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Holly Brisley as Amanda Vale Baker
|Portrayed by||Holly Brisley|
|Duration||2005-2007, 2008, 2009-|
|First appearance|| 30 June 2005|
Amanda Baker (née Vale, previously Baker and Walters), is a fictional character on the Australian soap opera Home and Away, portrayed by actress Holly Brisley from 2005 to 2007 and for a brief guest appearance in 2008. In June 2009, it was announced that Brisley was once again to reprise her role as Amanda and to mirror Brisley's own pregnancy, the character of Amanda would also be with child.
Character History Edit
Amanda Vale was only 14 years old when she became pregnant. She spent many years believing that her daughter had been stillborn, unaware that her mother, Kitty Lansdowne had put the baby up for adoption and allowed Amanda to think that her daughter was dead. Having gone off the rails following her daughter's "death", an inebriated Amanda got behind the wheel of a car with her sister, Kelli and they were involved in an accident. While Amanda escaped unscathed, Kelli was left with lasting scars and this caused the sisters to become estranged. Amanda met Dan Baker in college. They married young and had a son, Ryan. When Amanda's ambitions to become an actress started to drive her and Dan apart, she sought solace with his brother Peter and they slept together, spelling the end of Dan and Amanda's marriage. After divorcing Dan, Amanda moved to Los Angeles with Ryan and became a successful actress.
Amanda arrived in Summer Bay for Dan's wedding to Leah Patterson in June 2005. After luring Dan and Leah into a false sense of security, Amanda set about trying to sabotage their wedding. However, her schemes were unsuccessful and after being exposed at Dan and Leah's wedding reception, she was banished from Summer Bay, but true to her word, she returned a few weeks later on a permanent basis, having been hired as the new Drama Teacher at Summer Bay High.
When Amanda began a relationship with Scott Hunter, his mother Beth and sister Kit were not happy and when Kit, a former alcoholic, became suspicious of Amanda and came close to finding out her secret, Amanda made it appear as though Kit had fallen off the wagon so that her claims against Amanda seemed ludicrous. It soon became clear that Amanda was somehow connected to a former Summer Bay resident, later revealed to be Josh West. Blackmailing Amanda over something that had happened in LA, Josh convinced her to help with his plan for the town - "Project 56" - the plan to build a motorway through Summer Bay, thus destroying the town and many homes. Amanda's jealousy over Scott's closeness to his ex-girlfriend Hayley Lawson intensified when she discovered that Scott was the father of Hayley's unborn baby, not her boyfriend Kim Hyde as the trio believed. Amanda's jealousy soon drove her and Scott apart and to stop him from returning to Hayley, Amanda lied that she was pregnant, hoping that it would bring them back together. When it didn't, she faked a miscarriage and after Josh revealed to Scott that she had feigned both the pregnancy and miscarriage, Scott was horrified and the whole town turned against Amanda, pushing her closer to Josh and agreeing to help him with "Project 56" after she quit her job as Drama Teacher when Barry Hyde suspended her for hitting Scott's brother Robbie who had been giving her a piece of his mind.
Josh allocated Amanda the task of funding the scheme and she soon found the source of the funding — Beth's elderly father, Graham Walters, who had recently become a wealthy man following the sale of his farm. Amanda succeeded in seducing Graham, despite the bad blood between her and his family. When Beth and partner Tony Holden discovered that Graham and Amanda were getting married, they tried to stop the wedding, but failed. However, it wasn't long before Amanda had embarked on an affair with Josh and when Graham found out about this, he presented Amanda with divorce papers. This lead to an argument, during which Graham had a heart attack and was rushed to hospital. After regaining consciousness, Graham told Amanda that he remembered everything and still intended to divorce her but when he went into cardiac arrest a second time, Amanda restricted his drip supply and he was pronounced brain-dead. However, Amanda and Josh were forced to keep Graham's life support machine turned on as Amanda had entered into a post-nuptial agreement with Graham, whereby she would not inherit anything if he died during the first three months of their marriage. Outraged by this, Robbie turned off the life support machine himself, though Amanda and Josh still got Graham's money after Josh bribed the corrupt Judge in court.
Everything was going well for Amanda, Josh and Project 56 until Amanda learned that she was just one of many women Josh was sleeping with. A woman scorned, she tried to ostracize him from Project 56 but Josh didn't take kindly to this and threatened Ryan's life as well as Amanda's, leaving her no option but to go back into business with him. However, on the morning of the launch of "Project 56", Josh was found dead in his office, having been fatally shot. A major murder investigation began, with Amanda as Prime Suspect. She was arrested and charged but released when evidence showed she had been nowhere near Summer Bay at the time of Josh's murder. The killer was later revealed to be Barry Hyde. Amanda revealed to Dan that she had set her apartment on fire in LA in an insurance scam and Josh found out so had been blackmailing her, hence the inexplicable hold he had had over her. With Dan and Leah separated, Dan began to grow close to his ex-wife and it wasn't long before he and Amanda ended up in bed together but while Amanda hoped that this meant they would be getting back together, for Dan their fling was a mistake and he dumped Amanda. Devastated, she and Ryan left the Bay, just as it was revealed elsewhere that she was in fact Belle Taylor's mother, a fact that neither of them were aware of.
Amanda returned a few months later as the producer of a new film that was being shot in Summer Bay. Now a wealthy woman, Amanda moved into a new penthouse and when her estranged mother Kitty showed up, Amanda believed that she only wanted to reconcile with her because of her recent windfall. When Kitty discovered Amanda and Belle were living in the same town, she panicked that they would soon find out about their connection to each other and her treachery would be exposed. Sure enough, Kitty's lies were revealed when Morag Bellingham told Amanda that she had previously met Kitty as Belle's grandmother. Amanda was horrified that Kitty could let her think her daughter had been dead for sixteen years and cut all ties with her mother but Belle wanted nothing to do with Amanda as the two had previously developed a mutual contempt for each other. When Belle was lost in The Bush following a chopper crash along with Kit, Robbie, Kim and Martha Holden, Amanda grew desperate to be reunited with her daughter and used the money for her film to fund the rescue. The missing five were relocated and slowly but surely, Amanda and Belle began to bond as mother and daughter. However, Amanda soon dealt Belle the ultimate betrayal by embarking on an affair with 17 year old Drew Curtis, Peter's son and Belle's boyfriend! Drew fell for Amanda and broke up with Belle, leaving her devastated. Amanda felt guilty and confessed everything to Belle who was disgusted and disowned her.
When Peter was revealed to have faked his death and gone into Witness Protection, he returned to the discovery that Drew and Amanda had been sleeping together. Furious, he came to Amanda's house and warned her away from his son. Mid-argument, Peter and Amanda were interrupted by Johnny Cooper and his gang who had broken into Amanda's house. Peter and Amanda were locked in the pantry together where Peter confided in Amanda that he had become addicted to painkillers. Having seen her sister Kelli go through the same thing after the accident, Amanda offered to help Peter kick the habit and in doing so, the feelings they had once had for each other resurfaced and they got back together, provoking hostility from Dan and Drew, though they later came to accept Amanda and Peter's union. Amanda and Belle would also reconcile a few months later.
When Kelli arrived in Summer Bay, she and Amanda buried the hatchet — or so Amanda thought. In reality, Kelli and her boyfriend Ethan Black were planning to destroy Amanda's life in revenge for the way Amanda had destroyed Kelli's in the accident all those years ago. Playing on Peter and Amanda's trust issues, Kelli soon orchestrated an engagement between the two — and an argument, after which Amanda went to drown her sorrows at the Surf Club where Ethan (whose connection to Kelli was not known to Amanda) spiked her drink and seduced her, using photos of their tryst as blackmail. This caused Amanda a great deal of stress in the lead up to her wedding and just as she finally believed Ethan was out of the picture, he showed up at the wedding, moments after Peter and Amanda had been pronounced husband and wife, and showed everyone the photos. Devastated, Peter turned his back on Amanda, as did everyone else as Kelli's manipulation of her sister intensified; Dan and Leah decided to fight for custody of Ryan after Kelli made Amanda look like an unfit mother and Belle ceased contact with Amanda after her excessive drinking (once again caused by Kelli) took hold of her. Eventually, Amanda was left with no one but Kelli so she decided to leave Summer Bay. When she overheard Ethan and Kelli arguing, she realised the lengths her vengeful sister had gone to and drove off, with Kelli in hot pursuit. Kelli ran Amanda off the road and left her to die. Fortunately, Amanda escaped from her car moments before it exploded. Kelli was arrested and Amanda attempted to put her ordeal behind her.
Peter and Amanda wound up in bed together again but Amanda was crushed when Peter told her he didn't want them to get back together so she decided to proceed with her plans to leave Summer Bay and move to the city. Everyone gathered at the Surf Club to bid Amanda farewell and she bowed out on a good note. Peter followed her to the city and told Amanda that he loved her and wanted to be with her and the two were reunited at last.
Nine months later in February 2008, Amanda brought Ryan back to Summer Bay for Dan's memorial service; Dan had been killed in an accident whilst sailing in America, where he and Leah had been planning to move to. Whilst back for the occasion, Amanda came to blows with Drew's mother Jazz and supported Leah through her grief.
In July 2009, Amanda returns! She has startling news for everyone in Summer Bay. She is 6 months pregnant.[attribution needed]