Love Child: episode guide

Series 1 | Series 2 | Series 3 | Series 4

Episode 1.01

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Mon, February 17, 2014 (Nine)
Ratings: 1.354 million viewers (2nd)
Written by Sarah Lambert
Directed by Shawn Seet

It's 1969. Defiant country girl Viv Maguire wakes to find she's been drugged by her parents and sent to the city to hide her pregnancy at Stanton House — a home for unwed mothers in Sydney's Kings Cross. On the same day, Joan Millar, 28, steps off the plane from London and commences work as a midwife at the adjoining hospital — Kings Cross General. Joan is nursing a broken heart and hiding a few secrets of her own.

When Joan is called to assess Viv's pregnancy she comes into conflict with the Head of Obstetrics, Dr Patrick McNaughton. He's more than a little intrigued by Joan. And attracted.

Meanwhile, Viv encounters Shirley, a mystery woman who has admitted herself to Stanton House. She's older than the other Stanton House girls and has a lover in Kings Cross. Unlike the other girls who are locked into this place, Shirley seems to come and go as she pleases.

When one of the Stanton House girls, Annie Carmichael, goes into labour, Viv uses the distraction to escape into Kings Cross with some of her new roommates… to meet Mick Jagger who has just arrived in Australia to film the Ned Kelly feature.

The birth of Annie's baby is Joan's first at the hospital and she's shocked by the treatment Annie receives. The removal of Annie's baby for adoption sets Joan on a mission to change this system.

Starring: Jessica Marais as Joan Millar, Jonathan LaPaglia as Dr Patrick McNaughton, Mandy McElhinney as Matron Frances Bolton, Ryan Corr as Johnny Lowry, Ella Scott Lynch as Shirley Ryan, Harriet Dyer as Patricia Saunders, Gracie Gilbert as Annie Carmichael, Sophie Hensser as Viv Maguire, Miranda Tapsell as Martha Tennant

With: Maya Stange as Eva McNaughton, Ben O'Toole as Pete, Andrew McFarlane as Jim Miller, Ann Burbrook as Dorothy, Damian Rice as Gus, Georgina Anderson as Kath, Shannon Ashlyn as Nurse Susie, Emma Birdsall as Performer, Abe Mitchell as Carter, Lindsay Moss as Malcolm

Note: the rating for the debut of Love Child compare to those of House Hubands in 2012 (1.376m)

Episode 1.02

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Mon, February 24, 2014
Ratings: 1.255 million viewers (2nd)
Written by Tim Pye & Guila Sandler
Directed by Shawn Seet

Astronauts are about to walk on the moon and Viv is determined to see this grand event on television. She steals a portable TV and is arrested. Joan uses her acquaintance with an old flame, Phillip (a criminal lawyer), to secure Viv's release. Phillip wants to restart his relationship with Joan but her head has been turned by Dr. Patrick McNaughton.

When Shirley's in-laws arrive unexpectedly, the need to hide her illicit pregnancy leads her to wear a too-small corset to a lunch meeting. In doing so she faints, taking a fall that sees her end up in hospital. Shirley's affair with Johnny — her lover — is almost exposed.

Annie returns to her home in Newcastle after giving up her baby for adoption but cannot fit back into the world she left behind. Yearning for her lost child, Annie turns her back on her family and sets out to get her baby back as… Neil Armstrong walks on the moon. And anything seems possible.

Starring: Jessica Marais as Joan Millar, Jonathan LaPaglia as Dr Patrick McNaughton, Mandy McElhinney as Matron Frances Bolton, Ryan Johnson as Phillip, Ryan Corr as Johnny Lowry, Ella Scott Lynch as Shirley Ryan, Harriet Dyer as Patricia Saunders, Gracie Gilbert as Annie Carmichael, Sophie Hensser as Viv Maguire, Miranda Tapsell as Martha Tennant

With: Maya Stange as Eva McNaughton, Ben O'Toole as Pete, Andrew McFarlane as Jim Miller, Ann Burbrook as Dorothy, Don Halbert as Frank, Paula Forrest as Helen, Lindsay Moss as Malcolm, Shannon Ashlyn as Nurse Susie, Anthony Cogin as Bill, Georgia Adamson as Eleanor, Bennie Turland as Ronnie, Campbell Smith as Lionel, Emma Birdsall as Performer [uncredited]

Episode 1.03

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Mon, March 03, 2014
Ratings: 1.166 million viewers (2nd)
Written by Sarah lambert & Kym Goldsworthy
Directed by Shirley Barrett

When Annie's denied a straightforward revocation of her adoption by the Hospital's Social Worker, Joan becomes committed to see Annie's baby returned to her — risking her job in looking for evidence of the baby's whereabouts. Sidelined, Joan is forced to rally the Stanton House girls to help Annie in her quest to get her baby back and prove she is a fit mother.

Meanwhile, Joan's actions bring the hospital Matron and Dr McNaughton — co-conspirators in the baby's private adoption — into conflict.

Patricia's society doyenne mother, Belinda, pays an unexpected visit and is dismayed by the conditions in Stanton House. She gives Patricia the opportunity to leave Stanton House but her offer has a hidden catch. Just as it seems that Annie may have her child returned to her, Matron drops a bombshell.

With: Maya Stange as Eva McNaughton, Ben O'Toole as Pete, Lucy Wigmore as Carol, Lucy Bell as Belinda Saunders, Emma Birdsall as Performer

Episode 1.04

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Mon, March 10, 2014
Ratings: 1.160 million viewers (6th)
Written by Tim Pye & Matt Ford
Directed by Shirley Barrett

Viv's enlisted older brother Bernie arrives in Kings Cross on R&R leave from Vietnam. After Viv tracks him down with Joan's help, Bernie is shocked to find his little sister is pregnant. When he learns that Viv is being pressured to give up her baby for adoption he offers her an escape — he offers to go AWOL and take Viv with him.

Meanwhile, as the girls plan a clandestine cocktail party, Martha's former employer, Mr Wilder, tracks her down and threatens to charge her with theft. His relentless pursuit of Martha leads the girls and Matron to learn that Martha's baby is the product of her rape by Wilder.

Grieving for her dead child, Annie rejects Joan's help and spirals into self-destruction until she's rescued by an unlikely guardian angel — McNaughton — who is awakening to an increasing responsibility for her fate.

With: Maya Stange as Eva McNaughton, Thomas Cocquerel as Bernie Maguiere, Paul Gleeson as Mr Wilder, Shannon Ashley as Nurse Susie, Chris Polzot as US Sailor #1, Andrew Fritz as US Sailor #2, Norman Wyndham as US Sailor #3, Matthew Grego as Reporter, Will Ward as Kings Cross Resident

Episode 1.05

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Mon, March 17, 2014 (8:50)
Ratings: 1.065 million viewers (7th)
Written by Sarah Lambert & Liz Doran
Directed by Geoff Bennett

When Johnny invites Shirley to the musical Hair, Shirley dares to believe she can begin a new life with him. But her dream is shattered when she discovers Johnny's been in a violent fight with the police at an anti-war rally. Shirley goes into premature labour as Johnny is torn away from her and arrested. Matron learns for the first time that Shirley has been maintaining a clandestine affair with Johnny. The friendship between the two women is badly strained.

Martha is surprised to find that Matron has arranged a job for her in Hospital administration leading her to find a clue about her own lost family. Infuriated by the arrogant young Resident of the Hospital, Joan is forced into action, determined to complete her medical degree. She finds surprising support from McNaughton who calls in a favour from a friend on the Hospital Board. Joan's delighted to be able to make a case to complete her degree but finds her work cut out as she faces lukewarm reception from the panel of men who hold the keys to her future.

Meanwhile, Annie starts to pick up the pieces of her life and finds a job as a dresser to the star of the Blue Moon club — 'Dawn'. But when Dawn's addictions cause a backstage disaster, Annie gets the opportunity of a lifetime... and she makes her singing debut.

With: Maya Stange as Eva McNaughton, Ben O'Toole as Pete, Lindsay Moss as Malcolm, Shannon Ashley as Nurse Susie, Nicholas Powers as Mike, Abe Mitchell as Carter, Maryellen George as Mrs Morton, Rhonda Burchmore as Dawn, Ian Bolt as Bob Flannery

Episode 1.06

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Mon, March 24, 2014 (8:50)
Ratings: 1.166 million viewers (6th)
Written by Tim Pye & Kym Goldsworthy
Directed by Geoff Bennett

All of Shirley's plans unravel when she receives news that her husband, Colin, has been injured in Vietnam and has been flown home. With a sick, premature baby in hospital, Shirley has to face her past as Johnny desperately tries to prove himself as a father, doing all he can for his baby son and Shirley.

Viv urges Martha to visit the address in her welfare file that appears to be the last contact for her lost family. Asking Patricia to provide cover, they make a half-day trip to Parramatta to a house that awakens old memories.

Annie's success as a performer at the Blue Moon attracts the attention of Rick Allen, who wants to recruit her as his back-up singer. But as Annie starts taking steps forward, Joan becomes convinced Matron has lied and Annie's baby is alive. Turning to Phillip for help, they start to investigate the truth of what happened to Annie's child.

Thrown together with McNaughton as they struggle to save Shirley's dangerously premature baby, Joan's relationship with McNaughton turns from professional to personal. After an exhausting couple of days, Joan and McNaughton give in to their attraction and they sleep together… just as Phillip uncovers the fact that McNaughton has Annie's baby.

Starring: Jessica Marais as Joan Millar, Jonathan LaPaglia as Dr Patrick McNaughton, Mandy McElhinney as Matron Frances Bolton, Ryan Johnson as Phillip, Ryan Corr as Johnny Lowry, Ella Scott Lynch as Shirley Ryan, Harriet Dyer as Patricia Saunders, Gracie Gilbert as Annie Carmichael, Sophie Hensser as Viv Maguire, Miranda Tapsell as Martha Tennant

With: Maya Stange as Eva McNaughton, Shannon Ashley as Nurse Susie, Andrew Hazzard as Rick Allen, Ben Lawson as Colin Ryan

Episode 1.07

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Mon, March 31, 2014 (8:50)
Ratings: 1.297 million viewers (5th)
Written by Cathryn Stickland
Directed by Grant Brown

On the day of the Melbourne Cup, Viv trails Matron on one of her secretive excursions and finds that she is involved with a young SP bookie, Chris. Viv accepts a role from Chris to take bets from the hospital staff. But When Chris is arrested by the Police and the race favourite is scratched, Viv has a lot of money to return. Pressure building, Viv turns to Matron, the only person who can help. In doing so, she uncovers a secret Matron has kept for years — Chris is her son.

Martha's anxiety increases as her delivery day approaches. She's fearful of experiencing the trauma Annie went through. Martha begs to bend the rules so she can see her child before it's given up for adoption.Shirley and Johnny are given the debilitating news that their baby Ben will require a major operation. As the pressure builds to find money for the procedure, Johnny evades capture by the Federal Police but is forced to go on the run, leaving Shirley in a dire situation. She is left with no option but to turn to her husband, Colin, for help.

As Joan prepares for her obstetrics exam, Phillip presents her with the smoking gun they've been seeking: the adoption order that confirms the McNaughton's are the adoptive parents of Annie's child. Joan breaks the news to Annie that her baby is alive. Tortured by her night with McNaughton, she confronts him. She knows about his illegal private adoption of Annie's baby and what he has done.

With: Ben O'Toole as Pete, Shannon Ashley as Nurse Susie, Andrew Hazzard as Rick Allen, Ben Lawson as Colin Ryan, Hugo Johnstone-Burt as Chris Vesty, Andrew McFarlane as Jim Miller, Richard Carwin as Marty

Episode 1.08

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Mon, April 07, 2014 (8:50)
Ratings: 1.227 million viewers (5th)
Written by Tim Pye
Directed by Grant Brown

Patricia's resolve to keep her baby is strained when her delivery day is imminent and there's still no sign of her fiancÚ Robert. (Martha and Viv have come to believe that the elusive Robert may not even exist). Martha offers Patricia a Plan B: come and live with her and they can raise the child together. It's a huge relief for Patricia. As the girls plan for life after Stanton House, everyone's stunned when Robert suddenly arrives. But Patricia's joy turns to anger when he admits the reason for his long absence.

With Johnny on the run, Shirley moves in with her husband, Colin, to ensure her baby can have the operation he needs.Meanwhile, Annie's outrage about the fact that McNaughton adopted her baby is deepened when she realises that it may be very difficult to get the baby back. Joan and Phillip have collected evidence for a legal challenge but it's apparent the process may take years.

Feeling she has no alternative, Annie kidnaps her baby from the McNaughtons' house.A frantic search by the McNaughton's and Joan sees loyalties questioned and friendships pushed to the brink.

Starring: Jessica Marais as Joan Millar, Jonathan LaPaglia as Dr Patrick McNaughton, Mandy McElhinney as Matron Frances Bolton, Ryan Johnson as Phillip, Ryan Corr as Johnny Lowry, Ella Scott Lynch as Shirley Ryan, Harriet Dyer as Patricia Saunders, Gracie Gilbert as Annie Carmichael, Sophie Hensser as Viv Maguire, Miranda Tapsell as Martha Tennant

With: Ben O'Toole as Pete, Shannon Ashley as Nurse Susie, Andrew Hazzard as Rick Allen, Ben Lawson as Colin Ryan, Brandon McClelland as Robert Barstoy, Liana Cornell as Alice Douglas