the BBC, thanks to the "So - Soaps" section of the BBC website:
all to So Soaps ...
How much do you
know about your Neighbours? Hear all the juicy gossip from Madeleine - alias
the lovely Dione.
How did you feel when you won the part of Dione Bliss in Neighbours?
Madeleine: I was elated - it was my first TV
role as well which made it even more exciting. Iíve been in Neighbours for
just over a year now and itís still really exciting.
What did you think when you first walked onto the set?
Madeleine: It felt really bizarre - because it
all looks so real when you watch it on TV - and then to be there is just so
Did you watch the show before you joined it?
Madeleine: Iíve always watched the show - ever
since I can remember - so all the characters seem so real to me. In fact when
I joined it took me months to stop calling all the cast by their character
What was your first scene in the show?
Madeleine: It was in a nightclub with Daniel
(Joel) and Ryan (Toadfish). I was absolutely terrified - I hid behind the
bar until they had gone! But they were so lovely to me that I soon relaxed.
Are you surprised at how popular the show is over here?
Madeleine: Iíve met loads of backpackers in Australia,
who are huge fans of the show, so Iím not surprised by its popularity. In
fact, when I meet fans they know more about the show than I do!
Could you imagine being a nurse in real life?
Madeleine: It would be fantastic to be a nurse
because you get to help people every day in your job. Also, you get to be
involved in the drama of their lives which is great.
us some Neighbours secrets...
Dione's had a very rocky relationship with Joel, is true love going to win
through for you both?
Madeleine: I canít say what happens, but all
I will say is that the road to true love is rarely smooth and Joel and Dioneís
relationship is no different - itís going to be a bumpy ride!
Youíve recently done work as a presenter in Australia - is that something
you enjoy. And what other TV role would you love to do?
Madeleine: Yes I loved it! Getting that kind
of live reaction from an audience is fantastic. On TV roles, Iíd love to have
starred in Absolutely Fabulous - it was so funny and looked such good fun.
What kind of filming schedule do you have on Neighbours?
Madeleine: Very busy. We work five days a week,
and some weekends and the studio is open for 14-hours a day - so you can have
some long days. But itís great fun. And I'm so lucky because I wake up every
morning and really look forward to going to work.
Finally, could you give us a teaser of something thatís coming up in the show?
Madeleine: WellÖ Dioneís love life is about to
get very interesting indeed - controversial even. In fact, the love lives
of a lot of the cast are going to be hotting up! Dione is also going to be
moving into number 30 - but Iím not saying who with!
Interview is exclusive to neighbours.com
WITH MADELEINE WEST - DIONE BLISS
If you've been
watching Neighbours over the last few weeks, you would have noticed pretty
Madeline West, who plays Joel's on/off girlfriend, Dione Bliss. The good news
Madeline is set to hang around Ramsay Street for some time in the future,
which means it's high time Neighbours.com got to know more about this talented
20-year-old! So here, in her first interview ever, Madeline talks about her
past - and also shares her thoughts on winning a role in TV's best soap!
What is your background?
Madeleine West: I come from country Victoria originally, although I've lived
all around Australia since then. I've been acting on stage since I was eight
years old, but Neighbours is my first TV show so it's very exciting!
Do you come
from a large family?
I have one brother who is a few years younger than me, plus a five year old
sister and a three year old brother. So we're a really young family, and that's
Are your family
and friends excited about your success?
Very much so. A lot of my friends work in the theatre, so it's always very
exciting when someone gets a job which means they are going to be recognised.
They're very supportive.
Did it take
you a long time to break into TV?
I only got an agent two days before I heard about the audition, so it happened
pretty quickly for me. So off I went to the audition and luckily got the part.
I know it doesn't always happen that quickly for people, so I consider myself
How did you
feel when you found out you won the part?
I was very excited. I just couldn't believe it, and even now, a few months
into filming, I still feel the same way.
Do you remember
your first day of filming? Was it nervewrecking?
It certainly was. It was on location in Ringwood, which is a suburb in Melbourne.
I was absolutely terrified! I arrived about half an hour before everyone else
and kept saying to myself 'I can deal with this, I can deal with this'. But
then everyone started arriving and I began to feel very antsy. I remember
when I first saw some of the regular cast members I hid, because I was so
scared! But everything turned out okay, and everyone was really lovely, so
that was good.
Have you been
a fan of the show over the years?
Yeah, definitely. Especially because I now live here in Victoria, where the
show is made. I found that when I lived in New South Wales, people would watch
Home and Away more, but down here it's definitely Neighbours that people are
into. So for me, after watching it all these years, it's wonderful to be a
part of. It's the kind of dream that you expect to never come true, but it
As a fan of
the show, has it been anything like you expected it would be?
I didn't know what to expect! I suppose I thought the actors would be like
their characters, and some of them are, and some of them are not. And the
technical side of things has been quite a challenge, too, as none of that
is what I thought it would be. I've had to learn a lot very quickly.
Tell us about
your character, Dione Bliss
She's a great character to play. She's very playful and has a nice, kind heart.
She's very compassionate and, at the moment, is having a love/hate relationship
with Joel. Originally, my contract was for eleven weeks, so I thought I would
be limited to that. The challenge was to give her a past, present and a future
all in that very short space of time. But now they are keeping me on, the
challenge is to continue to make her interesting.
You work very
closely with Daniel MacPherson. Do you get along well?
Yes, very well. He's a really nice friendly guy.
What has the
relationship between Dione and Joel been like so far?
They met under a huge pretence - Dione is with her friend Vanessa, and she
was pretending to be a model, and Vanessa a fashion designer. Joel was with
Toadie, and he was pretending to be an Argentinean football player, and Toadie
a lawyer, despite his diminutive years! So it was all quite silly and unbelievable,
but they took a shine to each other and sorted it out.
So Dione is
very attracted to Joel right from the moment she meets him?
Yes, definitely. There is huge fire and sparks between them.
It's no secret
that a lot of people have recently left the show, most notably Brooke Stachwell,
Jesse Spencer and Jacinta Stapleton. Do you feel much pressure to emulate
Yes, definitely. The audience loved all those characters. It was heartbreaking
for me as a viewer to see them go, and on top of that, to know that I am one
of the new people who will hopefully go on to be as popular. So yes, it's
an enormous pressure to fill the void that they left behind.
What are your
ambitions career-wise, short term and long term?
Short-term,I just want to contribute as much to the show as I possibly can.
Longer term, I would love to work in theatre and stage, and film, of course.
But this is my first role in television so I'm concentrating on this for now.
How do you
feel about the prospect of doing publicity and becoming famous?
I haven't even really considered it yet. I guess it's exciting, but it's hard
to comprehend. Even now, I'm still reading all the magazines and thinking
'wow, I met that person today, oh my God!'. It's hard for me to imagine that
I will be in the magazines too, so I guess we'll just have to wait and see
Dione end, and Madeline begin?
I find that we have lots of similarities. We're both playful and I think we
both have a soft heart behind a mischievous exterior. Dione can also be very
zany, and I find I am like that too, but only to a degree.
Are you very
aware of the popularity of Neighbours in the UK?
Yes, definitely. I have a cousin who lives in the UK, and when they found
out I was going to be on the show, it was on par with me being elected President
of the United States or something. It was really huge. In fact, during my
first day filming out at Ramsay Street, we has a bus load of UK tourists come
past and they were all shouting out to us. It was quite surreal.
Have you any
plans to go over there?
Actually, when I finished Year 12, I bought a ticket to go over and then I
thought 'no, got to be practical, better stay here and study'. So I didn't
go, but now that I am the show, I will have to go.