When asked about the end of her Home and Away character, Ailsa Stewart, after a 13-year run, renowned actress and novelist Judy Nunn bursts into hilarity.
“Bless Ailsa. In the end, she was given a remarkably dull death,” Judy, 77, tells New Idea with a smile. “After all she’d been through, from surviving mudslides to armed hold-ups — even a jail time for killing her violent father! — she was granted a remarkably dull death.
In fact, Ailsa passed away in 2000 after having a heart attack in front of her husband Alf, who was portrayed by Ray Meagher.
“She collapsed to the ground like a sack of potatoes. I felt that was a rather dull farewell song,” Judy says. Sending Ailsa over the Niagara Falls in a barrel “may have been a little excessive, but giving her a genuine, deeply affecting address to Alf from her deathbed following a catastrophic diagnosis — that would have been dramatic,” said the author.
In particular, Judy has many happy memories of Ray and Emily Symons, who played Marilyn, as a Summer Bay original.
Ray is wonderful. Always nice to catch up. Emily is a hilarious person.
Judy started writing for the first time during the run of Home and Away. She converted her dressing room into a writing area and made notes on the scripts’ backs while she created characters and plots. She quickly produced five novels.
Judy put on hold acting prospects because her writing career was thriving when she left the programme. She is proud to be one of Australia’s regularly bestselling authors now that she has published 19 books.
Her most recent book, The Long Weekend, is an engaging collection of six short stories that explores subjects including the paranormal and true-life murder mysteries.
The eagerly awaited Black Sheep will be released later this year. The book, according to Judy, is a “good seed, evil seed” tale set on a sheep ranch with a significant twist.
My life is wonderful. Bruce Venables, a novelist and actor, and I recently celebrated 34 years of marriage, says Judy. I used to run a mile at the prospect of getting married when I was solely focused on my profession. But as we get older, priorities shift. Bruce and I are the epitome of chalk and cheese, and I couldn’t be happier to be married.
He is laid-back and I am hyperactive, so there is never a dull moment for us. The key to our marriage is daily laughter in large quantities.