Russell Blackstock is a senior reporter at the Weekend Herald and Herald on Sunday.

Westside 3: Hunt for the new Cheryl West is still on

Cheryl West - played by Robyn Malcolm - was the matriarch of the West family in Outrageous Fortune.
Cheryl West - played by Robyn Malcolm - was the matriarch of the West family in Outrageous Fortune.

Filming on the third series of TV3 hit Westside starts today - and the search is still on to find a young Cheryl West.

Cheryl was the matriarch of the West family in Outrageous Fortune. Westside is a spin-off, based two decades earlier.

Cheryl was brought to life in Outrageous Fortune by award-winning Kiwi actress Robyn Malcolm.

Westside producer Mark Beesley told the Herald on Sunday the entry of a young Cheryl would be one of the show's key storylines - but despite auditioning "hundreds" of hopefuls in recent months, no decision has yet been made about who will portray the much-loved character when she was a teen.

"We have had some fantastic auditions and it is a tough call to make," he said. "We need someone with recognisable qualities that Robyn Malcolm brought to the role.

"The young Cheryl will make a big impact and viewers will love seeing us joining the dots from the mum of four in Outrageous Fortune back to the young woman in Westside.

"The teenage Cheryl obviously won't have the life scars that Cheryl the mother had, but she will be more open and old enough to fall in love.

"We don't want an impersonation of Robyn . . . a good actor will own the part and her entrance to the show will be a surprise."

Antonia Prebble as Rita and David de Lautour as Ted West in Westside. Photo / Supplied
Antonia Prebble as Rita and David de Lautour as Ted West in Westside. Photo / Supplied

The new series of Westside will be set in the summer of 1982.

"I suppose it will be a bit like making something like Star Trek, where original main characters like Captain Kirk and Doctor Spock were played by household names like William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy," Beesley added.

"They were eventually replaced by credible younger versions of the characters as the prequel movies were shot."

- Herald on Sunday

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