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, restored by Ian with Adobe Photoshop


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.

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) Don and Dudley reminisce about their past relationships and agree that, this time, it is too late to start afresh. 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 (Revelly Jones), loses his temper.

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 Jodi (Judy McBurney). Jane and Debbie have returned from their holiday with a new boarder named Rob Forsyth (John McTernan); he staggers a concerned Don with the statement that he is a homosexual.

1103, 1104. (25/01) Grant maintains that Lee's actions goaded their father into suiciding, but Lee believes that Bernard may not be dead. 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.

1105, 1106. (27/01) 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.

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. Norma conducts a fruitless search for Andrew's hat box. An important overseas phone call for Laura and Gary is intercepted by Andrew.

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.

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. Janine Vezzula (Delores Ernst) arrives at the deli to meet Giovanni, but Maria is horrified. Who is Jane's secret boyfriend?

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.

1115, 1116. (15/02) Jane and Rob have married and they must 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.

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.

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.

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 tells Luigi that he has found Giovanni. Dorrie gets into practice for her American exchange. Don is left for dead after an assault.

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, her pet poodle, has been kidnapped. Norma finally agrees to accept Andrew's proposal to move to Texas. 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.

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. Flo discovers a "stranger" in the house.

1127, 1128. (8/03) Flo makes secret plans to leave Australia with Sir William, whom 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.

1129, 1130. (10/03) Grant "moves in" on Claire. Dudley makes his dazzling debut on television. 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 refuses all assistance, despite her steadily weakening condition. 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.

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.

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. Maria wants $1000 from Luigi for breaking the marriage contract between Giovanni and Janine. Flat 7 has a new tenant: Edie's psychiatrist, Dr Harold Wilkinson (Dave Allenby). At the airport, Dorrie sheds sad tears of farewell. Grant is unable to come up with an alibi when he most needs it. Edie is missing.

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.

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. Dorrie and Flo are stunned when Herb becomes involved in an international incident: his plane is hijacked.

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 grandmother, Opal Wilkinson (Nat Nixon), 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 report from America; Herb had missed the plane, but is he having an affair? 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.

1139, 1140. (29/03) A homeless Giovanni saves Debbie's life. Dorrie and Flo have to face facts with Henrietta P. Dobb (Chelsea Brown). 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 bistro. Dudley hears from Channel 10 and is presented with the chance to alter his whole life. Jane is still causing trouble for Don and meets a stranger to make a mysterious pay-off.

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, returns to be with a dying relative. Rob is the victim of a cruel set-up. Harold has a surprise patient who asks for psychiatric help. Giovanni is wrongly accused. The truth about light-fingered Chook is revealed.

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"?

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.

1147, 1148. (12/04) Marilyn tells Giovanni that the intruder examined her bare bottom with a magnifying glass. She tries to identify her attacker for the police. 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 designs on Chook. A bikie harasses Giovanni. Claire receives a blackmail letter and accuses Harold.

1149, 1150. (14/04) Claire threatens to start criminal proceedings against Harold. Dudley discovers the down side of being a celebrity. Manuel (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. Giovanni is the victim of a vicious attack. Grant returns to Claire, who melts in his arms.

1151, 1152. (19/04) Reg and Edie's luggage comes under the scrutiny of customs' officials. Maria and Chook go in search of Giovanni after a mysterious phone call. Marilyn and Manuel are caught in a compromising situation. Edie has a slide show. News of two deaths shocks the residents. Giovanni is revived by cardiac massage, but the real Henri has died in Tahiti.

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

1153, 1154. (21/04) The truth about Henri is finally revealed: for a start, her real name is Hope Jackson. Marilyn's decision to live in sin is a shock to Reg, so Chook protects her honour in a duel with Manuel. The police evacuate all of the residents to protect their lives from a dangerous oil leak. Giovanni wakes from his coma. Paul Sheldon (David Foster), of the Race Relations Board, interviews Chook about the bikie incident. Claire receives a blackmail demand from the anonymous letter writer. Some important evidence is discovered by Opal in Harold's consulting room.

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

1155, 1156. (26/04) Don conceives of a plan to trap the blackmailer with his own bugging device. Paul gives Chook a Nazi text. 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. Manuel confesses all: he was after Marilyn's bank balance and is already married. A priest visits Giovanni in the hospital - and removes his life-support tubes!

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 Swann (Ken Shorter) in disguise. Opal overhears Marilyn discussing her fortune and puts in a good word about Harold. Edie's secret meeting at the Town Hall, with DTC Bobby Bullock, causes her to question Reg's feelings. Grant and Hope compete for singing gigs. Paul threatens Duncan to remain silent. Dudley embarrasses Claire through a reference to a film, Pal Joey, on his television show. Marilyn tries to seduce Harold. Jane tells Don about finding the tape recorder in Debbie's drawer.

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 Duncan's cell. Edie's secret about her husband's knighthood has become common knowledge at Number 96. 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 decides to play a deadly game with Don and rigs a booby trap. Claire interferes in Grant's career.

Episode #1160 was later 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 against Chook. Rob dies of his injury. Dudley's newfound stardom is threatened by Claire's lawsuit. Reg discovers an unwelcome visitor in his bathroom. Dorrie makes up her mind to evict Hope from Flat 3. Chook puts his life in danger.

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. 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. Marilyn tries to outstrip Miss Hemingway in Harold's flat. Dorrie entertains American visitors. [Episode written by Ross Napier.]

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 "barbecue", but they are not in time to prevent an explosion and a death caused when Paul rides through the flames on his bike. Reg dreams about his forthcoming driving lessons. 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 Toby Buxton (Malcolm Thompson) about his manners. News of a suicide horrifies Dorrie and Flo.

1167, 1168. (17/05) Dorrie leaves to identify a body. Reg is in a state of shock when he leaves for his first driving lesson. 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.

1169, 1170. (19/05) Giovanni is on the road to recovery. Lee gets a shock regarding news of his mother. A drug pusher seems to be working within Number 96. Lee can't escape from a shady deal. Preparations are made for a surprise party for Dorrie. Grant and Claire's future is cemented forever.

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. Claire seems to be keeping Grant a prisoner in her home. Chook has some alarming facts to reveal about Shani Carroll (Margie Brown). Hope visits the house at Petersham and eventually befriends the new owner, Meg Robinson (June Salter).

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. Hope bumbles through her first day on the job as Meg's new switchboard operator at Megaphone. Dorrie is outraged over Toby's "murial" on the Sunshine Patio fence. Opal's gossip catches up with her.

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. Hope recounts her latest misadventures to Dorrie and Flo. Lee forces the truth out of Shani. Jane's future takes a terrifying turn and a new lodger - a dog named Dog - moves into Flat 4. Herb breaks some serious news to Dorrie in a letter.

These episodes contain scenes from the second half of the 30-minute comedy spin-off pilot, "Hope'll Help". Its script took some inspiration from the classic movie, "Bells Are Ringing".

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. The residents learn the truth about Toby's condition. Claire is forced to make the ultimate sacrifice. The MacDonalds find themselves homeless.

1179, 1180. (7/06) Chook's fiancee, Vicki Dawson (Kay Powell), arrives 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 for an additional week. Elsie persists in plying her twin babies 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.

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. 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, is found naked in a wardrobe. Shani's brother, Max Carroll, has escaped from prison. He becomes a crazed gunman, bringing death to Number 96.

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. Derek is castigated by his superiors for acting hastily. The residents of Number 96 have been evacuated to the Beauregard Hotel, where they exasperate the management and permanent tenants. How has Opal managed to chloroform Giovanni? Herb becomes a hostage and Jane's life is hanging by a thread. Derek manages to kill Max. 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 and his syndicate.

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. The residents farewell their old friend, Dudley, 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 priest to discuss suicide. Bernice is on her way to Sydney and Herb is horrified. Arnold wants Vicki to bring her baby son, Simon, to Sydney.

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. 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, 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.

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.

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. Don discovers that Coral supposedly passed away six months ago. Reg is still trying to get out of the lease for the house in Double Bay. Toby's death has affected Debbie's state of mind. Vicki tells Ros of her love for Arnold. Flo and Luigi are caught in a compromising situation. Herb goes off on another wild goose chase in his search for Dorrie.

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. 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. The police are baffled by Edie's ramblings. Herb leaves for Ayers Rock [now known as Uluru]. Lee invites Jane to spend the night with him. Harold and Derek leave for a midnight assignation with Coral.

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.

1197, 1198. (7/07) 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! The staff of the Stromboli Institute insist that Coral jumped from the roof and killed herself. Debbie meets the Children of Jesus at the beach. 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.

1199, 1200. (12/07) Edie's new job knitting booties creates havoc. Ros tries again with Derek, but he is preoccupied with work. Harold's sanity is called into question by the police. 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.

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. Harold is still missing. 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.

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; Coral's doctor tells him about the old family home. Flo is asked to go to Mittagong while Raylene is in hospital, but she refuses. 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.

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 (Alexander Archdale) 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. Grant's career is cut short in a tragic way; he is missing, presumed drowned. Little do Reg and Lee suspect that Grant is safely hidden in Flat 7. Joshua reveals his true purpose: to deflower Debbie. The residents suspect 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.

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. Debbie is dreading what new requirements will be asked of her by the religious cult. 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.

1209, 1210. (28/07) Joshua expects Debbie to "entertain" new members of the brotherhood. Reg is confined to bed. Don is asked to defend a Children of Jesus 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. 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; he 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.

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 want Debbie to travel to Perth, so Joshua gives her her $6000 back. Mrs Dawson, 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.

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.

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 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. Mrs Dawson could be emotionally unbalanced. An old friend, Norma Whittaker, makes a surprise appearance and reopens the wine bar under new management. 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. When his clothes are washed out to sea, he is forced to streak for home in his underpants. Debbie announces Lee and Jane's engagement. The new purchaser of Number 96 has decided that the building will be demolished.

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. 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. 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..."

The final episode also included 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 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 March 2022.


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