“I hope that people respond well to the story.”
Next week on UK television, Rose Delaney’s world will be flipped upside down when her brother Xander battles for his life in the hospital after being attacked in Home and Away.
When a group of thugs with baseball bats approaches the ambulance with the intention of stealing drugs, Xander is hard at work on his paramedic shift. Jamie, Xander’s coworker, tragically passes away at the scene while Xander is taken to the hospital.
Rose concentrates her efforts on finding the offenders and utilizes her position within the police to seek justice rather than waiting by Xander’s bedside for news.
During Xander’s dilemma, Rose’s family-oriented boyfriend Mali Hudson challenges her priorities and finally breaks their relationship because they are too different.
Kirsty Marillier, who portrays Rose, recently spoke with Digital Spy for an exclusive interview about the plot.
It was extremely wonderful. I was frequently seeing our acting coach at the time of this event because we work with her. She’s always around, but how much free time you have to see her will determine how frequently you see her.
“We collaborated a lot on these moments because I really wanted to explore some emotional territory during filming. I felt like I was able to expand myself as an actor in a tremendous way because I was aware that this material would force me into that emotional territory. We both found it to be enlightening and a genuine learning curve, even Xander actor Luke Van Os and I.
“There is something worth fighting for in the sequences when the stakes are high in a plot. I’m pleased with how everything turned out and I hope readers enjoy the story.
“You’re never really certain! I was aware that this would be a significant plot point for Rose and Xander, but you never know how much they’ll reveal in terms of promotion and internet stuff.
“When we were filming it, it definitely seemed big. Rose experienced crying, screaming, fights, and the arrest of drug dealers. There were all kinds of important things occurring, so you hope they get a promo in!”
Why does Rose focus on the police sting to catch the culprits, rather than staying by Xander’s bedside?
“When Rose finds out that Xander has been hit with a baseball bat, she goes into protective sister mode. Rather than do what a civilian potentially would, which is sit by their brother’s side for the next five days, Rose decides to go and catch the people who have done this.
“It comes from a place of wanting to do good and not being idle. She really wants to put a stopper in the criminals’ tracks.
“I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily a revenge storyline, because it could be misconstrued as that. I think it’s genuinely about stopping this hurt from happening again – and it’s what Rose knows Xander would want her to do.
“It feels fundamentally right for the character, for the greater good, to get rid of these people and put them behind bars. There’s so much pain that they’ve caused.”
Mali doesn’t see it that way and accuses Rose of abandoning her brother when he needs her…
“It really catches Rose off guard when Mali does that. It feels like a big swing and a slap to the face, because really Rose is pulling all-nighters to be at the cop shop and investigate this case.
“Mali’s perspective is an interesting one, because it’s about where his value system sits. He really puts family at the forefront of everything that he does.
“So does Rose, but they come at it from a different angle. That’s where the friction is caused in the relationship because Mali can’t understand her point of view and that upsets Rose.
“Mali turns up at the cop shop and wants her to go to the hospital instead. Rose gets quite rattled, because she’s in the middle of a really important case and this is how she’s showing her love for Xander. Unfortunately sitting by Xander’s bedside is not in her ecosystem at this point in time.”
Could you understand Rose’s decision?
“I really had to think about what Rose was doing and get to a place where I understood it – and I think I do. It’s about protection and Rose sitting with Xander wouldn’t change anything. She needs to instigate change because she feels helpless for him.
“It was really important for me to understand the workings behind that choice, because I didn’t want it to come across as selfish, or that Rose was using it as a way of distracting herself from her pain.
“That did exist too, but really it was coming from a place of wanting to create good and change the evil that was occurring at the time.”
Mali ends his relationship with Rose after this argument. Is there any hope for their future?
“People seem to like them – they’ve taken a shine to their relationship. I think they really do have some work to do, though, if they’re going to get back together. It’s a pretty big obstacle to encounter in the first couple of months in a relationship and it hasn’t gone down well.
“Mali has broken up with Rose in one of their first fights and that’s why she is so caught off guard. I think she’s just like: ‘What, we’re not even going to have a conversation about this?’ That’s quite hurtful. We’ll see, you’ll have to stay tuned on that one!”
Early in the relationship, Mali spoke about racism that Indigenous Australians face from the police. How did you feel about the show exploring that with him and Rose?
“I think adding this plot to Summer Bay was incredibly interesting. The characters are navigating challenging terrain.
“I am a South African of mixed race. I am partially African and I was raised in South Africa. It’s interesting since that conversation took place between two persons of color rather than an Indigenous Australian and a white person.
“I believe having that conversation would be extremely intriguing. The writers made an extremely wise decision to include that.
“Rose had to show Mali at that point that she wasn’t doing her job. Rose definitely looks to be behaving from the standpoint of her job and profession in this particular case when she’s trying to identify these drug dealers, so perhaps that’s why he reacts to this Xander situation so badly.