SUSAN "BELLE" JEFFERIES (née TAYLOR) is a fictional character from
the Australian soap opera
Home and Away
* 1 Casting
* 2 Character development
* 2.1 Characterisation * 2.2 Painkiller addiction
* 3 Storylines * 4 Reception * 5 References * 6 External links
Home and Away
In April 2009, Tovey announced that she had quit Home and Away. On her decision to leave, Tovey said "I can't stress enough what a hard decision it was and that I nearly changed my mind a few times. I still feel sad about it, but I really just wanted a change". Tovey's final scenes were filmed in the same month and shown on Australian screens in August. Tovey said she found filming her final scenes "heartbreaking", but she said that she was happy with the writers' decision to kill off the character.
Belle is described as being a "cheeky, extroverted young girl". She was full of insecurity from her "disciplined and controlling" upbringing. She craved love and attention from her parents, which they never gave to her. Belle's parents were shocked to discover their daughter was rejecting their conservative lifestyle and hanging out with the wrong crowd. On her character Tovey said "Belle is fantastic, she's sassy and fun with quite a mouth on her! We have also seen a more vulnerable side to Belle with her romance with Aden this year and next year, we will see Belle go on a bit of a downward spiral which is a good challenge as an actor".
In 2009, Belle developed an addiction to painkillers. The storyline meant Tovey had to spend weeks crying and shouting, but she was determined to do a good job and worked hard on the scenes. Tovey revealed that the addiction storyline made a bigger impression on her than any of Belle's other plots. She also stated "It was very challenging at points but I have to say I was quite relieved when it was over because it was quite exhausting at points". Belle spent weeks lying to cover up her addiction and she became "erratic". Her painkiller addiction was discovered by her boyfriend, Aden (Todd Lasance ), after he gave her a necklace and she used it to buy more drugs. Tovey told Carolyn Stewart from TV Week that it was "a huge deal" for Belle to give up the necklace to her dealer, but she had nothing else to give him. Nicole Franklin ( Tessa James ) spotted the necklace in a pawnshop and told Aden, who was heartbroken. Tovey explained "He's so in love with her, but by pawning the necklace, she's essentially saying that the drugs mean more to her than he does. She might not think that's true, but the fact is she's put her need for drugs before everything else in her life."
When Aden confronted Belle, she denied taking pills, but he tore the room apart and found her stash. He then "absolutely loses it" when Belle kept lying to him and stormed out. Belle later told Aden that she would get off the drugs, but he knew that he could not be around to witness it, as he went through a similar situation with his alcoholic father. Tovey noted that everything Belle said brought back bad memories for Aden. Tovey commented that Aden questions everything Belle ever told him and realised that she was not the person he fell in love with. That left Belle devastated and she realised that she has pushed him too far and their relationship was over. Tovey said "Her whole world seems to be crumbling because of her drug problem – she lost her job, now it looks like she'll lose her relationship, too – and Belle just feels she has nothing left." Tovey thought that fans of the couple should be worried because there seemed to be no way that they were going to get through the situation, as what Belle had put Aden through had worn them both "down to their bare bones."
Shortly after finding out she is adopted, Belle arrives in the Bay to
find her birth mother.
Ric Dalby (
Ric helps Belle in the search for her birth mother and they find
Katherine Lansdowne (Geraldine Turner), who turns out to be Belle's
grandmother. Kitty tells Belle that her mother is dead, but a few
weeks later it is revealed that
Amanda Vale (
Holly Brisley ) is
Belle's birth mother. Belle is sad when Ric decides to get back with
Cassie. Amanda tries to help Belle win Ric back and relations between
mother and daughter thaw. Belle then moves in with Amanda. Belle dates
Drew Curtis (
Bobby Morley ) until Drew suddenly splits up with her for
another woman. Amanda tells Belle that she is the other woman and
Belle goes back to Irene and starts dating
Belle is given a cadetship at the local paper that she was working
towards. Dom kidnaps Belle and she tries to convince him to let her go
by kissing him. Drew rescues Belle and he accidentally runs Dom over.
Dom returns and Belle get him medical help and a reference for a job
in The Diner. Belle later forces him to leave town. Drew also leaves
after he tells Belle's boss that she quit her job and they argue.
Belle is offered a job helping
Leah Patterson-Baker (
Belle's new job brings her closer to Aden. While drunk one night,
Aden climbs through Belle's bedroom window and she makes him sleep on
the floor. However, in the morning, Belle finds Aden in her bed. She
initially rebuffs Aden's advances, but they later share a kiss. When
Belle wanted to take things further, Aden kept putting her off. Belle
goes on a date with
Angelo Rosetta (
A man named Murray Buchanan (Ben Tari) contacts Belle and tells her that the council is in on a plan to build on a toxic waste dump site. Belle attempts to help uncover the truth. She joins a protest against the site and is arrested by Angelo. Belle uncovers a link between the contaminated soil and local cancer cases. The site developers find out she is on to them and they break into the house to steal back plans Aden got for her. Belle asks Angelo to look into Murray's accounts and they discover that thousands of dollars have been paid to him by the council. Belle believes Murray has been paid off. During this time, Aden forces Belle to tell him that she still loves him and they kiss. Belle begins seeing Aden while she is still seeing Angelo. Angelo is attacked and Belle cannot break up with him while he is in hospital. Murray returns and tells Belle that he will help her, but Belle is unsure about trusting him. Belle's car is run off the road and the evidence that the toxic waste site causes cancer is stolen. Angelo finds out about Belle and Aden and publicly humiliates Belle. Aden finds Belle badly beaten and she is taken to hospital, where she names Angelo as her attacker. The Police find no evidence and Belle becomes depressed.
When Belle helps Leah out in the kitchen,
Belle and Aden get back together and Aden asks Belle to move in with him. Aden decides to propose, so he borrows money from a loan shark to pay for a ring. Belle collapses in pain at the Diner and makes an appointment with Rachel for some tests. Belle is diagnosed with cancer and she decides to keep her condition a secret. Aden is beaten up by the loan shark and he tells Belle about the ring. Belle then surprises Aden by asking him to marry her instead. Belle asks Rachel to help her apply to get married within two weeks. Aden gets the ring and proposes to her properly.
Rachel encourages Belle to tell Aden the truth that she is dying, she resolves to tell Aden the truth after the wedding. Belle is also told that her cancer is spreading quickly. Nicole Franklin ( Tessa James ) sees Belle taking pills and Belle is forced to tell her about her cancer. Belle refuses, but when she collapses, Nicole tells Aden. Belle worries that Aden will not turn up to the wedding, but he does and they marry. Following the honeymoon, Belle confesses to Nicole that she does not think she has much time left. Belle asks Aden to call Amanda and tell her what was going on. Liam also arrives to apologise for his behaviour when he was on drugs. Amanda refuses to believe that Belle is dying and arranges for a second opinion. On her release from hospital, Belle goes for a walk along the beach. Aden carries her back home and she says goodbye to everyone. During the night, Belle dies peacefully in Aden's arms.
For her portrayal of Belle, Tovey received a nomination for Most
Popular New Female Talent at the 2007
A Daily Record journalist stated "You have to admire Belle, you really do. She might look like a stiff wind would blow her over but it's not every girl who can tolerate being called a skank by her teenage boyfriend and still come back for more, but she did." In April 2009, a reporter from the same paper revealed that they were less than impressed with Belle's painkiller addiction storyline, saying "Misery, thy name is Belle Taylor. Well, it is if you're on about the strung-out journalist. She's spent the past weeks driving us up the wall with her whingeing, while at the same time gobbling any pills she can get her hands on. Thank goodness she got the sack from her job at the paper otherwise who knows how long the storyline would have rumbled on for."
Another writer for the Daily Record commented on Belle's last scenes,
noting that she "managed to make it to death's door without losing her
looks". They added that "even the most hardened soap cynic" would
have been moved to tears when Belle said goodbye to Aden. Ruth Deller
of television website
Lowculture said she had grown fond of Belle and
Aden as a couple in 2009.
* ^ A B C Bennett, Cath (5 April 2009). "Home when away". The
Dominion Post .
* ^ "Logie Award nominations".
The Sydney Morning Herald