A Country Practice: episode guide

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Part of the Family

Episodes 191-192
Written by Kate Schofield (191) and David Boutland (192)
Directed by Chris Adshead

Brendan is excited by the news that his and Molly's next child will be a boy. However, his "male chauvinist rhetoric," specifically a comment about having a son to "inherit the land" does not please Molly, causing her to act as a doting, subservient housewife to get her point across. Brendan gets the message but returns the gag with a brief but convincing portrayal of a domineering husband. Brendan confronts Muldoon about the mysterious omission of a planned windbreak from the new Muldoon Wing and makes him call the contractor, Ernie Muldoon (his cousin), to ensure that the wall is built. News that Janet and Jim Dawson are expecting another child brings to the surface the issue of their second-born son Jamie. Jamie, born with Down's Syndrome, was sent to a home shortly after birth where he has spent the past six years with no contact from his family. Jim is happy to keep it that way but his son and wife want to reestablish contact. Simon encourages Janet to do so and takes her and Gary to see Jamie. Vicky warns Simon to tread carefully and accuses him of trying to make up for a previous patient who gave up her Down's Syndrome baby [episode 77-78]. Gabe's job hunt is thwarted by Muldoon who is discouraging business owners from hiring "a girl like that." Frank asks Vicky to give Gabe a job, which she reluctantly does, and offers to help cover her wages. Alone in Vicky's surgery on her first day of work, Gabe tells off Muldoon and chases him out when he brings in his wife's pampered dog.

Jim is unhappy his wife has brought Jamie into their home. His ambivalence towards Jamie eventually fades and after a visit with Dr. Bowen, he agrees to let Jamie stay on a trial basis. When Jim and Janet try to enrol Jamie in school, teacher Catherine Cooper refuses to accept Jamie into her class but after a three day strike by parents and students, she relents. When Muldoon reports Gabe to the welfare office, Gabe strikes back by vandalising the newly built Muldoon Memorial Wall with graffiti. While trying to paint over the offending words ("Muldoon Sucks") in the pouring rain and driving wind, the hastily constructed wall collapses on Muldoon — he opts to be sent to a private hospital for care. Simon scolds Fatso for chewing up a number of cushions, and Fatso responds by walking out on him. Vicky tries to cheer Simon up by bringing him goldfish, and then a cat, but Simon is unwilling to accept that Fatso may be gone for good. Vicky's final attempt sees her present Simon with a new baby wombat (which he names Charmaine), at which time Fatso lumbers home. Gabe's mother phones Shirley to say she's coming to see her daughter.

Guest Cast: Lorna Lesley as Janet Dawson, Steve Bisley as Jim Dawson, Jenny Lovell as Catherine, Rebecca Rigg as Gabe, Wendy Strehlow as Sister Judy Loveday, Brian Moll as Alf & Ernie Muldoon, Kristin Veriga as Gary Dawson, Jamie O'Neal as Jamie Dawson, Pam Morrissey as Matron. Ron Twells as Ron.

Second Chance

Episodes 193-194
Written by Leon Saunders (193) and Luis Bayonas (194)
Directed by Gary Conway

Terence is away at his vineyard, Muldoon will be in traction for three months recovering. Public Works inspectors are examining the new Muldoon Wing and an auditor is examining the hospital records — rumours are out that Muldoon's shady dealings are finally being uncovered. Sue Pitt and her partner, ad writer turned author Miles Schofield, move into the valley. Miles and Sue have moved to the country to, as he says, "get fit and healthy the right way, no more doctors, looking for something that just isn't there." Despite this, Sue decides to see Simon about her illness without telling Miles. Gabe's mother arrives in town with Geoff, her latest boyfriend, but Gabe wants no part of a reconciliation. Frank learns from Geoff that Natalie has come for Gabe and won't leave town without her. Gabe steals Geoff's expensive car and goes for a joyride around town.

After racing through town, Gabe returns Geoff's car to the pub, leaning on the horn and giving him the finger when he comes out. Regardless, Geoff refuses to make an issue of the theft. Brendan volunteers to escort Judy to her high school reunion dinner dance when her date cannot make it — his wife wouldn't let him go! Molly tells Brendan she's okay with the arrangement but later confides to Vicky that she feels rejected. Vicky relates this to Brendan and he backs out. Geoff has a talk to Gabe after she has another argument with her mother and he asks her to give her a second chance. Gabe ponders the issue and eventually decides to return to Sydney with her mother. Cookie uncovers a number of fraudulent receipt for jobs Muldoon never had done and gives them to Johnno who is compiling evidence against Muldoon. Miles brings Sue to hospital with severe stomach pains and Simon admits her for treatment of her ulcerative colitis. Judy visits Molly to apologise for asking Brendan to the dance but her remark about falling for "anyone but Brendan" irks Molly. Simon begins converting Vicky's old room into a study with the purchase of an $800 Victorian desk.

Guest Cast: Rebecca Rigg as Gabe, Benita Collins as Natalie Baker, Richard Moir as Geoff Gibson, Lucky Grills as Johnno, Zoe Bertram as Sue Pitt, Donlad McDonald as Miles Schofield, Wendy Strehlow as Sister Judy Loveday, Charles Moody as Auditor. Calvin DeGrey as Max.

Note: Our first look inside the oft mentioned Wandin Vally pub and of Johnno, it's owner.

It's So Easy

Episodes 195-196
Written by Hugh Stuckey (195) and Agi Schreck (196)
Directed by Bruce Best

Helen Draper, a single woman running a successful hog farm, is visited by Tony Leonard, a man she met on a recent vacation. While over for dinner at the Jones', Tony tells of his plan to leave his job as an engineer in the merchant navy to start up a business selling bulk wine. Brendan is suspicious of his plan but a love-struck Helen offers to lend Tony the $10,000 needed to help him get started. Timing could not be worse however, as Vicky discovers Helen's pigs may have foot-and-mouth disease. Before long, her farm is quarantined, a compensation deal reached and her animals destroyed. When Molly suggests to Brendan that he should find Judy a date for her reunion, he manages to fix her up with Terence. Vicky is upset at Simon for converting her old bedroom in to a den for himself. Shirley leaves for Queensland to visit her mother. Terence suggests to Molly that she slow down.

Helen determines Tony to be the source of the outbreak but agrees not to report him when he claims it would ruin his plans to start a local business. Terence does his best to let Judy down easy when she shows a romantic interest in him after he accompanies her to the reunion. When Helen asks Tony for her money back so that she can rebuild her farm, Tony runs out on her, possibly spreading the disease further as runs across country to avoid police spot checks. None-the-less, Sgt. Gilroy catches up to Tony and arrests him. Returning to the police station, they are met by a mob of angry farmers who all want a piece of Tony. Tony admits to Helen that although his business deal was legitimate, his interest in her was strictly for convenience. Test results from England clear the town for foot-and-mouth disease and the local farming community plan to rally support to help Helen rebuild her farm.

Guest Cast: Isabelle Anderson as Helen Draper, Robert Coleby as Tony Leonard, John Allen as Martin Hughes, Wendy Strehlow as Sister Judy Loveday, Lucky Grills as Johnno, Jon Darling as Mr. Pearson, Robert Spain as Mr. Kinear, Emily Nicol as Chloe Jones (uncredited). Bill Young as Fireman.

Partners

Episodes 197-198
Written by David Allen (197) and Anthony Wheeler (198)
Directed by Russell Webb

Although Terence is content with his solitary existence, his friends are concerned about his apparent loneliness. Shirley, back from visiting her mother, tries to set Terence up with the town's eligible women, while Bob and Cookie secretly sign him up with the Burrigan Introduction Service — not so much out of concern for Terence mind you, just as a way to test the service before they sign up. Terence meets his first match, Robyn Riley, when she comes into the clinic, and he is understandably clueless about who she is. Auditor Cameron McPherson is in town to go through the club's financial records — although finding them is his first task as Muldoon has squirrelled them away. Arnold Hodgekiss, Muldoon's mild mannered assistant at the Hardware store and member of the Shire Council, finds the files which detail of all Muldoon's business dealings and attempts to blackmail Johnno into helping him take over Muldoon's post. Cameron McPherson is hospitalised for inflammation of the gall bladder. Late at night, a drunken Arnold falls from a chair while attempting to stash Muldoon's files on a high shelf in the store's office, Bob hears him falls and comes to his aid. Johnno, parked outside the store, watches as Bob helps Arnold to his car.

While Arnold is in hospital getting his broken nose seen to, Johnno retrieves the files from the office. Armed with the incriminating documents, Johnno calls up Muldoon to make a play for his hardware store — and the shire presidency. Molly pitches her "Wandin Valley Pioneer Village" idea to Johnno who surprisingly supports the concept, although he favours a theme park over a true historic recreation. Robyn takes Terence to the circus, an event Terence is not fond of, and afterwards, they come to recognise their incompatibilities and agree to to just be friends. Robyn however soon hits it off with Cameron McPherson, with whom she clearly shares a similar sense of humour. Brendan is upset at Molly for getting herself elected as the chairwoman of the WVPV volunteer committee. Bob gets a response to his personal ad, but the arrival of the boisterous Babs at the club has Cookie in full retreat, leaving Bob to weather the storm on his own. Johnno is elected the new Shire President.

Guest Cast: Max Meldrum as Arnold Hodgekiss, Simon Chilvers as Cameron McPherson, Kerry McGuire as Robyn Riley, Louise Cullen as Valerie Kent, Wendy Strehlow as Sister Judy Loveday, Lucky Grills as Johnno. Rita Rider as Babs, Anne E. Morgan as Mrs. Parker.

Note: Max Meldrum's first credited apearance in the reoccuring role of Arnold Hodgekiss, he previously appeared as Frank and Shirley's marriage celebrant and the hospital's ornery French chef Andre Gitane.

Once Upon a Time

Episodes 199-200
Written by David Boutland (199) and Leon Saunders (200)
Directed by Peter Maxwell

At the inaugural meeting of the Wandin Valley Pioneer Village Historical Society, Molly suggests that interviewing Emily White, Wandin Valley's oldest resident at nearly one hundred years of age, would be invaluably helpful to their cause. Emily tells Molly her life story and Molly records it all, resulting in the following story:

Eighteen-year-old Emily White arrives in Wandin Valley from Sydney in response to a letter from her fiancé, Edmund Cooper, only to discover that he's gone off to the gold fields in search of fortune. Deciding to stay in town, Emily checks into Pat Kelly's hotel before later taking a room in the home of Miss Priscilla Whitbread and finding work as a seamstress. Meanwhile, the wealthy Harold Melville, whose father has sent him out into the world to establish himself, arrives in town looking for land to buy. Widowed barmaid Rosie Thornton, who along with her daughter Polly is struggling to live off a forsaken scrap of land, considers selling out despite her daughter's protests. Haberdasher Jumping Jack Aykroyd talks Albert Beech, the local blacksmith, into buying an abandoned gold mine from Pat Kelly. Their eventual realisation that they were conned into buying the worthless mine soon has them looking for another sucker to sell the mine to. Bushranger "Dingo" Donnelly takes a shine to Emily after she sees him rob the town's bank. Learning more about her from Polly, Dingo rides back into town and abducts her, escaping with the posse close behind.
Having successfully evaded the posse, Dingo Donnelly returns to his hideout with Emily. Harold searches for his Lorelei, the beautiful blonde-haired maiden he saw bathing in the waterfall. Rosie knows who she is and arranges to introduce Harold to her. She is of course Rosie's rugged daughter Polly, who upon hearing that Harold is no longer interested in buying their land as he has purchased the old mine, chases him off yet again with her shotgun. When Harold's miners abandon the hopeless mine, Harold takes over the work, and after nearly blowing himself up, emerges with a small fortune in gold nuggets. In an attempt to make Emily proud of him, Dingo takes on the persona of "Captain Stardust," robbing from the rich (Harold) and giving to the poor (Rosie). Trooper Roebuck sees "Captain Stardust" leaving Rosie's house and pursues him, shooting him in the leg. Donnelly returns to his hideout and Emily rides back into town to fetch Dr. Heath who returns with her and removes the bullet. While recovering, Donnelly makes plans to run away to start a new life, promising to Emily to go straight if she joins him. At that moment Trooper Roebuck bursts into the hideout and arrests Donnelly — it will be last time Emily ever sees him.

Unhappy with that ending, Molly rewrites history and reunites Emily and Dingo Donnelly five years later when he's released from prison (at this time, Harold and Polly are married with three children, Trooper Roebuck and Rosie are together, and Doctor Heath is sober). Reading her finished story to Emily in hospital, Emily tells Molly that how she wrote it is the "way it should have been." Emily dies the next morning. Molly's story meanwhile is published in the Burrigan Examiner earning her great praise.

Guest Cast: Georgie Sterling as Old Emily White, Wendy Strehlow as Meg Ryan/Sister Judy Loveday, Lucky Grills as Pat Kelly/Johnno.

Note: A truly unique episode which sees the characters take on the roles of their 19th century counterparts, as Molly's interpretation of Emily White's life is portrayed.
The Characters: Molly as Emily White, Brendan as "Dingo" Donnelly, Shirley as Rosie Thornton, Vicky as Polly Thornton, Simon as Harold Melville, Terence as Dr. Thomas Heath, Bob as Albert Beech, Cookie as Jumping Jack Aykroyd, Frank as Trooper George Roebuck, Johnno as Pat Kelly, Judy as barmaid Meg Ryan, and Esme as Miss Priscilla Whitbread.

When the Bough Breaks

Episodes 201-202
Written by Judith Colquhoun (201 & 202)
Directed by Gary Conway

Unable to do any work around the farm, Molly is getting restless. On his day off, Brendan decides to paint the nursery but he is called back to the hospital when Sister Hammond calls in sick. Seeing an opportunity to do something, Molly endeavours to finish the job. 2BR's Talk-back radio host Barbara Bolton, a fiercely independent single mother (by choice, she sees no need for a man in her life), brings her daughter Meredith to see Simon about her headaches. Simon agrees with Barbara and blames it on the amount of time Meredith spends with Jonathan — her computer. Simon considers whether he and Vicky are using their wombats as substitutes for children when Vicky tells him about a client who does the same with their dogs. Frank and Shirley volunteer to look after Chloe for the day. While painting, Molly is distracted by the ringing telephone and stumbles from her position atop a stepladder, falling heavily to the floor. Although distressed about what has happened, Molly neither phones for help nor does she tell Brendan when he calls the house. When Bob comes by the farm, Molly tries to hide that she is having contractions, but after he finishes painting, he finally sees the strife she is in and takes her to hospital. Once in hospital, Terence recommends that due to her previous complications (placenta previa) an emergency caesarean delivery be performed. The operation is carried out and the baby is delivered eight weeks premature — and not breathing.

While Simon and Brendan fight to reestablish the baby's breathing, Terence works to stop Molly's haemorrhaging and both patients are eventually stabilised. Bob feels guilty about not bringing Molly to hospital sooner and mentions Molly's fall to Terence who was not aware of it. Later, while Brendan is visiting his newborn son, he asks Terence what could have caused Molly to go into labour so early. Unable to give a definitive answer, Terence mentions a number of possibilities, one being the fall, this too is the first Brendan has heard of the incident. After having her own daughter call in to her radio show to question her parenting skills and qualifications for giving out relationship advice, Barbara Bolton sees Simon about how to best deal with Meredith. Initially unwilling to accept his advice, Barbara eventually sits down to talk to her daughter about how she feels and what she wants, and Meredith's simple requests (calling her mum for one) are finally heard. Baby Jones takes a sudden turn for the worse and dies in hospital just three days after being born. The news quickly spreads through the community whose members are obviously stunned by the tragic news. As Brendan continues to search for answers, he begins making funeral arrangements and as almost an afterthought, he asks Molly what they should name their deceased son, she suggests Christopher. Terence visits Brendan at the farm and tells him he shouldn't be focussing on finding blame but should just accept what has happened but Brendan tells him he can't do that. Brendan later visits Molly in the hospital and blames her for the death of his son, citing her selfish behaviour and her apparent dismissal of the medical advice given to her.

Guest Cast: Sandy Gore as Barbara Bolton, Cathy Turner as Meredith Bolton, Wendy Strehlow as Sister Judy Loveday, Sara Hertz as Jane, Emily Nicol as Chloe Jones (uncredited). Bernadette Hayes as Nurse.

Note: This episode is preceded by the following message from Shane Porteous: "Good evening, I'm Shane Porteous and I play the part of Dr. Terence Elliot in A Country Practice. Our programme has always tried to present medical stories with accuracy and we've tries not to side-step uncomfortable issues. Tragedy and death are an inescapable part of the cycle of life and no one's immune from them. Over the next couple of weeks we deal with these subjects, but because it involves two of our best loved characters, some of our younger audience might find these programmes disturbing."

A Sense of Loss

Episodes 203-204
Written by Agi Schreck (203) and Sheila Sibley (204)
Directed by Russell Webb

Oliver Marsh, Simon's globe-trotting uncle, makes a surprise late-night visit, captivating Vicky with stories of his numerous adventures. Simon however is weary of this "black sheep" of the family who is notorious for being long on promises and short on money. Tensions between Brendan and Molly are palpable as they each struggle to cope with their son's death. Brendan is very distant and cold towards Molly, when he brings her home from the hospital he avoids so much as touching her and keeps Chloe away from her. When Simon drops in for a visit, he can sense the obvious strain in their relationship despite Molly's attempts at masking it. Simon attempts to talk to Brendan after he is dragged out to the club but Brendan only storms out after ranting on about Molly's irresponsible behaviour. Returning to the farm, Brendan is upset to see Molly has packed up everything that was in the baby's room. Molly finally stands up to Brendan and tells him she won't stand for him judging her. Brendan responds by saying all the right things but his sincerity is clearly questionable.

Terence makes a late-night visit to the Jones farm where he finds Molly sitting alone in the dark. While Molly unburdens herself to Terence, Brendan is at the hospital talking to Judy, admitting that he still blames Molly for his son's death. Judy agrees to take Brendan home with her when she goes off shift and they spend the entire night talking. The next morning, Brendan returns home and tells Molly where he's been. Simon confronts his uncle about the rubber cheques he's been passing in town and the exact nature of his business is in town. Simon is skeptical about Oliver's alleged land deal in which he's supposedly looking for property on behalf of a friend, but a phone call arrives from the UK which finalises the deal. Brendan's night with Judy is the last straw for Molly as she makes plans to return home to Adelaide with Chloe. Oliver collapses in the club and is taken to hospital where Terence diagnoses him with the early signs of emphysema and an enlarged heart, both caused by his smoking. Oliver explains his lifestyle by telling Terence about his entire squadron who were killed during the war and how he is now "doing the living for them." Brendan returns to the hospital but is quickly sent home by Terence who tells him that that is where he is needed most. Absentmindedly speeding down the highway, Brendan drives off the road after narrowly avoiding a collision. Simon is at hand and drives him back to town, and all the while Brendan is raving on about how he has let Molly slip away. Back in town, Brendan heads straight for the club. Bob arrives shortly after and sits down with him and has a few sharp word to Brendan in hopes of getting him to shape up and fight for his marriage. Taking Brendan back to the farm, Bob has a similar talk to Molly before reuniting them. Simon wants his uncle to stay in the valley where he can be cared for and has Vicky broach the subject with him. He finds his uncle a house in town and also wants to manage his finances, but Oliver checks himself out of hospital and leaves town, leaving Simon a short note and a few more bills to pay. Judy visits Molly to smooth things over.

Guest Cast: Gordon Boyd as Oliver Marsh, David Gilchrist as Stock & Station Agent, Wendy Strehlow as Sister Judy Loveday, Bernadette Hayes as Nurse Daley, Julia Stewart as Sister Dobson, Ruth Osborne as Sister Hammond, Emily Nicol as Chloe Jones (uncredited).

On the Sheep's Back

Episodes 205-206
Written by John Graham (205) and Forrest Redlich (206)
Directed by Robert Meillon

In response to an application he submitted prior to coming to Wandin Valley, Simon receives a job offer from the Department of Tropical Medicine at the University of Sydney. While Simon and Vicky try to come to a decision about their future, Terence too is anxious for a verdict as he has a friend interested in buying into the clinic. Frank is on full alert when a group of shearers arrive in town. One of them, Ernie Cullen, is an old school friend of Shirley's and Frank is not pleased by their close relationship. Ernie's son Dubbo befriends Molly when he helps her get Cassandra (her calf) out of an entanglement. Less than ideal working conditions keep the shearers at the club where Cookie, well known for being a former shearers' cook, caters to their needs. Terence recommends Ernie give up shearing when he diagnoses him with osteoarthritis, but Ernie has no intention of retiring until he can teach Dubbo the trade. The shearers refuse to work at Richard Page's property when they discover some of his sheep are diseased.

Despite Vicky's treatment of Richard Page's sheep and her assurances that they will soon be healthy, the shearers black ban Page's shed, refusing to work there. Their leader, Ernie Cullen, is willing to do the work but Billy Webb rallies the other shearers and refuses any involvement with Page. Dubbo visits Molly again, bringing her a bird's nest with an abandoned egg, but leaves soon after she tells him she is married. After an encounter with Billy at the club, Vicky goes to the clinic to tell Simon that he should accept the job offer. Dubbo comes up with the idea of moving Page's sheep to the Bartlett farm and shearing them there (on the basis that it's Page's shed that is banned, not the sheep) and after a short standoff with Billy, the job gets done. Molly looks after the egg until it hatches. The bird ultimately dies but it provides Molly and Brendan the opportunity to revisit their son's death and comes to terms with their loss. Simon rethinks his acceptance of the job offer when he sees how important Vicky is to the community and decides not to accept after all. Molly, Brendan, and Chloe plant a tree in their yard in memory of Christopher.

Guest Cast: Wendy Strehlow as Sister Judy Loveday, Peter Gwynne as as Richard Page, Philip Quast as Billy Webb, Graham Rouse as Ernie Cullen, Glennen Faye as Dubbo Cullen, Emily Nicol as Chloe Jones (uncredited).

The Last Laugh

Episodes 207-208
Written by Forrest Redlich (207) and Hugh Stuckey (208)
Directed by Peter Maxwell.

After Molly's initial concerns that her potato crop may have Irish Blight, it is now harvest time. Brendan rounds up their friends to help in the harvest (even Simon helps out despite his delicate "surgeon's hands") but one question keeps being raised — are the potatoes too big? A man nicknamed Peewee, in town on vacation, comes into the clinic seeking attention for an injured finger and ends up in hospital where he has minor surgery to fix a severed tendon. Repeats of a twenty-year-old television programme once again make a star out of comedian Reggie Russell. Johnno arranges for Reggie to perform at the club but Reggie's first public appearance is rather lacklustre. Johnno spikes Reggie's drink to loosen him up and soon he is entertaining the crowd and telling stories. Unfortunately, Reggie is a recovering alcoholic and he is soon drinking heavily, to the point of being unable to perform the next night. Reggie's manager, Harry Gray, admits to Johnno that he found Reggie in a London rehab centre and has brought him on tour to capitalise on the resurgence of interest the repeats of his comedy shows have brought, saying he intends to work him as hard and as fast as he can. When Terence comes to check on Reggie in his hotel room after his collapse on stage, he finds Reggie lying in bed semiconscious next to a bag filled with prescription drugs.

Terence tries to help Reggie dry out and turn his life around. Molly sells her potatoes for a tidy profit, it is her first successful venture as a farmer. Peewee and his band, The Delltones, perform at he club to great success. Terence gets Reggie to the club where he goes on stage after the Delltones and performs triumphantly. Afterwards, Brendan and Molly invite Reggie to the farm for a barbecue they are holding to celebrate Molly's spud crop. For the first time, Reggie seems at ease and is enjoying himself, talking with people and playing some cricket. Reggie is still drinking however, and that night, he phones his mother in Scotland and his ex wife in France who hangs up on him. The next morning, Terence and Simon come to pick up Reggie to play a round of golf and find him lying dead on the floor of his hotel room after succumbing to a fatal combination of alcohol and pills. Despite the tragedy, Harry Gray wastes little time moving on, making plans to bring in another comedian to play out Reggie's shows.

Guest Cast: Wendy Strehlow as Sister Judy Loveday, Lucky Grills as Johnno, Emily Nicol as Chloe Jones, Frank Gallacher as Regie Russell, John Gregg as Harry Gray, Ian Wilson as "Peewee" [himself], The Delltones as The Delltones

Elementary Miss Watson

Episodes 209-210
Written by Forrest Redlich (209) and Leon Saunders (210)
Directed by Leigh Spence

Esme is caught photographing "hippies" Dee Dee Cash and Wayne Higgins while they skinny dip. Dee Dee and Wayne are staying at a rental property owned by Esme's neighbour, Irene Walters, but are six months behind in their rent. Irene's son Bruce can't play the heavy and agrees to wait for them to sell their "crop." When Dee Dee's marijuana plants go missing she confronts Esme in the club, believing Esme to be an undercover police officer working for the drug squad, and offers to cut her in if she agrees to return the plants. Esme's eavesdropping gets her into further trouble when she thinks she sees Bruce kill Irene. She gets Frank from the club and they check in at the Walters' home where they soon learn the gunshot Esme heard was only Bruce putting down his mother's sick dog. Vicky brings home a docile goat she nearly ran down in her vehicle. The animal's strange behaviour is a topic of conversation when Molly and Brendan come over for dinner but when Dee Dee and Wayne drop by to sell their wares, Wayne recognises "Donovan" and quickly sees he is stoned from eating Dee Dee's marijuana plants. After Terence tells Bruce he can't find any physical reason why his mother can't walk, Bruce confronts his mother and accuses her of feigning her disability to keep him at hand. Despite being given a warning by Frank, Esme is still eavesdropping on her neighbours. She overhears Bruce and his mother arguing and once again comes to believe Bruce has killed his mother. She pursues as Bruce and his girlfriend drive away.

Esme follows Bruce and Patty in her car and then on foot before overhearing their conversation which seems to confirm her hypothesis. The next day she tells Frank but he's not interested and sends her home. Still spying, Esme sees a silhouette moving across a window at the Walters' home and goes to investigate. Scared off, she goes to the club to get Frank but settles for Cookie when Frank refuses to go with her. Esme and Cookie return to the Walters' to investigate and gather "clues" at which time Cookie has the misfortune of discovering Irene Walters' body stuffed inside a closet. As a witness to an apparent murder, Esme is in a frantic state, fearing for her own safety, and is quick to call Frank when she sees Bruce return home later that day. When Bruce knocks on her door and then appears at her window, Esme faints. When she comes to, Terence, who Bruce called, and Frank are both on hand. Frank questions Bruce about his mother's death but Wayne Higgins soon appears at the police station to confess his involvement. He tells Frank that he and Dee Dee, who have since broken up, visited Irene to discuss their rent at which time Irene fell from her wheelchair and died after striking her head on the ground. He explains they didn't know what to do and fled — although he did take the time to stash Irene's body in the closet — but that he chose to return to unburden himself of the guilt he felt. Desperate to get rid of Donovan, Simon and Vicky give him to Molly and Brendan.

Guest Cast: Wendy Strehlow as Sister Judy Loveday, Lucky Grills as Johnno, Brandon Burke as Wayne Higgins, Briony Behets as Dee Dee Cash, Gerard Kennedy as Bruce Walters, Georgie Sterling as Irene Walters, Susan Lloyd as Patty Hudson.

Note: Just ten episodes after her appearance in "Once Upon a Time," Georgie Sterling takes on her third different guest role in the last 100 episodes.

The Best Thing for Everybody

Episodes 211-212
Written by Margaret Mitchell (211) and David Boutland (212)
Directed by Russell Webb

Judy is seeing local mechanic Barry Hall. Barry is a single father struggling to raise his five-year-old daughter Kerry after his wife Lisa walked out on them. Barry's recently retired in-laws are involving themselves more and more in their granddaughter's life, giving Barry the impression that they're hoping to take Kerry from him. When an engine falls on Barry breaking his leg, Jean and Bill Jenkins come to the hospital to suggest they look after Kerry permanently. Czechoslovakian born Tania Menzel arrives in town to apply for, and ultimately receive, the vacant nurses assistant job at the hospital, finding accommodations with Frank and Shirley. Talk among the locals is beginning to grow around the subject of when Simon and Vicky will start having children. Gabe phones Frank and Shirley and tells them she's interested in becoming a hairdresser.

Barry checks himself out of hospital to discover his in-laws have initiated legal proceedings to gain custody of Kerry. Barry looses his first hearing resulting in the Jenkins retaining temporary custody, his next step will be an appearance in Family Court where he'll have to prove he's a fit parent. Barry chases off a welfare officer who visits his home to evaluate him and then assaults Bill when he is prevented from talking to Kerry. Jean approaches Molly and Brendan about testifying in court on her and Bill's behalf. Molly delays in giving an answer but when Jean leaves, Molly is angered by the idea that Jean befriended her and Chloe for the sole purpose of using them as character references in court. When Judy refuses to move in with Barry to help him win custody, Barry goes to tell Kerry he is leaving and that she'll be living with her grandparents. Seeing Kerry react by running after her father to tell him she wants to stay with him, Jean and Bill rethink their actions and decide to end their fight for custody. Terence uncovers Tania's secret: she is actually a doctor and has taken the nursing job while she studies to become registered in Australia. Terence takes Tania under his wing, both personally and professionally, and offers to help her study, agreeing not to disclose her secret.

Guest Cast: Wendy Strehlow as Sister Judy Loveday, Dasha Blahova as Tania Menzel, Adam Briscomb as Barry Hall, Janine O'Brien as Kerry Hall, Maragret Cruikshank as Jean Jenkins, Brian Harrison as Bill Jenkins, Annie Byron as Vivienne Roberts, Ruth Osborne as Sister Hammond (uncredited), Emily Nicol as Chloe Jones (uncredited).

Note: This episode picks up on the story of Lisa Jenkins and Barry Hall, introduced in episodes 63 and 64 (1982). In those episodes, 16-year-old Barry Hall was played by Brett Climo and Lisa's father was portrayed by Robin Bowering (there's a bit of a time inconsistancy as Barry is now 22).

Moment of Truth

Episodes 213-214
Written by Peter Kinloch (213) and Agi Schreck (214)
Directed by Robert Meillon.

Bob is building a spa for Sarah Fitzgerald. When her husband returns from a business trip she intends to surprise him with it — and news that she is pregnant. Vicky too it seems may be pregnant, something Simon realises after talking to Shirley about Vicky's nausea. Simon is positively giddy about the news and when she finds out, Molly is over the moon. Vicky however remains in denial. Frank brings Rod Fitzgerald into hospital with a severed neck artery after he is in a minor car accident. Neither Dr. Bowen nor Dr. Elliot is on hand so Tania makes the decision to operate herself. Terence eventually arrives but allows Tania to continue. Frank meanwhile, oblivious to the seriously of Rod's condition, has brought Sarah to hospital to see her husband. Tania appears to have Rod stabilised when his condition suddenly worsens and he dies. Sgt. Hutton from the coroner's investigating unit soon arrives. He informs Terence that he has breached the Medical Professional's Act by allowing Tania to operate and that he and Tania could ultimately face manslaughter charges.

Keith Fitzgerald, Sarah's father-in-law, arrives in town and sets his sights on having Terence deregistered after the coroner's inquest clears both Terence and Tania of any wrongdoing in connection to Rod's death. Tania visit's Sarah to explain her side of events. Sarah is not as angry as her father-in-law and is accepting of Tania's belief that she and Terence did all they could to save Rod. After seeing Dr. Elliot, Vicky tells Simon that she in not pregnant, just suffering from the effects of a virus. Adding to Simon's disappointment, Vicky also tells him she's not eager to start a family. Sarah is eventually able to convince Keith to drop his lawsuit against Terence. Aware of the negative impact her presence is having on the community, Terence specifically, Tania quietly catches a bus bound for Sydney.

Guest Cast: Wendy Strehlow as Sister Judy Loveday, Emily Nicol as Chloe Jones, Dasha Blahova as Tania Menzel, Vincent Ball as Keith Fitzgerald, Jane Harders as Sarah Fitzgerald, John Wingrove as Rod Fitzgerald, Ruth Osborne as Sister Hammond (uncredited), uncredited as Sgt. Hutton, Bus Driver, and Mrs. Armstrong.

A Touch of Class

Episodes 215-216
Written by Sheila Sibley (213) and David Allen (214)
Directed by Peter Maxwell

Ashleigh Lyall takes an interest in Lorenzo Bellotti when her private school's debating team challenges Lorenzo's team from Burrigan High. Lorenzo lives with his mother Rosa who works at home as a seamstress for a clothing factory in Burrigan. Their lifestyle is directly opposite that of the Lyalls who are one of the district's wealthier families (young Ashleigh drives around in an Alfa Romeo Spyder). Rosa refuses to see a doctor about the tenosynovitis in her wrists but when she burns her arms spilling a pot of pasta, Lorenzo gets her to the clinic to see Terence. Lorenzo earns a shot at a scholarship to attend university but puts off his studying to help his mother meet her quota. Frank feels his position as a police officer and public servant is turning into one of "public slave" when he is called upon to do such menial tasks as rescuing a parachuting guinea pig, babysit, deliver parcels, and catch dogs. Adding to his problems are a leaky roof and the need for a new cistern at the police station. His frustrations grow to the point where he considers resigning. Vicky is reluctant to accept a $40,000 loan offered by Simon's father to use as a down payment on a house, but in talking to her mother, Shirley explains to her that she has never been one to accept gifts and that this may be one time where she is "obligated to be obligated."

Vicky sours on accepting the loan when she learns the house will have to one that is acceptable to Simon's father. On his day off, Frank attempts to make repairs to the cop shop, but the plumbing poses a bit of a problem and Bob must finish the job. Jimmy and Di Lyall invite Simon and Vicky over for lunch. Ashleigh brings Lorenzo but when her father is alone with him, he tells Lorenzo to stay away from his daughter as she is too good for him. Vicky too has a bad experience and comes away unimpressed by the Lyall's snobby arrogance, something Simon admits to being oblivious to. After discovering that her father owns the factory that is employing Rosa, Ashleigh confronts her father hoping he'll do something to help. What he does is to arrange to move the factory to the Philippines and the family to Europe. Vicky and Simon turn down his father's gift.

Guest Cast: Wendy Strehlow as Sister Judy Loveday, Emily Nicol as Chloe Jones, Rosemary Blundo as Rosa Bellotti, Angelo D'Angelo as Lorenzo Bellotti, Arna Hunter as Ashleigh Lyall, Phillip Hinton as Jimmy Lyall, Jill Forster as Di Lyall.

Notes: Second guest appearances by Arna Hunter (189) and Phillip Hinton (83-84). Angelo D'Angelo makes his first appearance, in 1991 he has the reoocuring guest role of Paul Giuliani.

Unemployment, A Health Hazard

Episodes 217-218
Written by Margaret Mitchell (213) and Hugh Stuckey (214)
Directed by Mandy Smith

Hodge, Dinny, and Philby are three of Wandin Valley's unskilled and unemployed youths. Hodge is the most carefree of the group, having accepted his status as one of the have-nots but Dinny remains optimistic, creating work for herself if she can't find a job. Philby however is depressed after 136 unsuccessful job interviews. The community at large is not happy having these three and their friends loitering about town. Des Macelwaine is the most vocal and has no sympathy for "dole bludgers" and "no-hopers." Dinny lies about her qualifications in hopes of landing a job at the hospital. After yet another failed interview, a depressed Philby steels Des' car and speeds out of town. Rocketing down the highway with a tear in his eye, Philby crashes the car rounding a curve, dying instantaneously of a broken neck. Dinny takes news of Philby's death hard and lashes out at the townsfolk, blaming them for his death. The economic depression is affecting Vicky too as her clients aren't paying their bills or calling upon her, but despite her troubles, Vicky refuses to tell Simon. Simon's mother comes to the valley for a visit. Vicky misses picking her up at the airport but Aileen manages to make her own way to the apartment. Molly's new rooster, Eric, is after Henry's place atop the pecking order.

Aileen goes house hunting with Vicky — just in case Simon changes his mind about the money. Simon and Vicky stand firm in their refusal to accept his parents loan but agree to leave the door open should they ever need it in the future. Judy recommends Brendan hire Dinny as the new nursing aid. Dinny gets the job and despite finding herself in over her head, she manages to cope rather well. After admitting to Simon that he did not retire early but was fired, Des goes to work finding jobs for the unemployed local youths. Des finds Hodge a plumbing job with Bob who is reluctant to take him on, but after Hodge's first day on the job, Bob calls him the "best worker I've ever had." Brendan discovers Dinny's lack of qualifications and is forced to fire her. Dinny takes the news hard and decides to leave town to continue her search for work. Molly solves her rooster dilemma by giving Eric to the school to raffle off.

Guest Cast: Wendy Strehlow as Sister Judy Loveday, Emily Nicol as Chloe Jones, Benjamin Franklin as Hodge, Julie Nihill as Dinny, Martin Sacks as Philby [Philip Mitchell], Barry Lovett as Des Macelwaine, Lynne Murphy as Aileen Bowen.

Note: a fortunate combination of guest stars see two future Blue Heelers stars together early in their careers

Horse of a Different Colour

Episodes 219-220
Written by Forrest Redlich (219) and Michael Freundt (220)
Directed by Russell Webb

Brendan's birthday is approaching and Molly hopes to surprise him by buying him a horse, but her meagre $400 savings is a sizable obstacle. Bob suggests she see Chilla Yates, who he assures her will be able to help. Chilla has hopes of inheriting the Henkle stud farm where he has worked for the last twenty years, the last ten spent caring for Maurie Henkle after his stroke. His hopes are dashed however when he learns Maurie has bequeathed the farm to a relative in England. Chilla isn't able to help Molly find a horse as the Henkle horses are priced well beyond what her budget allows. Ros Henkle arrives from London, she's a former Playboy bunny with little business experience but a strong desire to "make money." She doesn't get off to a good start however as she upsets Chilla by agreeing to sell Molly a horse for $400. Sandy Hughes is brought to hospital after being thrown from his horse. The horse isn't quite "his" though, Sandy stole it from Eric Flynn's farm where he worked, running away with the horse in an attempt to save it. Unfortunately, while Sandy is in hospital, the horse, left to run free in the bush, is struck by a truck and killed after darting out onto the Burrigan road. Shirley's complaints about her cluttered desk prompt Drs. Elliott and Bowen to purchase her a new "Super King Size Office Desk," the only problem now is assembling it!

Ros clears up a misunderstanding with Chilla when she reveals her plans to sell her uncle's entire estate, not just a few horses as he believed. Molly surprises Brendan with his new horse, "Honey," but when he is thrown on his first ride, Vicky discovers it has been injected with a steroidal antiinflammatory drug to mask its lameness, and in its current condition will not be able to be ridden again. While Brendan is in hospital with cracked ribs, he and Molly learn from Sandy that drugging horses is a common practice and was the reason he ran away with one of Eric Flynn's horses. Molly tries to launch a crusade against Flynn and others like him but receives little support. Vicky is reluctant to risk her practice by getting involved but Frank volunteers to help. Flynn arrives in town to press charges against Sandy but when Molly, with the support of the local pony clubs, vows to picket him at horse sales, he allows Sandy to get off with just a warning. Shirley assembles her new desk by herself but packs it back up when it collapses on her. Chilla agrees to go with Ros to Queensland after Maurie's estate is auctioned off, and before leaving, Ros gives Molly her $400 back.

Guest Cast: Wendy Strehlow as Sister Judy Loveday, Emily Nicol as Chloe Jones, Roger Oakley as Chilla Yates, Amanda Muggleton as Ros Henkle, Brett Climo as Sandy Hughes, James Condon as Flynn.

Invasion of Privacy

Episodes 221-222
Written by Foveaux Kirby (221) and Judith Colquhoun (222)
Directed by Russell Webb

Old rumours about Owen Butler supposedly murdering his wife and burying her in his garden resurface when the reclusive farmer calls Vicky out to examine his livestock. Terence returns from his vacation in Sydney armed with a new painting — allegedly an Anthea Garrick original. Acting Shire President Arnold Hodgekiss meets with Burrigan real estate developer Nolan Lloyd who wants to create a number of small hobby farms in the area. Mr. Lloyd however needs Own Butler's land and he's not selling. Mr. Lloyd must also deal with Molly who is not pleased by idea of prime grazing land being developed. Simon and Vicky are having problems in their relationship, Simon feels irrelevant as a result of Vicky's independence and busy schedule. Injured in an accident with his chainsaw, Owen is admitted to hospital. Esme suggests to Frank that while Owen is in hospital he take the opportunity to dig up Owen's paddock to look for his wife's body (Frank's father handled the original case). Frank has no grounds to do that but accompanies Vicky to the farm when she goes out to treat Owen's livestock. Seeing movement in a window, Frank enters the house and makes a startling discovery.

Responding to shouting from inside the Butler home, Vicky enters to learn Frank has found Mrs. Butler — alive and well, but suffering from extreme agoraphobia. Terence is called out to examine Mrs. Butler, who is rather frantic. His stay is a short one but he does notice her paintings, leading him to the revelation that she is artist Anthea Garrick. Nolan Lloyd hires two men to set fire to Owen Butler's house after Owen again refuses to sell Lloyd his land. Alone in the house, Anthea puts out the fire but collapses in the thick smoke. Luckily she is rescued by Terence when he drops by for a visit. In hospital, Anthea tells Terence how her condition arose but refuses his help when he suggests she see a psychiatrist. Simon and Vicky get into a huge argument when Vicky makes a casual remark about Anthea not seeking help and Simon unloads on her, telling her how she doesn't take other people's feeling into account, is always right, and doesn't value his opinions. He even goes so far as to question why she married him when she manages "so goddamn efficiently" on her own. In tears, Vicky retreats to her mothers' but apart from a sympathetic ear, Shirley is unable to offer the help Vicky is looking for. Hoping to turn to Molly, Vicky settles for Brendan who suggests that she may be afraid of letting Simon get too close. Lloyd confronts Molly in the club over her opposition to his development, accusing her, as a mere "hobby farmer" herself, of denying the same lifestyle to others. A number of farmers defend Molly and approach Arnold about Lloyd's threat to rezone Butler's land to force him to sell. Frank is able to connect Lloyd to the fire at the Butlers but doesn't have enough evidence to charge him, but by now Lloyd has already left the valley. Frank surprises Shirley with a ticket to India but knowing she won't go if Vicky and Simon's marriage is in trouble, asks them to confirm for her that they are indeed okay. By the time Terence takes Owen home from the hospital, Anthea is starting to cope with her fears and asks Terence for the referral he offered earlier. Simon writes an article on farm safety for children.

Guest Cast: Wendy Strehlow as Sister Judy Loveday, Emily Nicol as Chloe Jones, Max Meldrum as Arnie Hodgekiss, Brian McDermott as Nolan Lloyd, Les Dayman as Owen Butler, Melissa Jaffer as Anthea Garrick. Bob Barrett as Mr. Jenkins, Ted Clark as Mr. Brownlee, David Thomas as Mr. Steven.

Tug of War

Episodes 223-224
Written by Anne Brooksbank (223) and Sheila Sibley (224)
Directed by Robert Meillon

Molly finds another cause to fight for when she discovers the town's long awaited footbridge will not be built near the school as the community wanted but has been relocated by the Shire Council so as to improve access between the football grounds and the pub — the same pub owned by Johnno, the Shire president. Heather, the clinic's temporary receptionist, sees Simon for a series of injuries .When she presents herself at the hospital with severe abdominal pains, Simon is sure she has an ovarian cyst but he can find nothing wrong with her when he performs a laparotomy. Shirley returns from her two week holiday in India, Nepal and Tibet a dramatically changed woman, engrossed in the mystical teachings of her guru. Needless to say, her friends are taken aback by this new Shirley, with her saffron robes and new "unpronounceable" name. Dr. Gordon Swift, a new arrival who has bought the old Foley farm, considers starting a practice in the area when his farming venture hits a rough patch. In a letter to Brendan, Maggie Sloan says she'll be returning soon.

Simon isn't pleased that Dr. Swift has set up practice in town but Terence tells him there is not much they can do about it. Soon after being checked out of hospital, Heather returns coughing up blood. The doctors believe she may have a bleeding ulcer but again, nothing wrong can be found with her. It is not until Dr. Swift drops by the hospital to inquire about her that the truth is finally revealed. Heather, whose real name is Helen Briggs, is a former patient of Dr. Swift's who suffers from Munchausen syndrome. Realising she's been discovered, Heather slashes her arm with a broken glass. She is found by Simon and Brendan who stitch her up before sending her to Sydney for psychiatric care. Dr. Swift's work in the community is not all positive however as it becomes known that apart from putting Esme on Valium, he has scheduled her for a hysterectomy. Terence is shocked to hear this but is reluctant to get involved as she is no longer his patient, but he does ask Cookie to make sure she gets a second opinion. Meanwhile, Molly is kept busy organising a protest for the opening of the footbridge. When the big moment comes, Arnold arrives in his black 1954 Cadillac Eldorado while Molly rides up on horseback, dressed in full army attire, to deftly and defiantly slice the ceremonial ribbon with her sword. Sgt. Gilroy intervenes and orders the two sides to have a tug-of war to resolve the dispute. Despite a few defections made for the sake of family peace, Molly and her mother's club are in tough against the footballers and their supporters. The arrival of Beverly however stems the tide and with one mighty pull, the women win and earn the right for another bridge to be built near the school.

Guest Cast: Wendy Strehlow as Sister Judy Loveday, Lisa Crittenden as Heather, Don Reid as Gordon Swift, Max Meldrum as Arnie Hodgekiss, Emily Nicol as Chloe Jones [uncredited]

Second Opinion

Episodes 225-226
Written by Agi Schreck (225) and Leon Saunders (226)
Directed by Robert Meillon

With Bob away visiting his daughter, his nephew Bruce Hatfield ? of the Newcastle Hatfields ? calls in at the Jones farm to fix the plumbing in Doris' pen. Bruce gives Molly the idea of setting up a programme at the farm to allow city kids to comes out and experience the rural way of life. The hospital is conducting a blood drive and one man who won't donate blood is Martin Carey, whose religious beliefs forbid the donation or receiving of blood. When Martin's son Joshua is injured in a farm accident, Terence finds himself in an awkward position when he can't operate to save Joshua's life because of Martin's objection to the necessary blood transfusion. When she is bitten by Charmaine, Vicky seizes upon a suggestion by her mother and convinces Simon that Charmaine should be released back into the wild. Esme won't consider getting a second opinion about her operation. Dr. Swift tries to get Shirley to leave the clinic to come work as his receptionist. Following Simon's lead, Vicky has had her hair cut.

Despite Martin's objections, he must be physically restrained as Joshua is taken into theatre, Terence operates on Joshua to repair the tear in his liver thereby saving his life. Ruth Carey, who is less devout than her husband, is happy her son is alive and even admits to Terence that she would have given her permission for the transfusion. Martin however is extremely upset, blaming Joshua for the situation and stating how they have betrayed God by allowing the transfusion, and in a rage, Martin takes out his anger by destroying the hospital's blood supply. Believing the transfusion to have "polluted" Joshua's body, Martin sees redemption as the only way to avoid his family being "damned in hell" and considers taking the life of his only son as an act of sacrifice. As he prepares to smother Joshua while he sleeps, Joshua wakes up and Martin cannot bring himself to kill him. Ruth enters the room to finds Martin holding Joshua and crying, asking forgiveness for what he almost did. Terence finally comes to agree with Simon's belief that Dr. Swift is "knife happy" when he learns about additional unnecessary operations Dr. Swift has scheduled. Concerned, Terence visits Dr. Swift but Swift dismisses his concerns. Strangely, Dr. Swift is soon put out of business when he is charged with fraud for the "misappropriation of health fund monies." Because of her bandaged hand, Simon must help Vicky operate on Carpenter when Bert Griffiths brings him into her surgery. Afterwards, Simon is quite pleased with himself and eagerly offers to help Vicky with her next job — which as he later learns will require him to perform a post mortem on a cow which has been lying dead in a field for three long hot days.

Guest Cast: Wendy Strehlow as Sister Judy Loveday, Emily Nicol as Chloe Jones, Don Reid as Dr. Gordon Swift, Edward Howell as Bert Griffiths, Jeff Ashby as Martin Carey, Katy Wild as Ruth Carey, Benjamin Tart as Joshua Carey, Julia Stewart as Nurse Dobson, Dean Nottle as Bruce Hatfield. Jeff Brown as Detective

Hot and Cold

Episodes 227-228
Written by David Allen (227) and Peter Kinloch (228)
Directed by Leigh Spence

Mark and Lee Somers arrive in the valley with their daughter Megan. Mark and Lee are old friends of Terence's from university and are staying at Terence's vineyard. On a number of occasions, Lee exhibits sudden sweeping mood changes, causing her to overreact to the most minor things. Mark admits to Terence that his marriage is in trouble and confronts Lee with his belief that she is having an affair. Megan meets up with Robbie Quinn, whom Terence aptly describes as the "Huck Finn of Wandin Valley." Vicky has an article published in the Burrigan Examiner. While it was her intent to stop people from keeping native animals as pets, her edited article makes it appear she is calling for a return of all animals to the wild and soon finds her surgery inundated with animals dropped off by their owners. Needing a solution, Vicky unloads the animals on Molly who is more than happy to accept them to help fill out her Farmland. The hospital's hot water system needs to be replaced but the hospital board, headed by Arnold Hodgekiss, will not provide the funding. When forced to make do with the old system, both Judy and a patient are burned.

After dropping Fatso off at the Jones' farm for some "animal contact," Simon can't stop worrying about him. Hospital patient Doris Simpson has been taken to the Burns Unit in Burrigan for treatment. Maggie Sloan will be returning in one week but all Brendan tells Judy is that they will be getting an addition to the staff. Hearing of Lee's strange behaviour from Robbie, Terence asks her to come to the clinic for tests. She is reluctant but must later be brought to the hospital when she develops pericarditis, at which time Terence is able to connect her symptoms and make a proper diagnosis of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and begin treatment. Megan blames herself for her mother's illness and runs away, she is soon found at the Jones' farm by Robbie who takes her back to her father. "Molly's Farmland" opens with an open house and benefit to raise money for a new water system for the hospital. The event however quickly descends into chaos when a bus load on rowdy children arrive and begin running wild and freeing the animals.

Guest Cast: Wendy Strehlow as Sister Judy Loveday, Emily Nicol as Chloe Jones, Mark Spain as Robbie Quinn, Suzanne Howley as Lee Somers, John Hamblin as Mark Somers, Jacqui Peters as Megan Somers, Dean Nottle as Bruce Hatfield, Max Meldrum as Arnie Hodgekiss, Bernadette Hayes as Nurse Daley.

Breathing Space

Episodes 229-230
Written by Hugh Stuckey (229) and Judith Colquhoun (230)
Directed by Chris Adshead

Maggie Sloan makes her return one day ahead of schedule and quickly brings about a return to her strict rules and policies, her first acts being to throw both the old dusty roster and an arrangement of flowers from her desk into the trash. Despite her physical recovery, Maggie still bears the emotional scars from her assault and displays some difficulty resuming work in the office where she was nearly killed. A phone call announces Gabe's return causing Frank and Shirley to rush about getting things ready for her visit. The young woman who arrives however is dramatically different from the one who left as Gabe has cast aside her rebellious, punk image for that of a healthy eating surfer, now working as a hairdresser. Simon tries to get a dairy farmer to get his young asthmatic son to take up swimming. With the boy's father busy, Simon takes Paul to the pool himself where he asks Bernie McEvoy, the local swimming coach, to help the boy learn to swim. Bernie is also coaching Mark Reynolds, a very promising young swimmer, but has to contend with the boy's mother who questions his competence as a trainer, believing he isn't pushing her son hard enough. Despite his mother's interference, Mark wins the district championship race. Of all the people she asks, only Molly is willing to let Gabe style her hair, the result is worse than expected.

During her welcome back party held at the club, Maggie reveals her plans to buy a home and settle in Wandin Valley. Brendan and Molly nearly miss the party as Molly can't do anything with her frightful hair and must settle on covering it up. Simon returns to the pool with Paul and he begins taking lessons from Bernie. Mark's mother arranges for him to go to Sydney for two weeks of intensive training prior to the national championships but Terence asks Margot to ease up on Mark after he has an asthma attack while swimming. While in hospital, Mark decides to quit competitive swimming, his mother is disappointed but accepting. It is agreed that the money raised to send Mark to Sydney should be used by Bernie to fund a swimming programme for asthmatic children. Gabe's crush on Bernie (he was her highschool Phys. Ed teacher) ends when she sees he has a girlfriend. Gabe's brief visit comes to an end and she returns home to Sydney.

Guest Cast: Joan Sydney as Matron Sloan, Wendy Strehlow as Sister Judy Loveday, Rebecca Rigg as Gabe, Emily Nicol as Chloe Jones, Pat Bishop as Margot Reynolds, Mark Kounnas as Mark Reynolds, John Jarrett as Bernie McEvoy, Adam McCreadie as Paul Baxter, Dean Nottle as Bruce Hatfield, uncredited as Paul's father.

Note: Pat Bishop (21-22), Mark Kounnas (57-58), and Adam McCreadie (177-178) all have previous ACP guest credits.

An Axe to Grind

Episodes 231-232
Written by Margaret Mitchell (231) and Anne Brooksbank (232)
Directed by Russell Webb

Anthropologist Emma Hutchison, a friend of Molly's from university, arrives for a short visit. Also arriving in the district are Joe Fisher, a transient aboriginal man, and his son Dennis who is quickly befriended by Robbie Quinn. Joe has a drinking problem and is brought to hospital after he stumbles from his caravan and hits his head on a rock. While his father is in hospital, Dennis stays at the Jones' farm. Robbie and Dennis create a "genuine" aboriginal artifact when Emma expresses to them her interest in seeing any ancient aboriginal works in the area. Unbeknownst to Robbie and Dennis, the rock they painted up to show Emma is a legitimate artifact, a grinding stone which Emma is excited to find. Molly is not at all pleased to see that Brendan is growing a moustache. While his co-workers pretend not to notice it, Vicky and Emma tell Brendan they like it while Robbie Quinn complements Brendan by telling him he looks like Dennis Lillee, sort of. Molly's spirits are lifted with the news that her neighbour, Tom Gunn, is willing to give her some of his land to plant her sunflower crop. Frank is bitten by Fatso.

Sides form up when Emma tries to stop Tom Gunn from building a dam on what may be an ancient aboriginal site. Vicky supports Gunn and surprisingly, so does Molly whose support is intended to demonstrate that she's a "real" farmer. When Gunn refuses to stop work, Robbie and Dennis steal his bulldozer to hide it but end up submerging it in a watering hole. Terence discharges Joe from hospital and Emma talks him into visiting the aboriginal site with her. After listening to Joe's stories and hearing him describe the carvings at the site, Molly reverses her stance — but she promises Tom he can use water from her dams until he can establish a new dam site after his compensation comes through. After hearing about her plans to buy a house in the area, Maggie's landlord finds a new tenant and gives her one month's notice to vacate her flat. Joe and Dennis leave town, perhaps to return with the fruit pickers again next year. Frank is not himself, he's impatient, cranky and is even drinking alcohol. He tries to talk to Simon about what is bothering him but is interrupted when Vicky returns home. Molly finally takes matters into her own hands and shaves off Brendan's moustache while he sleeps — but only get's half done before he's called back to the hospital.

Guest Cast: Joan Sydney as Matron Sloan, Wendy Strehlow as Sister Judy Loveday, Emily Nicol as Chloe Jones, Christine Anketell as Emma Hutchison, Athel Compton as Joe Fisher, Graham Moore as Dennis Fisher, Mark Spain as Robbie Quinn, Kit Taylor as Farmer [Tom] Gunn. Greg Peters and Gary.

Note: Kit Taylor becomes the third actor to portray Farmer Gunn (Patrick McGrath and Ron Hackett previously).

Repairing the Damage

Episodes 233-234
Writer: Forrest Redlich
Directed by Gary Conway

Brendan's desire for a drink of water in the night takes him on a plumbing adventure, first replacing a kitchen faucet and then enlisting Simon's help to tackle the house's bad pipes from under the house. After finding Frank reading a medical dictionary at 4 am, Shirley makes him an appointment to see Terence who diagnoses him with an enlarged prostate and arranges for Frank to have further tests. A phone call takes Frank out to the roadside where a bus is stopped | high school student Peter Wilson has died suddenly in his seat at the back of the bus. No obvious cause of death is evident and his friends are not eager to tell Frank what they know. When the test results from Terence's autopsy come back, it becomes clear Peter died as the result of sniffing aerosols. Maggie is getting desperate for accommodations but emphatically turns down Judy's suggestion that she move in with Bob and Cookie — although the prospect of regular poker games piques her interest momentarily. Frank hopes to set up a police sponsored "blue-light disco" for the town's youth. Despite Peter's death, Terence has difficulty receiving support from the authorities in publicising the dangers of solvent abuse. Meanwhile, Peter's friends continue the dangerous activity.

Frank's test results come back from the urologist in Burrigan indicating he has a benign prostatic hypertrophy and although not cancerous, he is booked into hospital for an operation. After learning the cause of Peter's death, Freddy confronts his brother Hedley to see if he is involved as well. Hedley denies he is sniffing but nonetheless, he is soon back in the park with Simone and Andy inhaling aerosol fumes at which time he looses consciousness and stops breathing. His friends get help and Hedley is taken to hospital where he learns from Simon that he has suffered some permanent brain damage. While in hospital, Hedley is roomed with Frank who tells him the story of how he gave up drinking when four of his school friends were killed in a car accident after they'd all been out drinking. Initially weary of Brendan and Judy's suggestion, Maggie agrees to move into Esme's spare room — perhaps not a hard decision when her only other offer was from a fetishist! Frank's disco is a big hit, drawing kids from across the district. Molly continues remodelling her kitchen, all a result of the new faucet Brendan installed. Mrs. Ledbetter tries to commit suicide after her cat is run over by a truck, Esme resolves the situation by getting her a new kitten.

Guest Cast: Wendy Strehlow as Sister Judy Loveday, Joan Sydney as Matron Sloan, Emily Nicol as Chloe Jones, Patrick Phillips as Freddy Skinner, Daris Perkins as Hedley Skinner, Nicole Kidman as Simone Jenkins, Paul Smith as Andy, Serge Lazareff as Mr Wilson, Wayne Kermond as Peter Wilson, Alan Russell as Pastor.

Note: both parts one and two of this episode open with a message from Shane Porteous who gives a warning about the main storyline which is based upon an actual case involving the death of a seventeen-year-old boy from Sydney.

Good Intentions

Episodes 235-236
Writer: Judith Colquhoun
Directed by Robert Meillon

With Frank still recuperating in hospital, his replacement arrives in town. Steve Vargas is a young motorcycle riding police constable who quickly alienates the townsfolk with his aggressive, pro-active policing. Judy is initially attracted to the leather-clad cop, whom she likens to Mel Gibson, although her opinion of him changes when he gives her a warning for jaywalking after nearly running her down. Marilyn Gibb, a young expectant mother whose boyfriend recently walked out on her, finds herself becoming an object of affection for loner Donald Cook. Constable Vargas warns Donald to stay clear of Marilyn after he sees them arguing in the street but Donald is emphatic that he only wants to help her out. Esme's doting behaviour, from bringing Maggie her lunch at the hospital to querying her about whether she'll be home for tea, begins to grate on the Matron. Esme suggests they have a party — a small, dignified gathering by Esme's expectations but Maggie organises a poker game. Marilyn tells Simon she plans to give her baby up for adoption. Terence eases Frank's concerns about his virility following his operation. Marilyn asks Donald to stay away from her.

Maggie's poker game with Bob and Cookie is hampered by the novice skills of Esme. Furthermore, Constable Vargas raids Esme's house on the strength of an anonymous tip from Bev and takes the four back to the station where he charges them under the Gambling and Betting Act for playing a game of chance. While Esme is utterly mortified at the prospect of being charged and having her good name besmirched, Maggie is incensed and refuses to sign her bail form, demanding that she and the others be locked up in the cells where the soon settle in and begin singing songs of protest. Despite Marilyn's repeated requests to be left alone, Donald continues to bother her and ultimately takes her captive in her trailer, upset by the news that she plans to give her baby up. Constable Vargas uses his typical heavy handed approach in trying to deal with the standoff and Frank decides to check himself out of hospital to take over. Marilyn goes into labour and manages to get Donald to let Simon and Terence in to deliver her baby at which time Donald gives himself up. Afterwards, Frank brings Donald to the hospital where he apologises to Marilyn and she tells him she has decided to keep her baby after all. Constable Vargas is ready to move on — but not until after his blind date with the "little bird on the switchboard."

Guest Cast: Joan Sydney as Matron Sloan, Wendy Strehlow as Sister Judy Loveday, Jon Blake as Constable Steve Vargas, Kathleen Brinson as Marilyn Gibb, Ian Gilmour as Donald Cook, Emily Nicol as Chloe Jones, Miles Modder as Dale.

Note: Jon Blake makes his first appearance as Constable Steve Vargas. Once touted as the next Mel Gibson, Jon was seriously injured in an auto accident in December 1986 while driving home from his last day of filming on the movie "The Lighthorsemen." As a result of the accident, Blake was left severely brain-damaged and a quadriplegic.

So Close, & Yet So Far

Episodes 237-238
Writer: Sheila Sibley (237 & 238)
Directed by Leigh Spence

The first guests for Molly's Farmland are signed up, and as they are not due to arrive until Christmas, it should provide enough time to complete preparations. Brendan's parents arrive for a visit but Brendan's father's forgetfulness, illustrated by his wandering away from the club before finally being found by Simon and Vicky, has him concerned. Eighty-year-old Tom Mitchell has a bad fall after being knocked from a ladder by his dog Hamlet. Vicky finds Tom laying in his yard the next morning and has him brought to hospital. While Tom is recuperating in hospital, Vicky offers to look after his massive Great Dane and Judy jokes with him about being added to his will. Tom lives as a pauper but is apparently rather well off and Vicky isn't sure what to think when she recalls him telling her that he wouldn't forget her. In light of their recent fiasco, Maggie suggests that she, Esme, Bob and Cookie should keep their poker plans more discrete and proposes they meet regularly for a "poetry reading," but of course Bob and Esme are oblivious to the implied meaning in her statement about playing "four-handed poetry." While watching Chloe, Bill gets preoccupied watching a bird, allowing Chloe to wander off towards the dam.

Bob retrieves Chloe from the edge of the dam and carries her back to the house where Bill is in the midst of one of his bad spells and has no clue as to what is happening around him. Brendan tries to talk to his father but is startled when Bill asks to see his grandson and when later at diner he later strikes Gwen. Brendan asks Terence to come out to the farm to see his father, and after a follow up examination at the clinic, Terence determines that Bill has Alzheimer's disease. Gwen decides to take Bill back home to the familiar surroundings of Adelaide and balks at Brendan and Molly's offer to move back home to help care for him. Gwen tells them she'll care for him herself until she "looks in his eyes and he's not there anymore." Having forsaken the church after his wife's death, Tom calls on Father McBride and makes a deathbed conversion. After Tom's funeral, Judy is surprised to learn Tom left her $5000 in his will. Whilst the majority of Tom's estate went to the church, Vicky and Simon are not overlooked as they are given Hamlet. Esme invites Father McBride to Maggie's "poetry reading."

Guest Cast: Joan Sydney as Matron Sloan, Emily Nicol as Chloe Jones, Ron Graham as Bill Jones, Moya O'Sullivan as Gwen Jones, Basil Clarke as Tom Mitchell, Wendy Strehlow as Sister Judy Loveday. Don Pascoe as Father McBride.

Note: Coincidentally, Ron Graham will later play the father of Harry Morrison, a character also named Bill, whose wife is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

Splitting the Difference

Episodes 239-240
Written by Judith Colquhoun (239) and Peter Kinloch as Bill Searle (240)
Directed by Russell Webb

Farmer Ken Whitton, recently separated from his wife Colleen, is faced with having to sell their farm to let her get out her 50% interest, despite his wanting to keep the farm going and plant "one last crop." Further complicating matters is their son Brad who tells his father that he doesn't want to move to Cairns with his mother and her boyfriend. Simon hopes to pass Hamlet off on the Jones but Brendan, who is frightened by the Great Dane, promptly has Molly to return it. Samantha Harrison, an old school friend of Vicky's, returns from her extended honeymoon pregnant. Samantha's husband, the wealthy and considerably older Ralph Harrison, who is Treasurer of the hospital board, enrages Matron Sloan with an impromptu audit of the hospital's services. Samantha switches doctors, preferring to see Simon over the "old fashioned" Dr. Elliot, and although Simon initially grows weary of her incessant search for information on pregnancy complications, he revels in hearing Samantha's stories about Vicky, absorbing all sorts of juicy tidbits of embarrassing information.

Matron Sloan arrives early for work to find Judy and Nurse Daley making breakfast in her office, and to put it mildly, she's far from impressed. Brad's dog leads him to the site of his father's car accident. Brad runs to the Jones farm for help and gets Brendan. Terence and Frank arrive shortly while Maggie and Judy follow in the ambulance which Maggie is "driving." Samantha Harrison is admitted to hospital after a severe bout of nausea — not related to Simon and Vicky's dinner party she insists. Wanting to help Ken out, Bob and Cookie try to keep people away from the auction of his machinery but at Simon's suggestion, they instead drive up the prices by bidding against Ralph Harrison who eventually buys up most of the items. After the auction, the local area farmers are rallied to help Ken put in his crop, which under terms of the auction, he'll still profit from after the sale of his farm. A mutual interest in cricket breaks the ice between Maggie and Ralph and he promises to have a word to the Hospital Board about increasing funding. Colleen decides to allow Brad to stay with Ken who plans to buy a smaller property and continue farming. After Hamlet is attacked by Fatso, Simon and Vicky talk Molly and Brendan into letting him stay at their farm.

Guest Cast: Wendy Strehlow as Sister Judy Loveday, Joan Sydney as Matron Sloan, Emily Nicol as Chloe Jones, Tony Barry as Ken Whitton, Mary Ann Severne as Colleen Whitton, Leaf Nowland as Brad Whitton, Judy McBurney as Samantha Harrison, Ron Haddrick as Ralph Harrison. Bernadette Hayes as Nurse Daley (uncredited).

Notes: Tony Barry and Mary Ann Severne played a married couple in episodes 77-78 while Tony Barry and Leaf Nowland played father and son in episodes 153-154. Having previously learned that Simon's nickname was "Snuffy," Samantha reveals that Vicky was called "Snooty" while she was in school. The last update of the cricket match had Australia at 1 for 84 chasing the West Indies' innings of 198 all out.

 

Friday the 13th

Episodes 241-242
Written by Leon Saunders (241) and Ted Roberts (242)
Directed by Robert Meillon

With a storm building, Janet Swanson's car has broken down outside of town. After chasing off a mechanic who insisted she pay in advance, Janet and her young daughter walk to town in the rain where Janet breaks into a motel room. Brendan once again sends Hamlet back to Simon and Vicky prompting a search for a larger house. Brendan and Molly accompany the house hunters on a late afternoon trip to see a prospective home but they become stranded in the thunderstorm when the FJ Holden won't start. Forced out into the storm by Hamlet, Simon leads the group in the wrong direction before they seek shelter in an old empty house. Knowing Terence is working late at the clinic, Nurse Hayes convinces Judy to make a prank phone call. In her attempt to scare him, Judy pretends to be a deceased patient calling from beyond the grave to complain about his work. Terence soon catches on to the gag and identifies Judy as the caller when he hears the hospital's call buzzer sound. Soon after, Terence receives a strange anonymous call from Janet Swanson. Terence considers it may be Judy again but when Janet phones again, she reveals her desire to kill herself. While once just a cover story for their poker games, Bob and Cookie host the town's inaugural poetry reading. Bob opens by reading "A Song of Rain" by C.J. Dennis and Cookie follows with one of his limericks. Meanwhile, strange ghostly noises have roused Molly from her sleep in the old house and after waking Simon and Vicky, it is suggested a seance be performed.

Janet continues to call Terence at the clinic threatening suicide but the situation grows more serious when she tells Terence she plans to take her daughter with her. While taking with Janet, Terence learns her disdain for doctors came about as the result of her husband's death from cancer and his company's doctors blaming it on everything but his exposure to the asbestos at the mine where he worked. Janet takes a number of pills and gives her daughter some as well. Fortunately, Rachel gets sick and is eventually able to lead Frank and Terence to the motel to save her mother. Brendan has some fun with Molly's seance and hastily crafted Ouija board. When Molly asks the name of the spirit, he generates a response of D-O-R-I-S, and when she asks if the spirit has anything to say, Brendan responds with O-I-N-K. Simon freaks out when what appears to be blood drips down from the ceiling onto his hands and when the group search the house, Simon disappears. While Molly suggests Simon may have "passed over," Simon can be heard singing and shortly thereafter emerges from the cellar with Arnold, both somewhat drunk. Arnold is the homeless man who has been living in the house for the past few years slowly drinking his way through the wine cellar and scaring off unsuspecting visitors by pretending to be a ghost. With the other participants having fallen asleep during her long poem recitation, Maggie gets a chance to see a different side of Bob when he reads a poem about his late wife. The next day, Bob sends flowers to Maggie at the hospital.

Guest Cast: Joan Sydney as Matron Sloan, Emily Nicol as Chloe Jones, Wendy Strehlow as Sister Judy Loveday, Bernadette Hayes as Nurse Daley, Veronica Lang as Janet Swanson, Emily Searle as Rachel Swanson, Don Pascoe as Father McBride, Connie Hobbs as Mrs. Jenkins, Sara Wallace as Little Old Lady, Richard Evans as Mechanic. Clifford Hallett as Motel Owner.

Note: read the variety of works performed at the poetry reading.

The Last Picture Show

Episodes 243-244
Written by Michael Aitkens (243) and Hugh Stuckey (242)
Directed by Mandy Smith

Arnie Hodgekiss has the residents of Wandin Valley excited about the prospect of a movie being filmed in the town when he introduces them to filmmaker Antony York — although few people seem worried about the vague details Antony provides about the project (it's about "life" and "people"). Antony eventually loses funding for his picture but decides to keep the news quiet. Having been brought together by their mutual interest in poetry, Bob asks Maggie on a picnic but their afternoon is interrupted when they discover Bert Griffiths collapsed in a field. Faced with a growing pile of bills, Shirley talks Frank into playing the lotto. Franks keeps his "millionaire" status quiet when he wins but does mention plans to retire. Simon begins training Hamlet in an effort to make him more desirable to prospective owners — and visiting movie directors. Judy sets her sights on Antony.

A sick Bert Griffiths is brought to hospital where he tells staff of his encounter with "spacemen." Frank tells his family about his lottery win and before long the news is out and Antony is asking him to help fund his movie. Frank and Shirley agree to invest 10% of his winnings, but as Shirley later finds out, Frank only won $408.80, not the million dollars he thought. Nonetheless, Frank makes out a cheque to Antony for $48. Terence presses Antony to reveal his movie's story when he's asked to invest. Antony is reluctant to divulge the plot but eventually tells Terence it involves Wandin Valley surviving a nuclear holocaust. Listening to Antony describe his movie, Terence figures out Bert's illness — he and Carpenter, who was found at the Jones farm, are suffering from the effects of organo-phosphate poisoning resulting from being exposed to the chemicals while walking home past a farmer spraying his field — the "spaceman" of course was the farmer in a protective suit. Terence confronts Antony after learning about his history of shady movie deals causing Antony and actress Vanessa Lloyd to leave town, taking with them Arnie Hodgekiss' $3000 investment. Frank uses his lotto winnings to purchase a new refrigerator..

Guest Cast: Wendy Strehlow as Sister Judy Loveday, Emily Nicol as Chloe Jones, Joan Sydney as Matron, Sloan, Edward Howell as Bert Griffiths, Graeme Blundell as Antony York, Max Meldrum as Arnie Hodgekiss

Note: Terence tells Shirley his birthday is on September 11th.

Best Line: "It'll be Sodom and begorrah all over again!" - Esme regarding the immorality that a movie production would no doubt bring to Wandin Valley

I'll Drink to That

Episodes 245-246
Written by David Boutland (245) and Ted Roberts (246)
Directed by Leigh Spence

A stranger comes into the club in the morning and drinks until intoxicated. Later, he's found outside the shops hassling shoppers for money at which time he darts into the road and is hit by Shirley's car. Taken to hospital, Matron Sloan asks Judy to assists Terence with him, but after getting one look at him, Judy refuses any involvement with the "dirty old alkie." She later tells Terence that the man is her father. When the time comes for John to be released from hospital, Terence and Maggie don't want him to be left to fend for himself as his alcoholism is a serious threat to his life, and despite her ambivalence towards him, Judy agrees to take him home. Molly helps Bob install a watering system for her animals using an old dunny cistern and decides to write an article for the paper about it, but the Burrigan Examiner publishes it under the title "Who Needs a Plumber?" A letter informing Simon of the passing of his 92-year-old aunt Gloria is accompanied by news that he has been left her twenty setting silver dinner service — and as is soon discovered, the large table to go with it. Eleven-year-old highschool student Alastair Moore turns to alcohol to handle the stresses in his life.

Simon and Vicky host a dinner party to show off their new inheritances but space is in short supply as their guests must scramble over, under, and around the mighty table and its seemingly endless allotment of chairs. Bob arrives at the Jones farm with newspaper in hand demanding an explanation for Molly's article. Hoping to prove she wasn't responsible for the headline, Molly phones the Examiner at which time she learns her column has been cut after local tradesmen threatened to pull their advertising. As a result of this censorship, Molly decides to start her own newspaper. Despite John having been refused service by Cookie at the club, Judy later finds him passed out drunk in the park. He is returned to hospital where the severity of his chronic liver disease leaves doctors little they can do and in an unfortunate turn, John dies after Judy mistakenly gives him too much of a prescribed medication. Alastair Moore collapses while giving a piano performance for a potential business partner of his father's, revealing to his parents his drinking problem and forcing them to confront their attitude towards alcohol. Simon discovers his table is infested with borers. Maggie suggests Bob try to get his poetry published.

Guest Cast: Joan Sydney as Matron Sloan, Emily Nicol as Chloe Jones, Wendy Strehlow as Sister Judy Loveday, Martin Vaughan as John Loveday, Lynn Rainbow as Susan Moore, Tom Oliver as Stuart Moore, Michael Anthony as Alastair Moore, Gregory Jones as Delivery Man. Chard Hayward as Ian Newton.

The Hidden Trap

Episodes 247-248
Written by Sheila Sibley (247) and Pter Kinloch (248)
Directed by Russell Webb

News quickly spreads that Simon and Vicky are once again looking for a house. They are soon inundated with offers from real estate agents prompting Simon at one point to clear them out of the clinic's waiting room by declaring he'll give an enema to the next salesman that comes to see him. Vicky is called out to the Herbert farm to tend to a sick cow. There she briefly meets Col Herbert's new Taiwanese wife and Col's father Clarrie, a miserable old man who is not at all happy with his son's choice of spouse. Noy Herbert is kept indoors out of the public eye but she manages to call the clinic for help when she gets sick. In repsonce to her call, Simon and Frank come out to the farm and Noy is taken to hospital. While Col is worried about his wife, Clarrie is more concerned that Frank was brought out to the farm as he and Col as trapping and selling exotic wild birds. Judy is due to return to work after taking time off following her father's death but she is not coping well with her grief and is quite depressed. Molly tries to involve her in the publication of her first issue of the "Valley Voice" but Judy only gets more upset when she sees Terence has written an article about depression which used her as a case study.

Molly continues to work on getting out her first issue of the Valley Voice but refuses to publish Esme's libelous article about the Herberts. Taking Molly's suggestion to focus of human interest pieces, Esme returns with a gossip column titled "Wandin Walkabout with Esme" in which she features Bob and Maggie's budding relationship. Vicky and Simon finally find a suitable house, belonging ironically to Mr. Bigelow their realtor, but the deal ultimately falls through when Bigelow accepts a better offer. Terence diagnoses Noy's mysterious illness as psittacosis, a viral infection acquired from her pet cockatoo. When Vicky calls in at the Herbert farm to examine the bird, she discovers evidence of Clarrie's bird smuggling operation and informs Frank who is successful in stopping the scheme and getting a full confession out of Clarrie. Terence talks to Judy about his article and is able to get her to come to terms with her father's death. Col stands up to his father and demands he start treating Noy with respect. Molly's printing press breaks down and blows up delaying her first issue.

Guest Cast: Wendy Strehlow as Sister Judy Loveday, Joan Sydney as Matron Sloan, Emily Nicol as Chloe Jones, Howard Bell as Clarrie Herbert, Noel Hodda as Col Herbert, Rhonda Keane as Noy Herbert, Curt Jansen as Mr. Bigelow, Jeannie Lightbrown as Mrs. Throrsby.

Note: Noel Hodda will play Gareth Spencer, Anna Lacey's stalker, in several 1992 episodes while Curt Jansen played a man believed to be stalking Marta in episodes 93-94.

Close to the Bone

Episodes 249-250
Written by Agi Schreck (249) and Anne Brooksbank (250)
Directed by Chris Adshead

With his thirtieth birthday drawing near, Simon is depressed by what he sees as a lack of anything to show for his life so far, especially bothersome is that he has not found a house. Judy is looking for a change in her life and considers buying a place of her own but her plans are thwarted when Ivan Taylor, the new bank manager, turns her down for a loan. A fitness trend has hit the valley. Shirley signs up for exercise classes and is joined by Molly after Brendan makes the mistake of describing her figure as "cuddly." Jane Taylor's concern for her eighteen-year-old daughter Lucy causes her to make Lucy an appointment to see Dr. Elliot at which time he uncovers Lucy's anorexia. Lucy denies she has an eating disorder and makes a show of eating more but she increases her exercising and begins taking laxatives to compensate. The constant abuse of her body finally catches up with her and she collapses. Simon is left hanging by a new exercise contraption.

Lucy is admitted to hospital for care and observation. Terence tries to get her to confront her problem but as he spends more time with Lucy and her family, he begins to understand some of the reasons behind her illness, most notable are comparisons to her sister, her overbearing and overprotective parents, and a number of seemingly innocuous comments made about her weight when she was younger. Norma Wallace has a mild stroke during Katrina Walsh's exercise class prompting Simon and Brendan to confront Katrina about her lack of training and failing to adjust her classes to her participants ages and fitness levels. Molly publishes her first newsletter but Esme's gossip column fails to impress Bob and Maggie, its main targets — although Esme does manage to implicate herself by reporting that Bob's ute has been seen parked outside the house where Maggie is living, which is of course Esme's home as well. Shirley's exercising lands her in a neck brace. A 50's theme party is planned for Simon's birthday but he nearly misses out when he once again gets trapped upside down on his hanging frame. Lucy moves to Sydney to retake control of her life.

Guest Cast: Wendy Strehlow as Sister Judy Loveday, Joan Sydney as Matron Sloan, Emily Nicol as Chloe Jones, Anna Hruby as Lucy Taylor, Jennifer Hagan as Jane Taylor, Russell Newman as Ivan Taylor, Shane Sheeran as Davie Taylor, Jackie Woodburne as Sarah Biggs, Alex Whitman as Katrina Walsh, Paul Booth as Grant, Colin Morganti as Steve. Marea Wilson as Nurse, Denis Ramsbottom as Mr. Smart.

Leader of the Pack

Episodes 251-252
Written by Written by David Allen (251) and Cliff Green (252)
Directed by Robert Meillon

Esme is frantic in her concerns for the safety of the community when a gang of bikers roll into town on "machines straight from hell." Somewhat justified are her concerns however as both the clinic and hospital are broken into, with a quantity of drugs taken from the hospital. Frank gives chase to the bikers when he finds them hassling Judy in the street. Biker Vinnie Callaghan falls from his bike during the chase and ends up in hospital in the same room as young motorcycle fanatic Matthew Brookes — and under the care of a vengeful Sister Loveday. Bob wins a greyhound in a raffle of a dubious nature and Maggie and Cookie suggest he get it in condition for racing. With the lease on Simon and Vicky's "no pets" flat up for renewal, they must find a place to lodge Hamlet and Fatso until after the agent's inspection. Vicky's surgery is the obvious choice but Shirley returns the two noisy animals before the night is through. Molly is working on the next edition of her newsletter and wants another of Bob's poems. Seeing the quality of the work he submits (I saw a bird fly up a tree, / its wings were flapping like a bee. / It sat upon that tree a bit, / I think it was a crested tit.), Maggie gives Molly one of the poems he gave her to use instead.

Despite Simon's best efforts at hiding Fatso and Hamlet, Simon and Vicky are evicted from their apartment when their landlady discovers they've been keeping animals on the premises. Between his immobility, bad attitude, and talkative young roommate, Vinnie is not coping well and in a moment of frustration pushes Matthew away from his bed causing the boy to fall to the floor and break a second arm. Simon has some harsh words to Vinnie about his attitude and tells him about the congenital illness that has left Matthew with brittle bones. When it's time for Matthew to leave hospital, Vinnie gives the boy his leather jacket. Molly writes a scathing editorial for her newsletter when she learns Arnie Hodgekiss plans to drain local swamp land for industrial development (a yoghourt factory!). Upon publication of the newsletter, Bob is forced to confess to Maggie that the poems he gave her were not his but ones he took from an old book. Molly withdraws the copies of the newsletter that she's given out, though not as some believe because of her potentially libelous article, but as a favour to Bob. Bob and Cookie are on the verge of organising a syndicate to fund their greyhound when the dog escapes.

Guest Cast: Wendy Strehlow as Sister Judy Loveday, Joan Sydney as Matron Sloan, Emily Nicol as Chloe Jones, Ian Mortimer as Vinnie Callaghan, Nicholas Gledhill as Matthew Brookes, Rosie Bailey as Rhonda Norton, David Reyne as Crow Barr, Ron Blanchard as Norm. May Pusey as Miss [Isabel] Parker.

Notes: Ian Mortimer will again play a biker ("Wolf") in episodes 977-978, an episode that also includes Ron Blanchard as the reoccuring character of Lennie Sawyer. May Pusey appeared in several 1982 episodes as Sister Grace Doherty.

Digging Up Dirt

Episodes 253-254
Written by Ted Roberts (253) and Michael Brindley (254)
Directed by Peter Maxwell

Molly is back pursuing her story on industrial development, but now, at Brendan's suggestion, she's searching out facts and documentation to back up her allegations of council corruption. She's aided in her search by an unlikely figure, socialist Lachie Mason, an old union leader whom she decides to interview for her newsletter after hearing Bob's impassioned lecture about him being a "no-good ratbag commo." Lachie, who suffers from silicosis as a result of a lifetime spent working underground, scratches out a living reopening abandoned mines. Shirley is concerned for the welfare of his granddaughter Becky who attends school irregularly and often helps him in the mines. Simon and Vicky finally buy a new home, the previous owner was eager to sell — perhaps because the property is next door to Lachie and his extremely loud ore crusher! Judy wants to change her image and starts by purchasing a canary-yellow cardigan. Esme compliments her on it at the club, telling her she has one just like it at home and that if she wore it they could be "sisters." After hearing this, Judy to runs to Molly for advice. Molly asks Brendan to write a medical advice column for her newsletter. Lachie becomes trapped when his mine collapses.

Becky gets help for Lachie after coming home from school to find him trapped in the mine. Terence enters the mine, which is rapidly filling with water, and must amputate Lachie's crushed arm to free him. Molly brings the "new" Judy to the club dressed in matching outfits — big blue feathery dresses each emblazoned with a large kookaburra on the front! Bob is not impressed by Molly's latest newsletter containing her interview with Lachie Mason. Making matters worse, Molly questions Bob about his role in draining the swamp for Arnie Hodgekiss. Believing she's implying he's part of some shady deal, Bob launches a nasty verbal tirade upon Molly that gets the attention of everyone in the club. Maggie is eager to move out of Esme's house and has her eye set on Simon and Vicky's soon-to-be-vacant flat. Judy however is the one who gets the apartment — in no small part due to Esme recommending Judy to the real estate agent over Maggie whom she is certain is perfectly happy where she is. Becky stays with Molly and Brendan while her grandfather is in hospital. Lachie meanwhile is able to sell his mine for a handsome sum when an underground spring fills it with what is found to be pure mineral water. Simon and Vicky pack up the remainder of their belongings to move to their new home only to arrive and find firefighters putting out what's left of a fire that burned their house to the ground.

Guest Cast: Joan Sydney as Matron Sloan, Wendy Strehlow as Sister Judy Loveday, Emily Nicol as Chloe Jones, Ralph Cotterill as Lachie Mason, Beth Buchanan as Becky Mason, Richard Gilbert as Removalist. Mark Morrissey as Wayne.

Man's Best Friend

Episodes 255-256
Written by Hugh Stuckey (255) and Sheila Sibley (256)
Directed by Leigh Spence

Simon, Vicky, Fatso, and Hamlet move in with Frank and Shirley while they await their insurance claim (the rolltop desk and large dinning table with its twenty accompanying chairs were all lost in the fire) Judy meanwhile moves what little belongings she has into her new flat and recruits Terence into helping her redecorate. The greyhound syndicate hold their first meeting and agree to hire the services of a trainer in Burrigan. In the meantime, Cookie has the dog working out on a treadmill in the club. Molly's article about Arnold Hodgekiss scares away his business partners causing Arnie to remind Molly that she'll have to go through council to get the boarding house license she'll need for her Farmland project. After refusing to give Molly evidence against Arnie, Bob is offered another under-the-table tender by Arnie. Maisie Davis, an eccentric old lady who collects and looks after the town's stray dogs, upsets her new neighbour who complains to Arnold Hodgekiss to do something about her dogs. Arnie, who has been battling Maisie himself over her removal of shopping carts from his store, can't convince Vicky to get involved so he resorts to pressuring Maisie to license her dogs. While chasing after her dogs, Maisie suffers a fall.

While Maisie is in hospital, she reveals to Brendan that she once had an affair with Joe Gilroy, Frank's father. Terence discovers Maisie may have stomach cancer but she has no intention of staying in hospital any longer. When her neighbour calls the Burrigan dog catcher to round up her dogs, Maisie takes her one remaining dog and is last seen walking out of town. News of Arnie's threats to file a slander lawsuit and block Molly's farmland from proceeding gets back to Bob who gives her the receipts that show Arnie had council pay him to drain the swamp, evidence she needs to support her corruption allegations. After Bob's manhandling of him in the club, Arnie deftly sidesteps the whole controversy by having council purchase the swamp land to turn it into an animal sanctuary with a possible connection to Molly's farmland project. Judy has a housewarming to show off her new "vibrant" pink apartment. As a thank-you gift to Simon and Vicky, Judy presents them with another copy of the awful "Stags at Bay" painting that Simon "accidentally" broke in the move.

Guest Cast: Joan Sydney as Matron Sloan, Wendy Strehlow as Sister Judy Loveday, Emily Nicol as Chloe Jones, Ruth Cracknell as Maisie Davis, Max Meldrum as Arnie Hodgekiss, Betty Lucas as Nancy Holt, Alan Becher as Jack Adams. Glenn McMahon as Jim Collins.

Taken for a Ride

Episodes 257-258
Written by Peter Kinloch (257) and Leon Saunders (258)
Directed by Robert Meillon

Molly irks Simon by giving out medical advice while she fills in for Shirley who has gone to Magnolia Vale with Terence to give medical checkups to the town's mill workers. At Molly's suggestion, Judy advertises for a flatmate. Alan Lang, the owner of the mill, is forced to let go foreman Dixie Walker for health reasons. Alan is a married man but is involved with Dixie's daughter Jo. Cookie needs to raise $2000 to help out his sister Coralie when her husband gets thrown in jail for not paying his outstanding parking fines. The syndicate hires Curly Doyle to train Clancy. Hearing of Simon's troubles with the MG, Alan Lang tries to sell him a "SPUNKY" Ferrari 308, lending it to him for the weekend. Brendan is left to run the farm on his day off while Molly works at the clinic, but he's not happy to see her come home drunk after having a few drinks with Judy. An accident at the mill appears to be the cause of Dixie's death but Terence's autopsy shows he died of a heart attack before the accident happened. Alan suspects the mill workers staged the accident to ensure his family qualified for a worker's compensation payout.

Jo Walker looks to clear up some of her questions about her father's death and in doing so learns about Alan firing him the day he died. Maggie's grows suspicious of Curly's training methods, and sees he is arrested for using live rabbits to train his dogs. Judy's difficulties in finding a flatmate continue, although she does garner the attentions of Spanish guitar player Luis Cordova. Molly convinces a reluctant Brendan to take an active role in an "independence for the aged" programme he proposed. Cookie refuses to accept money from Esme to bail out his mongrel brother-in-law and resorts to stealing money from the club. While taking Shirley for a spin in the Ferrari, Simon drives off the road and into the ditch after narrowly missing Frank's patrol car. Alan's workers begin a work-to-rule protest and Alan ends up in hospital with a broken leg after being injured in a timber fall after trying to do their work. Jo leaves her abusive relationship with Alan with plans to move to the city to start a new independent life.

Guest Cast: Joan Sydney as Matron Sloan, Wendy Strehlow as Sister Judy Loveday, Emily Nicol as Chloe Jones, Linda Cropper as Jo Walker, Peter Adams as Alan Lang, Les Foxcroft as Curly Doyle, Slim Degrey as Dixie Walker, Jon Darling as Mr. Pearson, Frank James as Man. Ron Stephenson as Ray Fletcher, Lance Curtis as Luis Cordova.

A Fair Hearing

Episodes 259-260
Written by Judith Colquhoun (259) and Cliff Green (260)
Directed by Chris Adshead

Two weeks of living with Simon and Vicky has Frank and Shirley frazzled. Frank comes up with the idea of he and Shirley moving to his tenantless house (the one he lived in with Alma but now rents out) leaving theirs to Simon and Vicky until they find a place of their own. Shirley doesn't like this idea at all ("some choice, Simon or Alma's ghost") and counters with the suggestion of letting Simon and Vicky move there instead. Simon and Vicky however take Molly up on her offer to stay at the Farmland accommodations. Molly is jealous of the attention Brendan is getting from the media for his project to promote independence for the elderly. Sylvia Barnes, pregnant with her seventh child, is hospitalised for anaemia and bed rest after a faint. Sylvia's daughter, sixteen-year-old Sharon, a once promising student now in jeopardy of being expelled, is forced to stay home from school to look after her brothers. Cookie is nervous about news that the club is due to be audited. Judy turns down another potential flatmate (perhaps it was his purse). Clancy's first race draws near and Maggie hopes to keep news of his true ability quiet to keep his odds high. Teacher Julian Cockburn is concerned about Sharon's neglect of her studies and tries to talk to her father Ron about it. For his trouble, he's accused of fancying Sharon and is punched by Ron after insulting him.

Clancy (aka The Sloan Ranger) looses his first race after a promising start. Maggie and Bob are obviously disappointed but Cookie, who bet $200 of the club's money, takes it the hardest. Not helping matters is Esme who is thrilled at having won over $100 after inadvertently betting on the wrong dog. It is later learned that Clancy has a fractured femur and won't race again. Shirley comes up the idea of holding a talent quest to raise the remaining money needed for the bus for the elderly. Simon is appointed the show's producer with Frank relegated to musical director. With the auditors sniffing about, Bob gives Cookie the $200 to cover his debt to the club. After Ron gets into a scuffle with his daughter, which requires Simon to be called out to their house, it is discovered, although never officially verified, that Sharon's poor school performance comes from a hearing loss suffered as the result of a blow to the side of her head that her father inflicted a year prior. Terence begins treating Sharon who plans to remain in school. Shirley cooks dinner for Simon and Vicky's last night at the house, compounding the bad situation is that she got the recipe from Judy, whose culinary skills are at best equal to those of Shirley. While eliciting talent quest prizes from the local travel agent, Molly obtains her first customers for the Farmland, forcing Simon and Vicky to move back in with Frank and Shirley. Frank surprises Shirley with a vacation but won't divulge the destination.

Guest Cast: Joan Sydney as Matron Sloan, Wendy Strehlow as Sister Judy Loveday, Emily Nicol as Chloe Jones, Simone Buchanan as Sharon Barnes, John Howard as Julian Cockburn, Beverley Phillips as Sylvia Barnes Dennis Miller as Ron Barnes, Ken Wayne as Mr. Fox [Mr. Winters], Tony Blackett as Malcolm Poole, Michelle Connor as Denise, Adrian Thompson as Man in the Club. James S. Steele as Photographer.

Notes: Beverley Phillips wrote episode 69 and appeared previously with Dennis Miller as another married couple in episodes 43-44. Dennis Miller's most notable role previously was as Ben Prescott (67-80) who had a brief relationship with Matron Kertesz. Also appearing previously were John Howard (91-92), Ken Wayne (55-56), and Tony Blackett (107-108). Coincidentally, both Dennis Miller (77-78) and Tony Blackett (107-108) appeared in episodes with Beth Buchanan, Simone's younger sister. Simone and Beth's brother Miles appeared in episodes 117-118.

Upstaged

Episodes 261-262
Written by unknown (261) and David Boutland (262)
Directed by Peter Maxwell

No summary available, part one did not air in Canada

Simon has gone to Sydney by air ambulance with young Bobby Price, the town's paperboy, who needs emergency surgery to remove a brain tumour. Performing the operation is Dr. Kenrich Murray, an extremely arrogant man for whom patients seem to only get in the way of his career. Dr. Murray successfully removes the benign tumour but must perform a follow up operation as well before Bobby is in the clear. With Simon away, Brendan is called upon to produce and MC the talent quest (Bev once again is on the piano). While Esme chooses to display the pumpkin she's grown (its a talent!), some more tradition performances follow as Frank sings "One Alone" from the musical The Desert Song, Maggie sings "I am Woman", Vicky and Shirley combine to perform a soft shoe number, Bob and Molly sing a duet, and Terence amazes Esme with his "mastery of mental manipulation". Capping off the event is Cookie's comedy performance which earns him the top prize of two tickets on a Pacific cruise. For his efforts in the fundraising, Brendan is given a ticket as well (Brendan draws straws with Molly for the ticket and wins). When Simon returns, he buys one of Cookie's tickets, giving him the money to bail out his "mongrel brother-in-law" while still leaving him a ticket for himself. Simon intends to give the ticket to Shirley as a thank-you for letting him and Vicky stay at her home but Shirley refuses as she won't go without Frank. Simon ends up keeping the ticket for himself when everyone else is too busy to go. Later, Frank surprises Shirley with his vacation plans — two tickets on the Pacific cruise, so much for getting away from Simon!

Guest Cast: Joan Sydney as Matron Sloan, Wendy Strehlow as Sister Judy Loveday, Emily Nicol as Chloe Jones, Peter Sumner as Kenrich Murray, Norman Robinson as Bobby Price, Beatrice Aston as Mrs. Price.

Ships in the Night

Episodes 263-264
Written by Michael Aitkens & Ted Roberts (263) and Forrest Redlich & Ted Roberts (264)
Directed by Leigh Spence

Frank, Shirley, Simon, Brendan, and Cookie depart from Sydney Cove aboard the S.S. Oriana. While Frank stays within running distance of the railing after refusing Simon's offer of sea-sickness pills, Cookie, posing as a wealthy hotel owner, befriends a woman travelling alone. Brendan and Simon are both convinced that the other is having a holiday romance when a young woman who stole their room key leaves messages and personal items in their room. Shirley too comes to suspect Simon of cheating but when Brendan returns to their cabin and finds the young woman in their shower, she comes clean and admits to being a stowaway. Judy finally finds herself a flatmate when Constable Steve Vargas returns to town as Frank's temporary replacement. When Miranda, one of Molly's "girls," is taken by a dingo, Molly refuses Vicky's recommendation that it be found and shot, wanting a chance to capture it herself — and not using an iron leg trap as Bob suggests. Vicky has her doubts but Molly's homemade trap, built from Chloe's old play pen, successfully traps one pregnant dingo.

Sandy tells Simon and Brendan that she is hoping to start a new life for herself away from her abusive father. Vicky dissuades Molly from keeping the dingo as a pet and suggests releasing it into the bush when Molly won't let her put it down. Molly begins feeding the wild dog when it makes it's way back to the farm but it is soon shot by a neighbouring farmer. Vicky save the unborn puppies and makes plans to send them to a licensed breeder on the south coast. Bob brings Constable Vargas to hospital after he drives his motorcycle off the road. Steve isn't hurt in the accident and leaves soon after being examined. Terence is concerned about what is troubling Steve but he refuses to discuss it. Later, Judy returns home to find Steve crying and he tells her about the eight-year-old girl he killed while pursuing a speeder. Unaware that Cookie has been telling Blanche stories, Frank reveals to her Cookie's true identity as a humble chef. Bearing him no ill will, Blanche thanks Cookie for their time together and tells him she'll be flying on to Europe from their next stop. With the ship docked at Nouméa, Simon and Brendan appeal to the ships purser on Sandy's behalf at which time they learn the truth about their stowaway — she's the purser's daughter and is travelling to Nouméa where she has a bit part in a movie being filmed there.

Guest Cast: Joan Sydney as Matron Sloan, Wendy Strehlow as Sister Judy Loveday, Emily Nicol as Chloe Jones, Jon Blake as Steve Vargas, Sandra Lillington as Sandy Thatcher, Maggie Dence as Blanche Mitchell, Stuart Wagstaff as Roland Thatcher.

The Harder They Fall

Episodes 265-266
Written by Sheila Sibley (265) and Bill Searle (266)
Directed by Leigh Spence

The S.S. Oriana slips back into Sydney harbour and the travellers are soon back home in Wandin Valley. Bob has booked the classiest act to grace the club since the Hijinks girls — a pair of female wrestlers who perform in "600 litres of raspberry flavoured jelly." First to arrive is "Tiger" Lily White, who takes an interest in Terence after stopping by the clinic. Stress is beginning to build on Constable Vargas as he overreacts when he sees a boy run out onto the street and then won't pursue a trucker who has been racing through town. Vicky surprises Simon with news that she's put a holding deposit on a house but Simon is a little miffed at not being consulted. A large crowd fills the club to see "Tiger" Lily take on "Agro" Annie, a match which ends with Terence and Cookie being pulled into the pit of jelly.

As morning dawns, Bob arrives at the club to help Cookie clean up from the previous night, while Terence is wakened up with a bugle call as Lily comes bearing breakfast. With a few days before her next event in Forbes, Lily fixes herself up at Terence's flat, turning it into a tropical resort while trying to involve him in her spontaneous, live-for-the-moment lifestyle. Lily's outlook on life is explained when Shirley takes a phone call for her — her brother has passed away. Lily explains to Shirley that her parents, who insisted on "living for tomorrow," died in an accident four years earlier and her brother has lingered in a coma ever since. Cookie, Brendan and Simon find themselves with some explaining to do when Shirley's vacation slides show them with the women they met on the cruise. With Constable Vargas withdrawing to a state bordering on suicidal, and the townspeople pleading for him to stop the cowboy trucker, who is now openly mocking him, it is a brisk talking to by Judy that gets him to go out and reign in the rampaging trucker and thereby bring himself around. Brendan secures addition funds for the seniors bus. Simon and Vicky are given a move-in date for their new home.

Guest Cast: Joan Sydney as Matron Sloan, Wendy Strehlow as Sister Judy Loveday, Emily Nicol as Chloe Jones, Jon Blake as Steve Vargas, Dena [Dina] Panozzo as Lily White, Dolores Ernst as Anne Hinch, Sara Wallace & Don Smellie as Spectators, Robert Bending & Cameron Pease as Boys. Colin Angus as Mr. West, Eric Stone as Mr. Williams.

Something Out There

Episodes 267-268
Written by Roger Dunn (267) and Leon Saunders (268)
Directed by Robert Meillon

Molly is upset that a duck shoot has been organised to help raise funds for the seniors bus. Simon and Vicky spend a cold first night in their new house when they forget to have the gas and electricity turned on. From uniforms starched to a point where they can literally stand on their own, to having all her meals prepared for her, Maggie has finally had enough of living with Esme and wants out. As bush fires are being fought in the area, stories of a creature roaming the countryside begin to surface after Wally Pope encounters something while fighting the fire. Cookie puts a fright into Bob with stories of his own before Bob is to go out on late night fire spotting duty. Bob makes sure Cookie comes along but the two are quickly frightened and pack up. Returning to town, Bob and Cookie hear a gunshot emanating from Mrs. Coote's farm and go to investigate. Mrs Coote has also been visited and all of her chooks have been killed. Constable Vargas meets Frank out at her farm the next day and Steve hunts down and kills a fox believed the "monster." Later however, Molly finds Brendan's horse Honey mauled to death.

The town organises a hunting party to go after the "monster" and after Vicky first reassures the community that they're not after a Yowie or a Bunyip, she suggests it is most likely a pack of dogs responsible for the attacks. Ted McGinty, a rabbit trapper and local bushman, claims to know the dogs responsible, reckoning the leader is so vicious as not to be a dog but "a devil." Simon doesn't like having to use his new, clean house as a base of operations for the hunt and can only watch as Cookie breaks in the kitchen, bringing a new meaning to the word "mess". The hunting party catch up with the dogs and shoot five of them, but not before Ted McGinty is attacked. Unfortunately, the lead dog escapes and makes its way to the Jones' farm where it once lived. Alone in the house with Chloe, Molly goes out to the car to retrieve the keys to the gun cupboard but returns to find the door to the house open. Hearing Chloe playing with the dog upstairs, Molly frantically readies her gun. When Chloe appears with the dog at the top of the stairs, Molly talks Chloe away from the dog before shooting it when it lunges at her. Judy jokingly suggests Terence is jealous when he keeps inquiring about her relationship with Steve Vargas. Maggie gives Esme notice that she'll be moving out.

Guest Cast: Joan Sydney as Matron Sloan, Emily Nicol as Chloe Jones, Wendy Strehlow as Sister Judy Loveday, Jon Blake as Steve Vargas, Queenie Ashton as Mrs. Coote, Alan McQueen as Wally Pope. Tom Farley as Ted McGinty.

Out of Bounds

Episodes 269-270
Written by Anne Brooksbank (269) and Judith Colquhoun (270)
Directed by Graham Rouse

Shortly after leaving the club, Esme is stopped by a police spot check where she fails a roadside breath test. Taken to hospital for a blood test, Esme is frantic while waiting for the results, considering the possibility that she'll have to leave town over such a disgrace. Having turned down offers by the Jones and then Bob, Maggie is prepared to resume living with Esme when Esme lists off some of Maggie's faults (snoring!) ending that idea. Having discovered that their house has possums living in the roof, Simon tries to evict them himself but ends up putting a foot through the ceiling. Peter Neal is in a rollover accident after striking a cow that wandered onto the road. His friend Tim Webb, concerned about Peter possibly being over the legal limit as they had just left the club, decides to take Peter home instead of the hospital to allow Peter's blood alcohol level to drop before reporting the accident. The abandoned accident scene bewilders those who come across it and has Constable Vargas searching the bush for its occupants. Meanwhile, Peter's condition has quickly deteriorated forcing Tim to rush him to hospital. Vicky moves into her new surgery.

Peter is brought to hospital where Terence diagnoses him with internal bleeding resulting from a ruptured kidney. Simon, Judy and Shirley are called in to assist in the operation in which Terence, despite being a bit cranky, is able to remove Peter's damaged kidney. In spite of Terence's heroic performance, which again confirms Simon's belief that he is wasted in a small town, Peter never regains consciousness and dies in recovery as a result of a cardiac arrest. Steve admits to Judy of being afraid of getting involved with anyone. Maggie takes up Bob on his offer of accommodation, her first act after moving in of course is to dump a vase of flowers into the fireplace. Esme celebrates news that her blood test had her just under the legal limit with a drink at the club — hold the port. When Charlie McCarthy denies ownership of the cattle found grazing along the roadsides, Frank punishes him by having the cattle impounded by the Council, to be eventually out up for sale. Esme brings Vicky a housewarming gift. Molly makes name tags for her animals as a statement about taking responsibility for ones livestock.

Guest Cast: Joan Sydney as Matron Sloan, Emily Nicol as Chloe Jones, Wendy Strehlow as Sister Judy Loveday, Jon Blake as Steve Vargas, Shane Connor as Peter Neal, David Franklin as Tim Webb, Gordon Poole as Charlie McCarthy, Jeff Brown as Policeman. Bernadette Hayes as Nurse Daley.

Note: the license plate on Maggie's blue Ford hatchback is DMI 989 — the very same as on Simon's MG!

Rituals

Episodes 271-272
Written by Hugh Stuckey (271) and David Allen (272)
Directed by Peter Maxwell

Frank and Shirley depart for Sydney. Shirley will be gone for three weeks but Frank will return in a few days when his leave ends. Brendan helps Simon put in a fence. Molly is reluctant to continue publishing Esme's social column in her newsletter. Rumours have Bob and Maggie engaged. Simon plans to surprise Vicky with the new car he's bought. Steve and Judy continue in their cozy relationship but Judy is well aware that Steve will soon be going back to Sydney. Terence invites Maggie to his vineyard for the weekend. Young locals Graham Pratt and Debbie Higgins are due to be married. Graham's older brother Phil doesn't much care for Debbie and thinks even less of marriage after his own wife walked out on him. Graham's bucks night is a wild affair but when the beer runs out, a group of the drunken men pile into Bob's ute and head off next door to Terence's vineyard. Terence is quite angry after they drive through his vineyard and he orders them off his land. Debbie asks Vicky to take her place on the netball team while she's away on her honeymoon.

Luis Cordova, one of Judy's previous roommate hopefuls, pays her and Steve a surprise visit. Returning from Terence's vineyard, the boys stop off to give Graham a bit of a hazing, coating his midsection with blackjack. Vicky and Molly and just getting rid of Debbie when Judy drops by with Luis who breathes new life into the evening. Luis ends up spending the night on the sofa where he endures an attack by "the monster" — aka Fatso. Returning to Phil's house, most of the boys are winding down for the night but Phil is still raring to go and talks the others into going shooting — their first stop — Terence's vineyard. Phil confronts Terence with shotgun in hand but he and his mates beat a hasty retreat when Terence informs them the police have been called. Graham didn't go with his friends but stayed behind to clean up but Bob awakes to find him passed out, facedown in the bathtub. Steve arrives in response to the earlier call and sends for Terence. Terence and Maggie arrive shortly and are able to reestablish Graham's breathing before he's taken to hospital by ambulance at which Time Terence gives Phil and the others a lecture as they continue to insist that the night's events were all just a "bit of fun." Graham's lungs have been damaged from the petrol fumes he was using to clean off the blackjack and it will keep him and Debbie from flying to Tasmania for their honeymoon. Maggie is very upset at Bob for his involvement — despite the fact that he slept through most of it. Despite all that's happened, Phil, Graham, and their friends are none the wiser and are already planning a party for another soon-to-be-married friend. Simon brings home his new car and promptly pulls down the new fence with it.

Guest Cast: Joan Sydney as Matron Sloan, Wendy Strehlow as Sister Judy Loveday, Jon Blake as Steve Vargas, Emily Nicol as Chloe Jones, Drew Forsythe as Phil Pratt, Michael Horrocks as Graham Pratt, Annie Murtagh as Debbie Higgins, Vince Vacarri as Mikos Zotos, Greg Bepper as Ray, John Ley as Pete, Bernadette Hayes as Nurse Daley. Lance Curtis as Luis Cordova.

All in the Line of Duty

Episodes 273-274
Written by Foveaux Kirby (273) and Peter Kinloch (274)
Directed by Robert Meillon

Molly tells Esme that she has no further need for her social column, and suggests she could write historical features instead. With Frank returning to work, Steve has been reassigned to Sydney, although Judy seems to be more upset by his departure than he is. Melvin Ryan, an American who was stationed at a US Army base at Wandin Valley during World War II, returns to town and looks up Esme whom he met when she entertained the troops in 1944. Maggie is still mad at Bob, despite his attempt to apologise with a gift and an original poem. With Molly working flat out on her newspaper, Vicky offers to look after Chloe for a few days. Bert is suspicious of Melvin and believes he's after a stolen payroll rumoured to be buried under the old base. Melvin gives Esme a hint as to why he's in town when he says the entire town is in danger and after a search for the whereabouts of the old base, tells Esme that the club is built over an unexploded bomb.

Brendan and Molly dismiss Esme's ravings of impending doom and the town in general is slow to take heed of her and Melvin Ryan's warnings about the bomb. To make matters worse, the council has sent in heavy machinery to dig up the club's carpark, further heightening the threat posed by the bomb. Bob and Cookie are finally convinced when Melvin buys a metal detector and locates the bomb in the club's foundation. Waiting for the Army bomb disposal unit to arrive, Melvin tries to disarm the bomb himself but has to give up because his hands are shaking to much. After he and Frank retreat outside, Melvin reenters the club to have another go at disarming the bomb when it goes off, destroying the club and killing Melvin. Simon and Vicky take Chloe to hospital when she is stuck with a pin while playing with Simon. Terence has no trouble removing the pin but Simon can't help but feel guilty for what happened. None-the-less, Brenda and Molly decide to let them keep Chloe till morning as originally planned. Steve and Judy say there goodbyes and he heads back to Sydney.

Guest Cast: Joan Sydney as Matron Sloan, Emily Nicol as Chloe Jones, Jon Blake as Steve Vargas, Wendy Strehlow as Sister Judy Loveday, David Morris as Melvin Ryan, Edward Howell as Bert Griffiths, Bernadette Hayes as Sister Daley, Sandy Gore as Barbara Bolton (uncredited voice over). Mark Butler as Sergeant-Major Thomas.

Misconceptions

Episodes 275-276
Written by Sheila Sibley (275) and Russell Webb (276)
Directed by Russell Webb

Vicky has a change of heart and tells Simon she's now ready to have children. Out of work, Cookie applies to Roger McLean for a job as a bartender. Roger is the new licensee of the Railway hotel and pub (formerly Johnno's) and is trying to turn it into an upscale bistro by the name of the "Burke and Wills," (named after the ill-fated expedition). Cookie gets the job but spends most of his time ducked down behind the bar so his friends won't see him in his new uniform. Brendan sweats over the writing of his speech for the ceremony to accept the new seniors bus, an event highlighted by the appearance of Doris and Flo inside the bus when Brendan cuts the ribbon and opens the doors (Molly couldn't borrow Bob's ute to take them to Jerry Percival's). Suffering from hypertension and run ragged by never-ending housework, Connie Baxter has pulled away from her husband. Geoff sends her to Terence to sort out her "women's troubles" but the only contraceptive solution Terence can come up is for Geoff to have a vasectomy, something he isn't willing to consider. Adding to the Baxters' woes, Vicky is overseeing their cows' birthing but delivers the first three dead — and sees little hope for the remainder.

With Shirley still away, Frank's friends pass the buck when it comes to whose turn it is to have him over for dinner. Esme tells Cookie he looks like a bull fighter in his uniform — "El Vernon" she calls him. Geoff takes a job as a farmhand to make ends meet, a job that will keep him away from home for 3 months. After he leaves, Connie suffers a mental breakdown and is hospitalised where she falls into a state of mutism. Roger warms Cookie about the cost of his spillage. While Frank is tracking down Geoff, Vicky offers to take in the Baxter kids while their mother is in hospital. Arnie agrees to fund the operation of the senior bus — on the condition that it also be used for other council business — and making deliveries for his store. After fourteen years in "business," Roger throws bookie Shorty Price out of his office in the pub's bathroom. Brendan and Molly take a group of seniors to Burrigan, and feast on a load of groceries Arnie left in the bus. Maggie invites Roger over for a game of cards but he not the easy mark she expected. Geoff returns and is able to bring his wife around by admitting that he needs her. Bob warns Roger to stay away from Maggie, telling him that she's "spoken for." Brendan and Molly invite Frank over for supper.

Guest Cast: Joan Sydney as Matron Sloan, Wendy Strehlow as Sister Judy Loveday, Emily Nicol as Chloe Jones, Lynette Curran as Connie Baxter, Michael Ferguson as Geoff Baxter, Adam McCreadie as Paul Baxter, Peter Whitford as Roger McLean, Lou Barnett as Mr. Jackson. Laurie Butler as Shorty Price.

Note: Peter Whitford had a memorable role as Esme's nephew, Alwyn Watson, in episodes 103-104.

Eighty in the Shade

Episodes 277-278
Written by Leon Saunders (277) and David Boutland (278)
Directed by Peter Maxwell

Returning from her vacation in Sydney, Shirley is surprised by all that has gone on in the town during her absence. Worried about not yet being pregnant, Vicky talks to Molly while Simon discusses matters with Terence. Hoping to help things along, Molly invites Simon and Vicky over for a dinner of oysters, parsley and steak. When Bert Griffiths home is burned to the ground, he finds himself admitted to the hospital's Muldoon wing after Terence diagnoses him with Arteriosclerosis causing Anoxia which is responsible for his memory lapses. Not wanting to stay in the geriatric ward with the other "zombies," Bert discharges himself and heads to the Burke and Wills. Shirley isn't too impressed by the newly remodelled pub and while Frank is rather fond of it, Bert says it looks like a "sheila's dunny" when Roger throws him out. Forced to return to the Muldoon wing, Bert withdraws into himself. However, as Brendan is driving the Muldoon Wing residents to Burrigan the next day, Bert hijacks the bus when Brendan stops at a service station. Reluctant to accept Maggie's request for a rematch, Roger tells her about Bob's warning.

After calling Molly to come pick him up, Brendan informs Terence and Frank about the joy riding geriatrics and a search is started. The seniors in the meantime have chosen to continue on and after stopping for a picnic, return to town where they stop in at the Burke & Wills for champaign and some singing and dancing. Maggie has a frank talk to Bob about their relationship, reiterating that they are only friends, no more. Fed up with the rules and regulations at the pub, Bob and Cookie set up a keg in Bob's house to serve their friends. Bert wants his friends to stop remembering the past and start living for today and tomorrow and after Maggie finds them at the pub and returns them to hospital, the seniors demand they be given more respect and more control over their lives. At Frank's suggestion, Roger hires Bert as a odd job man for the hotel and gives him room and board.

Guest Cast: Joan Sydney as Matron Sloan, Wendy Strehlow as Sister Judy Loveday, Emily Nicol as Chloe Jones, Queenie Ashton as Lillian Coote, Edward Howell as Bert Griffiths, Allan Penney as Alfred Hitchins, Alexander Hay as George Spencer, Sara Wallace as Maud Stewart, Peter Whitford as Roger McLean, Jon Darling as Mr. Pearson. Barry Donnelly as Ed.

Notes: the brief shot of the remains of Bert's hut is re-used from the end of episode 254 in which firefighters were tending the smoldering remains of Simon and Vicky's first house. Our first look inside the hospital's Muldoon Wing.

Small Comfort

Episodes 279-280
Written by Hugh Stuckey (279) and Judith Colquhoun (280)
Directed by Graham Rouse

Simon is kept busy at the clinic with Terence away at a symposium. Roger McLean is starting to attract the upscale clientele from the city but the locals continue to stay away in droves — they do however pack the pub to take advantage of his free drinks promotion. Professional fundraiser Di Fenwick arrives in the valley having heard about Brendan's success with the senior's bus. Di charms the locals as she prepares to host a luncheon at the bistro and recruits Brendan to setup a district branch for her organisation. After attending the birth of the Cody's newest foal, Vicky invites their son Timothy along on her rounds. Returning him home, Vicky is stunned to learn the boy has cystic fibrosis and doesn't have long to live. On their second outing, Vicky has to rush Timothy to hospital and despite his parents' reassurance, becomes very emotional thinking she may be responsible for his latest setback.

Hearing of Tim's illness, Di drops into the hospital for a photo-op but after promising not to use the picture, Di mentions Tim in her fundraising speech to rally the community behind her organisation and loosen purse strings. Di's luncheon at the pub is disrupted by Bert's search for a lost snake. Shirley is upset by Di's article in the Burrigan Examiner that denunciates the work of volunteers in favour of simply writing cheques. Vicky gives Hamlet to Tim but the Great Dane dies after being hit by Mr. Jenkins truck as he backs up. Hamlet's death allows Tim to finally face his illness and he surprises his parents by telling them he's always known that he doesn't have long to live. Maggie disassociates the hospital from Di's foundation and after Brendan challenges her about her high administration costs, he suggests she take her fundraising elsewhere. Vicky gives Tim a new dog.

Guest Cast: Joan Sydney as Matron Sloan, Wendy Strehlow as Sister Judy Loveday, Emily Nicol as Chloe Jones, Serge Lazareff as David Cody, Kirrily Nolan as Marge Cody, Glen Loadsman as Timothy Cody, Marion Edward as Di Fenwick, Edward Howell as Bert Griffiths, Peter Whitford as Roger McLean, Brian Anderson as Jim Maxwell. Bob Berrett as Mr. Hall, Nick Jeanes as Carl.