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Svetlanka Ristic
Neighbours
Portrayed by Deidre Rubenstein
First appearance 2004
Last appearance 2004
Profile

Svetlanka Ristic, (possibly Ristić), was a fictional character in the Australian soap opera Neighbours, played by Deidre Rubenstein. She first appeared in 2004 having two major storylines, both of which revolved around her assumed dead daughter Liljana Bishop.

Of Serbian descent, Svetlanka lived in Perth, Western Australia, where she ran a successful vineyard with her late husband Miroslav, her daughter Liljana, and her son Zoran (who never appeared on screen).

Storylines Edit

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She had two main spells in the show; the first of these starting shortly after Christmas 2003. It quickly became apparent that she was very fond and fiercely protective of her daughter and granddaughter Serena Bishop, but had little respect for her son-in-law, David. Most of her storylines revolved around Svetlanka's misguided habit of using emotional blackmail and lies to split up Liljana and David, and to persuade Liljana to remain close to her. With Svetlanka's methods becoming increasing cruel and evil, Liljana consistently rejected these attempts.

Svetlanka's first major storyline was when Svetlanka realised that David's business had failed. She attempted to emotionally blackmail Liljana into leaving him and returning to Perth, first by faking heart problems, and then by revealing to David that Liljana had been pregnant when she met David, had given birth to a stillborn son (who Svetlanka had taken away on birth) and had kept that secret from him throughout their marriage. This resulted in Liljana cutting off her mother completely, with only Serena keeping (secretly) in contact.

In Svetlanka's second stint in the show, when she returned to try to patch things up with her family, she was involved in two major storylines. The first of these involved her growing romantic attachment to Liljana's widowed father-in-law Harold Bishop; and the other centred around Liljana's liver failure.

In the liver failure storyline, Liljana ended up close to death in hospital, and needed a liver transplant from a close relation. No family member matched, so Svetlanka was finally forced to reveal that that Liljana's son was not stillborn all those years ago, but was in fact alive and well and was Liljana's godson, Luka Dokic, who had been a character in the show for the previous months. The buildup to this storyline lasted for a number of weeks, in which Svetlanka desperately tried to persuade Luka to leave, so that the secret would not be uncovered. Svetlanka admitted to Liljana that her son had not been stillborn, and that Svetlanka had instead taken him and given him up for adoption. Whilst Svetlanka's motives were undoubtedly misguided attempts to do the best for her daughter, her motivation for this act was never properly explained, although it can be assumed that she did not want the baby to be brought up by David since he was not the father.

Before leaving for the final time, Svetlanka asked Harold to join her and he agreed to accompany her for a couple of weeks. But when Harold announced these plans to his family, they were disgusted, and Lil visited her mother to ask her to think again about ruining Harold’s life as well as her own. Having lost everyone she loved, Svetlanka told Harold that, although she loved him, his place was in Erinsborough with his family, before leaving in a taxi for the airport.

Current Status Edit

Svetlanka is not a current Neighbours character. Since she last appeared on screen, her screen family have been axed in the Neighbours Plane Crash storyline. It was mentioned, after their deaths, that Svetlanka had been devastated and had had to be sedated. However her love interest, Harold Bishop, remains in the show, and Svetlanka is still discussed from time to time.

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