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Character Profiles > Teresa Bell Krista Vendy

Teresa 'Tess' Bell 1999-2001, 2023
Lived: 32 Ramsay Street
Marital Status: Brendan Bell (died 2000)
Family Tree: Bell
Occupation: Teacher

Teresa, Tess to her friends, came to Erinsborough for a job interview. When Susan hired her as the new English teacher at the school, she also struck up a friendship with her, inviting her to dinner. Very little was known about Teresa's private life, apart from her having a husband, Brendan.

However, events on Millennium Eve left Tess relying on Susan, as her only good friend in Erinsborough. Still in her nightgown, Tess arrived in Ramsay Street, in the middle of their street party, looking for Susan. She had a cut on her face and had just admitted to Susan that Brendan was responsible when Anne Wilkinson burst in, telling them that Number 26 was on fire.

Susan offered to help out Tess, offering her a room for the night. The next day, Tess told Susan a little about her marriage and about Brendan's mind games. She explained that she got the job at Erinsborough High as part of an effort to gain some independence, knowing that soon the day would come when she'd have to leave her husband. Susan sympathised and offered to help Tess collect some of her things from home. When Tess found that Brendan had changed the locks, she quickly showed what she was made of when she simply picked up a rock and smashed a window. Unfortunately, Brendan came home while Susan and Tess were there. He acted very calmly, even when Tess repeatedly told him she wouldn't be coming home. However, Susan wasn't fooled by Brendan, and helped Tess set up home at Number 32, after speaking to Philip.

Brendan wasn't about to allow Tess to just up and leave. He followed her to Ramsay Street and watched her. But Tess quickly made friends in the street, with Anne Wilkinson moving in with her after tiring of lodging with Amy Greenwood's family. While Tess had made it clear to everyone that Brendan was a violent and unpredictable man, he wormed his way into other people's affections, making them wonder if Tess wasn't just overreacting. He explained to Susan that Tess' mother had only died last year and that she was still recovering from that and had a tendency to over-react to situations. However, Brendan was spending a lot of time abroad due to his work and kept away from Tess for quite a while after this, lulling her into a false sense of security. When he suddenly arrived one day with flowers for Tess, she was taken in. The next day, the kids at school were surprised to see her wearing the same clothes as she'd had on the previous day.

After Anne left to attend Dawber University, Tess' colleague Daniel Fitzgerald came to stay for a short time while repairs were done on his house. Tess grew close to Daniel, especially as she became more estranged from Brendan. However, she still felt nervous about how Brendan would react to her living with another man, and her worries grew when she ran into Trevor, a friend of Brendan's. As Brendan returned to town, Tess found herself sharing an unexpected kiss with him, confusing her further. When Brendan's car wouldn't start one evening after dinner, she allowed him to sleep on her sofa. Tess' friends Susan, Libby and Steph were not impressed with her falling back into Brendan's arms, but she was beginning to convince herself that she could work things out with her husband.

Later, Tess made a conscious decision to ask Brendan to stay the night with her and confessed to Susan that things were really starting to feel like the early days of the marriage. Susan warned Tess to be careful. Brendan then took the plunge and asked Tess to move back into their marital home, leading to Steph strongly voicing her concerns and causing a big falling out between the two friends. Meanwhile, Susan witnessed Brendan shouting at Michelle and Paul for nearly knocking him down on their bikes in the street. Susan's suspicions were immediately aroused. Brendan left Tess to contemplate his question while he went away to Papua New Guinea on business.

When Brendan returned unexpectedly from his business trip and came to see Tess, he found out from neighbour Toadie that Tess was out clubbing with her friend Daniel. Brendan threw his flowers to the ground and sped off out of the street. At the same time, Libby and Steph were returning from a weekend away on Steph's bike, and it was also a very rainy evening. As Brendan pulled out from behind a bus, he failed to see the bike coming towards him and they collided. Tess rushed to the hospital, feeling terrible about what had happened to her friends and husband. Brendan explained to Tess that it was an accident, but Toadie explained to her about the incident in Ramsay Street and she began to doubt Brendan's story. As Tess realised that it was all Brendan's fault, he begged for her forgiveness. While she struggled to cope with what had happened and whether she could ever forgive Brendan, she heard that he had suddenly and unexpectedly died of a massive heart attack.

Tess struggled to mend bridges with her friends and neighbours - especially as the accident resulted in Libby being unable to have children. However, people realised that it wasn't Tess' fault and she was as much a victim as anyone.

A little while later, Daniel Fitzgerald asked once more if he could stay with Tess. She agreed to him moving in, along with his pet lizard, Barney. Tess was thrilled to have him living with her again, but found herself confused as she grew more and more attracted to him. She felt that she couldn't enter into another relationship so soon after Brendan's death. When Daniel admitted to Tess that there was someone he had fallen for, she assumed he was talking about her and was about to admit that she felt the same way. However, Daniel was referring to Steph and Tess could only watch as he went out on a date with her. Tess realised her attraction to Daniel was never going to be requited and told him she was moving out. His relationship with Steph fizzled out and he demanded to know why Tess was leaving her own home. After Tess confessed all, Daniel decided it would be easier for him to move out.

Tess hoped that her next housemate would prove to be less stressful, but she couldn't have been more wrong. When Dione moved in, she began to cause havoc in Tess' methodical life. Suddenly, Tess found her lounge room being used by Dee for yoga and painting. Whenever Tess wanted to relax or do some marking, she would find Dee had invited back friends and tidying up certainly wasn't Dee's strongest point. Just as Tess was reaching breaking point, Dee organised a surprise - she'd redecorated the lounge room. Then, just as Tess had asked Dee to move out, Dee suffered a trip at Lassiter's and sprained her ankle, meaning she'd have to stay on for a while. This gave Tess time to think and she finally agreed to Dee staying, but with a few house rules thrown in.

As a thank you, Dee organised a visit from Andre, a masseur, who seemed to be interested in Tess. After arranging a date, Tess was embarrassed to realise he only wanted English lessons. However, it wasn't long before Tess met Richie Hampson, Lyn's boss from Beauty Tree at a singles night. For once, Tess thought she'd met the perfect man, however, it quickly became apparent that Tess was only being used to make Richie look good at corporate events and he was even blatant enough to offer her the role of his escort.

When Philip Martin decided to put Number 32 on the market, Tess and Dee realised they'd be homeless, but, not wanting to leave, they set about attempting to raise the cash to buy it. Unfortunately, on the auction day, they were outbid by Evan Hancock and so the pair set about finding new places to live. As Dee moved into Number 30, Tess realised she didn't want to go back to living in a student house - she'd been there and done that. So, she looked further afield than Ramsay Street and found a house-share with Ronnie Anderson. It later appeared to be a mistake to introduce Ronnie to the people of Ramsay Street, as she became obsessed with Drew Kirk and was later revealed to be a missing person, having vanished and changed her name after her husband (who bore a striking resemblance to Drew) died.

Having spent many months listening to best friend Dee going on about her on-off relationship with Darcy Tyler, Tess began forming a friendship with him herself. When Dee turned down tickets to the ballet from her boyfriend, Tess agreed to go in her place. After returning from their evening out, Darcy was quick to make a move on Tess as he dropped her home and the pair shared a passionate kiss. Tess was racked with guilt and spent a few days avoiding Darcy and Dee, who was completely confused by her friend's odd behaviour. Tess was shocked when she realised Dee was lending money to Darcy and wanted to reveal all to her friend, but Darcy managed to talk her out of it.

When Darcy visited a lonely Tess on her birthday, she was thrilled, but when Dee later arrived, in a desperate attempt to mend their friendship, Tess was forced to get rid of Dee as quickly as possible. This pretty much destroyed her friendship with Tess and Dee quickly learnt the reason for her best friend's odd behaviour. When Tess and Darcy were paired up at the fishing contest, they decided to sneak off for some time alone. When Dee later arrived, she found them kissing in the car, but they didn't see her. So, Dee chose to expose them in public, while Darcy was celebrating his new partnership with Karl, she tipped a glass of champagne over Darcy's head and told everyone what had been going on. Tess was humiliated and went into hiding, splitting up with Darcy in the process.

Darcy, however, wasn't to be beaten and turned up on her doorstep one morning begging for forgiveness. She didn't want to know, even when he proposed marriage to her. However, a chat with Susan made her realise that life was too short to waste these opportunities and so she changed her mind, shocking everyone by accepting. When Darcy revealed to Tess his plans to take over the surgery and make Karl unemployed, Tess began to have her reservations, but the wedding plans continued. As the wedding day got closer and closer, Dee realised she'd have to try to stop her former best friend from marrying Darcy, so she contacted Alice, Darcy's former girlfriend. Having learnt that Darcy was not to be trusted, she headed over to see Tess, armed with this information. Tess didn't want to know and put it all down to jealousy. However, when Lyn came over to do Tess' hair on the big day, she spoke about the trust that was the foundation for her relationship with Joe. Tess realised she had huge doubts and contacted Alice herself. After having her worst fears confirmed, she decided she couldn't go through with the wedding. She packed up her stuff and headed over to see Dee. The pair finally resolved their differences and Tess explained she was heading to Sydney, to visit her family, then probably on to England, to get teaching work.

In 2023, Tess was one of many former students and staff from Erinsborough High, who returned when a protest took place over the school's planned closure. Tess was thrilled to see Susan, who had retired as principal the year before, and explained that she was still teaching, and often thought about the likes of Tad Reeves and the time he'd put drawings pins in her blackboard duster.

Trivia Notes
When Teresa was first added to the opening titles in 1999, she was accidentally billed as "Teressa" for one week
When she returned in 2023, Krista Vendy was credited as playing Sue Parker, whilst Kate Gorman, who also returned for the same episode, was credited as playing Teresa 'Tess' Bell

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Magic Moments
Episode 3395: Tess' Arrival

Episode 3857: Tess' Departure

Biography by Steve