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Character Profiles > Mrs Mangel Vivean Gray

Nell Worthington (previously Mangel) 1986-1988
Lived: 32 Ramsay Street
Marital Status: Len Mangel (divorced 1987), John Worthington (1988-)

Siblings: Isabelle
Children: Amanda and Joe

Family Tree: Mangel
Occupation: Retired Hotel Housekeeper

Interfering, nosey and self-righteous, Nell Mangel was a woman who infuriated nearly everyone she came across. If ever there was an opportunity to put a dampener on something, she seized it with relish, and if ever there was a wrong deed committed, Mrs. Mangel would be promptly on the phone to report it to the police, the school or the parent concerned. Mrs. Mangel gave her husband, Len, a terrible time throughout their 30 year marriage as she constantly tried to interfere in other people's business. Nell's eldest child, Amanda, was the successful one of her two children. Amanda grew up with a good education and married businessman Peter Harris resulting in Nell becoming the proud grandmother of little Jane. But her other child, Joe was a big disappointment for his overbearing mother. Always a bit of a rogue, Joe left home at the age of 16 and lost contact.

With the children grown up and gone, Nell and Len decided to sell their house and retire. Not wanting to leave Erinsborough, they bought a more suitable house in Ramsay Street. Nell loved living at No. 32 because it was here that she began to really interfere in her neighbours' business and pry into their pasts. She soon became friends with Eileen Clarke and Helen Daniels - the only people she allowed call her by her Christian name - and gained an arch-enemy in the form of brash Madge Ramsay, who lived across the street in No. 24. Nell thought Madge was pompous, gossipy and beneath her. The two women became sworn enemies and competed viciously at every level - be it for a job or at a cake baking competition. Not long after arriving in Ramsay Street, Mrs. Mangel was joined by her granddaughter, Jane, while Amanda and Peter went overseas. Mrs. Mangel kept a firm eye on her precious granddaughter and did everything in her power to prevent the romance that blossomed between Jane and Mike Young from No. 28. She vehemently disapproved Jane engaging in any kind of a relationship while she was still at school and matters were made worse when the school bitch, Sue Parker, sent poison pen letters about Mike's 'reputation' with girls to Mrs. Mangel. However, it was soon revealed that Sue had invented the stories about Mike just because she was jealous of his relationship with Jane and Mrs. Mangel had no alternative but to let Jane see Mike.

It was well known that Len had always been a bit of a philanderer but Mrs. Mangel naturally always denied that their marriage was anything other than perfect. Nonetheless, it still came as a shock to her when Len left her for another woman. Mrs. Mangel tried to avoid telling the neighbours for as long as possible but eventually admitted Len had left as she was forced to seek employment in order to support herself and Jane. She soon got a job as head of housekeeping at Lassiter's Hotel, much to the dismay of Madge who had also applied for the position. Nell loved her job at the hotel - she had finally found a good use for her meticulous, by-the-book nature and she was still able to keep an eye on Jane since she, too, had started working for the company as Paul Robinson's secretary. Mrs. Mangel also found some new company at home in the form of Mike's pet Labrador, Bouncer, who she spoilt rotten and was devoted to.

An ardent churchgoer, Nell was delighted when fellow Christian Harold Bishop came to lodge with her and Jane at No. 32. She and Harold had an enormous amount in common and Nell always held a soft spot for him. But there was one aspect of Harold's life Nell could never come to terms with - his genuine devotion and love for his old flame - Madge Ramsay. Nell constantly tried to make Harold see Madge was an unsuitable woman for a man of his high moral standing but nothing could dissuade him. And Harold finally stood up to Nell's snide remarks about 'that Ramsay woman' on the morning of his wedding to Madge, when he told her that no matter what Mrs. Mangel thought about the union, he loved Madge with every fibre in his being. A little dismayed at his proclamation, Mrs. Mangel was careful to play down her dislike of Madge in the future where Harold was concerned but managed to let her distaste for his choice of wife be known by purposely playing the church organ badly at the wedding service.

When Mrs. Mangel insisted on helping her heavily pregnant neighbour Daphne Clarke decorate the nursery at No. 28, she was knocked off a ladder when an excited Bouncer came running in. It resulted in Mrs. Mangel suffering partial memory loss and she couldn't remember anything that had occurred since she moved into Ramsay Street, meaning she still thought she was married to Len. When she asked Jane why Len was late home for tea, Jane thought it better to tell her nan that Len was away on business in order to avoid upsetting her nan with the truth. But when Mrs. Mangel went to Len's wardrobe and noticed all her husband's clothes were gone, she confronted Jane and assumed Len had died. Jane, stunned by her nan's belief, went along with the story but things got more complicated when Mrs. Mangel asked to see his grave. Before she could pluck up the courage to tell her the truth, Jane told her that Len had been cremated and that his ashes were scattered under the rosebush in the garden. She began talking to Len via the rosebush and even once went to her old house, forgetting that they had moved to No. 32. After her memory returned, Mrs. Mangel was back to her usual ways when she decided to sue the Clarkes for her suffering. But Des Clarke persuaded her to settle for an out-of-court settlement of $1,000.

Health problems soon began to plague Mrs. Mangel resulting in a massive heart attack, which put her in hospital for several weeks. While she was there, her daughter Amanda returned to visit her and take care of the house while she was out of action. But it was soon discovered that the real reason Amanda had returned from Hong Kong was because she was on the run for insurance fraud. When Mrs. Mangel and Jane discovered this, they told her to leave and she returned to Peter in Hong Kong.

More drama followed for Mrs.Mangel when Len filed for divorce and told her he wanted to sell No. 32 and split the proceeds between them. Nell, determined not to let her ex-husband get away with taking her home from her, blackmailed him into letting her keep No. 32 by threatening to follow him wherever he moved to if she lost the house.

Love blossomed for Mrs. Mangel when she and Eileen joined the local bowls team. It was here that Nell met a widowed British gentleman, John Worthington, who had plenty of regard for Nell's high-minded ways. Quite overwhelmed by his love for her, Nell was delighted when he asked her to marry him and accepted. John, a retired dentist, also asked Nell if she would consider retiring back to England with him so he could be near his daughter, Caroline. Although a little sad at the idea of leaving Jane and Bouncer behind in Erinsborough, she agreed and they made plans for their nuptials. Shortly before the wedding, Jane tracked down Nell's long-lost son, Joe, and tried to get him to heal the rift with his mother before she left for Britain.

Although both Mrs. Mangel and Joe were stubborn when they were initially reunited, they did manage to put the past behind them and Nell was delighted when Joe agreed to walk her up the aisle on her wedding day. After her dear friend Reverend Sampson pronounced her and John man and wife, Mrs. Mangel bid a tearful farewell to Jane and Joe, and her beloved Bouncer, and after one final set-to with her old nemesis Madge, she set sail for her new life as Mrs.Worthington in England with John, leaving No.32 in the hands of Jane and Joe.

But more health worries plagued Mrs. Mangel once she had settled in England. She had another heart attack just as she was on her way back to Australia for Joe's wedding to Harold's daughter, Kerry. Jane flew out to England to be with her grandmother and after helping her recover, decided to stay with her for good. Mrs. Mangel was struck down with another heart attack a year later and had to undergo a major heart bypass operation. After her recovery, she faced huge medical expenses and was forced to sell No. 32. But she was consoled by the fact that it was bought by her friend, Helen Daniels and was delighted when herself, Jane and John were paid a visit by Joe and his family to their home in Hertfordshire. And Mrs. Mangel still managed to keep in touch with events on Ramsay Street for many more years via letters to Helen, thus ensuring that she was kept well informed with what was happening around the neighbourhood.

Trivia Notes
Vivean Gray suffered an astonishing amount of abuse from members of the general public, so convincing was her protrayal of the waspish Mrs. Mangel. Sadly, this reaction played a large role in her decision to leave Neighbours
25 years after Mrs Mangel had last appeared, baby Nell Rebecchi was named after her, when Sonya found an old photograph of Ramsay Street's most famous battleaxe, and loved the name


Biography by Mark