In the most recent Neighbours interview, Charlotte Chimes talks to us about her experience portraying the frequently contentious character of Nicolette Stone.
Just two weeks before the renowned Australian soap opera’s filming came to an end, Charlotte chatted with Digital Spy about the show’s climax, a scrapped story for her character, and fan reactions to Nicolette.
What kind of vibe has there been on set as you’ve been shooting the last several episodes?
“Everyone has experienced a true rollercoaster. When compared to Jackie [Woodburne, who portrays Susan] and Fletch [Alan Fletcher, who plays Karl], who have both worked there for considerably longer, I’ve only been there for two years.
“There was first disappointment that it was over, followed by acceptance. Then we all got together and said, “Let’s make this the best possible finish to the show.”
“Reality is setting in, and it’s starting to feel rather nostalgic.”
What last episodes are you able to tease?
Who’s returning has been disclosed, but could there be more? The final episodes are best compared to a tapestry. This intricate fabric of the past and present is found in Erinsborough and Neighbors. Everyone will be pleased with how it all turns out, I believe.
When the news of the show’s demise first surfaced, were you shocked?
“Unfortunately, I wasn’t overly surprised. Like the rest of my coworkers, I had optimism for the future, not just for myself and the people I work with, but also for the Australian industry and all of our devoted fans throughout the world, particularly in the UK.
“However, it makes sense economically. These days, everyone watches streamers. Because of this, there was a lot of discussion on whether Neighbours might be restructured to fit into a streamer, and perhaps it will do so in the future. Perhaps it will be Neighbors, updated for the times we live in.
How have the past several months been for you?
Funny how a couple just stopped me on the street because they recognised me from the show. They wanted to congratulate us on Neighbours and told us to be proud of being on such a classic programme.
“That, in my opinion, sums it all up. I’m so grateful that I landed the role of Nicolette, got to work during the epidemic, and am a part of one of the most famous Australian musicals ever produced. Another television programme would not likely have such an impact.
Are you happy the crew had enough time to appropriately wrap things up?
“Absolutely. I kept saying, “Thank God we’ve had three months’ notice and it’s not two weeks,” to my friends and coworkers. The carpet would have been torn out from beneath us if that had happened.
The team had plenty of time to properly prepare, thank god. Thank god we have those months because everyone always needs more time and has been really busy getting ready for the finale.
Have Nicolette’s plans have to modify in any way?
“I believe everything has gone according to plan, but it has possibly been accelerated. I wish I could have been able to enjoy those stories, but a couple things I knew would happen for her aren’t occurring right now.
“We didn’t have time for that because Nicolette’s dad was going to be arriving. I was particularly interested in learning more about the dynamic between Jane and Nicolette and how the dad might influence it.
Do you believe that Nicolette’s potential was vast but was now curtailed?
It’s cyclical with soap. I was fortunate to have the primary plot for around a year, but this year I’ve been relegated to more of a supporting role.
“I would have loved to discuss more topics with Nicolette, such as whether or not she tries to return to the nursing field. How about the parent relationship? Dating? There were other things the character could have done, but perhaps that is simply the way things are with the show coming to an end.
Do you believe Nicolette would still have shown us all sides of her personality or would she have developed into a full-fledged villain?
“I believe that Nicolette would have remained somewhat of a villain even though we would continue to see both sides of her. I had a great time with that. The finest part is that. I get a little bored when things are really true and lovely!
“I particularly enjoy watching Nicolette compete against Paul, Jane, or the boys. Sometimes when she expresses regret, I become too protective of her and question why she always has to apologise even when she wasn’t fully at fault.
It’s amusing how I defend this fictitious person. The part I like the most is when she’s misbehaving.
How did it make you feel to learn that Jason Donovan and Kylie Minogue would be making a comeback?
“I found it to be fantastic. I didn’t anticipate Kylie coming back. Jason was a possibility, in my opinion. But how they managed to return is incredible. Even if it was only for the fans, I was hoping they would make a tiny return.
“But I was also hoping that Neighbours would wrap up as the programme is now, rather than dwelling too much on the past, as the show has advanced remarkably. The conclusion is a tapestry because everything is interconnected.
What are your favourite memories?
“Probably whenever I was filming sequences with Matt Wilson (who portrays Aaron), Takaya Honda (who plays David), and Annie Jones (who plays Jane) at the Tanaka residence. We would joke around, have fun, and laugh.
I kept telling myself, “I can’t believe this is work,’ so often. I’m overjoyed and grateful. So, some of the best memories are those. It’s those fleeting interludes when you catch yourself and realise you’re having a blast.
The baby premise was extremely contentious from a narrative standpoint, and I adored how angry it made people feel! Reading all the online commentary about how much people detested Nicolette was hilarious, but I would much prefer to be discussed as a character than not at all.
Had you ever had a least favourite plot?
“I believe that being in a support narrative for a short period of time without a huge story to follow is possibly the least favourite plotline.
“Having said that, I once had six scenes in a row at Harold’s. They appeared to be scenes of “not much” and “nothing.” Not that any scene is insignificant; every scene advances the plot in some manner.
“So I told the director I had all these funny ideas that day. In order to make the situations come to life in the most Nicolette way possible, I came up with some odd, funny things I could do when Glen entered Harold’s.
Can Neighbors come back?
“I believe we must acknowledge that it is finished in its present incarnation and on its present networks. But perhaps it could be given a second chance and reimagined in a fresh way on a streaming service.
“Perhaps it could take that form—something fresh yet rooted in the past. Though you shouldn’t completely give up, as things stand, the finale will air and that will be it.
How long were you expecting to stay?
I’ve already completed two of the three years of my three-year contract. I probably would have started my third year if I hadn’t signed 007 to play the role of the new James Bond!
What are your plans for the future, after Neighbours?
“Yes, I am now filming a short movie I wrote. Kate Kendall, one of the performers and producers from Neighbours, will be directing it while I’m producing and performing in it. There are also some Neighbours cast members involved.
“I just had to sadly give up my wonderful flat in Melbourne. After a brief stay in Queensland and Sydney, I’ll travel to London, Italy, and Spain. Working on your British comedies and dramas in the West End would be my dream job. Hopefully I’ll get a job.”
Are you going to try to take something from the set?
“If I do say so myself, Nicolette has excellent style, so I’m going to take a lot of my clothes! I wouldn’t know where to begin if it weren’t for that. I have the pregnancy stick from Nicolette’s pregnancy and I want to keep my lanyard from my time working as a nurse at Erinsborough Hospital. I definitely shouldn’t be retaining that, but I am!
“Because she grew up with some chairs exactly like them, I know Bek [Elmaloglou, who plays Terese] is determined to have the Tanaka house chairs, which are so squeaky and bad for the sound department,”