HomeHome And AwayEXCLUSIVE: Emily Symons on her greatest Home and Away challenge and the...

EXCLUSIVE: Emily Symons on her greatest Home and Away challenge and the touching bond her son and Ray Meagher share

Emily Symons has just arrived to the Palm Beach set of Home And Away in Sydney. She’s made the twisting drive through the Bilgola Bends to Sydney’s northern coast several times over the years. And it’s one for which she’s thankful, now more than ever before.

Emily, 52, tells TV WEEK as she prepares to film scenes as Marilyn Chambers on the smash Channel Seven drama, “It’s a great area of the globe.” “You can’t top it on a gorgeous day with no breeze and blue sky.”

“Being able to travel on this lengthy journey is a really wonderful taste of freedom because we couldn’t go more than 5km [during COVID lockdown].”

Summer Bay has been Emily’s second home for more than 30 years, on and off. It’s natural that she’s formed strong ties with the ensemble, including Leah’s Ada Nicodemou, Irene’s Lynne McGranger, and Roo’s Georgie Parker.

Emily says, “They’re such a supportive group of ladies.” “It’s been such a pleasure to work with those women, and we’re all such close friends.” We all refer to it as our Home And Away family, and it is for me.”

Of course, she has a unique bond with her co-star, Ray Meagher, who has portrayed the inimitable Alf Stewart since the beginning of H&A.

Emily says, “I’ve had such a long friendship with Ray.” “He’s been a constant presence in my life and a great friend.”


And Henry, Emily’s six-year-old son, has taken to Ray like an uncle.

Emily explains, “We socialise with Ray, and Henry knew him as a family friend before he realised he was on TV.” “‘What is Ray doing on the television?’ he is questioned. It’s a pleasant surprise.”

The ties between Marilyn, Alf, and the others are put to the test in a way they have never been put to before on film. Marilyn has been married three times, been electrocuted, and suffered amnesia during her four stints on the drama (Emily left in 2001 and spent eight years in the UK soap Emmerdale).

However, in recent plots, she has made enemies of her pals and has gone out of her way to be mean. Marilyn isn’t like that at all. Maz’s demeanour has changed dramatically as a result of organophosphate poisoning during Salt’s black-tie event, which almost killed Tane (Ethan Browne).

When producers notified Emily about the direction her tales were going, she claims she was “shocked.” She did, however, conduct study on this form of poisoning, which she describes as a “very genuine phenomenon.”

“It appears that when you receive organophosphate poisoning, the brain and behaviour might alter as a result, but everything else remains normal,” she explains.

Emily’s toughest difficulty on the programme has been playing this changed version of Marilyn. Her impulse was to reject the transition and portray Marilyn as the sweet, effervescent blonde that people adore.

She was now dragged kicking and screaming out of her comfort zone. “Nasty Marilyn had to be yanked out of me,” Emily explains.

She admits, “This is the most difficult thing I’ve ever done as Marilyn.” “It’s a completely different Marilyn, which has been quite difficult for me to portray since she’s become second nature to me.”

“Having to build a new [version of the] character all of a sudden… certain days I was like, ‘I can’t say that – it’s so nasty.’ But I needed to go there in order for the plot to function.”

Working with Lynne on situations when she had to lash out at her co-star, for example, was very difficult. Emily compared it to “fighting with your closest friend.” Emily would apologise to Lynne after each take for the rant she’d just given.

“”It was challenging, but it was a fantastic acting training,” she explains. I was portraying Marilyn’s polar opposite. All of her personality attributes vanished, and she’s now combative, angry, and enraged with John [Shane Withington]. The workers appreciated the change of pace.”

It’s true that witnessing Marilyn without a filter, saying anything she wants and bashing everyone is amusing. It’s a long distance from Emily, but it’s also a long way from her.

She responds, “I guess I have a filter.” “I think I’m really good at reading rooms — Marilyn, on the other hand, isn’t!”

It’ll be fascinating to watch how fans react to Maz’s new personality. Will they take it in stride or panic out?

In terms of how viewers might respond, Emily admits, “I’m a little worried.” “I’m hoping it’ll work out, and I’m hoping they’ll understand.”

The storyline may be too much for one younger fan, Emily’s son Henry, who has only recently begun to watch the series and refers to it as “the Mummy show.” “I saw the man with the rose [Tane], and he didn’t die from the poison,” Henry recently told his mother, “and he didn’t die from the poison.”

“It’s so cute,” his proud mother exclaims.

During lockdown, Emily has enjoyed spending extra time with “Hen,” who has recently returned to school.

“He’s so mature – and tall,” she remarks. “I can’t believe I have a child that is so tall. He’s lovely. We’re embracing life.”

Emily is “glad to stay put for as long as they’ll have me” in Summer Bay, according to the actress. That implies we’ll be seeing more of Marilyn, in whatever form she takes, for a while.


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