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Character Profiles > Liljana Bishop Marcella Russo

Liljana 'Lil' Bishop (née Ristic) 2003-2005
Lived: 22, 24, 28 Ramsay Street
Born: 1967
Parent: Svetlanka and Miroslav Ristic
Marital Status: David Bishop
Children: Luka and Serena
Family Tree: Bishop/Ristic
Occupation: Doctor's Receptionist, Manager of The Helen Daniels Trust, General Store Assistant
Died: 2005 (presumed)

Of Serbian descent, Liljana, or Lil as certain people call her, tried to shrug off her background in her teenage years, before accepting it later in life. Her parents, especially her protective mother, Svetlanka, were very pleased when she embraced her heritage, but not so happy when she married Australian David Bishop at only 19. Svetlanka immediately made her intentions clear by promising to put a curse on him if her ever hurt her daughter. Soon after, their daughter, Serena, was born and David worked his way up from being a clerk to a high-earning accountant, making sure that his family would want for nothing. Although Liljana enjoyed the wealthy lifestyle, she always remained level-headed, fully aware of the working class background her family had come from.

Having lived in Perth, surrounded by family, all her life, Liljana was slightly apprehensive when David announced that they’d be moving to the other side of the country for his new business venture. However, like everything in life, she embraced the move, especially as they’d still be near David’s family in Erinsborough. As soon as they arrived on Harold’s doorstep, Liljana began taking over the house, and the kitchen especially. She impressed Sky with her ability to read people’s coffee grounds and took it upon herself to try to heal the rift between her husband and his father. Unfortunately, her good intentions led to a huge argument and David taking his wife and daughter to stay at Lassiter’s. With Saint’s Day, a traditional Serbian holiday, approaching, Liljana was desperate to move back to number 24 in time to celebrate. Engineering a meeting between David and Harold, she was thrilled when David agreed to move back for a short while. She was also very happy to meet all the neighbours as Harold invited them over on Saint’s Day to meet the family, and she read the coffee grounds of Lyn and Susan. However, while everything appeared to be back on track, little did Liljana know that her husband was facing serious problems, having invested all their savings into a business that appeared to have gone bust…

As she settled into Erinsborough, Liljana decided that she wanted to better herself by completing a course at university. However, before she could expand on this dream, she was in for a terrible shock. As their anniversary arrived and David seemed very distracted, Liljana decided to go to his office with a surprise picnic. When she got there, the office was chained up with a ‘for lease’ sign outside. Only the day before, she had noticed a sign in her coffee grounds that someone was lying to her, and it was then that she realised it was her husband. David announced that he had lost all their money and Liljana was furious – more that he felt that he couldn’t confide in her than anything else. Liljana realised that she would have to abandon her dreams of studying and get a job. At first she helped Harold out in the Coffee Shop, as a thankyou for all his help with their money problems. However, she then managed to get the job of receptionist at the surgery, after lying to Karl that she was highly skilled on computers. With all these problems at work, more problems at home soon followed. After Serena returned from the high school formal dripping wet, Liljana was suspicious of her daughter’s actions and blamed Sky for abandoning her cousin. But Lil later overheard the two cousins arguing and realised that Serena had been sneaking out and letting Sky take the blame for months. A further shock came when she realised that David knew all about it.

Liljana was hurt by seemingly being the last person to find out everything in her family, and things only got worse when David accepted a few days’ work from Toadie in Sydney, meaning he’d be away for Christmas. Liljana carried on with the preparations regardless, but got a wonderful surprise when David returned home on Christmas Eve dressed as Santa. The family had a wonderful Christmas together, but it wasn’t to last, as Harold suffered a stroke the following day. His condition slowly improved and the family rallied round him, but he seemed to be ungrateful for all of their efforts and had become a changed man. On top of this, David and Liljana stumbled across some of the bikini shots of Serena, taken by Chris Cousens, in her bag. They forbade Serena from seeing the older man and, when Chris came into the Coffee Shop one day, Liljana made her feelings clear by slapping him.

With all this going on, Liljana was ill-prepared for the imminent arrival of her mother, Svetlanka, from Perth. Svetlanka’s arrival, on Serena’s 16th birthday, couldn’t have been worse timed, as Serena chose that day to sneak out and see Chris again. When they found their daughter was missing, David and Lil were convinced that they knew where she’d gone, and the drama provided a perfect excuse for Svetlanka to accuse her daughter of being unable to control her children. When Serena returned, she refused to speak to her mother, but revealed all to David. Liljana was hurt by this and tried to explain to Serena that she was only hard on her because of her own strict upbringing. David stole Chris’ harddrive and handed it in to the police, while Lil and David also burnt the photos of Serena. The whole incident, as well as discovering the truth about the family’s dire financial situation, led to Svetlanka attempting to convince her daughter to return home to Perth. Though tempted, Liljana was adamant that she, David and Serena were happy with the new life that they had built in Erinsborough and wouldn’t be going anywhere.

When Svetlanka’s plot to bring her daughter home failed, her tactics started to become more ruthless. After her mother had faked a series of chest pains, Liljana had finally had enough and told her to leave. However, in a final act of vengeance, Svetlanka revealed to the entire family that Liljana had only married David because she was already pregnant and needed a father for the child. With her mother gone, Lil was forced to explain the truth to her shocked husband and daughter. She had found herself pregnant to Ivan, one of the workers at the family vineyard. Ivan fled the scene, so when David came along to help the family with their accounts, Lil quickly saw him as a potential father for her child. However, the child was later stillborn, taken away before Lil could even see it, and, as time went on, she found herself falling in love with David, with Serena coming along the following year.

Meanwhile, as Susan and Karl’s marital problems became public, Liljana found herself in an awkward position. Working alongside Karl at the surgery, Lil found it difficult to ignore the rumours concerning her boss and Izzy Hoyland, and soon lost all respect for him. She struggled to even be polite to him, and was forced to stop gossiping with her husband, David, who shared the office, as Karl kept catching them slacking off. Instead, she sent him an email, detailing her feelings about Dr. Kennedy, but instead of just sending it to David, she sent it to the entire address book. Fortunately, while David distracted him, she managed to delete the message from Karl’s computer, but he found it the following week in his trash folder. He explained to Liljana that her attitude was causing too many problems, and so he gave her a month’s notice. However, he began to rethink things, and decided to test her professionalism by handing her Izzy’s medical file to put away. Liljana resisted the urge to peek inside and later, Karl revealed that he had planted a note inside to catch her out, but she was obviously not as unprofessional as he had believed.

Following her problems with Karl, Lil’s friendship with Susan, as well as Lyn, only grew stronger. The three of them signed up for self-defence classes, and were delighted to meet the attractive instructor, Allan Steiger. The three women all vied for his attention in a light-hearted way, but Lil began to take it a little further than the others, and even wore one of her daughter’s skimpy tops to one of the classes. However, when Lil and Allan later bumped into each other at the pub, things got slightly embarrassing when he asked her to accompany him for a night of fun at a guesthouse down the coast. She was quick to set him straight, but their exchange had been witnessed by Serena, who confronted her mother. Lil told her daughter that it was nothing, but Serena continued to believe there was something going on, so Lil was forced to confess the incident to David. David’s seeming lack of worry about this, coupled with his recent long working hours and mysterious calls led Lil to a shocking conclusion which she confided in her friends – although she herself hadn’t been having an affair, David was. Although Susan and Lyn tried to convince her that it wasn’t true, Lil decided that she had to follow David and find out the truth. Dragging Lyn along as her driver, Lil’s plan fell apart when they were pulled over by the police for a random breath test. By the time it was over, Liljana had calmed down and Lyn had convinced her to talk to David – but then they saw him with a blonde woman. Lil flew off the handle and threw David’s clothes off the balcony, ruining the street’s chances in the ‘Best Street’ competition. However, she was very embarrassed to learn that David had actually been seeing a personal trainer to get in shape following the incident with Allan Steiger.

When Liljana started competing with Sindi over their different methods of predicting the future, Lil agreed to a contest to find out who could see Harold’s destiny. Although she had every confidence in her coffee grounds, she decided that the only way to win was to cheat, so she read Harold’s diary and reeled off a list of everything Harold would be doing for the next week. There was further deception to come for Liljana when she bumped into Father Popovich at the supermarket. Realising that some quick thinking was in order to cover her recent absences from church, she explained that she and David had been having marital problems. She then invited Father Popovich to dinner, and explained to David what she’d done. As their bizarre evening progressed, with Lil doing her best to convince Father Popovich of her marital problems, he told her that he knew what she was doing. He added that he would prefer it if his parishoners would simply be honest with him if they couldn’t be bothered to turn up for church.

Lil was immediately suspicious when Serena started hanging around with a mysterious new friend, and, after her daughter’s problems with Chris Cousens, she decided that it couldn’t continue. However, Serena announced that she had invited her friend for dinner. As the Bishops waited for the mystery guest to arrive, Serena accidentally blurted out that it was her grandmother, Svetlanka. Liljana was shocked to hear that Serena and Harold had both seen her since she’d been back in Erinsborough, but had kept it a secret. As soon as Svetlanka arrived, the problems began, and Lil refused to have anything to do with her mother. However, Lil was still silenced when Svetlanka said that she had come to give them $100,000 and wanted nothing in return. Lil knew what accepting the money would mean, and refused to take it, before telling her mother to leave. However, David wasn’t so sure as he realised how much debt that money would get them out of, but Lil was adamant, and was therefore disgusted when Svetlanka put the money into their account anyway. Although David had spent a little of it to pay off the credit card bill, Lil insisted that they go to Svetlanka and tell her that they don’t want the money. After explaining this, Lil began to soften slightly, and asked Svetlanka to come over for one final dinner before returning to Perth. As the big night arrived, Lil decided that the time was right to confront her mother about the past. She told her about the way she had felt disgusted with herself after falling pregnant at 17 and having a stillborn child, and how she’d received no support from her mother. These revelations finally led to mother and daughter patching things up and it seemed that the Bishop family were going to be happy for a while.

Unfortunately, shortly afterwards, Liljana collapsed suddenly at work and was rushed to hospital, where tests revealed that her liver was failing. None of the family quite realised the gravity of the situation, but offered to have tests done to see if they could donate part of their liver. Liljana was furious when she found out, insisting that nobody in her family would be put through any pain to save her. However, as time went on, with none of the family being a match, Karl was forced to break the news that Liljana had less than 48 hours to live. Father Popovich came to read Lil her last rites, but suddenly, Svetlanka remembered that her godson, Luka, who had been in town searching for his birth parents, and secretly dating Serena, had a rare blood type. He was tracked down as he made his way out of Erinsborough and brought back. His tests showed that he was a match for Liljana and the two of them underwent the transplant operation.

As they recovered at home the following week, Lil was shocked when Luka announced that he would be leaving town to continue his search for his natural parents in Canberra. She tried to make him stay, but he insisted that he must leave, spurred on by Svetlanka. However, just as they were going out of the door, Serena suddenly made a shocking announcement – Liljana and Luka were mother and son. Svetlanka revealed that Lil's baby hadn't been stillborn - she had paid off the doctor and given the child away. Suddenly, everything changed, and, as they were left alone together, Lil made an attempt to get to know her son. She announced to the rest of the family that he would remain in Erinsborough for a while, staying with a Serbian family nearby. She also told her mother that she never wanted to see her again. Shortly afterwards, Harold announced that he would be going with Svetlanka back to Perth, at least for a few weeks, and Lil was horrified. She went to see her mother and told her that she was ripping the family apart and she should tell Harold to stay. Svetlanka finally came good and did just that. Meanwhile, Lil found relations with David and Serena strained as she attempted to get to know her son. David was jealous when she showed Luka a photo of his father, Ivan, whilst Serena struggled to cope with the realisation that she’d almost slept with her half-brother. Lil was furious with both of them, and things only got worse when she asked Luka to move into number 24…

When Harold got some information from Svetlanka, Liljana and Luka set off down the coast to look for Ivan, but they were in for a shock when they found out that he was dead. They spent some time at his grave and Luka worried Lil as he talked about how wonderful it could have been if they’d all been a family. When they got back, Luka overheard Liljana and David talking about how Ivan really wasn’t that nice a man and, before long, Luka had stolen David’s briefcase and set fire to it. Although David and Serena both voiced concerns about Luka, Lil refused to listen, and she was surprised when her son announced that he was leaving to return to Perth. She sat him and down and told him that she would always be there for him, before watching him leave the next day. Over Christmas, Lil received a phone call from Anna Dokich, explaining that Luka had been missing for a while. When there was a fire at the pub around the same time, Serena finally told her mother the truth about Luka. She explained that Luka had burnt down his school and set fire to David’s case, but Lil still wasn’t convinced. The family were then forced to apologise when another call came through to say that Luka was home and had gone off surfing for a couple of weeks without telling anyone.

When David decided to run for local council, with the support of recently returned local, Paul Robinson, Lil wasn’t too keen at first, but eventually decided to go along with her husband’s plans. Lil was delighted when David was elected and began to form a strong friendship with Paul along the way, little realising that he was starting to become obsessed with her. In an attempt to get close, he offered her the job of manager of the Helen Daniels Trust, a company he’d set up in memory of his grandmother to offer money to worthy causes. But as things seemed to be looking up financially for the family, David looked like he was allowing the power to go to his head. Lil was horrified when he suggested investing some of their remaining savings in a high-risk venture, and she reminded him that that was how they’d lost everything in the first place. When Lil then approached Dame Clarissa Fullerton, an old friend of the Robinsons, about investing in a housing project for the trust, David went along to the meeting in the hope that she might offer him a job. David’s presence only served to stuff things up, however, as Clarissa walked out. The final straw came when David caught Serena in bed with Stingray and violently threw him out. Lil pointed out to him that he was changing before her eyes, and she was extremely close to walking out on the marriage. As her frustrations continued, Lil relied more and more on Paul as a friend and confidante.

The final straw came for Lil when David missed a school debate which Serena was taking part in, in order to play golf with business associate Ronnie Sharp. She announced that she wanted a separation and moved out, with Paul offering to help her by paying for a suite at Lassiter’s. However, David pleaded with Lil to come back to him and, just as she was about to tell Paul, he announced that he was falling for her. Although Lil’s feelings for Paul were also becoming stronger by the day, she told him that nothing could come of it, before returning home to number 24. Realising that she had to get away from Paul, Lil decided to resign from her job with the Helen Daniels Trust aswell. As Lil attempted to ignore her feelings for Paul and move on with her life, the Bishop family was rocked when David became the prime target for a fraud investigation. Although David was protesting his innocence and Lil believed him, $47,000 had gone missing from the trust, for which David had been doing the books. Lil’s confidence in her husband wavered as she remembered his constant attempts to better himself and make new investments, and when a call came from one of David’s friends, intercepted by Serena, which mentioned some investment advice David had been given, Lil realised that she no longer trusted him. Once again, she walked out on her family, with Serena refusing to join her, and accepted a room with Susan at number 28. As Lil contemplated her marriage by Lassiter’s lake that afternoon, she accidentally dropped her ring in the water. When Paul spotted her standing in the lake, he immediately waded in to help, finding the ring and announcing to Lil that he was in love with her. She admitted that she shared his feelings, but they couldn’t act on them. As the fraud case against David was thrown out of court, he became convinced that he could win his wife back. Lil, however, had come to her own realisation, announcing in front of a packed bar that she no longer loved him.

Following this incident, Lil finally gave in to her feelings for Paul and they spent some time together on his boat, away from the prying eyes on Ramsay Street. Although Lil was finally happy in one area of her life, she grew increasingly concerned about how Serena would react if she were to find out about the affair. Things only got worse as David suddenly came to the conclusion that Paul had been the one who’d set him up for fraud and had ruined his life. Lil realised that she was going to have to tell Serena, and Paul suggested that mother and daughter go away for a few days to Sydney. However, when Lil went to explain about the trip to David, he panicked, thinking that Lil would turn Serena against him, and took his daughter off for a trip himself. Upon their return, a huge argument broke out, overheard by Serena, and Lil and David realised that they were going to have to try harder for the sake of their daughter. Unfortunately, things got worse when Sky spotted Lil and Paul kissing one day and took some pictures on her video camera. Before long, the camera was in the hands of Serena and David and the affair was exposed to all of Erinsborough. David was left devastated, even trying to run down Paul in the Lassiter’s car park, whilst Lil left for the country to spend some time alone. Paul managed to track her down and convince her to come back to Erinsborough with him. He also talked her into leaving for Sydney for a few months, so that they could all recover from recent events.

When Paul suddenly disappeared as they were all set to leave for the airport, Liljana was concerned. Her fears increased when it was revealed that Paul had been behind recent dealings for everyone in Ramsay Street to sell up and for international company Affirmacon to build a mall on the land. At first, Lil refused to believe that it was true but, as she had time to think, she realised that she’d been taken for a fool by Mr Robinson. When Paul was found, badly injured, in some bushland, Lil waited at the hospital for news as he underwent surgery. However, once he was beginning to recover, she told him that she didn’t love him and no longer wanted anything to do with him. At the same time, Lil’s relationship with David was starting to return to its old self. They managed to spend time together without bickering and she saw what a good father he was to Serena, and found herself falling for him once more. However, when David got ahead of himself and asked her to move back home, Lil told him that she was going to need more time before she came to an important decision like that. However, as time went on, Lil realised that her marriage was worth saving and that she couldn’t mess with David’s feelings any longer. She moved back into number 24, staying in the spare bedroom at first, and things were quickly back on track. It wasn’t long before she had other things to worry about, however, when Paul moved in next-door, and then Serena started dating her boss at the bikini shop, Connor O’Neill and talked about giving up on her plans to study marketing at university.

Lil was horrified when Serena received $20,000 from Svetlanka, and decided to use the money to buy into the bikini shop, rather than on earning a degree. Unable to reconcile their differences, Serena moved across the street to number 30, to live with Connor. Fortunately, David and Harold convinced Lil that she was going to lose Serena completely if she carried on pushing her away, so mother and daughter made up, and Lil gave Serena a ring, a family heirloom. Soon after, when Connor’s ex-girlfriend, Carmella returned to town, Serena split up with him and moved back home. Meanwhile, Lil and David’s relationship was going from strength to strength and things finally went their way when they won $250,000 on the lottery. David decided to keep the windfall a secret, but Lil found out from Lou, who bought their tickets for them, and finally confronted her husband. He admitted that he’d given the money to the Salvation Army, as he felt that the love of his family was enough riches. Lil happily agreed and the pair instead looked forward to a flight to Tasmania, organised by Paul for the 20th anniversary of Lassiter’s hotel. Having been given the tickets by Harold, Lil and David repaid him by organising some tuba lessons with a professional from Eden Hills. Dressed up in their 40s gear, and trying to ignore the fact that they’d be trapped in an enclosed space with Paul, the happy couple headed off to the airport, along with Serena and Connor, who were also managing to patch up their problems. The flight, sadly, was doomed, as a mystery figure planted a bomb on board, which exploded mid-flight. As the plane ran out of fuel, a panic-stricken Lil told David and Serena how much she loved them, then clung on to her husband as they crashed into Bass Strait.

Trivia Notes
Click here to read our interview with Marcella Russo


Magic Moments
Episode 4344: The Bishops' Arrival
Episode 4592: Serena's Confession: Part One
Episode 4593: Serena's Confession: Part Two
Episode 4836: The Plane Crash: Part One
Episode 4837: The Plane Crash: Part Two
Episode 4838: The Plane Crash: Part Three

Biography by Steve