I came from revue-type situations, from community theater, all that.” “I’m returning to my origins, engaging with the audience while dancing and singing. I’m hardly Aretha Franklin, but I can bellow out a song and hold a tune!”

Given that it appears that Irene would be gone for several months, is it possible that she fell off the wagon and left?

If so, will Irene hide out in the bay in embarrassment, or will John’s finding serve as the impetus for his dear friend Irene to ask for assistance?

Lynne talked on her future on the show after 31 years and whether or not she was tempted to move permanently out of Summer Bay in a follow-up interview with Stellar magazine last week.

“I’ve thought about it and had it on the back of my mind for the past year or two. Although there isn’t a specific departure date, I adore working on The Grandparents Club and taking part in this amazing celebration because it helps me reconnect with my roots.

“Who knows what the future may bring,” she remarked playful. “God willing, I might just be hanging up my diner apron if this works out.”

Irene was portrayed by Jacqy Phillips in 1991–1992, but longtime viewers will recall her as an alcoholic and violent mother to Nathan (David Dixon), Finlay (Tina Thomsen), and Damian (Matt Doran).

In episode 1000, Irene tumbled down the stairs while intoxicated, leading Finlay and Damian to believe she was dead.

When a sober Irene returned to Summer Bay permanently in January 1993, Lynne McGranger assumed the part; it would be sixteen years before she would have to portray the character as drunk.

Not that there hadn’t been any near misses over that period.

Irene became an outcast in 1995 after siding with Dodge (Kelly Dale) on his unwanted return to the community.

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