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Penny McNamee on her loyalty to Home And Away – and her new career move

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‘I owed it to the fans.’

Penny McNamee portrayed Tori Morgan in Home and Away for six years of her life. She jumped at the chance to return for an extremely special wedding, thus.

Penny, 41, tells TV WEEK that Tori was ready to move on from Summer Bay to have this amazing life in London with her new husband and lovely kid and a terrific career, so “it had to be something big to pull her back.” “The reason is significant enough—Justin’s wedding. Since they are so close, it seems reasonable that she would return for it.

The actress claims that after being gone from the Bay for three years, she was drawn back by the show’s audience and her friendship with James Stewart, who plays Tori’s brother Justin, in real life.

Without Tori, Penny says, “that wedding would have felt inauthentic.” For this reason, she felt she owed the fans something. “During the six years I played the storylines, I felt a sense of loyalty to Jimmy [James].” Ultimately, it was an obvious choice.

Penny claims that even though she was gone from the Home and Away set for years, it felt like she had never left.

“I must admit, I was a little nervous about returning.” However, I quickly blended in because many of the cast and crew were still there when I arrived. I was thinking, “How are the kids doing?” when I sat down at lunch with my usual companions. How is the home remodelling going? It was comfortable and felt like home.

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Penny, who is married to Matt Tooker, has two kids of her own, and she recalls balancing her motherhood with her part on Home and Away. When Sarah started working at Home And Away in 2016, her son Jack was just ten months old. Neve, a daughter, was born in 2019.

She laughs as she recounts, “I don’t think I ever got a full night’s sleep throughout my entire six years in Home And Away.” “How I achieved it is beyond me. When Jack was a newborn, there was one night I couldn’t get any sleep at all. He was sobbing and feeling sick, and I was nursing him. I also had to work a 12-hour day the next day. However, I overcame it and was able to recall my lines. I thought, “Well, that’s the worst that it can be, and I survived it,” after that.

The kids are older now, and Penny isn’t working 12-hour days on set, so life is easier.

Neve, who is five years old, recently learned how to ride a bike without training wheels and has taken off her floaties. Jack is nine years old. It implies that we can go on family bike trips and to the beach without the need for all of these flotation gear. Together, we’ve been adventuring a lot more.

Penny, who has four siblings, including fellow actress Jessica McNamee, values her family.

She states, “We all see each other a lot.” Our children, who are married, kind of overlap in age. Although Jess relocated to Los Angeles, she continued to film the second Mortal Kombat movie, travelling back and forth from the Gold Coast to Sydney while staying with her parents. It was quite lovely that we could spend Christmas together as a group.

In actuality, Penny’s new career as a novelist was inspired by her time spent with her adolescent nieces.

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Penny remembers, “I was looking for books on children performing in musicals for my nieces, who love theatre, and they didn’t exist.” I thus went to Scholastic, a book publisher, and told them that there was a significant market gap. And they cherished it.

In July, Penny’s teen series Stage Stars will release its debut novel.

“Millie, the main character, has ADHD. She is simply “too much” for everyone and doesn’t fit in at school, Penny claims. She talks and sings too much. “She doesn’t truly find her place until she joins a musical theatre club called Stage Stars and performs alongside other kids who are just ‘too much.'”

Penny is deeply touched by Millie’s story and believes that the character will speak to children who identify as neurodivergent.

“I knew there was an important story there because I’ve had some experience with ADHD in our family,” the woman explains. I’ve enjoyed writing the books.

Penny’s next engagement is in the May Melbourne opening of the play The Odd Couple. One of her closest friends, Lucy Durack, with whom she last collaborated on the original Wicked run, co-stars with her.

“We can’t wait. We get to act like fun-loving girls for a few months because the play is a whole lot of fun and these characters are really ditzy, Penny explains. “Work won’t even feel like it,”

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Regarding Tori, don’t rule out the fan fave making another trip back to Summer Bay.

“Perhaps I would declare that I’m done in Hollywood now if I were in my 20s and heading there after Home and Away,” Penny remarks. I do, however, reside in Sydney and work as an actor here. I would therefore definitely think about returning if the plot demands it and viewers find it essential that Tori be present.

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