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Georgie Parker joins Home and Away

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A TV favourite joins Summer Bay and revives a blast from the past.

TV darling Georgie Parker is headed back to the land of soap, to appear as a resident cast member of Home and Away.

The announcement by Seven is something of a coup given Parker's popularity with viewers. She has two gold Logie Awards under her belt, and several silvers, thanks to her years on All Saints. She was also a pivotal cast member of A Country Practice.

Nabbing her as a regular on the Seven soap will no doubt boost its appeal to viewers, which was last at its height when another soapie fave, Kate Ritchie, was still a regular.

But Parker won't be playing a new character, instead reviving a former one.

She will play Roo (Ruth) Stewart, the daughter of Alf "flamin" Stewart (Ray Meagher). The role was originally played by Justine Clarke (Tangle, Play School) in 1988-89. She was so popular in the part that it helped cement her place with viewers, who still recall Roo's dislike of Ailsa (Judy Nunn) and stealing kisses with Frank (Alex Papps).

Roo later had a baby named Martha (recast as an adult years later as Jodi Gordon), left Summer Bay to live overseas, remarried and became an occasional soapie destination for father Alf when Meagher took time out from the show.

Now she will return in the form of Georgie Parker in a classic "soapie switch".

"I'm thrilled to be back at Channel Seven and to be part of Home and Away," she said.

"Working with Ray is a joy. We are having a fantastic time together. The whole cast and crew have been wonderful."

Series producer Cameron Welsh said: "We had such a positive reaction to Emily Symons' return as Marilyn; we trust the fans will love having an original character such as Roo back in the Bay. Securing Georgie Parker to bring her back to our screens is a real coup for the show."

It isn't the first time a TV soap has changed actors in order to keep a character on screen. TEN recently kept Neighbours' Declan alive with actor Erin Mullally after James Sorensen quit the show.

Home and Away fans will also recall that the role of Summer Bay matriarch Pippa was successfully portrayed by Debra Lawrance for years despite being established by Vanessa Downing.

Parker, who has most recently been seen in a guest role on City Homicide, is expected to hit screens later this year.

Home and Away airs 7pm weeknights on Seven.

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