WATN: Mrs Mangel from ‘Neighbours’

One of the more iconic characters from the high-octane melodrama that is Neighbours, Nell Mangel was a woman who infuriated nearly everyone she encountered. She lived in 32 Ramsay Street from 1986 to ’88 and was interfering, nosey and self-righteous.

Mrs Mangel

Mrs Mangel as we remember her

If ever there was an opportunity to ruin people’s fun, be it rescuing Lucy Robinson from a, well, Des and Daphne having a barbeque or Helen having another stroke, Mrs. Mangel would be promptly on the phone to report it to the police, the school or the parent concerned. Ooh, she was a cow!

Mrs. Mangel had two children, the eldest of which, Amanda, was the successful one who grew up with a good education and married a wealthy businessman Peter Harris resulting in Nell becoming the proud grandmother of little Jane, otherwise known as “Plane Jane The Super Brain”.

But her other child, Joe was a big disappointment for his overbearing mother. Always a bit of a rogue, Joe left home at the age of 16 and lost contact. He was played by stand up Mark Little who, after leaving the soap for many years, returned for a while acting badly with all the other generic faces that have populated the programme over recent years.

Honestly, nowadays Neighbours looks more like Hollyoaks than anything else. It’s riddled with lots of bland young pretty things, with no distinguishing features other than a striking resemblance to walking cheese boards, while the old guard like Harold and Lou were reduced to a mugging around in a strange Odd Couple-meets-Elton John/David Furnish double act but without the sexual glamour and menace.

Anyway, the old days of Mrs Mangel are long gone, so now we ask ourselves, where is she now?

Well, Vivean Grey is actually a Brit. She was born on July 20th during the 1920s in Cleethorpes, the eldest of four children and with a fish merchant for a father. He worked at Grimsby Docks before the war, until the family moved to Kingston in Surrey.

At the outbreak of war in 1939 the family were evacuated back to the delights of Cleethorpes during the Blitz. After the war the family moved back to Surrey.

Vivean always wanted to be an actress but found limited opportunities in Britain, so she emigrated to Australia in 1952. It was there that she worked steadily on TV and in film.

Aside from her role as Mrs Mangel, she is perhaps best known for her role as Miss McCraw in Peter Weir’s 1975 brooding drama Picnic at Hanging Rock, which revolves around the mysterious disappearance of three girls on a school outing in South Australia in 1900.

Other popular Australian television series that she did during the 1970s and 80s included The Sullivans and Prisoner: Cell Block H.

Because a lot of people are imbeciles, unable to tell fact from fiction, Vivean Gray sadly suffered an astonishing amount of abuse from members of the general idiot public, so convincing was her portrayal of the waspish Mrs. Mangel.

So strong was this reaction that is actually played a large role in her decision to leave Neighbours in 1988 and give up acting.

Vivean returned to England and has since settled in Shoreham in Sussex, where presumably she still lives in peace. Unless some fool goes round there shouting at her for all the times she was mean to Madge.

This entry was posted in Where Are They Now. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to WATN: Mrs Mangel from ‘Neighbours’

  1. SLH says:

    Hanging Rock is in Victoria, not South Australia!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>