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Home and Away

EXCLUSIVE: Home and Away veterans Ada Nicodemou and James Stewart reveal their Christmas plans and the sweet way they bond on set

''It certainly makes you reassess what's important in life.''

By Tamara Cullen
Throughout their time on Home and Away, Ada Nicodemou and James Stewart have been constantly (and pleasantly) surprised by their character's storyline arcs – and it's a large part of why they've stayed on the show so long.
But when James was informed that their on-screen counterparts, Justin and Leah, would enjoy a romantic storyline, he was excited to learn from the TV icon.
"I've watched those top-tier guys like Ray Meagher, Georgie Parker, Emily Symons, Shane Withington, Lynne McGranger and Ada for years and they are consummate professionals," James, 46, says.
"I've always wanted a constant relationship to carry on throughout the dramatic storylines and I've got it with Ada now; it's great, easy and so much fun to play."
As Ada and James began working more closely, the pair found funny similarities to their characters, in more ways than one. (TV WEEK)
As they began working more closely, the pair found funny similarities to their characters, in more ways than one.
"I'm not great at knowing the schedule, whereas Ada knows what's happening weeks before, so we certainly have our different strengths [laughs]. It always makes for a good laugh," James says. "But like our characters, we love our families and bond over that. So we have fun, then clock off and head home to our kids."
Ada, whose character has had her share of drama, says she "much prefers" to play out happier storylines these days.
"I have a lot of fun in the lighter moments, especially with the arrival of Matt [Evans], who plays Theo. It's a nice family dynamic," Ada, 44, says.
However, James jokingly adds that Leah's track record of husbands did cause him some doubt!
Ada, whose character has had her share of drama, says she "much prefers" to play out happier storylines these days. (TV WEEK)
"The in-joke for Justin is that several of Leah's husbands have died [laughs]!" James says.
Away from the Bay, Ada and James are preparing to celebrate with their own families for the festive season. With borders now reopen in the aftermath of state lockdowns, James, his nine-year-old daughter Scout and wife Sarah Roberts - who left her role as Willow Harris in Home and Away earlier this year - are keen to visit his extended family.
"We'll head down to Melbourne to see Scout's mum [Love Child actress Jess Marais] and do Christmas there and then head up to the Gold Coast to see my family," he says. "We try to see everyone if we can."
Ada, meanwhile, is taking a slower approach to the holiday season, opting to host Christmas at home with her nine-year-old son Johnas and partner Adam Rigby. She says there will be "a lot of food, kids playing and all of us simply enjoying each other's company", which is a valued lesson she has taken away from the impacts of the global pandemic.
"I live in an area, which at one time was deemed an area of concern by the NSW government, so I was somewhat forced into a holiday via lockdown, so I felt quite refreshed [at work] when normally everyone is quite exhausted!" Ada says with a laugh.
"But I was fortunate to have some quality time as a family, slow down and reflect. It certainly makes you reassess what's important in life.
"Not about the materialistic things this Christmas, it's just a time to just be with each other. We all deserve that."

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