A light-hearted reference to characters filling in for Sheila Canning has surfaced on Neighbours.
Sheila (Colette Mann) mysteriously left the show last month, and fans have been on the lookout for any hints of last-minute writing and storyline alterations since then.
When a character from Soapland quits abruptly, other recognisable figures from the show step in to fill the void in already-written sequences.
This minimises storyline disturbance and allows episodes to proceed substantially as planned.
Fans have hypothesised over the last few weeks that some unexpected personalities have been “playing Sheila” in key situations.
Roxy Willis (Zima Anderson) was recently observed intervening in Levi Canning’s (Richie Morris) life in a Sheila-style strategy by arranging for his employer to give him more job commitments.
Roxy sought to keep Levi from assisting Freya Wozniak (Phoebe Roberts) in her hunt for her boyfriend Gareth Bateman, who had gone missing.
Terese Willis (Rebekah Elmaloglou) was recently heard expressing reservations about Roxy and Kyle Canning’s (Chris Milligan) IVF plans. While Sheila used to have a lot of say in her family’s lives, Terese is considerably less involved.
Vera Punt (Sally-Anne Upton), who has a Sheila-like presence on film, has unexpectedly started appearing in more episodes.
Ned Willis (Ben Hall) and Harlow Robinson (Jemma Donovan) took a sudden interest in Levi’s love life in Monday’s show on Channel 5.
When Ned and Harlow ran into each other at the beach, they noticed Levi was getting closer to Freya again, and they couldn’t stop themselves from chattering about it.
Later, Levi chastised Ned for acting in the same manner as Sheila.
Levi remarked, “Greetings, Ned. Should I refer to you as Grandma?”
“Why is that?” Ned inquired.
Levi responded, ” “I’m not sure, but you seem to be playing her lately. Gossip about Freya and me.”
Levi’s objections were acknowledged by Ned, but he argued that he and Harlow were simply watching out for him.
Was this a witty inside joke by the writers?
In February, Sheila’s final scenes aired, in which she was seen responding to the news that Roxy had broken into Freya’s house.
She eventually went off-camera from Erinsborough to Los Angeles to help her daughter Naomi, whose lover had died.