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For Ella, it's up, up and away

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For Ella, it's up, up and away

The Advertiser

24 August 2005

JUST a few months ago, Home and Away producers were basking in the glow of Bec Cartwright's suddenly stellar celebrity (Dancing with the Stars, then Lleyton).

Bec, below inset, was dominating storylines as Home and Away's leading lady. Not only was her character, Hayley Lawson, pregnant, she was in the midst of a love triangle and about to be diagnosed with a heart condition - a melodrama the show's writers planned to exploit over the months ahead. But then Bec got pregnant for real and told producers that after seven years on the show she was intent on becoming a full-time mum.

Reluctant to write out the character and lose what promised to be a top-rating storyline, it was decided to recast the role of Hayley. "Obviously there are a lot of different ways to go - do we go with a Bec look-alike or totally different?" says producer Julie McGauran.

"We made a decision that it simply had to be the best actor because it is an integral story. There's no point just having someone pretty." Enter 22-year-old Ella Scott Lynch, left. With pale skin and red hair, the NIDA graduate and theatre buff bears little resemblance to her bubbly blonde predecessor. "My mum was very shocked - she was like `But you don't look like a beach babe'," Scott Lynch laughs. "She thought it was ridiculous."

When the new Hayley first appears on-screen on Tuesday, the mum-to-be will be torn between two men - one she wrongly believes is the father of her baby, Kim (Chris Hemsworth) and the actual daddy-to-be, Scott (Kip Gamblin). To cap it off, the young widow is battling cardiomyopathy, a serious condition aggravated by her pregnancy.

As the daughter of divorced parents who both work in film and theatre, Scott Lynch feared some of her NIDA peers might accuse her of "selling out" by signing on to a popular soap.

But she has a newfound respect for her Home and Away colleagues. "They have this beautiful instinctiveness. They can pick up a script - sometimes really bad scripts - and make it seem real."

Home and Away

7pm, Tuesday, Channel 7

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