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'Neighbours' exit for Natasha Williams confirmed

Neighbours star Valentina Novakovic has confirmed that she is leaving the soap.

The actress films her final scenes as Natasha Williams in December after more than two years playing the role.

Tash's exit scenes will air on Australian screens in April and a month later in the UK.

Reflecting on her character's journey, Novakovic commented: "I actually love the whole transition from 'bratty' to almost 'nice', but never quiet. Tash is still herself no matter how much she has grown.

"It's so much fun to play such a free-spirited character. I like that she's matured and thinks a little clearer now that she is older, but I don't think Tash could ever become boring, no matter how much she matures!"

Novakovic is hoping to explore acting opportunities in the US after making her departure.

She added: "Australia is small compared to what else is out there, especially in Los Angeles. I love acting and it's what I want to do, so why not be in the thick of it all?

"I certainly would love to do more Aussie things, but being realistic, there is nowhere near as much opportunity here."

Novakovic's on-screen father Sandy Winton (Michael) bowed out from Neighbours earlier this year.

'Neighbours' stars Carla Bonner, Nicola Charles to return

Neighbours has announced that some of Ramsay Street's most popular characters will be returning next year.

Steph Scully (Carla Bonner) will be making a welcome return, as well as Sarah Beaumont (Nicola Charles) and Detective Mark Brennan (Scott McGregor).

Lou Carpenter's daughter Lauren Turner (now played by Kate Kendall) will also be coming back, but she will joined by her family to form a new set of characters in Erinsborough.

On joining the long-running soap, which will celebrate its 28th year in 2013, Kendall said: "It's exciting to be joining Australia's longest running drama and to be working with such an array of experienced actors.

"To be playing a character such as Lauren Turner, who is deeply embedded in the storyline and who of course is Lou Carpenter's daughter, is such a wonderful opportunity."

Lauren will be joined by police sergeant Matt Turner (Josef Brown) and their teenage children Mason (Taylor Glockner), Amber (Jenna Rosenow) and Bailey (Calen MacKenzie).

Rick Maier, executive producer of drama and production at Australian broadcaster Network Ten, added: "Neighbours is always as its most compelling when fans are rewarded for their commitment. Next year's new stories and all-star cast just look and feel fantastic. Steph Scully back on Ramsay Street? Sarah Beaumont? And some people thought Erinsborough was such a quiet place to live...

"We are thrilled that they are returning to Ramsay Street and equally excited to be introducing a new family with original ties to the neighbourhood."

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I'm going to miss Tasha a lot, she's been the best thing about Neighbours for a long time and frankly it's hard to think of a really decent character left when she goes.

I was hoping they'd resist the temptation to bring Steph back once she's served her sentence.With Lyn and Charlie gone and Summer going, what exactly is there for her on Ramsay Street?A bunch of people that know she killed someone and a fake ex-husband who could do without her divebombing into his life just as he's getting settled?Not sure why they'd resurrect Mark Brennan, he was a monumentally dull character in a ridiculously ill-suited relationship with someone who forgot about him very quickly.Sarah coming back could work quite well but I'm worried they'll make the same mistakes Home and Away tends to with returning characters and write the reputation rather than the reality, turning a basically decent person who may or may not have had an affair with Karl(the writers seem to keep changing their mind)into a villain.Kind of disappointed they're going to have some woman turn up pretending to be Lauren Carpenter with her improbably conceived children but I was chomping at the bit about Summer being recast and actually quite liked her until she got turned from a feisty, fun character into a judgemental prig, so maybe it'll work out.At least it means there'll actually be a reason for Lou to stick around.

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In TV WEEK it said Lauren left Neighbours in 1994 sounds like shes been very busy in those years meeting a hubby and having 3 teenage children that was about 18 years ago. I'm guessing the oldest child is around 18 or 17 judging by the photo in TV WEEK

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I'm actually looking forward to Steph coming back.I always liked her.I'm kind of hoping she's surprised by Lucas being married with a kid though.

Yes I want Vanessa to choose and Marry Lucas and not ditch him for that douche Rhys.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Very happy to hear Steph returning for 2 months and I always liked Mark as a character and I always thoughtt that his 'death' was never fully explained. It will be interesting to see where he has been in the last year or so. I've heard of Sarah, but I don't remember her as I didn't watch the show in the 90s as I was too little.

It's sad to see Tash go when she's just starting to become likeable and a good-natured character. I think since her father left, she's become more mature and independent as an individual.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Yeah, I thought of that when it was first mentioned she had a kid.I think, as with Libby, it was a case of "probably" not able to have children but you'd have thought someone would have mentioned it.(It wasn't Brad who infected her, he was tested and came back clear, but we never found out who it actually was.)

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