All Saints: profiles

Ella Scott Lynch…

Born in Sydney's inner west, Ella's upbringing left her destined for show business in some form, her father in theatre and her mother an Oscar-nominated film producer.

But it wasn't until after she finished high school and spent a gap year travelling that her passion for acting was confirmed.

"I grew up on and around sets and in the back of theatres ... that world is very seductive," Ella says.

"I had worked on some of mum's films and didn't entirely enjoy it, but when I'd matured a bit after travelling when I finished high school, I realised this is what I wanted to do with the rest of my life."

Ella's enthusiasm was matched by her talent and after graduating from the National Institute of the Dramatic Arts (NIDA) in 2004 she was snapped up immediately for a role on Home and Away.

Raven-haired Ella replaced audience favourite Bec Hewitt (nee Cartwright) as Hayley Smith. Ella says taking on the role straight out of NIDA was the ultimate introduction to TV drama.

She has since featured in theatre, a string of Australian telemovies, including Emerald Falls and The Silence, and films, including Monkey Puzzle and Emulsion.

"I'd really love to be able to make a living out of working in Australia, or at least with Australia as my base,' Ella says.

She says her latest role, as one of All Saints newest cast members, is a brilliant opportunity.

"It's great to be joining such a fantastic cast. There's an amazing mix of actors who are experienced and have so many achievements behind them already or young and talented," she says. .

"John Waters and John Howard are actors that I've always looked up to, so it's amazing to be working beside them and my boyfriend (actor Toby Schmitz) is a massive fan of the show."

…as Nurse Claire Anderson

Claire is a vibrant young woman, whose compassion for patients and competence as a nurse is immediately apparent to those around her. She is able to deal with the most confronting of situations (a patient's fear or their relative's grief) with seeming ease and as a result, people tend to trust in her quickly and look to her for advice.

However, it isn't quite as easy for Claire to trust others and once we discover the reasons for her being here instead of in her home State, we'll understand why.

Claire is calm, composed and rational in almost all arenas of her life but one thing she cannot cope with is aggression. She's had too much of that in her life. Her younger years were tainted with alcohol-fuelled rages from her father, and Claire made the mistake of falling in love with a man who had very similar tendencies. Any conflict in their relationship was solved with a fist, and Claire found herself making all the same excuses for black eyes and split lips that her mother used to make.

After a particularly bad night, when her partner took out his frustrations over losing a job on her, Claire decided she'd had enough. Once he fell into a stupor, Claire packed the bare minimum of belongings and took off. She hasn't looked back, hasn't contacted him, and would be happy if she never laid eyes on him again.

So here she is. Determined to make a new start.

As a recent arrival in NSW, Claire has not yet found her professional feet in a new Health system and, as a consequence, has been agency nursing for a few months now while she looks for the right permanent position in the right place.

All Saints ED could be just that place and it'd be lucky to have her.

Maybe, once she's back on her feet, Claire will explore the possibility of romance again. She'd love nothing more than to be in a healthy relationship in which she and a new partner could prosper but right now, it's enough for her to feel safe.

And if she makes some new friends, then that will be a bonus she'll be eternally grateful for. Because right now, she's alone, no friends, no family. But that's a small price to pay, as far as she's concerned, for the strength she gathers on a daily basis.

She's not a victim, she's a survivor, and nothing that has happened in her life has managed to undermine her innate sense of optimism and desire to connect with people.