Actor Nicholas Cartwright has shared details of the shocking events that mark the Aussie soaps’ return to UK screens on Monday 3 January on C5 (and Friday 31 December on 5Star) after a six-week absence.
The pre-Christmas break episode in November left viewers on a HUGE cliffhanger, with Tane Parata (Ethan Browne) collapsed in the gym, as cop Cash Newman and half of the Summer Bay enjoy a gala upstairs in Salt.
Little did the guests realise that the restaurant was filling up with a deadly poison gas!
Nicholas – whose first scenes in the soap saw Cash investigating the murder of Susie McAllister – told whattowatch.com that this storyline is his biggest yet since arriving in Summer Bay last summer.
“It’s massive! Cash came in on a murder but a murder is quite run of the mill for a cop,” he explained.
“What happens at the fundraiser is a life-changing event for everyone involved in it.”
Martha Stewart (Belinda Giblin) has organised a charity auction for mental health awareness featuring her artworks. The black tie event is a big deal in Summer Bay and Australian TV personality Sam Mac has even agreed to appear as a VIP guest.
“Everything is going really well and everyone is suited up. Then Martha collapses and Cash goes over to see what’s going on,” Nicholas revealed.
“Cash smells an organophosphate coming from the vent above Martha. It’s a really common toxic pesticide that Cash remembers from when he used to work on a farm.
“He doesn’t know exactly what’s happening immediately but he takes control and gets everybody at the event moved into the corner.
“It’s really hard because he doesn’t have all the information so he’s not quite sure if he’s doing the right thing. He’s operating off a hunch and he’s making a big call.”
Because of the nature of the toxic gas, Cash knows that he can’t let anyone leave the room immediately, despite the threat to their lives.
“This organophosphate can transfer person to person. He knows if he opens the doors and everybody leaves the venue the risks to the greater community are much larger.
“He gets everybody out but they have to go through a quarantine process. There’s about six or seven people who could die!
“I’d say that every single person that’s come in contact with the chemical is at huge risk of death, particularly Tane who is downstairs and has taken the brunt of the attack. He really could die.”
In fact, the mystery attacker is directly targeting Tane Parata (Ethan Browne)…
His drink was spiked and after he collapsed a shadowy figure fixed a chemical sprayer around him, leaving a rose on his chest. The chemicals then leak into the venting system, affecting the room above where the event is being held.
Tane accused Cash’s sister Felicity Newman (Jacqui Purvis) of stalking him after being left mysterious roses and creepy anonymous love notes.
After Felicity furiously denied Tane’s claims, Cash served him with an AVO (restraining order).
Could Felicity be to blame?
“Cash has got a couple of inklings about the culprit before the night’s even over. He’s got a strong suspicion of one person but I can’t say who because that’s to be revealed!” Nicholas teased.
“It opens up a pandora’s box of events and it becomes this whole other issue for Cash where he’s got to worry about loyalty and trust and family.”
One area of Cash’s life with no drama is his love life, as things have been going spectacularly well between him and Jasmine Delaney (Sam Frost)!
“Cash and Jas seem to be unbreakable right now! They started the relationship on such a good foundation. I think it’s such a rarity in soap to have a love story like this, it’s so honest.
“They’re very happy with each other and Sam [Frost] and I are riding the wave with that. However we all know from our history that probably at some point something will challenge us!”
Nicholas, who had a military career before he turned to acting, was almost paired with Sam Frost’s Jasmine before arriving as Cash. He auditioned for the role of Jasmine’s killer ex-boyfriend Dr Lewis Hayes.
“At the time I was upset that I didn’t get the role [it went to Luke Arnold] but it’s one of those things,” shared Nicholas.
“It turned out really well for me in the end, as I resonate with the character of Cash a lot. He’s not exactly the same as me but we see the world in a similar way. I can understand him a little bit from that point of view.
“I was a soldier before I joined this industry so I understand what it’s like to work in the service, what it’s like to work with a weapon, and the responsibility that you have if you do that kind of thing.
“I’m not saying I understand what it’s like to be a police officer – I have the utmost respect for them – but I think I have a real insight that others might not.”
Cash has been a perfect hero and gentleman so far, but could we see a darker side to him? After all, Summer Bay’s cops have a history of winding up dead or banged up in jail!
“There’s definitely dark stuff, 100 percent, as there always is in soaps! After this big event, we really get to see Cash – not relaxed – but he’s got a bit less to do and you start to see the cracks in him a little bit. There’s certainly a lot more to explore!”
Home and Away returns on Monday 3 January on C5 at 2:00 pm, returning to its regular time of 1:15 pm from Tuesday 4 January and as a ‘first look’ on Friday 31 December on 5Star at 6:00pm.