Home and Away’s Logie-nominated stars discuss “age power”, friendship and life beyond Summer Bay

‘We’ve already won'.
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With more than 20 years’ experience on the set of Home And Away, few people know more about the show than Ada Nicodemou, Emily Symons and Lynne McGranger. But as the Australian drama celebrates its 35th year on air, the trio were told “shocking and surreal” news: all three of them have been nominated for a TV WEEK Logie Award.

During our exclusive photo shoot, the actresses are still reeling from the announcement as we sit down to discuss their success and longevity in a famously unpredictable field.

All three have been nominated for a TV WEEK Logie!

(Image: Alana Landsberry)

“When they [Channel Seven] told me I was nominated, I said, ‘Are you sure?'” Emily, who has played Marilyn Chambers since 1989, says with a laugh. “It’s a total surprise.”

Both first-time nominees, Emily, 53, and Lynne, 70, are thrilled to share the experience alongside awards favourite Ada, 46. The actress has been nominated six times previously, three of them for the coveted Gold. Ada says the recognition “never gets old”.

“I’m genuinely touched by it and always surprised,” she says. “The first few times I was nominated, it was for both Silver and Gold. I was such a baby – I didn’t appreciate it as much. Now, it’s such an honour and a celebration. Being able to share the night with Lynne and Emily makes it even more special.”

Lynne says she was “stunned” not only by her first nomination in 31 years, but by the ages of all the nominees in the Most Popular Actress category. The two other nominees – Kitty Flanagan for Fisk and Celeste Barber for Wellmania – are also over 40. But could the ratio favour the Summer Bay ladies?

Emily and Lynne are first-time nominees.

(Image: Alana Landsberry)

“Who knows what will happen [on the night], but most people nominated are 40 or above, which is fantastic,” Lynne says.

“I’m probably the oldest female nominee. Women of a certain age, particularly, do feel invisible at times [compared to younger actors], so it’s wonderful to see. Age power!”

“It brings more weight and authenticity to the Logies,” Ada, who has been in H&A since 2000, adds regarding the age of the stars. “We’ve all been around for a long time and have a body of work. But for women in general, there are more stories to tell now and we’re seeing that with better representation too.”

Emily adds that “it’s nice to have a seat at the table” in her fifties, particularly as she’s starred in the show on and off since 1989. Emily left in 1992 to work in the UK, before returning in 1995 for a further four years. She returned again in 2010.

“I’m probably the oldest female nominee,” Lynne said.

(Image: Alana Landsberry)

“Both times – one during my twenties and the other in my forties – it was unexpected, and I had no intention of coming back,” she says. “But that’s the beauty of not having your character killed off. [Laughs] This show has been very good to me. It’s been fun to play Marilyn at different stages of her life, in three chapters. But I’m really enjoying it the most now because of my age and where I’m at in my own life.”

A silver statuette would cap off a gruelling few months for Emily, whose character has been involved in several traumatic storylines.

“It’s been intense,” she says. “There have been days when I’ve cried in my car. It’s been a lot, but I was so grateful for the opportunity.”

Reflecting on the beloved series highly anticipated return, Symons told fans they can be sure to expect “a lot of unexpected things, a lot of lovely, happy moments, but also a lot of people being put in situations that they’re not normally put in.”

“I’m absolutely so proud and honoured to be a part of this show and to have been for a long time. It means a lot to me, and I’m a very proud Home and Away member.”

Emily couldn’t wait to share the news with her son.

(Image: Supplied)

After being told the news, Emily was excited to tell her son, Henry. And while the seven-year-old may not know what the show is about (“He calls it ‘The Mummy Show’,” Emily says) or why people stop to talk to them on the street, he’s the one she works so hard for.

“I went back to work when Henry was five months old, and I have an amazing nanny who has been my rock. I’m a single mother and wouldn’t have made it through the past seven years without her,” she says.

For Emily, her favourite Summer Bay memory is one she shared with Henry. “My son is a huge Ed Sheeran fan… When Ed Sheeran came on the show and played the little boy I nannied,” Symons told TV WEEK, joking that the two shared the same red hair.

Family is a common thread for Ada too, who hazards she may have another actor in the family in 10-year-old son Johnas.

“He loves the camera, but he also wants to be a soccer star,” she says with a laugh.

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But for now, Johnas is her biggest fan.

“He’s so proud,” Ada beams. “He says, ‘Is it the Gold [Logie], Mum? I want you to win.’ But I just want to show him it’s not about being famous – it’s about the hard work and that we care.”

In many households, Home And Away has been the cornerstone of people’s lives. Some fans have watched since it started in 1988, while others have drifted, watching as teenagers and circling back as parents. For the cast, it’s also changed the lives of their own families.

“My daughter Clancy, who I had when I was 38, was a baby when I started, so she’s grown up with it,” Lynne says. “My partner Paul and I have been together for almost 40 years – I invited him around for dinner one night and he never bloody went home! [Laughs]

Lynne’s daughter was just a baby when she started Home And Away.

(Image: Supplied)

“Like this nomination, things have always come to me later in life. I didn’t get this role [as Irene] until I was 39, and there’s a lesson in appreciating when something does happen.”

While neither Emily, Ada or Lynne expect to win, perhaps they already have: they, like the show they star in, have become part of Australian popular culture – and that’s certainly worth a celebration.

“Life is funny, because people often ask when I’ll retire and only in the past year, I’ve thought about it. But I’ve realised I’m not ready – this is such a joy,” Lynne says.

Ada has a question of her own that she’s had to field throughout her career.

“Since I joined Home And Away, I’ve been asked, ‘What’s next?’ But what is there better to do? I love what I do, I’m never bored and I have employment. It doesn’t get much better.”

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