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Lisa Chappell reflects on filming Australian TV’s most tragic death scene, 15 years later.

In a series of heart-wrenching moments in 2003, Australians were forced to watch Claire McLeod meet her untimely end  after she plunged off a cliff in beloved TV show McLeod’s Daughters.

There were recent whisperings that the show might be making a comeback, but they never eventuated into a full series return. It also definitely wouldn’t have been the same without seeing sisters Claire and Tess together.

Now, 15 years later Lisa Chappell, the actress who portrayed Claire, has told TV Week  as part of a series of interviews with the cast and creatorswhat it was like filming that pivotal scene.

After filming three seasons, Chappell decided to not renew her contract and leave the show. From the moment the cast and show creator, Posie Graeme-Evans, knew about her decision they had a very difficult and painful decision to make.

“I said, ‘Look, I’m not coming back – Claire would never leave the property, so we have to kill her off,'” said Chappell.

McLeod's Daughters
We would like a reboot please. Image: Channel 9.
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Sharing how they filmed Claire's final scene, the cast and crew said they recorded the shot in two separate lots.

One of Claire and Tess in the car (which was actually done in a paddock), with a separate shoot of the car falling off the cliff. Although Chappell wasn't in the car for the latter shot, she says watching the car tumble over was a "surreal and disturbing" experience.

"Watching the truck go over was very strange because they had a dummy in the same outfit as me with a wig on," she says.

"It looked horrifically like me. It was quite surreal and disturbing."

And for all the emotional trauma it caused viewers - this was a time before Game of Thrones had made killing off beloved characters the norm - it's nice to know the actresses behind our screens felt it too.

Do you remember that scene from McLeod's Daughters? Did it break your heart? Group Therapy is open in the comments.

For Helen Vnuk's complete interview with Lisa Chappell, Bridie Carter, Annette Hart and series creator Posie Graeme-Evans, you can read the original piece from TV Week.

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