The actress best known as Madge Bishop in Grundy’s long running cul-de-sac saga Neighbours is to join Wentworth – the re-imaging of cult soap Prisoner: Cell Block H.

It’s the first Australian television production Anne Charleston has appeared in since quitting Ramsay Street in 2001 when Madge was killed-off.

The Foxtel revamp of Prisoner, which became a huge hit in the UK in the 1980s, sees character names from the original series with new actors playing the parts. The storyline is also set in the present day with no reference to the previous incarnation.

The original saga, set in the Wentworth Detention Centre for female inmates, ran from 1979 to 1986 and nearly 700 episodes. The programme was devised by former ATV executive Reg Watson who also devised the format to Crossroads in the UK and Sons and Daughters and Neighbours in Australia.

Since leaving Australia, to live in Ireland, Charleston has made several appearances in British programming including a five-month stint in Birmingham motel soap Crossroads, three years in Yorkshire saga Emmerdale and a guest spot in Holby City. She also was one of the leads in BBC comedy Dossa and Joe alongside Michael Caton and has guested on a handful of reality series in the UK.

Charleston appeared in the original series of Prisoner: Cell Block H three times. Parts in the show included being the daughter of an inmate, a policewoman and the larger recurring role of Deidre Kean, mother of prison toughie Reb Kean who also ended up behind bars.

Wentworth airs next year in Australia.

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