As long as soaps have existed, there have been baddies. Very often, we love to hate them. In Neighbours, over the years, we have had plenty and recently, with characters like Nanny Alice, Scarlett Brady and Finn Kelly, some of the show’s finest performances have come from storylines around these less-than-perfect characters.

Over the last couple of months, a new name has been added to that list, Chelsea Murphy. She started out with just a lot of questionable behaviour, trying to get her claws into Paul Robinson. Based on Cara and Remi’s reactions, this is normal for Chelsea. But more recently her behaviours have gotten increasingly serious, trying to sabotage anyone who attempts to come close to Paul.

From throwing away Terese’s beloved plaque to sabotaging the Lie-In event to make it look like a failure, it was all petty stuff until this week. Seeing that Krista is coming closer to Paul, so close that he has entrusted her with making a presentation to the Lassiters Global team, Chelsea makes sure that Krista misses the presentation. She doctors the locking system in the sauna, causing Krista to become trapped in incredible heat, dehydrating and passing out. An action that ultimately leads to the death of Krista’s unborn child.

The scenes that followed were some of the most harrowing in Neighbours’ history, seeing Krista realising her baby has died, the effect it had on Remi as she tried to support Krista through everything, the trauma of a still birth. You couldn’t help but be moved by the incredible and gut-wrenching scenes.

Everyone is still oblivious to Chelsea’s involvement, but for how long?

Majella Davis, who plays Krista and Viva Bianca who plays Chelsea, sat down to talk about what their characters have been dealing with over recent weeks.

Finding out that Krista had a miscarriage is a very emotional storyline. How did you get into the right headspace to act out those tough scenes?
Majella Davis: The producers at Neighbours let me know about Krista’s still birth very early on, so thankfully I had plenty of time to process and prepare for this story. I started by doing lots of research and listening to a lot of different experiences from mothers who had lost a child through pregnancy. On the actual day of filming, I had a lot of support from everyone on set so I really felt safe to lean in and feel the depth of grief Krista would be feeling. That, and we all ate a lot of chocolate that day!

Krista ends up leaning heavily on Paul when she learns the news and in the aftermath. Were you surprised that these characters formed a bond? Is it more fun to act with Stefan Dennis when your characters are going head-to-head or when they’re on the same team?
Majella: I think there’s something really beautiful about Paul being by Krista’s side during this. She only recently lost her father, and the relationship she has with Paul kind of mirrors the relationship she had with him. It honestly just fit so perfectly that he was there for her.

I’ve been very fortunate to work so closely with Stefan. I love playing with the power dynamics when we’re in conflict, but I’ve got to say that the sweet stuff is really heart-warming and fun too. Hopefully we can just keep playing between the two extremes.

How did you feel your costumes impacted your character’s personality through this storyline?
Majella: I LOVE Krista’s wardrobe. Our head of costume Nick Wakerley is incredible. We talked about Krista using her wardrobe as a way show everyone how put together she is and assert her authority at Lassiters. It’s classy and chic- big boss girl energy. In terms of wearing the belly prosthetic, it obviously helps visually… but it also helped me feel some sensations of pregnancy. It’s kind of heavy, uncomfortable and the pressure from the under garments meant I needed to pee all the time.

What was one thing you learned as an actor while bringing this storyline to life?
Majella: I guess it’s cliche, but this storyline taught me to be brave. Any fears or doubts that I had were far outweighed by my desire to share this story in the most honest and gracious way I could. I hope that people feel seen and understood.

Where do you see Krista’s story going next?
Majella: I want more wins for Krista, I really do love seeing her thrive! Hopefully she and Leo can
continue to support each other… I mean I wouldn’t hate it if they got married or even one day had a
kid of their own. We’ll try and manifest that! Also, more fun events at Lassiters!

Unlike devious Chelsea, Viva Bianca seems like a ball of fun. On social media we have seen great chemistry with other cast-members, particularly Stefan Dennis, who has been learning Tik Tok dances from her.

Chelsea is quite the character! What has been your favourite part of playing her so far?
Viva Bianca: I still think I loved early-days Chelsea when she brought the party and the mischief to Ramsay Street. I also think one of my favourite parts about playing Chelsea is working so closely with Stefan Dennis. He’s a legend and a consummate gentleman. We have a lot of fun moulding the unorthodox relationship that is ‘Paulsy’.

Why do you think Chelsea has such strong negative feelings towards Krista?
Viva: Chelsea is threatened by Krista’s power. And Chelsea is desperate to shine at Lassiters in front of Paul, and also to be a power couple beside him. Ultimately I think Chelsea is envious of Krista because Krista already possesses what Chelsea so desperately wants.

How can we expect their relationship to play out over this miscarriage story-arc?
Viva: Chelsea and Krista have to figure out how to work alongside one another, which isn’t easy. Chelsea is riddled with guilt about what happened with the sauna and also terrified of the truth surfacing – and Krista has her own demons to wrestle with. They become strangely co-dependent for a minute or two as they hold the key to one another’s Achilles heel. So, you can expect a rocky-road ahead for their relationship…

Chelsea is willing to go to extremes to stop Paul from finding out she locked Krista in the sauna. How do you bring validity to these types of actions when acting them out?
Viva: Yep, Chelsea is extreme! I guess it’s not an actor’s job to judge their character’s actions or choices but to empathise with them. (Which admittedly isn’t always easy!) So, as hard as it is to justify Chelsea’s extreme measures, I always approach it from the place of her need or want. From her perspective, she ‘needs’ things to work out with Paul – because without him she will land back on her ass, figuratively and literally!

What have you learned about the Neighbours-universe by working so closely with Stefan Dennis?
Viva: Ha! Where do I begin? Probably the main thing I’ve learned about the Neighbours-universe by working so closely with Stefan is balance. To sustain a career on a soap like Neighbours takes balance. Striking the balance of mucking around and the more serious focussed work stuff. Work-life balance. Working on Neighbours is not for the faint hearted. But Stef is a pro at making it look easy.

Where do you see Chelsea’s story going next?
Viva: I hope for Chelsea’s sake she gets pregnant to Paul, snags her place in his will and they become the power couple she’s been vision boarding all this time. Let’s just hope she’s up for the 3am night feeds and nappy changes! ;/ But in all seriousness, I hope there’s room for some redemption in Chelsea’s story. I genuinely don’t think she ever meant for things to go as awry as they have. It’s like a domino game she’s lost total control of. Maybe she can make amends?

If everything is exposed, we feel that redemption may be elusive for Chelsea, but stranger things have happened. One bout of amnesia and Chelsea could be moving in with Karl and Susan! Regardless of what happens, watching Viva create this whirlwind of a character has been an absolute pleasure and has filled our screens with unmissable drama and we are sure there is much more to come.

The story will continue in new episodes of Neighbours, streaming from 7am Monday-Thursday on Amazon Freevee and Amazon Prime Video.

By Matt Sole

Matt was a Neighbours fan through the late 1980s and 1990s. After a number of years living overseas he returned to the UK and fell in love with Ramsay Street again in 2017. Away from Neighbours, Matt spent many years working as an Entertainment Director for a major Cruise Line. He is also an avid quizzer and has appeared on many TV game shows including Bridge of Lies, competing with other members of the team.