Ian's Number 96 episode guide: 1977

Number 96 synopses © 1994, 2020 Ian McLean and Lindsay Street Productions. They have been rewritten and annotated from information derived from Sydney and Melbourne editions of TV Week and TV Times, cross-referenced with original Cash Harmon documentation and viewings of episodes. No text may be reproduced without the express permission of the author. To use this material in research, you are requested to inform the author and credit his contribution accordingly. Thank you.

Number 96 building 1977
Original painting by John Northcote


Will the adulterous Fay Chandler cope with the news that her husband, Bernard, is dead?

What has convinced Dudley Butterfield to return to Don Finlayson's bed?

Will young Kerry Bradden regain his sight?

What does Lord Andrew Whittaker keep in his mysterious hatbox?

Will Gary Whittaker's impotence ruin his relationship with Laura Trent?

Is Herb Evans a thief, a cheat and a playboy?

REPEAT OF SPECIAL: Number 96: And They Said It Wouldn't Last. (17/01/1977) With a new ending presented by Dina Mann, with closing narration by Dal Myles.

This special recapped the cliffhangers from the previous season and previewed forthcoming episodes. Aired at 8.30 pm in Sydney.

1099, 1100. (18/1/1977) The tart accompanying Herb Evans waits until he falls asleep, then leaves the train with the bag containing $10,000 and his wallet. Don and Dudley reminisce about their past relationships and agree that, this time, it is too late to start afresh. A cranky train cleaner (Doris Goddard) orders Herb off the train at Newcastle, the end of the line. Kerry undergoes emergency surgery to restore his sight. When Andrew arrives home with a box of rat poison, Norma's grave suspicions about him are raised to new heights. On the strength of the overwhelming evidence concerning the missing Herb, Dorrie commences divorce proceedings. Is Herb really a thief and a playboy? Kerry's father, John Braddon, loses his temper. [Episodes written by Ross Napier; directed by Brian Phillis.]

Doris Goddard portrays the train cleaner. Previously, she was Margo Campbell in Episode #497. Two episodes were again being screened back-to-back in Sydney, twice weekly, now on Tuesday and Thursday nights.

1101, 1102. (20/01) The disappearances of Herb and the Bowling Club funds threaten to break up the Mainwarings' marriage, too. Dudley tells Laura that Gary's impotence prevented him from making love to Jody. Jane and Debbie have returned from their holiday at Surfers' Paradise with a new boarder named Rob Forsyth (John McTernan); he staggers a concerned Don with the statement that he is a homosexual. Herb arrives home but Dorrie refuses to communicate with him. A policeman (John Kelly) wants Herb to accompany him to the police station to be questioned. [Episodes written by Ross Napier; directed by Brian Phillis.]

1103, 1104. (25/01) Grant maintains that Lee's actions goaded their father into suiciding, but Lee believes that Bernard may not be dead. Aunt Maria urges Giovanni to visit Father Quinn in Leichhardt for Confession. Reg and Edie are seemingly the last to learn about Bernard's passing. Laura uses all her feminine wiles to help Gary to regain his virility. A bizarre letter from South Africa accuses Andrew of having murdered his wife. Rob thinks that Don is straight. Sir William withdraws his donation from the Bowling Club. [Episodes written by Derek Strahan; directed by Peter Benardos.]

Aunt Maria Panucci serves the oft-mentioned Mrs Myrtle McIntyre in the deli.

1105, 1106. (27/01) Lord Andrew's hatbox mystery reminds Dudley of the movie, "Night Must Fall" (1937), in which Danny, the psychopathic killer, was always whistling "Mighty Like a Rose", the same tune being whistled by Lord Andrew. Gary seems to be the perpetrator of a cruel hoax: is he trying to convince the Chandlers that Bernard is still alive? Dorrie suspects that the murderous Andrew has poisoned her dinner. Fay's strange behaviour is a set-back; she is responsible for the phantom phone calls and telegrams. Jane and Dudley try to set the scene for romance between Don and a fellow homosexual. Lee feels the weight of responsibility over Bernard's suicide and his mother's sanity. [Episodes written by Derek Strahan; directed by Peter Benardos.]

The 1901 song, "Mighty Lak' a Rose" features lyrics by Frank Lebby Stanton and music by Ethelbert Nevin. The movie "Night Must Fall" starred Robert Montgomery and Rosalind Russell. It was remade in 1964 with Albert Finney and Susan Hampshire. The storyline with Lord Andrew's hatbox is also reminiscent of a 1958 movie, "The Thing That Couldn't Die", which featured a centuries-old crate containing the living head of Gideon Drew, a 16th century devil worshipper, who was beheaded by Sir Francis Drake.

1107, 1108. (1/02) Lee's attempt on his own life is unsuccessful. A conversation between Norma and Gary is overheard by Andrew. Dudley dabbles in a little matchmaking on Don's behalf. Rob's visa expires in two weeks, but he refuses Don's offer of help. The bandages are removed from Kerry's eyes by the surgeon (Michael Morton-Evans). Norma conducts a fruitless search for Andrew's hat box. Mr Hardy (Rob Steele) of McCabe Constructions visits Flat 7 to reassure Lee and Grant that Bernard's work colleague, Jack Turner, was responsible for the explosion that killed their father. An important overseas phone call for Laura and Gary is intercepted by Andrew. [Episodes written by Ken Shadie; directed by Brian Phillis.]

Author and radio broadcaster Michael Morton-Evans cameos as Kerry Bradden's surgeon. He is credited in these episodes as "M. Morton-Evans".

1109, 1110. (3/02) The contents of Andrew's mysterious hat box are a source of great alarm for at least three residents of Number 96. The truth is out: Gary is the true Earl Macraddonow, but will Laura agree to become his wife? Dorrie gets an unexpected call from Flo, who is holidaying at Wattamolla Beach. Clan warfare develops between the MacDonalds and the Whittakers, but Dorrie is the first casualty. Arnold and Dudley are hurt by Kerry's reaction to his father. Don must reveal his true feelings about Rob. Will Giovanni join the priesthood? Maria becomes besotted by Arnold. Flo receives the shock of her life: a fisherman (Alan McGuiness) believes that Sir William has been washed off the rocks, leaving only his rod and fishing basket. [Episodes written by Ken Shadie; directed by Brian Phillis.]

1111, 1112. (8/02) Sir William is missing, presumed drowned. Open war breaks out between the Whittakers and the MacDonalds as the result of a flying haggis. Don tries to determine the reason why Rob won't apply for an extension to his visa. Claire Houghton has further news about Sir William which shatters Flo. Debbie plans for her future. Claire offers Grant $5 to mind Serena for her, so long as he doesn't let her mix with the local mongrels. Janine Vezzula (Delores Ernst) arrives at the deli to reunite with Giovanni, but Maria is horrified. Who is Jane's secret boyfriend? [Episodes written by David Sale; directed by Peter Benardos.]

Delores Ernst reprises her role of Janine Vezzula. She was last seen in Episode #953.

1113, 1114. (10/02) Gary tries to live up to the promise he made to Laura. Edie withdraws all of her "services" from Reg. Grant prepares for life as Claire's gigolo. Don makes his most serious decision. There are dire consequences for the MacDonalds during the Highland Games. Debbie attempts to convince Don to abandon his plan to emigrate to America, but Rob surprises everyone and puts an end to all discussion. Jane and Rob just got married half an hour ago! [Episodes written by David Sale; directed by Peter Benardos.]

1115, 1116. (15/02) Jane and Rob try to justify their actions to Don. Edie's destiny is being influenced by tea leaves. Claire introduces Grant to her maid, Jasmine, and informs Grant of the extent of his duties. Don wants Rob to seek an annulment. Giovanni is shocked by Janine's vulgarity. Jane announces that she is pregnant. [Episodes written by Ross Napier; directed by Brian Phillis.]

1117, 1118. (17/02) There are plans afoot for Lee and Grant to move into Flat 5. Flo still has trouble accepting that Sir William is dead. Gary has an ultimatum which he plans to put to Laura. Reg discusses an important cultural exchange with Dorrie. Arnold has won the New South Wales Sauce-Making Contest and must travel to Melbourne to compete in the finals. Mr Bennett (Alan Harvey) and a friend, business associates of Sir William arrive at Mainwaring House looking for him. [Episodes written by Ross Napier; directed by Brian Phillis.]

1119, 1120. (22/02) The situation regarding Janine causes Giovanni to come to blows and a vendetta rears its ugly head. Did Sir William fake his own death? Dorrie hears some shattering news about the American trip. The predicament facing Don, Rob and Jane reaches a stalemate. It seems that Arnold has taken to keeping a gun under the counter in the deli. Dudley is convinced he saw Sir William alive and well in Oxford Street. [Episodes written by Derek Strahan; directed by Peter Benardos.]

1121, 1122. (24/02) Luigi Vezzula (Franco Valentino) is seeking Janine and he threatens Maria with a knife. Lee is fired from his new job at Kings Cross, but this of great relief to Reg. A prowler breaks into Flat 2. Jane is jealous that Rob spent the night with Don. Laura does not intend to let Gary disappear into thin air. Benito Vezzula (Brandon Burke) tells Luigi that he has found Giovanni. Dorrie gets into practice for her American exchange. In a dog competition, Serena comes second to "that Farnsworth woman's little horror - a 'cartoon' poodle!" At an Oxford Street jewellery store, Don pretends to be a "Mr Rankin", who wants the perfect gift for his "Sharlene". The jeweller (Brian Barrie) makes an appointment for him to talk to the original owners of a special piece. Norma is sobbing about losing Gary to the UK. Grant and Lee come to blows over Claire Houghton. Don is left for dead after an assault. [Episodes written by Derek Strahan; directed by Peter Benardos.]

1123, 1124. (1/03) A surprise for Norma and Andrew arrives in the post. Sir William's "ghost" seems to be everywhere. Claire is horrified when it appears that Serena has been kidnapped. Norma finally agrees to accept Andrew's proposal to move to Texas. A lawer colleague, Peter Wallace (Phil Jaye), warns Don about the Mainwaring case. A crank call for Don is intercepted by Debbie. Lee finds Serena and Grant suspects him of taking her in the first place. Edie's tea leaf prophecy may come true: Giovanni is in grave danger of being killed. [Episodes written by Ken Shadie; directed by Brian Phillis.]

1125, 1126. (3/03) Jane's attempt to seduce Rob is a failure and he moves in with Don. As predicted by Maria, Arnold's peace conference is a complete failure. Flo comes under suspicion. The vendetta is finally resolved in time to thwart a knife battle from reaching its bloody conclusion. Luigi presents Giovanni with a worse problem: Janine's hand in marriage. A farewell party is being planned for one of Number 96's residents: Norma will be heading off to Texas. Peter reminds Don that he is a lawyer, not "Mannix, Private Eye". Flo discovers a "stranger" in the house. [Episodes written by Ken Shadie; directed by Brian Phillis.]

1127, 1128. (8/03) Flo makes secret plans to leave Australia with Sir William, who is very much alive. Edie confirms a previously foreseen death through the tea leaves: her own. Herb's news about the American exchange may split he and Dorrie forever. Jane's pregnancy is no longer a secret. Dudley has grand plans, both for the wine bar and the King of Trivia TV show. A tragedy ensues from Don's exhaustive enquiries. [Episodes written by David Sale; directed by Peter Benardos.]

The large question mark over Flat 7 in the end credits is replaced by "TO LET".

1129, 1130. (10/03) Grant "moves in" on Claire. Dudley makes his dazzling debut on television, even besting the host Adrian Chivers (Tony Langshaw). Don informs Flo that Sir William has been killed in a plane crash, but a false passport will ensure that his reputation will remain intact. Jane finds herself in a position which can have Rob deported and the truth about her forthcoming baby is revealed. Grant has been fired. Edie is convinced she is going to die. She refuses all assistance, despite her steadily weakening condition. A doctor (Peter Hanlon) at the hospital advises psychiatric help. Claire is attacked by an intruder in her home. As Arnold prepares for his Melbourne trip, Charles "Chook" Feather (Jeff Kevin) arrives unannounced; he is Arnold's identical twin brother. [Episodes written by David Sale; directed by Peter Benardos.]

Melbourne temporarily suspended its regular twice-weekly screenings of episodes at this point, due to unsatisfactory ratings. Upon its return a week later, only one hour per week was screened until the show reached its finale. On 13/03/1977, Swedish pop group ABBA completed an extensive Australian tour. The tour would become the subject of a "mockumentary" comedy-drama, "ABBA: The Movie", featuring Number 96's Tom Oliver (Jack Sellars) as the band's bodyguard.

1131, 1132. (15/03) Arnold has received the shock of his life. Police Sergeant Derek Costa (Stephen O'Rourke) has questions for Reg, which he cannot answer. An old friend comes into Don's life when he bumps into Dr Harold Wilkinson (Dave Allenby). They were once on the same university debating team. Maria wants $1000 from Luigi for breaking the marriage contract between Giovanni and Janine. Flat 7 has a new tenant: Edie's psychiatrist, Dr Wilkinson! At the airport, Dorrie sheds sad tears of farewell as Herb departs for a three-month exchange in Paddington, Michigan, in the USA. Grant is unable to come up with an alibi when he most needs it. Edie is missing. [Episodes written by Ross Napier; directed by Brian Phillis.]

The political party Australian Democrats was launched on this day by former Liberal MP, Don Chipp. (Number 96's Elisabeth Kirkby (Lucy Sutcliffe) would become State Parliamentary Leader for the NSW Australian Democrats from 1981 to 1998, serving in the Legislative Council.)

The opening and closing credits now show a watercolour painting of the apartment building by John Northcote, showing the new "Duddles'" replacing "Norma's Bar". This saved costs of redressing the actual shopfronts at Moncur Flats to shoot new footage. In previous episodes, Claire Houghton's outdoor furniture was a reuse of the chairs and a table from the Boulevarde Cafe. Here, they are of different design. Stephen O'Rourke portrays Derek Costa, becomes a regular character from Episode #1183.

1133, 1134. (17/03) Edie's tragic situation goes from bad to worse. Nobody has remembered Debbie's 18th birthday. Dudley's new plans for the wine bar exasperate Rob. Dorrie plans to devote herself to Herb's American exchangee, Henri P Dobb, when he arrives. Jane upsets Rob with news of her recent abortion. Claire makes a serious decision following her dreadful experience. Giovanni threatens to sue Rob over his insult. Arnold sends surprising news from Melbourne; he has won the sauce contest. [Episodes written by Ross Napier; directed by Brian Phillis.]

Claire speaks to the oft-mentioned Bunty Watkins on the phone.

1135, 1136. (22/03) Grant makes desperate plans to extricate himself from trouble. Debbie resolves to lose her virginity. Madame Zenda is called in to save Edie's life, but she is revealed to be a scruffy journalist named Jock Walpole (Brian Wenzel). Dorrie's American visitor is still missing. Dudley's new-look wine bar, Duddles', takes the neighbourhood by surprise. Harold's grandmother, Opal Wilkinson (Nat Nixon), finally turns up in Flat 7, having been waylaid by Chook in the new disco. Dorrie and Flo are stunned by a TV news segment by Brian Proud (Himself). Herb has become involved in an international incident: his plane from San Francisco to Lansing is skyjacked to Mexico by terrorists. [Episodes written by Derek Strahan; directed by Peter Benardos.]

Dorothy Foster was originally signed to play Opal Wilkinson, and publicity about her appeared the media a few weeks before the character's debut. Dorothy Foster was a radio star, famous as creator/writer and star (as Ada) in "Ada and Elsie", which had an 18-year run on Radio National. The role of Opal eventually went to Nat Nixon. Once again, Channel TEN TV newsreader, Brian Proud, appears as himself to announce the skyjacking of Herb's plane. Previously, he had presented a story for TV on the Paddington garbage strike in Episode #892 and a Randwick bank robbery in Episode #931. Brian would return to interview Opal Wilkinson on TV in Episode #1207. "Wine bar music by 'The Executives'", voiceover by Dal Myles, perhaps indicating rectification of a neglected onscreen credit? Episode #1136 was later showcased in Foxtel/Austar TV1's "Television's Greatest Hits: The Best of Number 96" (2000), introduced by Andrew Mercado.

1137, 1138. (24/03) Grant has devised a scheme with Claire to save himself. Harold has strong words for his Gran, Opal, about her outrageous behaviour. The phony Madame Zenda convinces Edie that she isn't dying. Giovanni is in deep financial trouble, but has a coaching session in poker with Opal. Dorrie is upset by a satellite news item from America's KBRC-TV reporter (Chuck McKinney); Herb had actually missed the hijacked plane, but is he having an affair with Bernice Jancowitz? Giovanni and Maria's bistro is thriving because the wine bar no longer serves meals. Grant knocks out an intruder at Claire's, but it is Derek. Together, they capture the real burglar: Jasmine the maid. Arnold returns with an unusual problem. He can't remember the recipe for his prize-winning sauce. Edie receives a telephone call from Dean in Spain. Henrietta P. Dobb (Chelsea Brown) finally turns up at Flat 3 - with an entourage of flight attendants. [Episodes written by Derek Strahan; directed by Peter Benardos.]

The oft-mentioned Lord and Lady Lumberdale are planning a yachting trip with Claire. Herb's supposed tryst with Mrs Sumner-Spring also gets a mention from Dorrie.

1139, 1140. (29/03) A homeless Giovanni saves Debbie's life. Dorrie and Flo have to face facts with Henri. The MacDonalds decide to leave Number 96 and book a trip to Spain to see Dean and Marilyn. Reg catches a thief in their flat, but it's only Henri collecting the garbage. Arnold departs for Paris, still concerned over the deli's new Giomaria Bistro. A photographer (Bert Bianchi) does a publicity shoot with Henri, Reg, Dorrie and Flo. When she gets a chance, Henri opens the camera and exposes the film to the light. Dudley hears from Channel TEN and is presented with the chance to alter his whole life. Jane, who is still causing trouble for Don, meets up with Sandy (Donna Ritchie) for a mysterious pay-off. Jane has another, riskier task for her and Keith. [Episodes written by Ken Shadie; directed by Brian Phillis.]

1141, 1142. (31/03) Henri's behaviour raises Dorrie's suspicions. Giovanni's losses continue to soar as the poker game in Flat 6 attracts several other residents. Dorrie may be guilty of indecent exposure. A former resident of Number 96, Marilyn MacDonald (Frances Hargreaves), returns to be with a dying relative. She is overwhelmed by all of the changes. Rob is the victim of a cruel set-up when Keith Travis (Rob Dallas), Sandy's friend, returns a lighter that Don supposedly left behind the previous night in Whale Beach, when he was supposed to be alone in Canberra. Harold has a surprise patient who asks for psychiatric help. Giovanni is wrongly accused. The truth about light-fingered Chook is revealed. [Episodes written by Ken Shadie; directed by Brian Phillis.]

Rob Dallas, who portrays Keith Travis, previously appeared as Dr Julian Flaxman in Episode #812. The wardrobe tags are visible on the soles of Chook's thongs. The script makes several references to Arnold's missing leg.

1143, 1144. (5/04) Marilyn tells Grant about the death of her Spanish bullfighter husband, El Bordello. Opal outfits a new consulting room for Harold. Dudley promotes Lee to the position of manager of the wine bar, which allows Dudley to concentrate on his new career: as compere of Duddles' Magic Lantern Show on television. Harold overhears, and misinterprets, a conversation between Debbie and her temporary flatmate, Giovanni. News of her nephew's carnal desires reach the ears of a stunned Maria. The possibility that Don has a new lover in Canberra is too much for Rob, who breaks down under the pressure. Henri has something to hide. Who has branded Jane a "fag hag" in a poison pen letter? [Episodes written by David Sale; directed by Peter Benardos.]

Flat 7 is redecorated by Norman Ross Discounts, in a big product placement drive.

1145, 1146. (7/04) Dorrie and Flo may have discovered a way to make millions: is there oil beneath the Sunshine Patio? Debbie coerces Jane to confess to her evil deeds, but the poison pen letters remain unexplained. Grant burns his bridges and prepares for a life of ease as a gigolo. Henri is hiding her true identity. Giovanni takes a shine to Marilyn. Henri and Grant perform a duet. Opal discovers Dorrie's secret. A violent assault takes place in Flat 5. [Episodes written by David Sale; directed by Peter Benardos.]

1147, 1148. (12/04) Marilyn tells Giovanni that the intruder examined her bare bottom with a magnifying glass. Claire hosts a party attended by several Number 96 residents. An exasperated Detective Sergeant (Gordon Piper) at the police station tries to get her to provide a clear description of her attacker. During a consultation, Harold's new patient, Miss Hemingway (Deborah Gray), bares more than her soul. Grant wants Claire to keep her promise. Giovanni suspects that Chook is the mysterious, would-be rapist. Claire consults Harold about her attraction to Grant. Rob thinks he has guessed the identity of the blackmailer; only Jane knew about his past. Maria has romantic designs on Chook. Dorrie and Flo consult with Solly Goldman (Henri Szeps) about buying the mineral rights for their oil discovery under the Sunshine Patio. Solly rings his colleague, Hymie, for advice on how to best swindle them. A bikie (Phil Avalon) from The Devils gang expresses his distaste over the pasta served at the Giomaria Bistro by harassing Giovanni with a chain weapon. Chook comes to his rescue. Claire receives a blackmail letter and accuses Harold. [Episodes written by Ross Napier; directed by Brian Phillis.]

Deborah Gray, who portrays the controversial Miss Hemingway, garnered a lot of publicity by being the series' first continuing character to do full-frontal nudity. The character name is no doubt derived from Ernest Hemingway, author of "A Farewell to Arms" and other classics, who apparently wrote nude, standing up, with his typewriter at about waist level. His cousin, Edward Hemingway, opened Britain's oldest nudist colony, a nine-bedroom chateau called Metherell Towers in the 1930s. Deborah had previously played the topless Judy in Episodes #1085-1086. Henri Szeps, who portrays Solly Goldman, previously appeared as Mr Mayhew in Episode #687 and, as recurring character, Phillip Chambers, from Episodes #937-938. Phil Avalon presumably portrays the same bikie (previously uncredited) who had witnessed (and participated?) in the rape of Vera Collins in the 1974 movie. Phil's first appearance in the TV series was as Vince Dexter in Episode #493, but he had already filmed his cameo as the bikie the previous December.

1149, 1150. (14/04) Claire threatens to start criminal proceedings against Harold. Dudley discovers the down side of being a celebrity. He is greeted by a naked lady (Terry Herlihy). Chook has booked fans to visit them in Flat 6 every half hour. Manuel Garcia (Garth Meade) believes that Marilyn is in grave danger of losing her life. Blackmail threatens to destroy Dudley's new career. The tattoo on Marilyn's bottom is actually Pepe Bordello's Swiss bank account number! Herb writes that he has met Henri's granddaughter! Opal is suspected of being the blackmailer. Mrs Hadley (Jinx Huber) from Paddington, Michigan, drops in for a brief visit, during a world tour, just to see Henri, but it seems to Dorrie and Flo that her Henrietta is a different person - very religious and always out saving souls. As Mrs Hadley leaves the building, she bumps into Henri - and they don't recognise each other. Dorrie's suspicions increase when Herb's letter arrives. He has now met Henri's extended family, including her son, Franklin (an advisor to the State Department on chicken feed), her daughter, Merle (president of a book-of-the-month club), and little granddaughter, Sue-Anne, who just made her debut with Ringling Brothers' Circus as an elephant trainer! As promised, another bikie (David Foster) brings some mates to the deli to hassle Giovanni and Chook and another fight breaks out. Grant returns to Claire, who melts in his arms. The kidnapped Giovanni becomes the victim of a vicious attack; the gang ties him to the back of a motorbike and drag him behind it. [Episodes written by Ross Napier; directed by Brian Phillis.]

Terry Herlihy, who portrays the naked lady previously played Victoria in Episode #886. Garth Meade, who portrays Manuel Garcia, is the once-husband of Elaine Lee. He would go on to play a regular role, Norman Pendleton, in "Arcade". The bikie played by David Foster will become part of this complex story arc. Jinx Huber (now Jinx Lootens), who portrays the Mrs Hadley, was the then-wife of Executive Producer Bob Huber. Jinx had previously appeared as Samantha Vanderhum (from Episode #235), and as a nurse in 1973. She would return as Coral Fuller (aka Olga Medcalf) from Episode #1187.

1151, 1152. (19/04) Maria returns from Leichhardt to find the deli closed and Flat 2 deserted. Dudley wakes up Chook, who has no memory of last night's incident with the bikie gang. Marilyn and Manuel are caught in a compromising situation. Reg and Edie's luggage comes under the close scrutiny of the Customs officials (Edward J Newman & Bettina Smeaton). Lee moves downstairs to Flat 1, behind Duddles'. Maria and Chook go in search of Giovanni after a mysterious phone call suggests where Giovanni can be found. Reg and Edie catch Marilyn in a compromising position with Manuel. Giovanni is found, hanging unconscious, in a deserted shed. He has been crucified by the bikies. Edie's chat with a reporter, William Hickey, has resulted in a damaging newspaper headline about Reg. Flo pulls a practical joke, dressed as an Arab sheik. Edie has a slide show, with several poor shots of Dean playing tennis. Flo's joke "A-rab costume" backfires on a robed man advertising Mohammed's Take-Away Shish-Kebabs. Reg receives a telegram at the TH about Henri. News of two deaths shocks the residents. Chook informs Dudley of Giovanni's death in an ambulance, who then informs Don and Harold. Don thinks that Opal is involved in the blackmail letters. Giovanni is revived by cardiac massage, but Reg is informed that the missing Henri has died in Tahiti. [Episodes written by Derek Strahan; directed by Peter Benardos.]

In Sydney, these episodes aired at 9.30pm due to the screening of the mini-series, "Roots". The storyline of Giovanni's crucifixion is based on the real-life incident that supposedly involved US film actor, Peter Fonda (of 1964's "The Wild Angels" and 1969's "Easy Rider"). The journalist, Mr Hickey, is eventually revealed to have a first name, William, and to be a reporter for the "Paddo Scream". He appears onscreen in Episode #1173. The "Paddo Scream" newspaper is referenced several times in the series, including in Episode #517. It is a tongue-in-cheek parody of the "Kings Cross Whisper, which was instigated in 1964. One of its journalists was actor/artist Max Cullen (Ralph Finlayson in "Number 96"), who wrote under the pseudonym of "Marc Thyme".

1153, 1154. (21/04) The truth about Henri is finally revealed: for a start, her real name is Hope Jackson. The real Henri was 80 years old and decided that she wanted to escape her previous life, stay in Tahiti and paint. Maria is distressed about the still-comatose Giovanni. Marilyn's decision to live in sin is a shock to Reg, so Chook protects her honour in a duel with Manuel. Early in the morning, a policeman (Ian Turpie) evacuates all of the residents to protect their lives from a dangerous oil leak. Another police officer (Michael McAlister) visits Flat 8 to explain the details of the oil leak to Don. Giovanni awakens from his coma. Paul Sheldon (David Foster) of the Race Relations Board visits the deli to interview Chook about the bikie incidents. Claire receives a blackmail demand from the anonymous letter writer. Some important evidence is discovered by Opal in Harold's Flat 7 consulting room: a tiny listening bug. Only his fellow neo-Nazi bikies know of Paul's other identity. [Episodes written by Derek Strahan; directed by Peter Benardos.]

In Sydney, these episodes aired at 9.30pm due to the screening of the mini-series, "Roots". David Foster, who plays Paul Sheldon, previously portrayed Colin Morris in Episodes #928 and 929. He also appeared, uncredited, as Rocky in Episode #1080. On the next Monday (25/04/1977), news broke in the media that the series was to conclude, with all storylines being tied up, and the taping of the final episodes (#1217-1218) scheduled to begin on 15/07/1977.

1155, 1156. (26/04) Maria prays for Giovanni's recovery. Chook tells her that he has another meeting with Paul Sheldon coming up. Don conceives of a plan to trap the blackmailer with his own bugging device. Over a meal, Paul explains to Chook about the Race Relations Board. Paul is pleased to hear the Giovanni is expected to have full recall of his ordeal. Harold is unable to help Miss Hemingway with a solution to her problem. Jane's discovery about Debbie horrifies her. Hope cannot find her property on a map of Petersham. Chook receives a surprise phone call from Arnold, who is still in Paris. Edie confesses to Reg that, in order to protect Marilyn, she has paid Chook to break their engagement. Paul gives Chook a Nazi text, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. Manuel confesses all: he was after Marilyn's bank balance and is already married. Paul threatens his bikie gang and orders them to think of another way to exterminate Giovanni. Disguised as a priest, Duncan Swann (Ken Shorter) visits Giovanni in the hospital - and removes all of his life-support tubes! [Episodes' script controller Johnny Whyte; directed by Brian Phillis.]

In Sydney, these episodes aired at 9.30pm due to the screening of the mini-series, "Roots".

1157, 1158. (28/04) Some nuns see Chook physically attacking a priest in the grounds of the hospital; it is not Father Quinn, but Duncan in disguise! Opal overhears Marilyn discussing her fortune and puts in a good word about Harold. Detective Sergeant Branigan (John Larking) has no luck interrogating Duncan has no luck, so Paul offers to speak with him in his holding cell. Maria returns to Leichhardt and suffers a nervous breakdown. Edie's secret meeting at the Paddington Town Hall, with DTC Bobby Bullock, causes her to question Reg's feelings. Reg overhears some of the details. The police interview Duncan in front of Chook and Paul. Paul offers to speak with Duncan privately in his cell, in hopes of breaking his resolve. Grant and Hope compete for singing gigs. Paul threatens Duncan to remain silent or his mother and sister will suffer. Chook tells Paul that Giovanni is okay and is under police guard. Dudley embarrasses Claire through a reference to a movie, Pal Joey, on his television show. Marilyn tries to seduce Harold. Jane tells Don about finding the tape recorder in Debbie's drawer. Arnold rings the deli, but Dorrie answers the phone and informs him about Giovanni's situation and Maria's nervous breakdown. The line suddenly drops out. Don is worried that Rob is walking into a dangerous situation. [Episodes' script controller Johnny Whyte; directed by Brian Phillis.]

John Larking's detective character is given the surname Branigan in Episode #1199. He plays a uniformed policeman in Episode #1216.

1159, 1160. (3/05) Rob confronts his blackmailer with a courage that reflects his true self. He is a schizophrenic! Paul leaves a funnelweb spider in the bed in Duncan's cell. Edie's big secret about her husband's knighthood has become common knowledge. Don is convinced that Debbie has committed a terrible crime. Dudley is attacked and stripped naked by screaming fans outside Number 96. Reg learns of Edie's connection with the Communist Party and is terrified of the repercussions. Rob drops the money into a hotel room, which is registered in the name of Toby Buxton. A policeman informs Chook that Duncan was found dead in his cell. Rob decides to play a deadly game with Don and rigs a booby trap. Claire interferes in Grant's career. [Episodes' script controller Johnny Whyte; directed by Peter Benardos.]

Toby Buxton, who is namedropped here, would become a recurring character from Episode #1165. Episode #1160 was one of the 24 episodes showcased in Foxtel/Austar TV1's "Television's Greatest Hits: The Best of Number 96" (2000), introduced by Andrew Mercado.

1161, 1162. (5/05) Rob falls victim to his own trap when a gunshot misses its intended victim. Chook's memory about the bikie attack is slowly returning. Don's grief results in his vicious attack on Debbie. Lee tells Grant that Fay requires private psychiatric care. Paul and his gang plot revenge against Chook. Rob dies of his injury. Dudley's newfound stardom is threatened by Claire's lawsuit. Reg has had cocktails with the Women's Temperance Association while Edie had a gin and tonic with Mrs Duxbury in Blacktown. Reg discovers an unwelcome visitor in his bathroom: Edie has brought home Bert Pollock (Ernest Butchard) before his meeting of the Subversive Activities Committee. Bert refuses to let Edie relinquish her accidental life membership of the Communist Party. Dorrie makes up her mind to evict Hope from Flat 3. Chook again puts his life in danger, managing to infiltrate one of the bikies' meetings. [Episodes' script controller Johnny Whyte; directed by Peter Benardos.]

1163, 1164. (10/05) Grant feels like a discarded lover. Chook seems to have disappeared while Don misses the funeral of someone very dear to him. Reg is further embarrassed by his wife's past associations. Dudley has grave suspicions about Paul, who claims that Chook is so scared of the bikies that he has staged a disappearance. Maria visits Giovanni, who is sure that he will soon remember the details of his attackers' identies. Grant is up for a recording contract, but he gets drunk at Rob's wake. George Walpole (Mark Marinato) of Mardi Gras Records is unimpressed with Grant - and Claire is embarrassed. The gang of bikies makes a new strike; they are holding Chook captive, who is strung up by his wrists. Paul tells them to prepare for Chook's "farewell". Marilyn tries to outstrip Miss Hemingway in Harold's flat. Paul gives Dudley a letter from Chook, which mentions that he has headed north. Paul lets it slip that Chook was wearing a Jean Harlow T-shirt, which belongs to Dudley. Maria warns Giovanni not to say anything about the bikies, as she has received a threatening letter. Dudley mentions to Hope that he was worried about Paul knowing what Chook was wearing when he disappeared. At afternoon tea time, Dorrie entertains some American visitors sent by Herb: Myron P Shoemacker III (Arthur Sherman) and his wife, Moitle Shoemacker (Lila Davies). The bikies prepare to burn Chook at the stake. [Episodes written by Ross Napier; directed by Brian Phillis.]

The storyline of Chook Feather's "bikie barbecue" is based on a real-life incident from 1976. Presumably, "Moitle" Shoemacker is actually "Myrtle", but the running gag persists throughout the script and end credits. Episode #1164 was later showcased in Foxtel/Austar TV1's "Television's Greatest Hits: The Best of Number 96" (2000), introduced by Andrew Mercado.

1165, 1166. (12/05) Dudley leads the police to the site of a "bikie barbeque", but they are not in time to prevent an explosion - and a death - as occurs when Paul rides through the flames on his bike. Reg dreams about his forthcoming driving lessons. Dudley tells Maria that the police had been on Paul's trail and had followed him to rescue Chook. Jane is surprised by two discoveries: a young man in Debbie's room and a thief in the wine bar. It seems Lee has been taking money to help Fay. Debbie lectures her university friend, Toby Buxton (Malcolm Thompson), about his manners. Aunt Maria brings all the relatives to Giovanni's hospital room to serenade him. A police officer (Stuart Campbell) is searching for Don's loved ones. Dorrie and Flo tell him that Don is away. News of a suspected suicide horrifies both of them. [Episodes written by Ross Napier; directed by Brian Phillis.]

Toby Buxton, who was first namedropped in Episode #1159, now becomes a recurring character.

1167, 1168. (17/05) Dudley and Chook lunch together at the Ramada Inn, where Chook confesses that he has VD. Dudley is aghast. Dorrie leaves for Casino to identify a body. Reg is in a state of shock when he leaves for his first driving lesson. His instructor, Miss Gumble (Aileen Britton), of Rick's Driving School, is also in for a shock. Opal has an ultimatum for Harold. Grant's singing career suffers a serious setback. Chook is presented with too much of a good thing. The mystery of Toby deepens. A police sergeant (Trevor Prior) is investigating a counterfeit $10 that was passed at the deli. Hope identifies its owner as Toby. Shani Carroll (Margie Brown) has an offer for Lee to "look the other way" whenever her girls "accommodate" the needs of the male patrons at Duddles'. [Episodes written by Derek Strahan; directed by Peter Benardos.]

Aileen Britton, who portrays Miss Gumble, was first namedropped in Episode #645. Previously, she had featured as Anne Florentine from Episode #678. She would soon portray Mrs Carlton-Bell in Episode #1192. Aileen would also go on to play a regular role, Joyce Blair, in "Arcade".

1169, 1170. (19/05) Giovanni is on the road to recovery. Lee is to take his mother to a new sanitarium, the Ziegler Clinic, in Gosford. A drug pusher seems to be working within Number 96. Lee can't escape from a shady deal. If Grant needs help in Claire's absence, all he has to do is "Ring for Pocock", her butler. Preparations are made for a surprise party for Dorrie. Hope talks with a longtime resident of 57 Valentine Street, Petersham, Mr Rochfort (Alton Harvey). He remembers Mr Jackson, and how the houses of Valentine Street were eventually renumbered. Number 127 became Number 67, but the management agreement that Hope's father signed allowed the property to eventually be surrended to creditors. Real estate agent Rory O'Hoolihan (Derek Strahan) shows Reg and Edie around a rental property in Rose Bay - and Edie ends up in the pool. Dr Zeigler (Kevin Manser) gives Lee shocking news: Fay's admission fee has already been paid in advance - by Claire Houghton. Grant's voice is still gone, despite medical advice from Dr Gott, Claire's Macquarie Street family physician. Grant and Claire's future is cemented forever. Opal insists that Miss Hemingway accompanies her and Harold to a function in Duddles'. Dorrie is overcome by a surprise party; at first, she is upset as she thought it was to celebrate Herb returning home. Dudley and Hope sing Why Wasn't I Told?, written by Flo, for Dorrie's birthday cabaret. Miss Hemingway is invited to do a poetry recital - and stays fully clothed! [Episodes written by Derek Strahan; directed by Peter Benardos.]

Scriptwriter Derek Strahan wrote a role for himself: Rory O'Hoolihan, including a broad Irish accent. Previously, he portrayed the minister who marries Arnold and Patti Feather in Episode #539. The lyrics of Dorrie's birthday jingle were probably penned by David Sale:

"Why wasn't I told that you love me?
Why wasn't I told that you care?
When everyone else knew already
You leave me up, up, up in the air.

"Now, why wasn't I told that you need me?
Why wasn't I told how it feels?
When everyone else knew already
You leave me cu-cu-ckoo in my head.

"I'm always the last one to know it.
It's so unfair.
I'm put out, but I'd never show it.
But I think it's so unfair.

"Why wasn't I told that you love me?
Why must I be left out in the cold?
When everyone else knew already
Why wasn't I, why wasn't I told?

1171, 1172. (24/05) Lee turns up late for work and with a bandage on his broken finger. Reg slips deeper and deeper into debt. A mysterious ticking package arrives for Flo, but it ends up in the bath. A phone call from Arnold in Paris creates an air of consternation. He tells Chook to sell the deli. Claire seems to be keeping Grant a prisoner in her home. Chook has some alarming facts to reveal about Shani. Hope visits her father's old house at Petersham, at first pretending to be an entertainer, Stella Knight, supposedly in need of Meg's Megaphone answering service. Hope eventually befriends the house's owner, Meg Robinson (June Salter). When Meg's secretary (Kathy Trout) goes to lunch, Hope attempts to answer a call that comes in on the switchboard. She tries to sing a client's crying baby to sleep, unsuccessfully. Over a martini, Dr Gott (John Dease) assures Claire that Grant's throat ailment is a symptom of the same "annoying wog" that Lady Betsy had. He also gossips about Lorna Lumberdale's "broken" toe, which is a mere sprain. She hurt it while using the escalators at Circular Quay Station. Reg brings home William Hickey, journalist of The Paddo Scream, to attempt to circumvent him turning in a story from Edie's recent speech, in which she had mentioned Marilyn living in sin with Harold. [Episodes written by Ken Shadie; director Brian Phillis mistakenly uncredited.]

Hope's story arc, which sets up a comedy spin-off pilot episode, "Hope'll Help", and takes inspiration from the 1960 movie, "Bells Are Ringing". John Dease portrays Dr Gott, who first appeared in Episode #35 and #373, portrayed by George Carden. John Dease previously played Dr Bennett in 1976.

1173, 1174. (26/05) A serious operation is performed on Grant without permission. Opportunities to make a fortune excite Dudley, Giovanni and Maria. The awful truth behind Toby's unusual behaviour is at last revealed: he is dying from leukaemia, but Debbie has been sworn to secrecy. Debbie remembers back to the day that Mrs Buxton (Joan Lord) received the Last Rights and passed away. Hope bumbles through her first day on the job as Meg's new switchboard operator at Megaphone. Canon Clydesdale has been invited to unveil Toby's "murial" on the Sunshine Patio fence. At a gathering of the residents, Toby explains that he calls it The Copulation Explosion, depicting our world as "a giant screw". Dorrie is outraged over Toby's "pornographical murial". Opal's gossip catches up with her. Someone deliberately runs her over in a car as she leaves a local TAB. [Episodes written by Ken Shadie; directed by Brian Phillis.]

Episode #1174 contains scenes from the first half of the unsuccessful 30-minute comedy spin-off pilot, "Hope'll Help".

1175, 1176. (31/05) Harold is inconsolable about Opal's accident. Lee feels responsible for his brother's tragic circumstances. Marilyn is cramming from The Life of a Nun now that she has decided to enter Holy Orders. Hope recounts her latest misadventures at Megaphone to Dorrie and Flo. She is getting too involved with the clients, from finding new patients for Dr Cavanagh or reading out a recipe to Mademoiselle Monique for Sweet Potato Pie. Meg and Bert (Al Thomas), her useless boyfriend of 12 years, argue about the "Six Items or Less" checkout at the supermarket. Actress Angela Burke has received a coffin from a creepy admirer and Hope has it delivered to Megaphone so the undertakers could collect it. Meg's daughter, Emma Robinson (Lorna Lesley), is trying to get a date for a university ball. Young movie stuntman, George (Graeme Bassett), collides with Al, who ends up with a bucket on his head. Hope tries to matchmate Emma and George. Lee forces the truth out of Shani: Opal's accident was no accident. Jane's future takes a terrifying turn and a new lodger - Toby's poodle named Dog - moves into Flat 4. George spills a drink onto a flashy girl (Rita Ryder) and her tough guy (Ray Meagher) date starts a bar fight. Bert is hiding from Meg in the coffin. He turns up in a sandwich board for Zen Buddhist Pizza Parlour. Dr Mike Cavanagh (John Hamblin) turns up, expecting to meet Hope on the switchboard, but Emma is sitting in for her instead. They seem attracted to each other. Accident-prone George arrives for his date with Emma but thinks he has broken his ankle. Emma takes Mike to the ball instead. George will take Hope to the movies instead. Angela rings in wanting Hope's help to look after three Russian wolfhounds. Herb breaks some serious news to Dorrie in a letter. He has fallen in love with someone else. [Episodes written by David Sale; directed by Peter Benardos.]

These episodes contain scenes from the second half of the 30-minute comedy spin-off pilot, "Hope'll Help". Ray Meagher and Rita Ryder appear here as "Tough guy" and "Flashy girl" but will be introduced as recurring characters, Fred and Elsie Shrimpton, in Episode #1179.

1177, 1178. (2/06) Edie takes Dog for a walk, but Dorrie finds some evidence of his presence. Dudley plans a marriage, while Chook fails in his bid to impersonate Arnold. Giovanni warns Chook that a woman named Vicki keeps ringing up to speak to him. Alan (Gordon Poole), an obvious out-of-towner (from Wagga), pulls up outside the building looking for a "Denise". Jane makes a transaction and goes with him. At a meeting of the residents, Don decides that he will let Dog stay on. The residents learn the truth about Toby's condition. Claire is forced to make the ultimate sacrifice. The surgeon, Mr Craig, has said that it may be some time before Grant can sing again. The MacDonalds find themselves homeless. Vicki Dawson (Kay Powell) turns up at the deli accusing Arnold of being the father of her child. [Episodes written by Dick Barry; directed by Peter Benardos.]

Gordon Poole, who portrays Alan, was previously Stinky's owner in Episode #588 and Mervin Baker in Episode #1053. He will return to play Dr Marshall in Episode #1201. Ronald Morse had appeared as the offscreen namedropped surgeon, Mr Craig, in Episodes #112 and #136. His other character, Neville De Groot recurred from Episode #428.

1179, 1180. (7/06) Chook's fiancée, Vicki, has arrived at Number 96. Flat 5's new tenants, Fred and Elsie Shrimpton (Ray Meagher and Rita Ryder) are something of a shock, but Reg and Edie are permitted to stay on in the spare bedroom for an additional week. Elsie persists in plying her twin babies, Freda and Benny, with gin to keep them quiet. For Arnold's sake, Chook makes a sacrifice. Dorrie can't understand why no one will sign her petition to oust Toby. Maria comes into money. Arnold impersonates Chook, but Vicki is not fooled. Jane's new professional duties involve a particularly kinky customer... but it's actually Toby, and he has a whip. [Episodes written by Ross Napier; directed by Brian Phillis.]

1181, 1182. (9/06) Toby has a bittersweet surprise for Debbie: an air ticket to Florence, Italy. Fred admits to Elsie that he stole Edie's purse. Dorrie receives Herb's wedding ring through the post. Distraught, Dorrie decides to take a trip to Melbourne to see her daughter. In a case of mistaken identity, Reg is charged with defrauding the Australian Government by a Federal police officer (Tony Wager). Jane's pimp, Judd (John Orcsik), makes good on his threats to teach her a lesson. Flo discovers an unexpected person who has arrived back on the scene: Herb! An unholy alliance is formed between Lee and Shani. Dudley proposes to Shani, but she turns him down. Herb explains how he had to escape from Bernice Jancowitz. Giovanni's new love, Candy (Melissa Mitchell), is found naked in a wardrobe. Shani's brother, Max Carroll (Stuart Campbell), has escaped from prison. He becomes a crazed gunman, bringing death to Number 96. [Episodes written by Ross Napier; directed by Brian Phillis.]

Edie MacDonald slips out of Norma's Bar by "the back way", pretending that she is going to the toilet, to avoid Reg. This is probably the first time the wine bar's public bathroom (or lack thereof) is revealed by the script. John Orcsik, who portrays Judd returns in a new guest role, and credited as John "Crosik". Previously, he played Simon Carr in a 1972 story arc, returning as Simon for the 1974 movie version.

1183, 1184. (14/06) The wine bar siege continues: Dudley has been killed and Don, Harold, Lee, Flo and Jane are among the terrified hostages. Herb tells Opal about his troubles with Bernice Jancowitz. Derek tells Superintendant Jansen (Ken Goodlet) about the seige situation in Lindsay Street. Max's demands were phoned through by Don. Jansen castigates Derek for acting hastily. The residents of Number 96 have been evacuated to the Beauregard Hotel, where Vicki is already staying. At 2.00am, the patience of the owner, Mrs Ferguson (Patricia Hill), is sorely tested. Herb and Opal will have to share a twin room. Agnes O'Connor (Joy Cashmore) is sent to lock the main door. The Number 96 residents exasperate both the management and permanent tenants. Opal manages to chloroform Giovanni while demonstrating her solution to ending the siege. Lee escapes out of a window but Max retaliates by shooting another hostage. Herb becomes a hostage and Jane's life is hanging by a thread. Derek manages to kill Max. The spinster Tanqueray sisters are not pleased that their hotel has been invaded by strangers. Luigi, the Lenzis' old enemy, announces that Janine is engaged; he wants Maria's help to organise the wedding. Derek has been suspended from his police duties. Toby's health is of increasing concern to Debbie. Shani faces death at the hands of Alex Leicher (Revelly Jones) and his syndicate. He tells Shani that Judd has already met with a "nasty accident". She is ordered to take an overdose of pills. [Episodes written by Derek Strahan; directed by Peter Benardos.]

The banter between the "Beauregard Hotel" staff, permanent guests and Lindsay Street evacuees is often reminiscent of "Fawlty Towers" (1975), particularly the addition of the elderly Tanqueray (Torquay?) sisters. Stephen O'Rourke returns as Derek Costa, a role he first played in Episode #1131. Ken Goodlet, who plays Superintendant Jansen, was both Mr Holloway and John Harvey Jr in 1972. Franco Valentino returns as Luigi Vezzula. He was last seen in Episode #1125. Previously, he played Guiseppe in an arc from Episode #113. Revelly Jones, who portrays Alex Leicher, was previously the recurring John Braddon, last seen in Episode #1109.

1185, 1186. (16/06) Maria is too distracted to work in the deli. Dog returns from the park without Toby. Dorrie returns to a scene of tragedy. Opal reveals that she has shared a bed with someone's husband. Grant discovers Shani unconscious and she is rushed to hospital. Herb meets a naked Miss Hemingway on the Sunshine Patio, much to Dorrie's displeasure. Grant receives a nest egg from Claire, but confesses to Harold that he'll never be able to sing again. Don drives Mabel Butterfield and Aunty Brenda to Beecroft after Dudley's funeral. The residents farewell their old friend with a wake. Is it really to be Sir Reginald P. MacDonald at last? Shani has left without any goodbyes. Toby has to make a fateful decision and visits a Catholic priest (Tony Girdler) in Oxford Street to discuss suicide. The priest offers to pray with him. Bernice is on her way to Sydney and Herb is horrified. Arnold wants Vicki to bring her baby son, Simon, to Sydney. Toby intends to take Dog with him when he ends his own life. [Episodes written by Derek Strahan; directed by Peter Benardos.]

Sheila Helpmann did not return to portray Mabel Butterfield at her son's funeral. Mabel and Dudley's Aunty Brenda are played by uncredited extras. Mabel wears a heavy black veil. The character had a story arc from Episode #921 and was often namedropped in scripts. Tony Girdler, who portrays Toby's priest, had previously appeared as Larry Berringer, from Episode #921, and Dr Pearman in Episodes #1090 and #1210.

1187, 1188. (21/06) Toby is unable to pull the trigger. Don takes on Derek as a new partner and flatmate, but he seems to be a threat to business. Romance blossoms for Maria and Luigi. He serenades her with "Maria", from West Side Story. Reg's doomed knighthood creates confusion. Toby passes out again, but Debbie resists Harold's efforts to hospitalise him. Herb, Dorrie and Flo are booked for a round Australia bowling tournament. A harbour cruise takes its toll on Luigi. A new patient, Olga Medcalf (Jinx Huber), asks for Harold's help. Arnold is unsure about returning to Paris. Don discovers a naked Ros Halliday (Joanna Lockwood) in his bed and Derek introduces her as his girlfriend. Herb attempts to hide the details of his American sweetheart from Dorrie. The bowlers' bus trip is overbooked and someone will have to miss out. Harold is confronted by his dangerous new patient. [Episodes written by Ken Shadie; directed by Brian Phillis.]

Jinx Huber (now Jinx Lootens), who portrays Olga Medcalf, was the then-wife of Executive Producer Bob Huber. Jinx had previously appeared as Samantha Vanderhum (from Episode #235), as a nurse in 1973, and as Mrs Hadley in Episode #1149.

1189, 1190. (23/06) Olga's gun only fired blanks, but why does she seem so familiar to Harold? Edie is asked to find a home for Toby's dog. Reg expects to make a large bank deposit upon Marilyn's return from Switzerland. Olga reveals herself as Coral Fuller, an ex-patient who was locked away due to Harold's damning evidence. Flo misses out on the bus trip and Grant must face the truth about his singing career. Marilyn reveals that she found more than she had hoped for in Pepe's bank account: some love letters and IOUs. Reg faces financial ruin. Harold is in a dreadful state over Coral and Opal is unimpressed by Marilyn's news. Toby has arranged for the return of Reg's portrait. Flo rings Roger Climpson to cancel Dorrie's This is Your Life episode, but she's only playing a joke. Ros will do anything to end Derek's new career. Toby passes away before the Last Rights can be given. A new separation looms for Dorrie and Herb. [Episodes written by Ken Shadie; directed by Brian Phillis.]

1191, 1192. (28/06) The brakes on Don's car have been tampered with and he and Derek barely escape with their lives. Herb is unable to rendezvous with the bowlers in Newcastle. Grant poses as Harold's assistant and enjoys his consultation with Miss Hemingway. Giovanni makes final plans for marrying off his Aunt Maria. Eddie Garrick (Kevin Leslie) wants revenge against Derek, who he blames for his seven-year stint in prison. There will be more trouble to come for Don's office. Don discovers that Coral supposedly passed away six months ago. Reg is still trying to get out of the lease for the house in Rose Bay. Toby's death has affected Debbie's state of mind. Vicki tells Ros of her love for Arnold. Mrs Carlton-Bell (Aileen Britton) refuses to release the MacDonalds from the lease - until Edie and Marilyn unleash their cunning plan. Flo and Luigi are caught in a compromising situation. Herb goes off on another wild goose chase in his search for Dorrie. [Episodes written by Dick Barry; directed by Peter Benardos.]

Aileen Britton, who portrays Mrs Carlton-Bell, previously was Anne Florentine from Episode #678 and Miss Gumble in Episode #1167. She would also go on to play a regular role, Joyce Blair, in "Arcade".

1193, 1194. (30/06) Flo becomes a scarlet woman, while Edie becomes an international art thief. Arnold finally decides to go through with selling the delicatessen: to Luigi. Ros walks out on Derek again. Grant plans a trip overseas. Debbie doesn't want to know about Toby's will. Edie is caught redhanded removing Reg's portrait from the gallery by a policeman (Andrew Peterson, aka Robert Neesam). Arnold changes his mind about the deli. Herb misses Dorrie yet again. Miss Hemingway visits "Dr Chandler" in the wine bar and strips off in front of the customers. A detective sergeant (Robert Quilter) is baffled by Edie's ramblings. Ida Clapper has done it again! Herb leaves for Ayers Rock [now known as Uluru] but a Paddington team member (Jean Hadgraft) has news for Dorrie: the Ayers Rock team is in quarantine for measles! Edie defends calling Ethel, her sister in Bermuda, as her free call at police expense. Lee invites Jane to spend the night with him. Harold and Derek leave for a midnight assignation with Coral. [Episodes written by Dick Barry & David Phillips; directed by Peter Benardos.]

Andrew Peterson, who portrays the policeman in Episode #1193, previously appeared as one of the robbers in Episodes #543 and #544, and twice as a taxi driver. He is now known as Robert Neesam.

1195, 1196. (5/07) Herb continues to pursue Dorrie across Australia. Harold's in danger of losing his mind. Marilyn gives Reg's portrait a new title: TC in Fancy Dress. She enters it into the competition for the Archibald Prize. Opal recalls the registration number of Coral's car. Ros plays matchmaker for Arnold and Vicki, but Jane has designs on Ros. Grant finally settles for the sweet life and throws his own farewell party. Lee asks him for money for their mother's treatment, but Grant refuses. Arnold explains that he feels responsible for Vicki, but doesn't love her. Marilyn starts work in the wine bar. Edie wants a job taking phone messages, so she makes enquiries on how to become a call girl. Debbie hasn't been to university for three weeks. Giovanni has a solution for Miss Hemingway's problems. Lee suspects Grant of raiding the petty cash tin, but he was leaving him $2500 for Fay. Reg fancies himself as a stand-up comedian. Jane offers Ros a bed for the night, then peeps at her in the shower. Maria accepts Luigi's proposal. [Episodes written by Ross Napier; directed by Brian Phillis.]

1197, 1198. (7/07) Don has spoken to Dr Yardley about his patient, Coral Fuller. Edie takes a job with Ros at the travel agency. Grant returns from the airport, having changed his mind about Europe and Claire. An undertaker arrives to collect Opal's body, but she's not dead! Matron Thorne (Faye Donaldson) of the Stromboli Institute insists that Coral jumped from the roof and killed herself six months ago. Grant, Lee and Debbie enjoy a day at the beach. Through her old school friend, Jilly Carpenter (Karlene Rogerson), Debbie meets The Children of Jesus cult while the Chandler boys are surfing. Marilyn can see that Jane is in love. Reg's money-making scheme backfires. A smiling prophet called Joshua (Shane Porteous) helps Debbie to find God. Edie proves her typing speed to Reg. Grant sings successfully in the wine bar. Derek locates Coral's car and discovers a message for Harold. Herb is back and plans to stay put. Arnold, Vicki, Maria and Luigi get their love affairs confused. Coral claims to have kidnapped Opal, but it's a trap for Harold. [Episodes written by Ross Napier; directed by Brian Phillis.]

1199, 1200. (12/07) Edie's new job knitting booties creates havoc. Ros tries again with Derek, but he is preoccupied with work. Debbie is taken to the headquarters of The Children of Jesus in Kings Cross. While a cult singer (David Gilchrist) strums his guitar, Joshua works on Debbie's mind. Harold's sanity is called into question by Detective Sergeant Branigan. Don thinks that the unrecognisable dead body from six months ago was a casual kitchen hand, not Coral Fuller. Opal is concerned for Harold's safety; he is still locked in a small, dark room, being taunted by Coral's tape recordings. Lee makes a startling attack on Joshua, kicking him out of the wine bar. Grant's newfound stardom is annoying everyone. Edie and Miss Hemingway cause confusion in the deli. Dorrie wants Herb to join her in Melbourne. Vicki has a date, which upsets Arnold. He asks Vicki to marry him. Tragic consequences follow Giovanni's interference into Maria's love life. [Episodes written by Derek Strahan; directed by Brian Phillis.]

David Gilchrist, who plays the cult singer, was the real-life husband of Frances Hargreaves. John Larking's detective sergeant character, from Episode #1157, returns and is given the surname of Branigan. He plays another policeman in Episode #1216. This week marked the taping of the final episodes (#1217-1218). Invitations were sent out to 75 actors who had been regulars on the series, to return for a special "curtain call".

1201, 1202. (14/07) Vicki finally accepts Arnold's proposal. Derek cannot understand why Ros has left; he was only three hours late for their date. Dorrie suffers a bowling injury in Melbourne. Reg is horrified by Marilyn's latest infatuation: with her cousin, Lee. Teenyboppers invade the wine bar looking for Grant. Arnold is haunted by his past. Luigi and Maria have been playing practical jokes on Giovanni. Jane invites Ros to stay the night, but Joshua is already there as Debbie's guest. Arnold's nightmare includes visions of Patti and Liz - and an evil Vicki in a Medusa wig. Harold is still missing. Don and Derek warn Dr Marshall (Gordon Poole) from Macquarie Street that he will likely be Coral's next victim. Through her new associations, Debbie loses everything she has. Derek and Don race against time to save Harold. Coral kills herself before she tells Don and Derek of Harold's whereabouts. [Episodes written by Derek Strahan; directed by Peter Benardos.]

Arnold Feather's nightmare includes flashback footage from numerous episodes with Patti, Liz, Norma and Vicki. Gordon Poole, who portrays Dr Marshall, was previously Stinky's owner in Episode #588, Mervin Baker in Episode #1053 and Alan in Episode #1177.

1203, 1204. (19/07) Arnold cannot risk another marriage ending in tragedy. Debbie commits herself financially to The Children of Jesus and wants Don to get her trust fund money for her. Joshua plans an initiation for Debbie. Jane tells Joshua about her love for another woman and he urges her to act on her feelings. Don makes a wild attempt to find out where Harold is being held captive; Dr Marshall, who treated her 18 months ago, tells them about the Fullers' old family home, where the remains of Coral's brother was once found. Flo is asked to go to Mittagong while Raylene is in hospital having a hysterectomy. She wants her mother to look after Tyrone and little Crystal. Flo refuses, still upset about the way Raylene has treated her over the years. Maria overhears a plot to murder her, but it is Luigi's pet cockatoo that is to be put down. Marilyn realises that she and Lee could never have children. Don goes back to the deserted house for his cigarette lighter and finds Harold in the nick of time. Grant hides from his fans. Opal tries to persuade Dorrie to sue the bowling club for the injury to her foot. Marilyn makes plans to marry a former lover, but Harold claims to be too weak to have sex. [Episodes written by Ken Shadie; directed by Brian Phillis.]

1205, 1206. (21/07) Jane's new romance with Ros comes to head. Marilyn seduces Derek. Arnold resolves to take the plunge for the third time; he will ask Vicki to marry him. Joshua exposes Debbie to new experiences. Reg objects to Edie working for Ros. Alexander Grey (Peter Collingwood), the author of Among the Daffodils, asks Edie to plan him a trip. Although Ros apologises to him, he insists the bizarre itinerary is just what he needed. Grant goes surfing at Bondi, but must stay in disguise. Luigi is still playing his practical jokes. Giovanni is facing a huge bill for Maria's wedding. Edie doesn't understand Alexander's novel, originally assuming it was a gardening book. Reg hears a TV newsreader (Mike Roach) announce that Grant Chandler's music career has been cut short; he is missing, presumed drowned at Bondi Beach. Little do Reg and Lee suspect that Grant is safely hidden in Flat 7. Joshua reveals his true purpose: to deflower Debbie. The residents believe that Grant is nearby. Dorrie has a frightening experience in a wheelchair. Alexander wants Edie to type his latest novel. Flo must depart for Mittagong. Debbie submits to Joshua's demands. [Episodes written by Ken Shadie; directed by Brian Phillis.]

Alexander Grey's novel takes its title from the poem, "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud" (1804), by William Wordsworth, in which he recalls the bliss of discovering a strand of daffodils abloom in the Lake District of England. In 1989, Mike Roach was co-anchor of WIN TV's Wollongong news service with Mary Franks.

1207, 1208. (26/07) Marilyn announces her engagement to Derek. Jane won't listen to Debbie's problems. Don suspects that Grant has staged his own disappearance. Dorrie's proposed lawsuit gets out of control when Opal employs a bodyguard (Paul Graham) to protect her. Debbie is dreading what new requirements will be asked of her by the religious cult. Thanks to Opal's television interview with Brian Proud (Himself), Grant's "death" becomes a national issue, so he goes to Balmoral Beach and pretends he has just been washed up by the tide. Lee has been offered a job as manager of a wine bar in Newcastle. Herb is sure that Dorrie is faking. Vicki has arranged for Simon to come to Sydney. Maria and Luigi have grand plans for their wedding. Opal receives a visit from a K.G.B. man (Phillip Hinton), who fires three shots at her from his gun. [Episodes written by Derek Strahan; directed by Peter Benardos.]

Brian Proud, an actual Network 0-TEN reporter, presented a story for TV on the Paddington garbage strike in Episode #892, a Randwick bank robbery in Episode #931, and Herb Evans' skyjacking incident in Episode #1136. Phillip Hinton, who plays the K.G.B. spy, is the real life father of Sean Hinton, who portrayed the young Simon Thompson in Episode #898.

1209, 1210. (28/07) Opal's "assassin" is an actor and a card-carrying member of Actors' Equity. Joshua expects Debbie to "entertain" new members of the brotherhood. He introduces her to James, a lost soul. Reg is confined to bed. Don is asked to defend a Children of Jesus cult member who has been charged with vagrancy. Marilyn informs a stunned Derek that she told Ros they were engaged. Surely Flo cannot truly be having a baby! Maria makes her final farewells before leaving for Italy. Opal claims that Grant has been kidnapped, but nobody believes her. Joshua is charging men $60 to sleep with Debbie. Mark (Alan McGuinness) is not as gentle and shy as young James. Lee quits his job at Duddles'. Joshua claims to be in love with another and Jane thinks it is her. Ros refuses Derek's proposal. Reg discovers the truth of his mysterious illness; Doctor Pearman (Tony Girdler) makes a house call to Flat 5 and suspects that Reg has mumps - and may become impotent. Derek wants to head for Queensland and Ros decides to go with him. Joshua tells Don that he is in love with him. [Episodes written by David Phillips; directed by Peter Benardos.]

1211, 1212. (2/08) Arnold and Vicki depart for Murwillumbah. Joshua tells Don that he will have to leave the Children of Jesus because of his feelings for Don. Flo tells Dorrie about Raylene's pregnancy. The wine bar staffing problem becomes acute and Don warns that, unless he hears from Norma Whittaker soon, he'll have to close it down. Don asks Joshua to get him away from Number 96 and offers him $25000. The Children of Jesus cult wants Debbie to travel to Perth, so Joshua gives back her $6000 donation. Mrs Dawson (Wendy Playfair), Arnold's future mother-in-law, seems happy over the arrangements concerning Simon. Dorrie and Herb receive an offer for their flat which they cannot refuse. Edie loses the final chapter of Alexander's novel and decides to write it herself. Jane tells Marilyn that she is pregnant with Lee's child. Reg doesn't have mumps after all. Joshua takes Don's money. He says that he won't be seeing him again and that Debbie faces death if the money doesn't reach The Children of Jesus cult. [Episodes written by Ross Napier; directed by Brian Phillis.]

1213, 1214. (4/08) Debbie overhears Joshua's treachery. Grant has grand plans for the wine bar. Edie has difficulty writing a sexy love scene for the last chapter of the novel. As owner of Number 96, Don presents an ultimatum to all the tenants. Opal fails to sell off her lottery tickets, but her love potion seems to work for Reg's complaint. Jane resists phoning Lee about the baby, so Debbie does it. Although she's furious, she agrees to meet Lee in Newcastle. Giovanni blames Dorrie for selling everyone out. Arnold plans to relocate the deli. Marilyn and Giovanni try Opal's love potion. A telegram from Venice helps Grant to decide his future with Claire. Alexander's publishers don't sound pleased about Edie's manuscript. Mrs Dawson has absconded with Simon. [Episodes written by Ross Napier; directed by Brian Phillis.]

1215, 1216. (9/08) Arnold and Vicki must face the fact that they will never see her child again. Will Edie accept the contract from Mr Grimshaw (David Phillips), the managing director of a publishing company, Grimshaw & Keating, to write a series of sex novels? Marilyn contemplates joining a convent again. Giovanni tries to prove to Don that he is a master of disguise by dressing in drag, calling himself "Mrs Galani". Mrs Dawson could be emotionally unbalanced. An old friend, Norma Whittaker, makes a surprise appearance and reopens the wine bar under new management. She mentions that Gary and Laura were married a month ago, and that Gary has also make his maiden speech in The House of Lords. Herb wins one of Opal's lottery tickets in a card game. Opal suggests that Reg make an investigation into nude bathing on Sydney beaches. An elderly lady (Jean Calver) notices that his suitcase of clothes has been washed out to sea. She tells a policeman and Reg is forced to streak for home in his underpants. He is then castigated by another policeman (John Larking) for his unseemly attire. Debbie announces Lee and Jane's engagement. A flat comes with The Kit Kat Club, the wine bar they are running in Newcastle. There is even room for Fay Chandler to live with them, as she was recently released from the nearby Ziegler Clinic. The new purchaser of Number 96 has decided that the building will be demolished. [Episodes written by Derek Strahan; directed by Peter Benardos.]

Sheila Kennelly returns as Norma Whittaker. She was last seen in Episode #1126 (and a flashback cameo in Episode #1203). David Phillips, one of the staff synopsis writers and scriptwriters - and the husband of Karen Petersen (Christina Vettare) - portrays Mr Grimshaw. The character of "Mrs Galani" (Harry Michaels) is an in-joke acknowledging Arianthe Galani, who had played Giovanni Lenzi's aunt, Maria Panucci. John Larking, who played Detective Sergeant Branigan in Episodes #1157 and #1199, returns as a different policeman in this episode.

1217, 1218. (11/08) The residents of Number 96 are horrified to learn the identity of the building's mysterious buyer. The person who is driving them from their homes is none other than Maggie Cameron! Giovanni and Marilyn's romance fizzles once again, with Marilyn's decision to become a nun. Simon's body is found in Tamworth, but it is a false alarm. Giovanni announces a sell-out sale in the deli. Maggie explains that she couldn't resist one last trick: she is not the new owner. Simon turns up safe and well. Dorrie loses Herb half a million dollars because of her anger over his relationship with Opal. Everyone is pleased that the building will not change hands after all. Marilyn is infatuated by the newly-arrived Sergio Lenzi, Giovanni's brother. While Arnold and Vicki find true happiness, Edie finally gains inspiration for her novel. On a fresh sheet of paper, Edie types: "Once upon a time there was a building called 'Number 96'..." [Episodes written by Derek Strahan; directed by Peter Benardos.]

Sergio Lenzi is played by an uncredited extra. The final episode also includes a curtain call of many actors who had appeared in "Number 96" over the years. These two episodes were repeated in Sydney, by public demand, on 22/08 at 9.30pm. In Melbourne, the series finale didn't air until 22/12. These episodes were later showcased in Foxtel/Austar TV1's "Television's Greatest Hits: The Best of Number 96" (2000), introduced by Andrew Mercado.

SPECIAL: Number 96 Auction. (20/08) With Joe "The Gadget Man" Sandow as the auctioneer.
A live cross to the grounds of Channel 10, Sydney. 90 minutes; aired at 12 noon. Sold off for charity were "Number 96" costumes, props, furniture and set pieces. Many cast members watched from the "Number 96" double-decker bus. Net proceeds were donated to the Microsearch Foundation of Australia. Highlights of the auction were featured in the nightly TV news.

Meggsie in Number 96

Meggsie McLean commemorates the final episode in 1977.
(When Elaine Lee showed this pic to Bill Harmon, he said, "I wish I'd thought of that. We could have made a fortune.")

Number 96 synopses © 1994, 2020 Ian McLean and Lindsay Street Productions. They have been rewritten and annotated from information derived from Sydney and Melbourne editions of TV Week and TV Times, cross-referenced with original Cash Harmon documentation (including synopses by David Phillips) and viewings of episodes. No text may be reproduced without the express permission of the author. To use this material in research, you are requested to inform the author and credit his contribution accordingly. Thank you.

Page last updated May 2024.


Popular posts from this blog

Number 96 and me: the novelisations - by Anne Harrex

Suggestions for the Return of Maggie Cameron

40 years ago today...