Bed of Roses: episode guide

Series 1 | Series 2 | Series 3

Not Worth A Cent

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Episode 1.01
Premiere: Sat, May 10, 2008
Ratings: 1.071 million viewers (5th on the night)
Written by Jutta Goetze & Elizabeth Coleman
Directed by Paul Moloney

When Louisa Atherton's wealthy husband Jack drops dead in the arms of another woman, she thinks things can't get any worse — until she discovers that he has left her bankrupt and homeless.

Retreating into denial, Louisa is ill-equipped for the emotional fallout. Rainbow's End is the only place left for her to run to, and so she does, she runs home to her mother, Minna.

Coming to recognise her estranged relationship with her mother, Louisa learns that her own daughter Holly needs a strong and supportive mother — the kind Louisa has never been. Jack's death has caused Louisa to look in the mirror, where she sees she has to face some bitter home truths — the failure of her marriage, her unpreparedness for responsibility and the alienation of her daughter.

Her plans for the future and any financial security now rest with the only asset she has left in the world, a tumbledown old shack on the outskirts of Rainbow's End. The shack has acquired a place in local folklore as the one-time home of Mary Kelly, widow of a gold miner, who was murdered in her bed by thieves searching for the legendary gold nugget said to be buried on the property.

Of course the nugget was never found and the ghost of Mary is still said to haunt the place. This is of no concern to Louisa. She will knock down the shack, rebuild, sell, be cashed up and back sipping long macchiatos in the city in no time. But Rainbow's End has other plans for Louisa Atherton...

Cast: Kerry Armstrong as Louise Atherton, Greg Stone as Jack Atherton, Hanna Mangan-Lawrence as Holly Atherton, Juanita Davis as Policewoman, Martyn Brown as Policeman, Jacqueline Brennan as Anna, Leverne McDonnell as Robyn, Dave Thornton as Shannon Atherton, Tom Wren as Solicitor, Susan Strafford as Celebrant, Cameron McKenzie as Young Cop, Krysti Floyd as Second Constable, Julia Blake as Minna Franklin, Ronald Boyter as Clem Blackwell, Caroline Gillmer as Marg Braithwaite, Tim Phillipps as Sean Smithwick, Kaarin Fairfax as Deb Mathieson, Susie Dee as Vivien Dixon, HaiHa Le as Rita Lim, Lawrence Mah as Wayne Lim, Andrew S. Gilbert as Gavin Braithwaite, Jay Laga'aia as Nick Pickering, Bill Lee as Chinese Consul, Kallista Kaval as Wendy Watt, Tim Sullivan as Ern Swann

Note: in relation to other recent ABC dramas, the ratings for the debut episode of Bed of Roses rank it behind Rain Shadow (1.111m) but ahead of East of Everything (1.006m)

Reality Check

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Episode 1.02
Premiere: May 17, 2008
Ratings: 0.955 million viewers (5th)
Written by Jutta Goetze & Elizabeth Coleman
Directed by Paul Moloney

Now stuck in Rainbow's End, Louisa is deeply depressed and humiliated as she's forced to sell her clothes at a garage sale and search for unskilled work.

She hides her pain behind jokes for Holly's benefit. But in reality, Holly is falling apart. After inadvertently incurring the wrath of her new school mates, she slips the urn containing her dad's ashes into her backpack for comfort.

The next day the ashes fall out at school, and she's derided and ostracised. Vulnerable and fragile, she finds herself fighting off the amorous advances of local footy star Rooster McIver, until she's rescued by Sean, the sweet undertaker.

Meanwhile Louisa is forced to clean the house of an old school nemesis, local identity Gavin Braithwaite. Her first day ends in her being fired, but new friends Marg and Deb point her towards the Rainbow Echo, where she's employed as a part-time photographer. Louisa is thrilled — at last things are going her way — until Sean tells her about Rooster McIver and confides he saw Holly at the Melbourne bus stop.

The local cop brings Holly back to a hurt and horrified Louisa. How could Holly do this to her? Holly says she didn't think Louisa would even notice she was gone — after all, she's obsessed with herself. Louisa is guilt-stricken. She makes a heartfelt apology, and she and Holly communicate honestly for the first time.

The next day demolition work finally starts on the shack — at least it's about to, until Minna turns up and announces that the Council has listed the shack as a Building of Significance, meaning that it can't be knocked down. Louisa is foiled and furious.

Cast: Kerry Armstrong as Louise Atherton, Karen Roberts as Bank Manager, Cameron McKenzie as Young Cop, Hanna Mangan-Lawrence as Holly Atherton, Caroline Gillmer as Marg Braithwaite, Kaarin Fairfax as Deb Mathieson, Dina Panozzo as Gemma O'Reilly, Sofia Kuc as Rosie O'Rielly, Nicole Gulasekharam as Tahlia, Jordy Lucas as Casey, Tim Phillipps as Sean Smithwick, Lawrence Mah as Wayne Lim, HaiHa Le as Rita Lim, Amanda Ma as Lily Lim, Andrew S. Gilbert as Gavin Braithwaite, Blake Davis as Will, Jay Laga'aia as Nick Pickering, Richard Davies as Rooster McIver, Brandon Burns as Macca, Kallista Kaval as Wendy Watt, Julia Blake as Minna Franklin, Frank Magree as Marty Mason, Susie Dee as Vivien Dixon

Things Can Only Get Better

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Episode 1.03
Premiere: May 24, 2008
Ratings: 0.970 million viewers (4th)
Written by Jutta Goetze & Elizabeth Coleman
Directed by Paul Moloney

Shannon Atherton is lost, but a footy legend doesn't admit to feelings of insecurity, nor will he face the fact that he's a has-been at 24. And he's in financial trouble. Shannon's life has run off the rails and so he does what he's always done, he looks to his mother Louisa to help him out.

Builder Marty Mason is renovating Louisa's shack and is chuffed to have an AFL player on his turf. As coach of the Rainbow Roos, known as the 'Road Kill' because they have been wooden spooners since 1992, Marty is hoping Shannon's influence can lift the Roos out of their malaise.

But when Louisa can't pay Marty because she decides to pay Shannon's debt, her builders walk off the job. Louisa finds herself stranded with a half-finished house and the Roos are without a much-needed mentor.

Minna mortgages her own house to bail Louisa out. In doing so she gives Louisa a lesson in mothering. Minna's sacrifice opens Louisa's eyes. For the first time in her life she stands up to her son, telling him the home truths that she herself faced only a few months ago. That he can't expect other people to solve his problems for him. He is spurred on to help the Rainbow Roos in a season-defining game.

Coming home after the footy match, Louisa is pleasantly surprised to find she has a very handsome neighbour on her doorstep who is claiming the little white pony that Louisa had adopted and allowed to graze in her paddock. With a growing sense of self, with the arrival of Tibor, with Shannon's life back on track and the builders back on the job, things are starting to look up for Louisa. Finally.

Cast: Kerry Armstrong as Louise Atherton, Frank Magree as Marty Mason, Richard Davies as Rooster McIver, Brandon Burns as Macca, Hanna Mangan-Lawrence as Holly Atherton, Guy O'Donnell as Electrician, Kallista Kaval as Wendy Watt, Dave Thornton as Shannon Atherton, Andrew S. Gilbert as Gavin Braithwaite, Lawrence Mah as Wayne Lim, Julia Blake as Minna Franklin, Susie Dee as Vivien Dixon, Kaarin Fairfax as Deb Mathieson, Amanda Ma as Lily Lim, HaiHa Le as Rita Lim, Caroline Gillmer as Marg Braithwaite, Dina Panozzo as Gemma O'Reilly, John Grennan as Ron Harvie, Jay Laga'aia as Nick Pickering, Tim Phillipps as Sean Smithwick, Tom Peterson as Jamie Braithwaite, Greg Raynard as Basher Minogue, Geoff Morrell as Tibor Havel

A Friend In Need

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Episode 1.04
Premiere: May 31, 2008
Ratings: 1.018 million viewers (4th)
Written by Jutta Goetze & Elizabeth Coleman
Directed by Mandy Smith

Shonky builder Marty Mason is still the bane of Louisa and Holly's life. Holly demands that Louisa sack him, but Louisa's too intimidated.

Holly confides to Sean that her mother is much more annoying than her father ever was. She also confesses that she's still carrying Jack's ashes and can't bear to let him go yet.

Meanwhile Louisa discovers old letters that reveal 'Mary Kelly' was actually a Chinese woman called Meilin Chee. Meilin's not the only mystery close to home — Louisa is intrigued by her enigmatic neighbour, Tibor, whose wife died recently. His grief and aloofness are strangely attractive.

Deb brings an orphaned baby wombat into the office. Louisa is humbled by her friend's compassion but Wendy is not and sacks Deb on the spot despite Louisa's protest. Gavin takes out an AVO against Marg after threats of violence. A devastated Marg finally opens up to Louisa about her 14-year-old son Jamie, who died in a drowning accident, a grief at the core of her estrangement from Gavin.

Holly decides that she's ready to let her father go, and together with Louisa, Minna and Shannon, they scatter his ashes over the river. It is a rare moment of family harmony.

When a storm blows off their shoddy new roof, Louisa finally finds the nerve to sack Marty and decides to finish the building herself. After all, how hard can it be?

Cast: Hanna Mangan-Lawrence as Holly Atherton, Kerry Armstrong as Louise Atherton, Frank Magree as Marty Mason, Richard Davies as Rooster McIver, Brandon Burns as Macca, Patricia Judah as Lady Golfer, Kallista Kaval as Wendy Watt, HaiHa Le as Rita Lim, Andrew S. Gilbert as Gavin Braithwaite, Amanda Ma as Lily Lim, Caroline Gillmer as Marg Braithwaite, Geoff Morrell as Tibor Havel, Tim Phillipps as Sean Smithwick, Lawrence Mah as Wayne Lim, Graham Thwaites as Jase, Nathan Derrick as Surveyor, Julia Blake as Minna Franklin, Ronald Boyter as Clem Blackwell, Susie Dee as Vivien Dixon, Dina Panozzo as Gemma O'Reilly, Jay Laga'aia as Nick Pickering, Cameron McKenzie as Young Cop, Tom Peterson as Jamie Braithwaite, Donald Baigent as TV Compere, Dave Thornton as Shannon Atherton, Jane Lauinger as Helen Havel

The Truth Will Set You Free

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Episode 1.05
June 07, 2008
Ratings: 0.854 million viewers (7th)
Written by Jutta Goetze & Elizabeth Coleman
Directed by Mandy Smith

An exhausted Louisa is juggling her cleaning and photography jobs with heavy labour, as she struggles to finish the shack by herself.

Nick comes to her rescue but she stupidly offends him and he retreats, leaving her alone again. When a rain storm destroys her plaster sheets Louisa finally admits defeat, sobbing as she tells Holly they'll have to sell the place unfinished. But she wasn't counting on her Rainbow's End friends, who rally in a huge working bee.

Meanwhile Minna is atypically despondent after losing her driver's licence on account of failing eyesight, and Louisa enlists her to organise an exhumation ceremony and send Meilin Chee's bones back to China.

Minna immediately rallies and Holly is touched by her mother's newfound thoughtfulness. Holly's crush on Sean is deepening. She tries to kiss him but Sean, clearly tempted, pulls away. He tells her that he's too old for her, but confides that he's a virgin too.

Holly's attention quickly shifts from Sean when she discovers photos of Anna, her father Jack's lover, on his old mobile phone, and guesses the distressing truth. Anna is very much on Louisa's mind too, as her mutual attraction with Tibor. Tibor kisses her but she pulls away — she has some unfinished business.

Louisa drives to Melbourne and visits Anna, finally admitting that her own self-absorption was partly responsible for Jack's affair. She has a strong sense of closure as she leaves and runs into an old friend Robyn, who owns an up-market gallery.

Holly is stunned when Louisa arrives home and announces that she's found a job in Melbourne — she's going to manage Robyn's gallery just as soon as they've sold the renovated shack!

Cast: Kerry Armstrong as Louise Atherton, Hanna Mangan-Lawrence as Holly Atherton, Jay Laga'aia as Nick Pickering, Kallista Kaval as Wendy Watt, Cameron McKenzie as Young Cop, Geoff Morrell as Tibor Havel, Kaarin Fairfax as Deb Mathieson, Caroline Gillmer as Marg Braithwaite, Dina Panozzo as Gemma O'Reilly, Andrew S. Gilbert as Gavin Braithwaite, Susie Dee as Vivien Dixon, Craig Mitchell as Electrician, Tim Sullivan as Ern Swann, Amanda Ma as Lily Lim, Julia Blake as Minna Franklin, Sofia Kuc as Rosie O'Rielly, Tim Phillipps as Sean Smithwick, Ronald Boyter as Clem Blackwell, Nicole Gulasekharam as Tahlia, Blake Davis as Will, HaiHa Le as Rita Lim, Richard Davies as Rooster McIver, Lawrence Mah as Wayne Lim, Jacqueline Brennan as Anna, Julie Wynn as Meilin, Viriginia Bowers as Receptionist, Leverne McDonnell as Robyn

Note: Filmed over eight weeks in regional Victoria and in Melbourne beginning in October 2007.

Over The Rainbow

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Episode 1.06 (f)
June 14, 2008
Ratings: 0.961 million viewers (5th)
Written by Jutta Goetze & Elizabeth Coleman
Directed by Mandy Smith

Louisa is about to start a new phase of her life. The shack is for sale, the auction sign's up; the minute it's sold Louisa is moving on.

Realising she has little time left to put her affairs in order, Louisa summons the courage and declares her feelings for Tibor. She sleeps with him, but leaves wondering whether she has done the right thing. Holly, for one, doesn't like him.

When Minna has an accident and is hospitalised, Louisa is shocked to find the woman she thought indestructible, is getting old. Her mother needs her. And Holly doesn't want to go back to the city. Louisa is torn. She's wanted to go back to her old life, she has the perfect job and the shack has to be sold if she is to realise her dreams.

At the Sorry Ceremony, where Meilin Chee's bones are exhumed and the legend of Mary Kelly is laid to rest, Louisa sees how much she cares for the town and the people who have become her good friends.

Things come to a head when her ute, true to form, breaks down in the centre of town, just as the trees Minna fought so hard to save, are about to be felled to make room for a commercial development. Louisa is thus instrumental in an impromptu community protest that saves the trees and she realises that Rainbow's End is where she belongs.

The day of the auction dawns. A bidding war starts. Louisa can't bear to watch. Fleeing, she nears the roses that Meilin had planted so long ago, which are now guarded by Minna's goose, Mussolini. Louisa can't believe her eyes. She starts to dig — unearthing something that makes for one more remarkable twist in her story.

Cast: Kaarin Fairfax as Deb Mathieson, Dina Panozzo as Gemma O'Reilly, Sofia Kuc as Rosie O'Rielly, Kerry Armstrong as Louise Atherton, Frank Magree as Marty Mason, Richard Davies as Rooster McIver, Brandon Burns as Macca, Kallista Kaval as Wendy Watt, Julia Blake as Minna Franklin, Marta Nagy as Minna Double, Caroline Gillmer as Marg Braithwaite, Ronald Boyter as Clem Blackwell, Cameron McKenzie as Young Cop, Lawrence Mah as Wayne Lim, Russell Menzies as Foreman, HaiHa Le as Rita Lim, Amanda Ma as Lily Lim, Tim Phillipps as Sean Smithwick, Jay Laga'aia as Nick Pickering, Hanna Mangan-Lawrence as Holly Atherton, Tim Sullivan as Ern Swann, Andrew S. Gilbert as Gavin Braithwaite, Therron Rochford as Bidding Man, Megan Rees as Bidding Woman, Julie Wynn as Meilin

Note: Bed of Roses averaged 0.972 million viewers per episode, ahead of both previous ABC dramas; 2007's Rain Shadow (0.907) and East of Everything (0.787) from earlier in the year.