Vanessa Downing is an Australian actress and singer, who at just 30 year old, and having completed a course in English literature she was given the role of Pippa (affectionally named Pip), an original played original character . Vanessa portryed Pippa Fletcher from 1988 to 1990. Foster mother, Pippa had a sweet, gentle and caring nature, and was a nurturing lady, who believed in bringing up her foster children's this way and thought affectionally of them as her own. Vanessa left the show in 1990 and Debra Lawrence took over the role of Pippa immediately. (people didn't seem to notice much difference in the character, even though Vanessa was a blonde, and Debra was a brunette)
In early 1987, Vanessa auditioned for the upcoming soap, Home And Away, which was first concieved 2 years before. At the time she had been appearing in an acapella show at The Sydney Opera House. She forgot about it, and the role was offered to Carol Willesse but when she could not commit to the gruelling schedule of a 5 day a week soap, she quit and in July 1987 Vanessa's agent rang her and she was offered the role, the next Monday she was costumed up ready for filming, she has stated in interviews that she had only just read the script.