TV Week: “Living with HIV” Breakers 23rd May 1998

TV Week
23rd May 1998

Breakers star Angela Keep explains why her character can still live a long and healthy life …

When Breakers star Angela Keep discovered her character, Cheree, had contracted HIV, she thought her stint on the show was coming to an end.

“At first I thought, ‘OK, my character is doomed then’,” she says. “But then the producers explained that she’s going to show that you can live a long and healthy life with HIV. It is certainly not the end of Cheree.

“Her life will obviously change, and things she took for granted won’t be the same, but she’s still there. A long way down the track there’s some health scares and things like that, and her attitude towards relationships has to be different, but she is still around.”

The HIV storyline develops this week, when Cheree returns to Bondi after shooting through with the tip money from Kate’s Cafe this year.

Something is clearly wrong, and Cheree finally confides to her old friend from the streets, Reuben (Heath Bergersen), that she believes she is sick with the HIV virus.

Reuben persuades her to have a test to confirm her suspicions, and when the test comes back positive, :a stricken Cheree blames Reuben for ruining her life.

“Not knowing meant that there was still a 1 per cent chance that she didn’t have HIV,” Angela says. “It gets very intense.”

Sickness may not be the most pleasant subject matter for television, but Angela believes the show is breaking new ground by adding a realistic edge, despite its sunny surroundings.

“When Belinda Emmett, from Home And Away, told me about her breast cancer, I was so upset,” Angela says.

“But it is real life, and I think it’s important to have characters on television dealing with real-life illness and real-life issues.

“I mean, television is never going to be just like real life, but it can be a little more realistic.”

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