What's happened to... Vivean Gray?

SHE may only have appeared in Neighbours from 1986 to 1988, but Vivean Gray made more of an impact in that short time on the Aussie soap than most actors manage in their entire careers.

As the cantankerous Mrs Mangel – arch nemesis of feisty Madge Ramsay – Gray played one of the most detestable villains ever to set foot in Ramsay Street. Her nosiness and holier-than-thou-ness were bad enough, but it was in her dealings with Madge where she really raised the hackles of the Neighbours faithful.

After it became clear that her new lodger, Harold Bishop, had the hots for Madge, Mangel tried every trick in the book to scupper their slightly icky romance. Even when the battle was well-and-truly lost and the couple were wed in cheesy, soft-focus late-Eighties style, she managed to spoil things by playing the church organ badly on purpose.

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Shockingly, Gray suffered persistent, anti-Mangel abuse from those members of the general public who were unable to tell fact from fiction. In the end, this off-screen hectoring became so bad that it caused her to bow out of Neighbours in 1988 and give up acting altogether.

Apparently this wasn't her first bit of bad luck. Most of her scenes were cut from repeats of overheated bad girls drama Prisoner: Cell Block H after threats to sue due to her character being similar to a real-life poisoner.

A native of Cleethorpes in Lincolnshire, Gray, now 84, returned to the UK and settled in Shoreham, Sussex, where she has since lived away from the limelight.

One of the greatest soap opera baddies of all time? History will judge.

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