AFTER a cold English Christmas, it was not the warm climate of Home
and Away's Summer Bay that Nicolle Dickson missed the most.
Half the show's cast including Mat Stevenson , Emily Symons and Greg
Benson were working in pantomimes across the country with the diminutive
Nicolle, 23, starring in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
There she performed opposite recently returned Home and Away regular, Alex
Papps , and Neighbours star, Mark Little.
But the man most conspicuous by his absence was Nicolle's husband, sales
executive James Bell.
The couple were married little more than 18 months ago after a
much-publicised romance and he travelled to England with her mother for
Nicolle's performances in Cinderella in 1990.
However, he was unable to take holidays this year so the couple made do
with phone calls and a fax machine.
Nicolle, who plays Bobby in the hit series on Channel Seven, said she had
hired a fax machine to keep in touch.
"I faxed him at work every day and we limited ourselves to two phone calls
a day - one in the morning and one in the evening," she said.
"I missed him but I was really busy."
Nicolle said she really enjoyed doing live theatre and would consider
branching out when she leaves Home and Away.
While rumours are rife that Nicolle's departure from the series that gave
her career a kick start more than four years ago is imminent, she said nothing
was set in stone.
"I am going to sign for another year in April," she said. "The time has
gone really quickly and each year I have been advised by my peers, my agent and
cast members to stay."
Nicolle is not the only person with major decisions to make in 1992. Her
on-screen character, Bobby, must decide who she loves - Frank (Alex Papps) or
Greg (Ross Newton).
Nicolle said it will be a difficult decision for Bobby to choose between
her former husband, Frank, and her new love Greg, the father of her foster
child, Sam. "Part of her wants to go with Frank and the other part wants to go
with Greg for different reasons," she said. "She is split in half."
Bobby's turbulent background contrasts markedly with Nicolle's stable
As one of three girls, she said her family has always supported her and is
delighted with her success.
Nicolle is one of Home and Away's original cast members, and she finds her
role very fulfilling.
"The best thing is when you have a good scene, character or story you can
throw yourself into," she said. "Those performances make you feel really good
She said the show examines common family problems and shows ways of
dealing with them.
This formula has made the show very popular to say the least, to the point
where a scuffle reportedly broke out between Fleet Street photographers at
Nicolle's wedding in 1990.
Nicolle said the family tried to avoid such problems by appointing an
official photographer to provide pictures to the press. It didn't work.
While she would have liked to keep her relationship with her husband
quiet, Nicolle said it was inevitable the media would want to know about it
because she was in the public eye.