couples

The original cast of Home and Away. Where are they now?

It all started with the Fletchers, and all their foster children…

You know we belong together…

You and I forever and ever…

When Home and Away first went to air in July, 1987, my family and I sat down to watch it together. I was 11 and we’d just moved from the only home I had ever known.

In my mind, we were just like the Fletchers in a brand new TV show called Home and Away.

I immediately related to the Fletcher family, who - after dad Tom Fletcher was retrenched from his job in the city - were forced to move to the coastal town of Summer Bay.

Channel Seven had let Aussie drama Neighbours run off to Channel Ten after a ratings slump. And boy was that a mistake.

It became a HUGE hit once more. So Seven desperately needed a show so they could get in on the domestic drama market again, and Home and Away was born.

So Tom Fletcher loses his job, and due to his loss of employment could lose his Foster children, so drastic action is needed.

They decide to pack up and move to the coast.

Those were the days when a move to the coast was actually affordable, as opposed to today when many parts of the coast (and especially Palm Beach in NSW where the show is filmed) will set you back many of millions of dollars.

Summer Bay, otherwise known as Palm Beach, NSW.

Episode 1, and The Fletcher family pack up their city home and move to the beautiful Summer Bay which is a small town located at the beach.

And in those days, there wasn't a Bra Boy in sight.

Sorry, I meant the Riverboys.

Tom and Pippa Fletcher buy this house...

...and it's adjoining caravan park which they then run.

In the meantime, their kids head to the local school and beach for much drama.

They also spend a lot of time drinking coffee and milkshakes in the surf club cafe.

Tom and Pippa Fletcher soon make friends with locals Alf Stewart who, while rough on the outside, is about as good a friend as you can get and his wife Ailsa, who runs the Summer Bay Surf Club cafe.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Fletchers have four foster children and one adopted daughter.

Their first foster child Frank...

This is their adopted daughter Sally and foster child Steven...

Carly is one of their foster children...

And so is Lynne...

They even take in local troublemaker, Bobby, who they meet when she starts bullying their kids for no reason.

She burns down one of their caravans (and denies it) but thankfully, it turns out she is just lashing out and feeling misunderstood.

All she needs is some acceptance and love and Bobby comes good, becoming a loyal Fletcher and a productive member of the community. She even starts using a hair brush.

The Fletcher family doesn't always get along. The older foster children all come from troubled backgrounds and tempers flair easily.

And then, sometimes they get along too well...

Yep, foster siblings Bobby and Frank fall in love and get married. For some reason, it's not weird at all. Probably because we just want to see them find happiness.

Producers were concerned about how Australia would react to the union so they made sure the public was on side before giving it the go ahead.

What helped matters was the fact that Frank's previous girlfriend, Roo Stewart, was quite the manipulative so-and-so and it was nice to see Frank with someone who actually loved him.

And Bobby did love him, until he coldly left her and returned to Roo.

Roo dated Frank first and when she fell pregnant they almost married.

However, the child wasn't his and Frank soon tires of her manipulations. So he takes up with Bobby.

ADVERTISEMENT

But the entire time they are married. Bobby suspects Frank still has feelings for Roo.

After Bobby miscarries their child, they break up and Frank flies to New York to reunite with Roo.

What a douche.

But at least Bobby finds her birth mother, the scary and intimidating Morag.

And Daddy Dearest turns out to be...Donald Fisher, the high school principal who used to hate her.

And then she finds new love, with Greg.

Let's not dwell on the fact she dies in a boating accident years later...

La la la la la...blocking ears...la la la la la...

The show was such a huge success because it continually tackled difficult issues like teen pregnancy, teen sex, estranged families and juvenile misbehaviour.

Take Carly Morris, the second oldest foster child in the Fletcher clan.

She struggles to find her feet and feels the need to strike out on own, however she is ill-prepared and soon lands herself in trouble.

Carly is raped while hitchhiking and then develops a problem with alcohol. After a series of misbehaviours, she turns to her foster family for help.

Carly first starts drinking when local yobbos Lance and Martin make an alcoholic drink called 'home brew' which Carly develops a taste for.

And boyfriend Matt, who tries to be there for her, is actually chasing after Roo. Pippa finds out and tells him to tell Carly he wants to break up, but he insists on being there for her during her troubles.

She eventually marries soldier Ben Lucini. At first Carly is happy, but soon her husband is posted and she has to go with him.

But at least they had found each other.

ADVERTISEMENT

The early years of Home and Away were my favourites and live on in my memory, because they dealt with such real and raw issues. However somethign happened that distracted me completely from all the drama that was occurring in Summer Bay.

The role of Pippa was recast.

Nooooooooo!!!!!!!!!

In 1990, Vanessa Downing who played Pippa left the series suddenly. The rumour was that she missed working with co-star Roger Oakley who played husband Tom before he was killed off.

The role of Pippa was too pivotal to the show for her to be killed off, so it was recast and taken over by Debra Lawrence, one of the actresses who had originally auditioned for the role.

But we soon got used to the new Pippa. Yep, she eventually grew on us.

Pippa loses her first husband - Tom - after he suffers a bout of bad health and then has a heart attack while driving the family car. That happened while Pippa was being played by Vanessa Downing.

When Tom died, the new Pippa started and quickly took over the role of the grieving widow, we all got used to it and the show moved on without a hitch.

And the new Pippa has her hands full helping Sally recover from the loss of the only father she's ever known.

Pippa finds love again with a man named Michael, played by Dennis Coard. And guess what?

The actors fell in love in REAL LIFE, married and they are still together today.

Awww.

So they are NOT acting in this wedding photo. I knew it. I just knew it.

Steven Fletcher had plenty to deal with when the family moves to Summer Bay.

He was bullied at school...

He struggled to deal with the death of his birth parents...

But eventually Steven finds love with older woman Narelle, the first of many conquests.

Sally Fletcher, played by Kate Ritchie, became one of the longest running characters on Australian TV.

ADVERTISEMENT

In those first few years on the show, Sally is incredibly adorable and constantly delightful.

Little Sally has her first kiss and becomes convinced she is pregnant, before her parents set her straight.

But Sally's world is rocked when Pippa falls pregnant and she struggles to deal with the fact she won't be the baby any more.

However it isn't all good news. The reason Pippa and Tom became foster parents in the first place is due to health reasons. The pregnancy isn't  easy. But she pulls through with lots of bed rest and has little Christopher.

Sally eventually warms up to the idea and in fact, embraces her role as big sister.

Sally deals with all the normal pressures of childhood, complete with bullying, first love, heartbreak, the loss of a parent...you name it.

Lynn wasn't with the Fletchers for long. She was happy enough to be moving to Summer Bay with them. But she eventually returns to her birth parents, much to Pippa's distress.

Home and Away graced the cover of TV week countless times, due to the endless drama.

And every time death rocked Summer Bay, TV Week ran a cover similar to this one.

One of the saddest moments on the show was when Meg died of leukemia. When she arrives she is already very ill. Her mother is played by Debbie Reynolds. She comes to Summer Bay to enjoy what is left of her life.

Meg and Blake fall in love and they spend as much time together as possible.

Meg ends up dying in his arms on the beach at sunrise. At first he doesn't realise she has died. When he does, it's incredibly heart-breaking.

Blake never quite recovers from her death and leave Summer Bay shortly after.

Before Blake leaves the Bay, he dates Fin who struggles with a reliance on caffeine pills during her final year exams.

The series didn't shy away from dealing with issues such as this. Fin ends up in hospital suffering exhaustion.

Alf and Ailsa have been married for years and are constantly challenged by Alf's daughter Roo, Ailsa's support of Bobby and their struggle to become parents.

ADVERTISEMENT

They become close with Bobby and become foster parents themselves, taking on Emma, brother and sister Blake and Karen, Simon, Sarah and Curtis.

They also have a child of their own, Duncan. Ailsa suffers from post-natal depression after his birth but manages to get through it.

Alf's daughter Ruth "Roo" Stewart causes plenty of conflict early on but she eventually settles down and stops coming between them.

Marilyn is one of the most loved characters on the show. Played by Emily Symons, Marilyn is sometimes silly but always wonderful.

She ends up marrying the most unlikely of men, school principal Donald Fisher.

Being with Marilyn makes him a much more likable character, from those first few years of telling everyone in Summer Bay off for various grievances.

Of course he's still a bit of a rule maker...

But we love him like that.

Home and Away continued on to become even more popular in the nineties, and while we are focusing on the original cast members, it is worth mentioning THE most iconic couple from the show after some of those original cast members had moved on.

Shane and Angel...

Shane and Angel became one of the most popular TV couples in Australian history.

But there is plenty of trouble in paradise. She sells him fake tickets to a concert and he tracks her down and demands his money back.

But they soon stop fighting and fall in love. Their relationship is one of the most drama-filled in TV history.

She is hit by a car and can't walk on their wedding day. Alf was driving the car that hit her!

Home and Away is filled with tragedy, from the very first day it aired to today.

Notable deaths in the early years of the show include Pippa losing a baby to cot death...

Tom's death in that car accident...

ADVERTISEMENT

Ailsa death from a heart attack while working at the surf club...

Donald's son Alan who dies of a brain aneurysm.

The incredibly sad death of Meg...

And of course, Shane's death from a post-operative infection...

The series continued to evolve with the addition of many new characters and 17 years later, it's still going.

Other interesting facts:

Home and Away  earned a total of 42 Logies during it's time on air;

It airs in France and New Zealand but is called Summer Bay there;

The show was originally called Refuge but soon changed to Home and Away;

It is one of the most complained about shows in Australian television history.

Gosh, who knew?

Let's take a look back at the original cast in those first few years of the show and find out, Where Are They Now?

Want more? Then try:

Where are the cast of The X Files…the truth is out there.

The colourful cast of E Street. Where are they now?

The hilariously crazy cast of Roseanne. Where are they now?

Our favourite members of Young Talent Time. Where are they now?

We adored the cast of A Country Practice. Where are they now?

Gilmore Girls, it’s been too long. Where are they now?

Aussie cop drama Blue Heelers. Where are they now?

Aussie cop drama Blue Heelers. Where are they now?

The cast of ‘Who’s The Boss?’ Where are they now?

The cast of Full House. Where are they now?

The original cast of Melrose Place. Where are they now?

The troubled cast of Growing Pains…where are they now?

The original cast of 90210. Where are they now?

Follow iVillage on Facebook

When you become a parent, you don't leave your brain in the delivery suite. That's why mothers with kids of all ages come to themotherish.com; because they're still interested in news about entertainment, health, current affairs and food along with an inspiring and useful stream of parenting advice and support.

Most importantly, they come because they want to hear personal stories of parenting directly from other mothers, without fear of judgement.

[iv-signup-form]

00:00 / ???