Home and Away spoilers follow for UK viewers.
Home and Away's Irene Roberts will cause concern for her friends next week, as the soap continues a loneliness story for the long-standing Summer Bay resident.
Irene has recently begun to harbour feelings of loneliness, and her state of mind will continue to deteriorate next week after her temporary houseguest and friend, John Palmer, moves back into his own place.
In scenes that will air on Channel 5 in the UK in the week commencing September 11, Irene is feeling buoyed after her honest chat with friend Marilyn Chambers, in which she confessed that her life hasn't panned out in the way that she expected and that she's been feeling isolated.
Following the frank conversation, Irene decides to invite John over for dinner. However, Marilyn questions this move, pointing out that John only moved out earlier that day.
When Alf Stewart raises the same question later, Marilyn tells him that Irene obviously enjoys John's company a lot.
Irene knocks off work early to prepare dinner for John and happily gets the Scrabble out ready for a game, but just as she's organising the dessert, John cancels on her in order to video chat with his son, Jett, instead.
Marilyn notices how disappointed Irene is and she wonders whether her friend has developed feelings for John for real, after they recently pretended to be a couple to fool their friends.
But when Marilyn makes the suggestion, Irene is adamant that this isn't the case and never will be - she and John are just friends.
Feeling bad about their misunderstanding over the situation, Marilyn invites Irene over for dinner, suggesting that they can do a tarot reading and a manicure.
But Irene scoffs at the idea of tarot - and when Marilyn suggests that Leah Patterson-Baker could get involved too, Irene accuses Marilyn of plotting a charity night and treating her like a "sad, lonely old friend".
Marilyn later confides in Mackenzie Booth over her fears for Irene, as she worries that her friend is feeling lonely.
Back at home on her own, Irene spells out the word 'solitude' on the Scrabble board, when suddenly Marilyn and Mac turn up at her door armed with pasta and dessert.
Irene enjoys the meal and the company, but resolves that she will need to get used to being on her own in the long term.
Has Irene turned a corner with the help of her friends?
Home and Away airs weekdays at 1.45pm on Channel 5 and 6pm on 5STAR. First-look screenings air at 6.30pm on 5STAR and the show also streams on My5.
Selected classic episodes are available via Prime Video in the UK.
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