Most Popular Villain - 1 - Angie Russell

Angie Russell first hit our screens towards the end of 2002. Was it really five years ago? She arrived as the new deputy principal at Summer Bay High School. Not long afterwards along came her teenage son Dylan who promptly fell in love with Kirsty Sutherland the daughter of her old High School sweet heart Rhys rubber lips Sutherland. Needless to say this caused all sorts of problems as Angie firmly believed old rubber lips to be Dylan's father. As it turned out she was as deluded about this as she was about everything else.

Angie caused mayhem in the bay. She had no morals, and manipulated anyone who stood in the way of what she wanted. Fisher's office was set on fire, Scot's boat shed burnt down, and some guy whose name completely escapes me also turned up dead when she was around. She hid Sally's OCD pills to try and ensure that Sally looked bad in front of the school inspectors; she manipulated "friends" at the department to get what she wanted. She had an affair with a pupil at her previous school and when he turned up she rejected him and he ended up in a psych unit. She had an affair with Jesse and aborted his child. She screwed royally with Nick Smith's head because he had argued with her son Dylan, and falsely accused Nick of assaulting her. Nick was taken to court and found guilty before Nick, Seb, Jade and Kirsty presented their J'Accuse tape and the truth was finally told.

The denouement was fantastic and Angie's walk of shame will go down in the annals of Home And Away history as one of the most memorable scenes ever. Her exit line in that scene, "you will die with my name on your lips", was magic.

Angie slowly lost her grip on reality and her descent into more and more disturbed behaviour was compelling viewing. Her death seemed inevitable given all that had gone before, and the hunt for her killer was the stuff which TV headlines are made of.

Ultimately, Angie changed the very fabric of the show while she was there – and her influence was long reaching. The creation of her daughter Tasha and the subsequent arrival of her cousin Josie speaks volumes for the impact which this one character has had. The introduction of this unique, disturbed, and twisted female characters laid the ground for others to follow. Angie is and always will be one hard act to follow. There has never been a character like her before or since.

Angie was played with style and class by Laurie Foell. She played Angie with complete and utter conviction and inspired in viewers a shocking response to such a twisted character; compassion. She’s a legend.

Laurie Foell was delighted to hear that Angie is still such a favourite with the viewing public. She has told BttB that she loved playing Angie and sends her thanks, and love and best wishes to BttB members.

Here is what Coral Drouyn, Script Producer 2002- 2004, and Angie's creator, had to say about her creation:

When I was headhunted to find a new direction for the show I accepted, providing I could do something outrageous - and Angie was about as outrageous as it gets!

In Prisoner Cell Block H I had created an 18 year old called Angel... twisted and wreaking havoc but all the while looking innocent...and I wondered how she might have grown up.

Initially I wanted Angie to physically seduce Nick...a raging affair...but we couldn't do that with the timeslot. John Holmes ( head of drama) suggested that a complete Mindf%$& would be just as intense...and in fact it worked better....so thank you John.

At the start EVERYBODY hated Angie - and I mean everybody. I received hate mail and all the fan boards screamed "get her off." I knew it was only a matter of time before they loved to hate her...and then loved her....but I was reported to the ABA ( broadcasting tribunal) several times because of her, and parent and teacher groups were outraged.

Her stay was only ever planned to be six months - and I always planned to kill her ( the network needed something big to counteract Big Brother =D )

By the time she went people were indignantly screaming that she should have stayed - but truly it would not have been Home and Away as we know and love it. She would have taken over the show.

I adore The Walk of Shame... and so much else I created for her - and I was so glad that at the end people did pity her. It's a great compliment that she made such an impact.

Characters that you create live with you forever. Sometimes the problem is though that others cannot see them with your eyes. Angie presented problems for the other writers and I ended up overwriting all of her dialogue and spent many hours in the plotting room explaining her subtleties and delusions....which says a lot about me (shock, horror) as well as her. But she was far more complex than the usual soap characters and some people just did not "get" her. Laurie gave Angie the life and personality I had always envisaged for her and I'm very grateful. Interestingly Kate Fischer was shortlisted to play her but as soon as I saw Laurie's screentest there just couldn't be anyone else.

Though I've created more than 50 characters for shows, Angie is my favourite - with Robbie and Tasha (as they were in the beginning ) close seconds. Thank you so much for letting her make an impact on you too.

 
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