"I've been in and out of places like this, since I was a kid."
Doreen May Anderson (later Burns and AKA (Debbie Ray) She was born in Melbourne on the 15th of June 1953. (Although in ep 103 Doreen mentions that she had a baby at 16 and that the child would be 7 yrs now in 1980, that would make her year of birth 1957). Doreen would be released and would come back to prison not once but 3 times. But in the end Doreen finally grew up and was released the last time being older and wiser.
Doreen was sexually abused by her father at a young age. She remembers her mother being a very proper woman, but her mother left also at a young age. Doreen finally gets to meet her before she dies. It is likely that her upbringing has contributed to her being childlike, and simple at times. We also know that Doreen has been in and out of detention centres from a young age.
Life in prison[edit | edit source]
Doreen Anderson was an inmate of Wentworth Detention center beginning in the first episode. She was charged with forgery - namely forging signatures on checks and credit cards and such. (In ep 98 it is stated that she was sentenced to 4 yrs in prison in 1976).
Doreen is quite childish with some of the things she says, and the fact that she carries a teddy bear and has even been known to suck her thumb on occasion. She was a born follower rather than a leader, and seemed to be lost without someone to look after her or make the decisions for her, and as a result, she was in a one sided relationship with inmate her best friend Franky Doyle, although Doreen was only sexually confused and found it hard to differentiate between love and sex. She found Franky to be intimidating and scary at times, so she thought it best to play along.
Doreen escaped Wentworth with Franky Doyle early on in the series, and needed someone like Franky to keep her out of trouble even more so when they were out. Following this escape, and the death of Franky Doyle, she turned herself in, an on her return to Wentworth, she tried to cope with her grief, by adopting a tough persona not unlike Franky, although this didn't last long.
Doreen befriended inmate Lynn Warner, and developed an attachment to her as well, and even tried to stop Lynn's release by getting her into trouble. When Lynn found out, she was furious, smearing mud on Doreen's face, and calling her a worm. Doreen is eventually set off by Dr Peter Clements, who, while doing a study on inmates, sends Doreen over the edge by accusing her of being a lesbian (Doreen refuses to acknowledge this despite her obvious crush on Lynn Warner).
Unknown to Doreen, her birth mother is found not long after this. She eventually finds out, and naturally there is trouble at first. Their time is short however, when her mother dies, leaving Doreen a nice house in Kew, Melbourne. Doreen, released from prison, doesn't want to live there alone, and lives in the halfway house with Karen Travers.
Doreen finds it hard to cope without being locked up at first. Eventually, when Lizzie Birdsworth is released and living at the halfway house, Doreen is able to give her some advice on how she managed at first. It's around this time that Doreen has adopted a false name in order to find a job, and meets Kevin Burns.
Although at first Doreen is worried when Kevin finds out the truth, but he is willing to stay with her. Unfortunately Doreen gets caught shoplifting with Lizzie and gets the harsher sentence of the two. Kevin however is willing to wait, and the two end up marrying inside the Wentworth grounds.
Doreen's marriage doesn't last long however, as Doreen is part of a work release program at a factory, leaving the prison to work. She is raped by the factory foreman, then consented for a second time in order to get information to help her husband Kevin's business. Kevin finds out the truth when Doreen is revealed to be pregnant, as the baby cant possibly be his, as their visits are monitored. After he tells Doreen he wants a divorce, she takes the news badly and tries to kill herself. Shortly after this, Doreen has a miscarriage, and the baby is lost.
Doreen's release is coming up, and since she's been in the maternity wing for a couple of weeks, Erica manages to get Doreen a position as a nurse's aid at the Wentworth General Hospital. However, shortly after Doreen's release, things go downhill again. Doreen kidnaps Chrissie Latham's sick child Elizabeth in order to stop her being taken away by authorities.
Doreen later attempted to escape Wentworth through an underground tunnel, but naturally the plan went wrong and she was forced to turn back.
After this, Doreen became less childlike, and more mature, but this didn't stop her trying to escape a later work release program. By escaping she ruins the work release program. While she was on the run, her and Peter Richards took Martin to the hospital. Another storyline had Bea Smith needing a kidney, and Doreen was a perfect match to donate one. By chance, a second kidney became available, and Doreen admitted the thought of such an operation frightened her, to which Bea understood and held no hard feelings whatsoever.
When Joan Ferguson (The Freak) arrived, Doreen was the first to receive a searching from Joan and her black leather gloves.
Not long after this, Doreen leaves Wentworth, mature enough to survive in the world (303). When we see her again, she has moved to Sydney and helps Bea Smith hide after an escape (358-361). Her final appearance was for 11 episodes (435-446), where she got herself back inside to avoid marrying Hans Luffner in order to get him permanent residency in Australia.
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- Originally Doreen was only supposed to be part of the supporting cast. When the show was extended beyond it's initial 16 episodes, she was written into more of the story. This is more noticeable in the first 10 episodes where her role seems to be nothing more than the comedy act, with Lizzie.
- In the episode where Erica Davidson meets Doreen's mother she states that Doreen's crime is breaking and entering.