Ian's Number 96 episode guide: 1973

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 1973


Is Bev Houghton having an incestuous relationship with her crippled brother, Rod?

Will Salvadore Russo survive the gunshot wound inflicted by Gary Whittaker, Anna Maria's jealous husband?

Can Aldo Godolfus accept Roma Lubinski's marriage proposal?

Will Don Finlayson enter into a marriage of convenience with Sally Fielding?

Does Gordon Vansard survive the fiery car crash?

202. (8/01/1973) Aldo Godolfus agrees to marry Roma Lubinski after being trapped into a proposal. They discuss buying a restaurant together. Don Finlayson agrees to meet with the pregnant Sally Fielding to discuss Sir Arnold Ashton's idea of a compassionate marriage but he is surprised to find that she is both straightforward and intelligent. Anna Maria Whittaker and her in-laws, Les and Norma, wait anxiously for news about Salvadore Russo, whom Gary Whittaker has shot. Will Gary be charged with murder? Don and Sally chat over drinks. Perhaps "a marriage of convenience" really is a good resolution for both of their situations? He drops her home on his way to check on Gordon Vansard, whom he last saw quite inebriated. There are raised voices from Salvadore's hospital room. The doctor leaves abruptly. Salvadore has seemingly escaped his encounter with Gary with only a flesh wound - much to the Whittakers' relief - and the doctor has requested a nurse, not the police. Later, a police officer is knocking on the door of the chemist shop, after checking the registration of Gordon's address from his driver's licence. Anna Maria sees the policeman on her way to visit Salvadore at his home and becomes alarmed. She fetches Norma. The officer explains that he is seeking a "Mrs Gordon Vansard". Norma realises that nobody has seen Sonia in some time. He tells them that Gordon and a young female have been involved in a serious car accident. Both are in critical conditions. A frantic day in the deli means that Aldo and Roma's happiness cannot be shared with their neighbours. When Arnold Feather arrives for work, Roma urges Aldo to explain everything to him but ends up telling Arnold about their marriage intentions herself. Aldo is saved from relating the rest of the story, about the restaurant, by customers in need of attention. Norma checks in with Don to tell him about Gordon's accident, and to ask if he knows of Sonia's whereabouts. Aldo can't seem to change Arnold's mind about his new job at the supermarket. As he leaves for deliveries, Arnold mentions a Mrs Carlton and Aldo wants to know who she is. Don can't get any information about Gordon's condition. He rings Vera Collins to ask if she has seen Sonia. Marion Carlton (Lorrae Desmond) comes into the deli, looking for Arnold. Arnold is committed to taking up his new position at the supermarket. Les tries to comfort Norma, who is feeling overwhelmed by recent events. Arnold introduces Marion to Aldo and Roma. He sits down to chat with her and a curious Aldo tries to eavesdrop on them. Don finally learns of the extent of the tragedy: Yvonne Marette is dead and Gordon is in a coma, with only a slim chance of recovery. [Episode written by Lynn Foster.]

The first week of resolutions to the 1972 cliffhangers were rushed back to air too quickly for "TV Times" to announce the show's return from hiatus. Instead, the NSW edition of the magazine had advertised that Channel TEN-10 would be screening a string of classic movies in the now-traditional "Number 96" 8.30pm timeslot: "Never on Sunday" (1960), "The Long Night" (1947), "My Darling Clementine" (1946) and "The Piccadilly Incident" (1946), plus on the Wednesday, an episode of "Love, American Style". The Don/Sally/Sir Arnold plotline was novelised for the 1974 Arkon paperback, "Marriage of Convenience". (The book's "wedding photograph" cover concidentally features actor Julian Rockett as Don. Julian would later play Adam Shaw on the series.) Lorrae Desmond would go on to play a regular role, Molly Sparks, in "Arcade".

203. (9/01) Bev Houghton tries to make her crippled brother, Rod, comfortable. She brings a TV into the bedroom and suggests a game of chess. She worries about Jack Sellars, and how he reacted to seeing them cuddling in bed together. She wants to clear up any misunderstandings between them. Rod doesn't think Jack is worth their concern. "Jack is just a nuisance," Rod claims, and requests a leg massage instead. Bev complies but remains preoccupied about Jack. Don attempts to console Vera, who is distraught over the still-comatose Gordon. He is being tended by Doctor Wilson (Kevin Healey) and a nursing sister (Barbara Frawley). Sonia Vansard is still missing. Terry Sanford arrives home to Flat 7. She tries to keep the mood light and suggests to Vera that they get on with their sewing work before the building is demolished around them. Alf Sutcliffe and Herb Evans are in the pub and overhear Mrs Parot (Shirley Sunners) gossiping about Lucy Sutcliffe's dishonesty. She insists that Lucy stole money, accidentally left in clothing at the laundrette. An upset Alf attacks Mrs Parot and she leaves. Terry and Vera arrive at the pub. Terry suggests that Alf and Herb should be out house-hunting instead. Bev drops into Don's flat to borrow a book, but casually mentions Jack. Don says that he understands Jack's stubborn stance on her situation but admits that he doesn't know where he is. Bev is keen for Don to meet Rod, so that Don can judge for himself. Alf and Lucy discuss buying a house. Lucy is sceptical about the loan repayments. Arnold is sad about the Sutcliffes leaving, but Alf wants him to go with them, as his rent will assist them to meet their repayments. Arnold urges Lucy not to let Mrs Parot, or anyone, blacken her good reputation. Don has to disguise his instant dislike to Rod. He finds Bev's brother to be sarcastic, self-centred and ungrateful. While Vera is in the laundrette with Lucy, a customer rushes back in to check the basket of clothing for money; it seems that Mrs Parot is outside again, spruiking her suspicions about Lucy. Vera makes a loud statement about Lucy's honesty. They notice that all the newspapers have announcements about Sonia's disappearance. Dorrie Evans doesn't want to move to Mount Druitt, and away from all of her friends. Herb is vacuuming when he hears a police message on the radio, looking for Sonia. In the deli, Mrs Parot is interrogating Arnold about Lucy; Dorrie enters the shop and also comes to Lucy's defence. Dorrie discusses the radio announcements about Sonia. Lucy comes in to pay her bill - with a large wad of banknotes! Don and Sally make plans for a picnic. Despite Bev's disapproval, Don and Sally seem to be very compatible. No one has heard from Jack. Dorrie again refuses to contemplate a move to Mount Druitt and orders Herb not to mention it again. She overhears Don and Sally talking about Rod. Dorrie decides to visit him, but Don advises her not to go. Alf wants Lucy to quit the laundrette altogether. Mrs Parot comes in with an apology for Lucy; her missing money turned up at the drycleaners! Alf warns her that she'll be hearing from his solicitor. [Episode written by Lynn Foster.]

The official synopsis cheekily suggests that Bev and Rod Houghton should play "a game of chest". The tone and longer lengths of the synopses for Episodes #201, 202 and 203 indicate that Johnny Whyte was back preparing them.

204. (10/01) Dorrie turns up to visit Rod, bringing a game of Chinese Checkers with her. Rod sends Bev shopping and begins questioning Dorrie about the other residents and she is eager to share some gossip. Aldo wants Roma to settle on a wedding date, but she still hasn't heard from her son, Irving Lubinski. Norma and Alf call into the deli but Aldo can't get answers to any of his questions. Dorrie is still with Rod when his mother, Claire Houghton, arrives. Claire tells Rodney that she will be ordering an appropriately extravagant dinner, and will return soon to eat with him and Beverly. Mr Thorburn, the laundrette franchise owner, has apologised to Lucy over doubting her about Mrs Parot's missing money - and has offered her a raise. In the pub, Alf, Norma, Herb and Les chat about the perils of house-hunting. Lucy arrives and reveals that the wad of money she had in the deli was her holiday pay. Claire returns to Flat 6 with dinner. A distressed Bev is forced to lie to her about Jack's disappearance. Norma is concerned that Les hasn't seriously started looking for a new home for them. Les has discovered a talent for writing and Les is convinced that, once he gets that first book published, he and Norma will be "living in luxury". The Sutcliffes notice that Bev is looking a little strained and invite her to go househunting with them. Bev declines. While dining out, Aldo is embarrassed. He has left his wallet at home and Roma offers to pay the bill instead. This does not sit well with Aldo. Dorrie fantasises about attending a prestigious ball with Mrs Claire Houghton of Point Piper. While Bev does the dishes after dinner, Claire plies her son with cocktails and grills him about the absent Jack. Rod boasts that he has organised it so that Jack will never return. [Episode written by Lynn Foster.]

205. (11/01) Rod tells Claire that his dislike of Jack mainly stems from Jack's job as a bookmaker, which makes him unworthy of his sister's affections. He has fixed it so that Jack will stay away. Rod has a big row with his mother - and Claire storms out! Alf and Lucy go off to inspect a new house. Vera heard the phone ring throughout the night. She complains to Terry, who insists it was always a wrong number. On the landing, Vera tries to discuss Alf and Lucy's progress with house-hunting and the phone in Flat 7 can be heard ringing again. Terry says it was a wrong number. Les is still writing his novel. When he hears that Rod has spent time in Las Vegas, he races next door to see him. Vera is curious as to why Terry keeps running to answer the phone and she finally admits that it is a previous client from her days as a high class call girl. Vera is surprisingly understanding and admits that she was once a call girl, too. Salvadore and Norma's conversation is interrupted by Les, who suddenly wants to grill Salvadore about the Mafia for his book. Vera is designing outfits for a major production - a charity comedy review - and is invited to a two-day conference at Whale Beach. Terry won't be going, as she needs to catch up on the sewing. Claire tells Bev that it is imperative that she find Jack, as she needs him to accompany her to a ball. Alf is discouraged; he and Lucy found a house they really like, but cannot afford. He doesn't want Lucy to be disappointed. Vera explains that doesn't have time to make Claire a new ballgown. She is still designing costumes for the big charity event. Bev tells Claire that Jack won't be escorting her anywhere, as he has gone for good. Terry uses the deli's payphone to organise a client to visit her in Flat 7 tonight while Vera is away in Whale Beach. Salvadore, now recovered from his gunshot wound, makes a decision not to press charges against Gary. Les continues to badger Salvadore about the Mafia. Over the phone, Mr Locksley (John Rayner) tells Gary that Salvadore will not be pressing charges, but only if Gary provides evidence of his infidelity to Anna Maria, so she can divorce him. [Episode written by Lynn Foster.]

On 11th January 1972, Ron Fraser (as Himself) taped an episode playing the compere of the charity revue, for which Vera Collins has been designing the costumes. He was well known to many of the writers and cast of the series. Episode #219 would air only three weeks later. John Rayner was last seen as Mr Locksley in Episode #162. His next namedrop is in Episode #270. Mike Ferguson's next appearance as Gary Whittaker will be Episode #502.

206. (12/01) Aldo is still trying to find out if Arnold is taking the job at the new supermarket, but can't get a straight answer. Dorrie comes into the deli and is anxious for the latest gossip on the Vansards. Don and Vera also enter, but neither can add any news and they head upstairs to Flat 4 for coffee. Terry takes several bottles of champagne down to Flat 3 and asks Herb to put them in the fridge for her (so Vera won't see them), and she will collect the bottles later. Don wants Vera's advice on the Sally situation; he worries that Sir Arnold Ashton, his uncle, may try to ruin his career if he doesn't help out. Luckily, Don finds that he does really like Sally. Aldo gets a phone call from his daughter Rose Myers, who is still living in Port Moresby. Arnold and Dorrie discuss Roma living in sin with Aldo before they are married. Sir Arnold's perky secretary, Miss Mitchell (Pamela Garrick), holds the fort while he rings Sally at her workplace. Arnold Feather buys food for the special dinner party he is planning for his catering school teacher, Marion. Vera leaves for her stay in Whale Beach. Dorrie tells Mrs Lubinski that she does not approve of her current living arrangements, especially since she is yet to set a date for her wedding to Aldo. Dorrie offers her the use of Flat 3's spare bedroom until the big day. Over drinks, Sally tells Don about how she fell pregnant, and how she asked his Uncle Arnold for help. Meanwhile, Arnold Feather is attempting to cook his carefully planned meal, which is to be judged by Marion, but she keeps getting in his way. Showing Roma the spare bedroom, Dorrie offers her a drink but, finding Terry's champagne chilling in the fridge, she decides to use that. Terry answers the door to her first client (Peter Colville) and remembers to collect the money first. Arnold intends to ask Marion for advice: should he leave his job at the deli? Marion has a very different agenda: when they finish dinner, she drags him over to the sofa and starts unbuttoning his shirt. [Episode written by Lynn Foster.]

Pamela Garrick, who portrays Miss Mitchell, would return as a regular character from Episode #455: Nurse Patti Olsen, the future Mrs Arnold Feather. Peter Colville, who appears as Terry's client, previously played Joe Mason in Episode #138. The Australian Broadcasting Control Board's official report, released in September 1973, mentioned that the prostitution storyline "did not conform to Television Program Standards", and that every episode now had to be screened for the Board before going to air in Sydney. (It was still one night behind in Melbourne.) This mandate lasted until March of 1973.

207. (15/01) Aldo rings Arnold from Dorrie and Herb's flat and gets no answer. He is puzzled and decides to go up to Flat 8 to investigate. His knocking interrupts Marion's attempts at seduction but Arnold is relieved to see him! As Aldo descends the staircase, another client is heading up to see Terry in Flat 7. Just as Terry is pushing her client into bed, Vera rings her. Aldo then meets Don and Sally on the stairs and he asks Don if there is any news on Gordon or Sonia. Terry tells her client that there will be an extra charge as he is staying for breakfast. Still sitting on the sofa in the Sutcliffes' flat, Marion apologises for rushing Arnold. They are discussing food when Alf and Lucy arrive home. Aldo and Roma thank Dorrie for her hospitality and Dorrie announces to Herb that she intends to ask Don if he knows, yet, what will be happening to the building. Is it really getting demolished? She goes next door to Flat 4, where Don and Sally are having coffee. Dorrie is intrigued to meet Sally, and wants to know all about her. While having breakfast, Alf finds Arnold's abandoned tie and intends to have a joke with him about it. Arnold gets all embarrassed and confused. In the deli, Dorrie is carrying on about "certain people" at Number 96 with loose morals. Lucy teases that she knows of someone else who entertained a woman in one of the flats late at night; Arnold is relieved when Lucy doesn't name-and-shame. Don promises Alf that he will go to the local council and investigate the current status of the building. Aldo is still trying to get an answer from Arnold about the supermarket job when Marion sails into the deli to announce that she has recommended Arnold for a junior manager position in a hotel on the North Shore. Aldo tells Roma that he thinks Arnold is definitely leaving but Arnold announces that he has made a decision - and intends to stay on at the deli. Don is running late to meet Sally for drinks. Despite domestic bliss with her in Flat 4 of late, Don's research into the local council's decision reveals some bad news for the tenants of Number 96. The building is slated for demolition in one month. [Episode written by T. Agar.]

208. (16/01) A distressed Bev still hasn't heard from Jack. Will she ever see him again? Rod tells her not to waste her time thinking about him, as she must realise by now that Jack is not right for her. Norma tells Anna Maria and Salvadore that she finally heard from her son, Gary - and he has gone back into the Army. Claire arrives at Flat 6 to see her children, Beverly and Rodney. Claire has been trying to find Jack, but this news makes Bev furious - and she storms out! Rod wants to know why his mother even bothered and Claire tells him that it is her intention for Beverly and Jack to marry. Rod is not pleased. Don is about to knock on the door of Flat 3 when Bev rushes down the stairs in a state. Don offers to take her to the pub for a drink. She agrees. They chat to the Whittakers about the impending demolition of Number 96. He reassures Norma and Les that the tenants with leases should receive compensation. Bev tells Don about her unhappiness regarding Jack. Salvadore chats to Anna Maria. His solicitor has told him that the situation regarding the shooting will resolve itself now that Gary has given evidence. On their way back upstairs, Bev is telling Don about Claire's attempts to locate Jack. They find Sally sitting there, outside Don's flat. Don introduces them to each other. Sally wants Don to go away with her for a few days. Bev arrives home to find Claire with Rod's lunch and tells them about the building being demolished. Claire insists that they can both come to live with her - and both Bev and Rod refuse! With Flat 7 all to herself for a few days, Terry has been getting on with her work, but the nature of much of this work would surprise Vera. In the pub, Terry sees Salvadore reading over papers from his solicitor and starts to chat him up. Anna Maria comes in and Terry takes the hint and leaves. Don visits Flat 7 to tell Vera about the building news, but Terry tells him that Vera is away. While Don is there, the phone rings and it is another of Terry's clients. Norma confides in Les that she thinks she saw Terry trying to chat up Salvadore. Terry is entertaining another client when Claire arrives at the door, looking for Vera. Terry tries to brush her off unsuccessfully, but Claire is determined to at least have a drink first. Sally cooks a meal for Don but realises they still have much to learn about each other. Terry finally gets rid of Claire and is in bed with a client when they hear the front door slams. It is Vera, calling out for Terry! [Episode written by T. Agar.]

209. (17/01) Terry manages to intercept Vera before she reaches her bedroom, where a client is waiting. Claiming to have planned an early night, Terry asks what happened at Whale Beach. Vera says that just became sick of everyone and decided to come back early to help Terry with all the sewing. Terry fetches the designs from her bedroom, whispering to her client that he will have to get ready to leave. She tells Vera that Don had been looking for her earlier. If she goes down to see him, Terry will prepare her a snack while she's gone. Vera visits Flat 4 and Don introduces her to Sally. Meanwhile, Terry's client is able to sneak out without Vera seeing him. Vera hears the grim news about the fate of the building. She agrees that Sally and Don should have some time away together. Mrs Lubinski has taken up Dorrie and Herb's offer of the spare room in Flat 3. Dorrie encourages Roma to have a large breakfast before going down to the deli. Dorrie learns about the building's demolition from Herb - it's coming down at the end of the month! She demands to know why she wasn't told. Roma arrives in Flat 2, where Aldo has cooked her a huge breakfast, identical to the one Dorrie had prepared for her! She is forced to eat it. Don calls by Flat 6 to give Rod some magazines and Rod is as rude as ever. Rod asks Claire what the relationship is between his sister and Don. Claire says, "None", as Don is a homosexual. Rod is relieved. Aldo and Roma discuss having to leave the building and start up a new business. Roma wants them to be business partners, but Aldo won't hear of it. Dorrie and Herb enter the deli and join the conversation about the demolition. She is outraged that the Whittakers will be getting compensation. Bev rushes in for cigarettes and Dorrie assumes that Bev and Rod will be moving back to Claire's at Point Piper. Bev denies it but cheekily suggests that Dorrie might move into her mother's place instead. Dorrie takes her offer seriously. Don and Sally are out, having drinks, and encounter Jack Sellars. Don describes Bev's current state but Jack has no intention of going back to her. Dorrie dresses up in her finery and goes to see Claire about moving in. Claire has no idea what she is on about, but laughs when she hears it was Beverly's suggestion. Don tells Bev the bad news about Jack's position and she is dejected. Her mother and brother are not easing the situation. Sally arrives to pick Don up. Dorrie then encounters the tearful Bev on the stairs and berates her for playing her little joke. Terry and Vera are busy sewing in Flat 7 when Bev arrives, seeking sympathy. She realises they are too preoccupied to listen, so she leaves again. It is almost 10pm, so Aldo walks Roma up to Flat 3. He is about to kiss Roma goodnight in her room when Dorrie bursts in with Roma's hot cocoa. In Flat 6, Bev is sitting alone and forlorn when Jack walks in. [Episode written by T. Agar.]

210. (18/01) Jack informs Bev that he only came to see her because Don told him how upset she was. Bev tries to explain and pleads with him to stay the night. Jack says "No", as he has much to think about, but promises to come back to see her tomorrow. Next morning, Norma places an order in the deli and Arnold and Lucy are worried that she looks off-colour. She promises to see her doctor. No one has any news about Gordon Vansard's condition, but Norma expects that Les will know more when he returns from his shift at the hospital. Dorrie returns from seeing the building's agent, Mr Bayswater. She complains to Herb that she got nowhere with him, but still has no intention of moving to Mount Druitt. In the pub, Alf is complaining to Les about the high cost of housing - and everything else! - and Norma reprimands them that they'll never find a place if they just talk about it. Norma has a doctor's appointment for tomorrow. Les says that Gordon is still in a coma. Dorrie takes so long giving Herb a long list of housework chores to do in her absence, that she almost misses the bus to bowls! Jack has an ultimatum for Bev: either Rod goes or he does! Les has a new get-rich scheme: in order to examine some examples of natural dialogue for his novel, Les conceals a tape-recorder in Herb's pocket. Rod tells Bev that he has had a tingling sensation in his legs! Marion invites Arnold out to lunch. Sir Montague Porter (John Faassen), Rod's doctor, informs him that there is no damage to Rod's spine or nerves and insists that he try to walk. Jack meets Norma going up the stairs to Flat 5 and offers to help to carry her shopping; she invites him in for a drink. Les asks Jack where he's been. Dorrie is complaining to Herb that she was beaten by Flo Patterson at bowls. Herb mentions that he has finally repotted the indoor plant. He reminisces about Dorrie's habit of eating daisy leaves to get "unpregnant" before they were married, and how Dorrie's father insisted that Herb make "an honest woman" out of her, so that little Joan wasn't born out of wedlock. Little do they suspect that this conversation is going down on tape on Les's recorder. Jack is entertaining the Whittakers with jokes when Herb arrives to borrow a tie for the Senior Cits' function tonight. Les retrieves his device from Herb's pocket. Bev is telling Jack about Rod getting sensation back in his legs. Rod arrives home - and lies that he was told he will never walk again. [Episode written by Susan Swinford.]

John Faassen, who appears as Sir Montague Porter, will return as Warren Davies in Episode #236, Maurice Hardy in Episode #277 and Lucy Sutcliffe's obstetrician in Episode #840.

211. (19/01) Aldo and Roma arrive back from dinner to discover that Aldo's television is not working, so they decide to go up to Flat 3, to watch the Evans' set while they are out. Aldo is just starting to get romantic when Arnold turns up, wanting to have some time away from the shop for lunch the next day. In Flat 8, the Sutcliffes tease Arnold about him spending time with Marion, an older woman. Lucy goes next door to visit with Vera and chat. Neither of them have heard from Sonia. The phone rings but, when Vera answers it, the caller hangs up. This is a chilling reminder of last year, when Harry Collins kept making nuisance calls. Arnold gets himself dressed up for his outing with Marion. Roma brings Aldo breakfast in bed and announces that she is moving back from Flat 3. Norma is unwell and Anna Maria brings her a light breakfast. Lucy tells Norma that Alf is taking her to lunch. Marion arrives at the deli to collect Arnold, almost catching Aldo, Roma and Vera talking about her. When Roma goes to get Arnold, he is in a terrible flap. Vera and Aldo chat with Marion while she waits. Later, Arnold orders lunch while he and Marion drink at the bar. She apologises for being hasty the other night and suggests that they start a relationship, but at Arnold's pace. As the older woman, Marion is more experienced, so Arnold should tell her when he is ready. Lucy and Alf meet up with Vera at the pub during lunch. Anna Maria and Salvadore ask the Whittakers for permission to marry. Arnold arrives back from his three-hour lunch a little under the weather. Everyone at the pub is invited back to Flat 5 for celebratory drinks with the Whittakers, Anna Maria and Salvadore. Vera tells Lucy that she is too busy, so won't be joining them. At the happy gathering, Les somehow turns on the taperecorder - and a lot of people hear the Evans' taped conversation. Vera opens the door to one of Terry's clients and is puzzled. Before Les can tell Norma about the play he is writing, she completely floors him with her own announcement: she is not pregnant after all. It was a phantom pregnancy. [Episode written by Susan Swinford.]

Norma Whittaker's pregnancy was first announced in Episode #142.

212. (22/01) Bev and Jack have plans to go out for dinner. As they leave, Rod mentions to Bev that he intends to move into Buckingham Lodge, their mother's mansion in Point Piper. Les and Norma commiserate about the phantom pregnancy. Vera confronts Terry; it is obvious that Terry is using Flat 7 to work as a call girl. Terry manages to deflect by telling Vera about one particular man who has been pestering her. She really has given up the trade, Vera must believe her! Roma has decided! She tells Aldo that she will inform Dorrie about moving back into Flat 2. As they are saying goodnight, Arnold comes in to make a personal phone call. He dials Marion's number - but Mr Carlton answers! Arnold quickly hangs up. Roma broaches with Dorrie and Herb her desire to move out, but her plans are quashed when Dorrie starts getting excited about her plans to redecorate Roma's room to make her stay more pleasant. While playing another game of chess, Bev urges Rod not to move in with Claire. She will look after him, despite everyone's opinion, even Jack's. Arnold is on the phone to Marion. He tries to explain that he did ring earlier, but her husband had answered. Aldo approaches and Arnold quickly hangs up. Roma arrives and apologises that she has not been able to break the news to Dorrie and Herb. Vera and Terry are madly sewing when the phone rings. Vera answers - and tells the caller to stop bothering Terry, or she'll go to the police! Vera is off to the deli and Terry quickly rings her client back, explaining that they need to make alternative arrangements. Jack drops into the pub and Les pounces on him. Will Jack consider being the financial backer of the play that Les has been writing? Dorrie arrives at the deli and Aldo attempts to tell her that Roma is moving back downstairs, but he can't say it. Vera rushes into Flat 7 to collect the finished costumes for the charity fundraiser. As soon as she leaves, Terry starts dialing. Vera chats to Bev on the stairs about Rod. Behind the door, Rod is walking perfectly, but as Bev starts to open it, Rod lies down and feigns helplessness. Les announces to Norma that they have just received $100 compensation for having to move out. The demolition is going ahead. Arnold brings Dorrie's grocery order up to Flat 3 and accidentally makes mention of Roma moving back to Aldo's flat. Rod's plan works perfectly. Bev and Jack have another row about Rod and Jack demands that she chose one: Rod or him. She chooses Rod. Jack storms out for the second and final time. Bev tells Rod that she and Jack are finished. [Episode written by Bob Caswell.]

213. (23/01) Norma, Les and Alf are chatting together on the landing as a man abruptly pushes past them on his way upstairs. Curious, Alf heads up behind him and sees the stranger knocking on Vera's door. At Flat 8, Lucy opens the door to Alf and he goes inside, mentioning the man next door. Their discussion is interrupted by an incoming phone call from Marion, ringing to speak to Arnold. Lucy is very concerned and warns Arnold not to get involved with a married woman. Dorrie and Herb are getting ready to go to the Senior Cits. There is a knock at their door: it is Aldo and Roma. Dorrie tells them that she knows all about Roma's intentions - and slams the door in their faces. Arnold encounters Don and Sally arriving home. Has there been any news about Sonia and Gordon? Don and Sally discuss their short getaway over drinks. Lucy prepares an early breakfast for Alf as he is off on a trip to Melbourne in the truck. Arnold wanders out to join them; he is having trouble sleeping. He is worried because Mrs Carlton wasn't at night classes and he is worried that he has offended her. Don meets Herb on the landing and mentions that he has been away for a few days. Dorrie comes out of Flat 3 and asks if they still have to move. Unfortunately, the answer is "Yes". Aldo and Roma are enjoying breakfast together when Arnold comes through from the shop holding a cable from Irving Lubinski, Roma's son. At the laundrette, the topic of conversation is moving. Norma, Lucy and Dorrie discuss their plans. Dorrie mentions that Roma has moved back with Aldo. It is just not seemly for them to be living under the same roof before their wedding. Les and Herb are also discussing moving and Herb is panicky that he doesn't have enough money. How will he and Dorrie cope? Les suggests that Herb could take up babsitting for extra cash. Sally and Don catch up for drinks at Double Bay's Cosmopolitan Motor Inn and realise that they must decide on their marriage plans. Arnold announces to Herb that he has a babysitting job for him. Lucy drops into Flat 5 and asks the Whittakers if they have any news on Gordon. Alf's truck breaks down on his way to Melbourne. Herb won't tell Dorrie where he is going. Alf's truck needs repairs, so he must check into a wayside hotel overnight. He makes an intriguing discovery: Sonia Vansard is working there! He tells her the grim news about Gordon's condition. [Episode written by Bob Caswell.]

The Cosmopolitan Motor Inn is frequently namedropped as it was the location of regular writers' meetings, where the new storylines for the series were developed.

214. (24/01) Terry is busily working on the costumes when a man named Gilbert Dawson (Terence Cooper) arrives. He is her former pimp. Vera arrives home and Gil is quite taken by her. He invites Vera to dinner. While they are talking, Vera receives a phone call from Sonia. Vera is very pleased to hear from her. Vera decides that she will accept Gil's offer of dinner. Gil is pleased but Terry is very worried. At The Cosmopolitan, Vera and Gil bump into Don and Sally. Vera is pleased to tell Don that Sonia had rung and will be returning to Sydney tomorrow. Back at the flat, Terry tries to discourage Vera from getting too interested in Gil. Herb arrives home from babysitting and gives Dorrie $8, but he is evasive about how he earned it. Sonia turns up at Number 96 as Don is about to leave for work. He offers to drop her at the hospital. Lucy's boss, Mr Thorburn (Reg Evans) arrives at the laundrette to give Lucy the $5 raise he promised for disbelieving her about Mrs Parot's lost money. He overhears Vera and Norma talking about moving. Gil turns up at Flat 7 to take Vera to lunch, but she's not there. Vera encounters a distraught Sonia in the hall and takes her up to Don's flat. She has seen Gordon and his condition is unchanged. Vera tries to comfor her. Dorrie grills Herb about how he is earning his money. When Mr Thorburn learns that Number 96 is to be demolished for future redevelopment, he promises to investigate. Dorrie turns up and tells Lucy about Herb being secretive about a new source of income. Gil and Vera spend an afternoon at the beach and, again, Terry is concerned. Don prepares Sally a lavish dinner. Sonia won't stay as she wants to visit with Gordon again. She leaves just as Sally arrives home. Herb gets ready for another babysitting job. Sally and Don have just finished dinner when Mr Thorburn calls by Number 96 with some interesting news for Don and the other residents. Don, Sally, Lucy, Dorrie, and Vera are all gathered to hear that Lindsay Street is not zoned for a highrise building, so Number 96 will not be getting demolished after all. Terry and Gil discuss Vera. Don and Sally decided that they will give Sir Arnold Ashton's suggestion - of a marriage of convenience - a try after all. [Episode written by Bob Caswell.]

Reg Evans returns to the role of Mr Thorburn. He was last seen in Episode #117, although he was often mentioned in dialogue throughout 1972.

215. (25/01) Vera encounters Alf on the stairs and greets him with the news that the building has been saved! When she gets to her door, Gil is waiting for her. He wants to invite her and Terry to a party. Claire is sitting with Rod in Flat 6 when Bev and Jack return from an outing to the movies. Have Bev and Jack resolved their differences? Surely Jack would be delighted to accompany Claire to the Summervilles' party? Les suggests to Alf that he should expand his business by adding a second truck and employing another driver. Bev and Rod reminisce about happy times from their childhood. Rod is stroking her long hair and starts to get carried away. Bev realises what is happening and stops him. Jack and Claire are surprised to run into Vera, Gil and Terry at the Summervilles' party. Jack is very concerned as to why Vera is with Gil. Norma tells Les that Salvadore is keen for Anna Maria to leave the pub. Jack tries to convince Bev that Rod would be better off in the country air, not cooped up in a Paddington apartment. Claire confesses to Jack that she is concerned about Rod's reluctance to go back to the doctor. Vera and Terry discuss the party and Vera wants more information on Gil. Bev has been convinced by Rod that she would be happier looking after him. She tells Claire that she has decided to finish with Jack, at least until until Rod is better. Norma, Les and Alf chat together at the pub. Jack comes in, looking rather grim. Gil pays Vera a visit and presents her with a beautiful diamond hairclip. Jack arrives at Flat 6 in the midst of a row between Claire, Rod and Bev. Jack decides to act constructively: he goes over to Rod and hauls him to his feet, demanding to know how long Rod has been hiding the fact that he can walk! [Episode written by Mike Harris.]

216. (26/01) Rod makes an admission. He didn't tell Bev he could walk because he didn't want to leave her. He tells Bev that he loves her - and it's not just in a brotherly way. Bev and Claire are devastated. Arnold approaches Don for advice in his relationship with Marion. Jack and Bev walk in on Claire's phone conversation with Rod's doctor. Bev goes in to see Rod and he again professes his love. Claire wants to take Rod back to her place. Even though she's left it too late, she needs to help him. She has to make up for the past. Bev comes out to say that she has convinced Rod to move to Buckingham Lodge. Alf and Lucy discuss the idea of buying another truck when Arnold comes in. Alf teases him about Mrs Carlton. Sally, Don and Sonia have dinner together but Sonia is understandably distant. Gordon's condition is unchanged, despite Sonia's daily visits to the hospital. She decides to take a walk when they finish eating. She meets Aldo and Roma on her way downstairs and then decides to go into Flat 1. She sits down and the memories of her time with Gordon come flooding back. She is overwhelmed with sobs. Aldo and Roma discuss Herb's mystery job but Arnold is able to enlighten them. Don comes into the deli and asks Arnold if he has made a decision about his liaison yet. Aldo starts to castigate Arnold for considering dating an older woman. Lucy overhears Alf on the phone enquiring about obtaining a new truck. Claire arrives to collect Rod and take him back to Point Piper. A telegram turns up from Irving. Roma is thrilled that he is finally coming to Australia. Sonia receives a phone call to inform her that Gordon has regained consciousness. Arnold has packed a small overnight bag and the book, The Gentle Art of Lovemaking, for his date with Marion. He informs the Sutcliffes that he intends to stay the night with her. Sally and Don meet up at The Cosmopolitan for drinks before dinner. Don proposes marriage - and Sally accepts! At the hospital, Sonia is waiting to see Gordon, but the doctor comes to her with bad news. Gordon has passed away. [Episode written by Mike Harris.]

217. (29/01) Vera and Terry are having fun in the wacky costumes they have been sewing, but they are interrupted by the arrival of Gil. He has come to Flat 7 for a dinner date with Vera. In Flat 4, Don and Sally are making wedding plans when Sonia arrives back from the hospital. She tells them that Gordon has died. Marion is waiting for Arnold to join her on the waterbed, but he is so nervous that he is having trouble getting undressed. Sally manages to calm Sonia down and finally gets her off to sleep. Arnold and Marion are lying in bed but the phone rings. It's Mr Carlton, to tell his wife that he is at the airport and will be home shortly. Arnold panics and hastily attempts to get dressed. Marion offers to call him a cab. "Do you think it'll come quickly?" he asks. "If the evening is anything to go by," says Mrs Carlton, "It'll be here before you've got your tie on." Once again, Dorrie tries to find out from Herb about his night job. Don goes upstairs to Vera's, but only Terry is at home. He tells her about Gordon and asks her to pass the message on. On the way back down to his flat, he passes a dejected Arnold heading up to Flat 8. Even though it is late, the Sutcliffes are still up when he goes inside. Lucy notices that his evening did not go as planned and tries to console him. Next morning, Vera goes down to Flat 1 to check on Sonia and they chat about Gordon. Alf and Lucy discuss Alf's plans for a second truck when Dorrie arrives with the mail. There is an aerogramme from the UK; it is a letter from Alf's mother, announcing that she will be coming to Australia! Herb notices the door to Flat 1 is ajar and checks inside. He is surprised to see Sonia there, chatting to Vera. As Sonia tells Herb the grave news about Gordon, Don turns up. He suggests to Sonia that they should visit the undertakers to start the planning for Gordon's funeral, and he offers to accompany her. In the deli, Dorrie boasts to Arnold about Herb's success in business and how profitable the new job is. Arnold expresses surprise. He says that he never thought of babysitting as a lucrative profession - and Dorrie is appalled. "Why wasn't I told?" Herb enters the deli and tells them both about the passing of Gordon Vansard. Vera and Terry are going through the list of people expected today for final costume fittings. Gil rings with a lunch invitation for Vera. Dorrie tells Lucy about Gordon and tries to get more information about the international mail she delivered this morning. Sonia is back from collecting Gordon's personal effects and has a cry when she finds a photo of herself in Gordon's wallet. Terry tells Gil that doesn't approve of Vera's developing relationship with him. Since Terry and Gil share a colourful past history, she threatens to tell Vera about his probable intentions, but Gil retaliates. If Terry tries to do that, she will regret it. [Episode written by Michael Boddy.]

218. (30/01) Herb arrives at the pub to tell Les and Alf about Gordon. Alf mentions that his mother has sent news that she will be visiting from England. Norma realises that the arrival of Mrs Sutcliffe Sr might end Arnold's stay as a boarder in Flat 8. Alf had not considered that. Aldo and Roma are also at the pub, enjoying a counter lunch. Arnold comes in to ask Roma if she would like to cater for the wake after Gordon's funeral. She agrees - and Aldo insists that they will not charge Sonia. Dorrie intercepts a call for Herb offering a babysitting job. She takes the job for herself. Bev is upset because Rod keeps ringing her. In the laundrette, Lucy and Norma chat about Mrs Sutcliffe's impending visit. Arnold and Aldo argue about the arrangements for Gordon's wake. Les has a new brilliant idea: he will give up his job as a hospital orderly and become Alf's second driver, but he will have to obtain his truck licence first. Arnold calculates the cost of the Vansard wake and Aldo apologises for making such a fuss earlier. Aldo invites Roma out to dinner and Arnold offers to mind the shop so they can leave early. Norma invites Alf and Lucy to stay for dinner, since Alf had been wrangled into helping Les to prepare it. Jack and Bev are off to a party, but Bev gets melancholy, feeling that it is inappropriate to be enjoying herself so soon after Gordon's death. Jack cajoles her into coming with him and goes to pick up the phone to dial for a cab. It rings and he answers it: it's Rod again, but Jack hangs up on him. Dorrie mentions the forthcoming visit by Alf's mother, but this is the first that Arnold has heard of it. In Flat 5, the Whittakers and the Sutcliffes enjoy a lighthearted meal together. Arnold goes up to Flat 8 confront Lucy about the other Mrs Sutcliffe, but no one is home. Lucy and Alf return to their flat to talk to Arnold, but it seems that he already knows that he has to move out! [Episode written by Michael Boddy.]

219. (31/01) Sonia drops in to see Don and Sally in Flat 4. They are deep into a game of Scrabble. Sonia tells them that her mother is coming to stay with her for a while. Jack and Bev meet Vera and Gil on the stairs and invite them into Flat 6 for a drink. Vera helps Bev in the kitchen as she prepare something for them to eat. Meanwhile, Jack - already knowing about Gil's seedy background - asks Gil about work. Gil insists that he is no longer running his business up at Kings Cross. He is now a wine exporter. He also mentions that he is keen to marry Vera, much to Jack's amazement. Next morning, Terry attempts to steer Vera away from Gil. Jack is keen to have Bev accompany him on a move to the country, but Bev wants to find work in the city. Norma calls by Flat 1 to see Sonia and meets her mother, Vi Freeman (Marion Johns). At The Cosmopolitan, Don and Sally talk about Sonia. The conversation moves to the wedding; Sally is looking more pregnant every day. The barman overhears them and does a doubletake. At the pub, Vera and Terry tell Norma about all the notable people who are coming for costume fittings. The show's designer, Adrian Wolfe (Owen Weingott), joins them at their table and is intrigued by Norma. Don and Sally have invited Jack and Bev to join them at their table. They break the news that they are entering into a marriage of convenience because Sally is pregnant. Jack and Bev express their delight, but what are Don and Sally's true feelings? Sonia visits Flat 4 to have a break from her mother and notices all the champagne. "What's the celebration?" Don worries that it is not yet the time to tell her about the upcoming wedding. The celebrity host of the charity revue, Ron Fraser (Himself), apologises for running late for his costume fitting in Flat 7. Don and Sally chat again and decide that they should make a public announcement of their engagement. There are laughs all around as Vera and Terry try to complete the fitting for a very witty Mr Fraser. Gil turns up to take Vera to dinner. Adrian has been in the pub, sketching, all afternoon. Jack arrives and heads over to the bar to ask Norma if he has had any messages. Norma confides in him that she seems to have a secret admirer. She beckons Adrian over and he shows them the sketches he has been doing: they are all of Norma! Later, Vera and Gil return because they are moving onto a party together and Vera wanted to get changed. Vera calls Gil into the bedroom to zip up her dress. After he does so, he asks her if she really wants to go to the party... or maybe do something else? He slowly unzips her dress. [Episode written by Michael Boddy.]

Marion Johns returns in a new recurring role, Vi Freeman. Previously she portrayed Selma Horowitz in Episode #75, a role taken over by Hilda Scurr (Episode #271), and then Lea Denfield (Episode #807). Adrian Wolfe is portrayed by Owen Weingott, who had previously appeared as Victor Cameron in Episode #54. (Owen Weingott's real life son, Paul, had portrayed Bruce Taylor, the lover of both Don Finlayson and Maggie Cameron.) Ron Fraser plays the compere of the charity revue, for which Vera Collins has designed the costumes. He was well known to many of the writers and cast.

220. (1/02) Roma organises the wake for Gordon Vansard, to be held in Flat 1. Everyone in the building has been invited. The many new arrivals at Number 96 are proving very confusing for the residents, especially Aldo. He meets Vi Freeman, who is staying in Flat 1 with Sonia, her daughter. Sonia breaks down at the wake. Roma has to leave early to collect her son, Irving, from the airport. Aldo admits to Alf and Lucy that he is quite terrified of meeting Irving. He has heard that the young man now wants to be known as Irving Lewis, as he is ashamed of the stigma that comes with the surname "Lubinski".

221. (2/02) Irving Lewis (Bill Riley) claims that he changed his name from "Lubinski" due to him needing to do dealings in the American business world. Arnold is invited to board with the Whittakers in Flat 5, as they have a spare bedroom and he will need to vacate Flat 8 when Mrs Sutcliffe Sr arrives. Bev has been invited to go out to dinner with Sally and Don but she doesn't want to go. Irving puts off his mother for lunch. He tells her about a non-Jewish girl he is interested in. Roma wants to discuss her forthcoming marriage to Aldo with Irving. Bev gets distressed by Aldo and Roma talking about what a nice couple Sally and Don make. Adrian presents Norma with a small painting of herself, which he did from all the sketches he made in the pub the other day. She is both impressed and flattered. Marion and Arnold have another encounter in her waterbed - and Arnold plans to be more knowledgeable for his next encounter with her. He will do some more reading: sex manuals, this time, not cook books! Jack finally gets it out of Bev as to her current dark mood: she is still deeply in love with Don.

222. (5/02) Don and Sally go off to get married, but Bev can't understand that it is a marriage of convenience for both of them. Don's boss at the law firm of Willoughby, Willoughby & Martin had once urged him to find a wife to deflect from his homosexuality, and Sally will avoid the stigma of being an unwed mother. Gil arrives at Flat 7 to take Vera out. While Vera is changing, Gil tells Terry that she needs to be earning him some money while she has the flat to herself all day. Marion gives Arnold a big miss. He was too much work for her! Sonia decides it is time to go back to work and reopen the chemist shop. She will need to find an assistant pharmacist. Gil and Vera head out just before Terry's next client turns up. Alf and Lucy get another letter from Alf's mother in England. She is definitely coming to Sydney. Jack gets heavy with Bev and practically orders her to accompany him to Don and Sally's gathering this afternoon. Terry, Vera, Gil, Alf, Lucy, Arnold and Sonia are all at the party in Flat 4. When Jack and Bev arrive, Don and Sally make public the fact that they were married earlier today. Bev is shattered and finds it hard to hide her feelings.

223. (6/02) Irving has settled back in Australia, but life in America seems to have altered so many of his plans for the future. Aldo worries about how Roma will react to these changes. Jack falls asleep while Bev is trying to make love to him. She is furious! Later, Sally asks Bev for advice on handling Don. Irving announces that he intends to marry his American girlfriend, Samantha, because she is very wealthy. Sally wants Sonia's opinion on Bev's reaction to an earlier conversation about Don, but Sonia knows the backstory and warns Sally to be very careful of Bev. Sally's presence does relieve Sonia's loneliness for a time. Irving makes a stand on his mother's relationship with Aldo. He tells Aldo that he does not approve of them getting married.

224. (7/02) Norma finally agrees to pose for Adrian. Irving has already reacted negatively to Roma's plan to marry Aldo. He now talks about his American girlfriend's father, the wealthy RJ Vanderhum, who also happens to be Irving's boss. Mr Vanderhum has a hatred of the Jews and everything Jewish. Arnold moves into the spare bedroom in Flat 5, although the untidiness of the Whittakers' flat is daunting. Vera confronts Terry about "entertaining" clients in Flat 7 and Terry gives her the lowdown on Gil. He is Terry's pimp.

225. (8/02) Vera succumbs to Gil's charms, but then she needs to go to another meeting at Whale Beach. While Vera is gone, Gil threatens Terry about getting back to work with some clients. Arnold suffers through his first chaotic night with the Whittakers in Flat 5. Bev tries again with Jack but he is too tired to perform. Vera confronts Gil about Terry's accusations. Gil tells Terry that she is feeling jealous because Vera is in love with him. Gil gets very nasty with Terry and tells her to shut her mouth. Is Bev about to make a big mistake? She invites Gil in for a drink.

226. (9/02) A misunderstanding with a client of their prospering baby-sitting venture causes Dorrie to vent her anger on poor Herb. Don tells Sonia that Gordon has bequeathed her an insurance policy payout of $50,000. Herb takes his revenge by locking Dorrie out of Flat 3. Aldo is found collapsed on the floor.

Sonia Vansard's inheritance of Gordon's deceased estate would become a plot point of the 1974 movie.

227. (12/02) Gil tells Vera how much he loves her. There are more comings and goings at Number 96: Alf's domineering mother (Neva Carr Glyn) arrives from England and Aldo is rushed away in an ambulance. Vera's costumes for the charity review are considered an absolute success. Mrs Sutcliffe Sr has a string of complaints - about everything. Aldo is suffering from what is expected to be diagnosed as a heart attack. Roma breaks down in front of Arnold. Terry again tries to tell Vera that Gil is a "professional procurer". Bev finds herself to be fascinated by Gil. Terry wants to know what Gil has planned for Vera and he tells her to mind her own business. Roma blames herself for bringing on Aldo's heart attack.

Neva Carr Glyn, who portrays Mrs Sutcliffe Sr, was considered a "Queen of Australian Radio", alongside Thelma Scott, Number 96's Claire Houghton. Neva's son is the actor Nick Tate.

228. (13/02) Jack arrives at Flat 6 and blows his stack when he finds Gil inside, sitting with Bev. She eventually calms Jack down; Gil was only offering her a job. Dorrie won't forgive Herb for locking her out of the flat. A former heartthrob of Don's, Paul Mathews (David Whitford), pays a visit to Flat 4. Now a cadet journalist, he has just started working for the the Evening News. Paul is turning 21 soon and wants Don to come to his party. Sally reacts badly; is she jealous of Paul, or has she realised that she has made a grave mistake in marrying Don? Norma is despairing about Les's jealousy; he begrudges all the time she is spending with Adrian Wolfe.

David Whitford, who portrays Paul Mathews, will return to play Mayor Charles Gough in a recurring plotline (commencing from Episode #861). Mayor Gough makes a return in Episode #1059. Since David was a taxi driver in real life, when not acting, he can often be seen as an extra, driving his own taxi, in many Australian productions of the day. He also plays a taxi driver in Melvin, Son of Alvin (1984). David is the brother of Peter Whitford, who will eventually play the regular character of Guy Sutton.

229. (14/02) The hospital has contacted Roma. Aldo is out of Intensive Care, but still very ill. Roma is too worried about him to work in the shop, so Arnold is again running the deli single-handedly. Dorrie has convinced herself that the recently-bereaved Sonia is having an affair with the new Tamil pharmacist, Brian Banerjee (Beverley Roberts)! Lucy is finding it very difficult dealing with the whims of her caustic, ungrateful mother-in-law. Aldo's doctor explains that there is nothing wrong with Aldo's heart. He has a hiatus hernia. Roma realises that she is not prepared to pretend to be not-Jewish when meeting Samantha's parents.

While Brian Banerjee's parents are said to be living in Calcutta (since 2001, Kolkata), India, there are references to his fiancée in Ceylon in the synopses. Sri Lanka had gained independence from Britain in 1948 and only became a republic in 1972. While it had removed all references to its British colonial name, Ceylon, from its state institutions, it took some time for the new name to gain acceptance by the rest of the world. The Indian Tamils of Sri Lanka are of Indian origin, many descended from workers sent from South India in the 19th and 20th centuries to work on coffee, tea and rubber plantations. Some also migrated on their own as merchants and as other service providers. Introducing Beverley Roberts' character to the ongoing storyline meant that the writers could revisit the successful ratings controversy of 1972's Sonia/Chad interracial romance.

230. (15/02) Jack is concerned about Bev, and the fact that she seems to have turned into a nymphomaniac. Gil tells Vera that he loves her and she couldn't be more thrilled. Jack apologises for trying to keep Bev all to himself. He thinks she should take the job that Gil has offered her. Bev is pleased. Sally refuses to attend Paul's upcoming 21st birthday party, but she is actually trying to let Don have some time to be with Paul on his own. Gil's actions should reveal his true motives to Vera, but is she looking for any? The relationship Don and Sally share is undergoing some changes; are they still "just good friends"? She waits up until 2.00am for Don to return home, and gets very upset. Sally goes to see Bev in Flat 6. She explains to Bev that she has fallen in love with Don.

231. (16/02) Lucy and Alf have a row over Mrs Sutcliffe. Roma has another quarrel with Irving. He wants his mother to assume his new surname, "Lewis", so that he can improve the family status, both socially and financially. She refuses to pretend to be someone else just to satisfy Samantha. Terry tries to help a disillusioned Arnold by suggesting that he should go to bed with her, with no emotional involvement. Maybe she can improve his performance with women? Arnold asks for Les and Alf's advice and they both agree that he should take up Terry's offer. Vera receives an engagement ring from Gil.

232. (19/02) The framed portrait of Norma that Adrian painted is finally unveiled. While Norma had posed for the artist fully-clothed, the large painting is a reclining nude, taking much inspiration from Goya's The Naked Maja. Les is aghast, but everyone else loves it! Will the portrait stay hanging on the wall of the pub? Dorrie and Herb live to regret their good intentions regarding the situation between Alf's mother and Lucy. Mrs Sutcliffe seems to think she has been invited to stay! Alf comes to retrieve his mother, who has just finished dinner in Flat 3. Alf wants her to come back and apologise to Lucy. Norma is puzzled; she finds Arnold's hairbrush in her dressing table drawer. Everyone is puzzled as to how it ended up there. Lucy makes a great effort to get along with her mother-in-law. Sonia's handbag turns up under the counter in the chemist shop. She is amazed as she never brings it into the shop. Arnold has some good news for the other residents. When Georgina Carter left for Coffs Harbour, she had left behind an ornamental "pot plant". Auntie Dee has been taking good care of it. Someone tells Dorrie that the leaves are very tasty in salads. She chops up some of the plant - and she and Herb end up rather high after their meal. [Episode written by David Sale.]

233. (20/02) Lucy rings Vera and asks her for help; she has just found Dorrie and Herb in their flat - and they are roaring drunk! Aldo is allowed to return home from hospital. Terry promises Arnold that she'll keep her eye out for the right girl for him. Bev wins the commercial job and is thrilled. Irving admits to Roma that he still hasn't told Samantha he is Jewish. Roma promises to meet her later in the week. Terry meets Robyn Ross (Carolle Lea, aka Carlotta, aka Carol Byron) in the new show she is working on and lines her up to go on a date with her friend, Arnold. Gil proposes to Vera again. Vera tells Jack but, even when he expresses his doubts, nothing can disturb her happiness. Sally is having trust issues over Don and Jack tries to offer advice and ease her suffering. Aldo realises that the $300 he put in a drawer, before he went to hospital, has vanished. [Episode written by David Sale.]

Carlotta's real identity, when playing Robyn Ross, was hidden from most of the cast. They were introduced to her as "Carolle Lea" to maintain the surprise twist to her story arc for as long as possible. Robyn Ross becomes the world's first transgender character, played by a transgender performer. The notorious Carlotta has had a long association with "Les Girls" and has been a panelist on "Beauty and the Beast and a co-host of "Studio Ten".

234. (21/02) Dorrie and Herb are very vague about the events of the previous night. Les receives a letter from Gary, who is still with the Army. He has applied for an overseas posting. Les tells Alf that his truck driving lessons are not going well. He recently ran over his instructor's foot and the driving school told him to go elsewhere. Dorrie's experiments with Georgina's organic food creates a strange effect. She and Herb give some salad to old Mrs Sutcliffe, and they all get high. Roma finds Aldo's missing money - in the oven! They are mystified. [Episode written by David Sale.]

The poltergeist mystery was to be a serial crime almost as puzzling as 1972's Knicker Snipper prowler storyline.

235. (22/02) Arnold phones Mr Sanford to get Robyn Ross to return his call. Over dinner, Roma discusses with Irving how she must prepare herself to meet his fiancée. While serving breakfast to the Whittakers, Arnold learns that he will have the flat to himself tonight. Vera, Sonia and Brian discuss the bizarre goings-on in the building. Does Number 96 have a poltergeist? Aldo surprises Roma with a lunch invitation to The Blue Danube. He only left hospital two days ago after his hernia scare. Arnold offers to work through his lunch hour, to cover for them, if he can get off at 6.00pm for his date with Miss Robyn Ross. Romance with Robyn is blooming for Arnold, but Aldo and Roma are sick of hearing about his infatuation. At the pub, Vera introduces Les and Norma to Brian. While having lunch, Aldo and Roma overhear two American women - the brash Denise and her daughter - making anti-Semetic remarks from another table. Aldo gets very upset at the situation. Gil asks Vera if she'd mind having a client of his around to dinner. Aldo and Roma chat with Sonia and Brian in the chemist shop as they prepare Aldo's medication. Brian talks about his fiancée back home. Robyn drops into the deli to get Arnold's flat number. Les is leaving Flat 5 just as Robyn arrives. Aldo wishes he could accompany Roma and Irving to the dinner where she will be introduced to Samantha. Arnold tries to get something happening with Robyn, much to her surprise, but she is not upset. Roma meets Samantha Vanderhum (Jinx Huber) - and is shocked to realise she is the young anti-Semetic diner from the The Blue Danube at lunchtime. [Episode written by David Sale.]

Jinx Huber (now Jinx Lootens), who portrays Samantha Vanderhum, was the then-wife of Executive Producer and writer, Bob Huber. Jinx made several more appearances in different roles, including a nurse in 1973, a Kings Cross prostitute in Episode #890, Mrs Hadley in Episode #1149, and several appearances as Coral Fuller (aka Olga Medcalf) from Episode #1187.

236. (23/02) Lucy holds up Dorrie and Herb on their way out for a social night at the Paddington Senior Citizens Club. Mrs Sutcliffe Sr seems strange after her last visit to Flat 3. Don and Sally discuss Paul again. She is uncomfortable with Paul having spent the night in Don's room. Terry enters Flat 7 to discover Gil wearing only a towel and comments upon it. Don and Sally discuss her pregnancy but the phone rings and he must rush off due to an emergency. Dorrie and Herb are asking for trouble by using Georgina's "pot plant" two days in a row. Jack is in bed reading the newspaper. There is a story about a rather wild meeting, attended by members of the Paddington Senior Citizens Club (Harry Pegg and Molly Raynor), at which Dorrie's marijuana salad was served. Her niece had told her it was a nutritious "organic herb". Dorrie is mainly worried about the reaction of Mrs Terry, the president of the Senior Citizens Bowling Club. Vera is preparing dinner for Gil and his client. Jack is on the phone, placing bets, when Bev arrives home. He teases her a bit about the audition for the commercial. Sally arrives, telling Jack and Bev that Don has cajoled Paul to write an article about the Senior Cits' drug scandal. Paul will interview Dorrie and Herb about Georgina the hippy niece, and her time with "Harry Krisher". Jack and Terry are in the pub when Paul and Don come in. On her way out, Terry confides in Don, privately, that she is worried about Vera's safety whenever she is with Gil. Dorrie enquires after old Mrs Sutcliffe's health and Lucy tells her that she is resting after her "shocking ordeal". Terry's fears are well founded; Gil makes a strategic departure after inviting his business associate, Warren Davies (John Faassen), to Vera's for dinner. Vera has to cope with entertaining Warren alone. Don and Paul are having a laugh over Paul's interview with Dorrie. Sally joins them but is unimpressed. Bev describes her audition to Jack. Paul has had to leave in a hurry, so Don and Sally are eating alone. Dorrie is about to leave for her babysitting job, but the phone rings. The job has been cancelled. The phone rings again and it is Flo Patterson. She hangs up after only a few words. Vera is alone with Warren when he begins making improper advances on her. Vera finds it all very distasteful, but all of this has seemingly been organised by Gil. [Episode written by David Sale.]

Molly Raynor, playing a member of the Senior Cits, had previously portrayed Mrs Peters in Episode #32. There was a Harry Pegg who was a notable Australian sportsman. He represented Queensland in Australian Rules football and first-class cricket (and making a cameo as a two-line extra?). John Faassen, who appears as Warren Davies, previously portrayed Sir Montague Porter in Episode #210. He will return as Maurice Hardy in Episode #277 and Lucy Sutcliffe's obstetrician in 1975. Around this episode, Eve Wynne portrays Mrs Clegg in scenes associated with the delicatessen.

237. (26/02) Irving's intended bride has left Roma in a turmoil and Aldo can't find the right words to calm her. A distraught Vera confronts Gil about stranding her with the amorous Warren. Sally brings Don breakfast and wants to chat about Paul. Jack decides to cheer up Bev by taking her out for some shopping therapy to buy some new clothes. Gil makes threats to Terry to stop her bringing up Vera's encounter with Warren last night. Don reassures Flo and Herb about the drug hearing after the disastrous meeting of the Paddington Senior Citizens Club. He then gently teases Flo about the incident. At morning tea time in Flat 3, Flo talks with Dorrie and Herb about the Extraordinary Meeting of the Senior Cits that has been called. Vera tells Terry in front of Gil that she loves him. Roma tries to reassure herself that Samantha is the right girl for Irving. Should she tell her son about his fiancée's anti-Semitic attitudes? Laden with parcels after their shopping expedition, Jack and Bev call in to see Don at the pub. They return to Flat 6, where they are joined by Sally. Bev and Sally are in the kitchen, checking on dinner. They attempt to bond over their mutual fondness for Don. In the deli, Aldo is complaining about how long Arnold is taking on his delivery run. Irving arrives and tries to cajole his mother into lending him $30,000 to $35,000 for his new flat in the eastern suburbs. [Episode written by Bob Caswell.]

238. (27/02) Arnold finally arrives back from deliveries, so Aldo and Roma are able to close the shop on time. Arnold is visibly agitated and Aldo and Roma correctly guess that Robyn Ross is the cause of his current demeanour. Alf is leaving Flat 8 for the start of a night run in his truck when Arnold races up the stairs and frantically knocks on the door of Flat 7. There is no answer. Lucy invites him in to have dinner with her. She tries to tell him not to worry about Robyn. Aldo expresses his shock about the $30,000 that Irving wants from Roma. Lucy, Norma and Sonia are nattering together in the laundrette. Roma makes a visit to the bank on her way to the lunchtime meeting with Irving. At the pub, Alf chats to Les about Les's driving lessons. They head out to Alf's truck, which Les is insistent about demonstrating his driving prowess. Norma and Brian discuss the spirits that are seemingly haunting Number 96. Irving takes Roma and Samantha to see the new home unit. Les walks into Flat 5; he is filthy dirty after having attempted to repair the driving school's Mini Minor. Norma is exasperated and loses her temper, especially upon learning that Les was behind the huge traffic jam on the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Arnold is the latest victim of the so-called poltergeist when his transistor radio goes missing from Flat 5! Aldo is still complaining about Roma lending so much money to her son. Les gets out his trusty water diviner to search for Arnold's lost transistor. According to Les, he will be able to trace the poltergeist's vibrations. Alf talks to Lucy about the idea of buying a second truck, then asks about his mother. Lucy says that Mrs Sutcliffe is still sleeping. In Flat 1, Brian and Sonia uncover the beginnings of a new mystery: someone has forced the chemist shop's front door to go rummaging through the poisons cupboard. Their supply of morphine is missing! [Episode written by Bob Caswell.]

239. (28/02) Dorrie and Herb's liberty is under threat on the day of their court appearance on marijuana charges. It is up to Don to free them, and he is confident that he can, but Dorrie is preparing for the worst. Don is busy on the phone, so they decide to wait for him downstairs. Don has been chatting to Paul and reassures Sally that all will turn out well. Dorrie and Herb manage to coincide their arrival at the chemist shop with that of Detective Sergeant Miller (Mark Kelly), who has come to investigate Sonia's report about the missing morphine. Seeing the police has really rattled Dorrie. She gets into a taxi with Herb and Don and they head to the courthouse. Superintendant Carroll comes to Flat 1 to interview Sonia about the morphine robbery and they go through to the shop to inspect the poisons cupboard. Flo is in the laundrette talking to Lucy about Dorrie and Herb's court appearance. Norma comes in and mentions the robbery of drugs from the chemist and Flo gets upset. Dorrie, Herb and Paul wait outside the courtroom for Don. Norma drops into the chemist and suggests that Sonia come with her for lunch at a nearby wine bar. As they leave, Brian heads to the phone and starts dialing. What is his secret? Lucy and Alf discuss that his mother is often out. Dorrie and Herb are acquitted but when Dorrie tries to ring the Senior Cits with the good news, she can't reach them. Paul presents Dorrie with a $500 cheque for the interview he conducted with them. Herb and Dorrie go in search of Flo. Paul invites Sally and Don to his parents' place in Pymble for a barbecue. They accept. Dorrie and Herb find Flo at the pub, chatting to Alf and Norma. The Senior Citizens Committee will not be taking action against the Evanses. Sally and Don are getting ready for the barbeque when the phone rings. Sally is needed to fly to Melbourne tonight for work. Brian and Sonia are locking up the shop and Sonia notices that Gordon's photo has gone missing. That night, after the barbeque, Don and Paul are in their pyjamas. Later, Paul turns up in Don's room wearing only his shorts.

Mark Kelly reprises his role of Detective Sergeant Miller. Previously, Miller had investigated stolen money in relation to Flat 8. Mark Kelly returns to portray Detective Inspector Mitchell in Episode #861. The official synopsis suggests that Mike Dorsey reprises Superintendant Carroll (from two 1972 story arcs, commencing in Episode #46 and then #129). He returns to portray the regular character of Reginald P. MacDonald, otherwise known as "Daddy", from Episode #447.

240. (1/03) Arnold is keen to hear from Robyn so he asks Terry to help. With Sally unable to attend Paul's party, it gives Don the chance to see another side to Paul's character. Don explains to him that when he and Sally entered their marriage of convenience, they agreed on "an arrangement" about relationships. Paul reveals that Sally is actually in love with Don. Les and Arnold have a non sequitur conversation about the phone call that Arnold is anticipating with Robyn. Arnold makes some sandwiches for Terry to give to Robyn, in an effort to jolt her memory. Vera and Jack discuss their relationships with Gil and Bev. Don and Paul talk about the previous evening, and how they came to be in the same bed after the barbecue. What does the future hold for them? Les and Arnold are at the pub, drinking, when Robyn arrives. Arnold takes her up to Flat 5. Jack confronts Gil about the way he is treating Vera. Robyn and Arnold are on the couch kissing when Les walks in. Arnold is embarrassed. How will Don tell Sally of his newfound feelings for Paul? Vera receives a late-night phone call from a client wanting to have a dress remade for the next day. Vera is upset. Les is pacing the landing outside Flat 5, trying to give Arnold some privacy when Vera comes down the stairs. Les suggests they go to her flat for a drink, but Vera says no. She says that Terry is in Flat 7 alone, so Les heads up there. He explains to Terry why he can't go home yet and she invites him in. Gil also arrives at Flat 7 and is introduced to Les. Les decides to share his homemade Bin 96 wine and goes down to his flat... where Arnold is chasing Robyn around the room! Terry tries to seduce Gil. [Episode written by Susan Swinford.]

241. (2/03) Gil informs Vera that Terry had begged him to sleep with her. Aldo and Roma decide to get married. Irving asks Samantha to marry him, but she explains that she will have to speak with her father first. Brian admits to Sonia that he has been involved with the police. Aldo finally stands up to Roma's son, setting a firm condition to which Irving must agree. Irving will not be able to conceal his true name from Samantha for much longer. Terry announces to Vera that she and Gil slept together. Is this Terry's way of steering Vera away from Gil for Vera's own good?

242. (5/03) Vera takes an emotional Terry back into Flat 7 as she has nowhere else to go. Bev tries to get Jack to sleep with her and he continues to worry about her constant need for sex. The poltergeist has been busy, with many items disappearing from various flats. Photographer Dudley Hammond-Jones (Mark Albiston) puts the hard word on Bev, but she rejects him. Arnold continues to take his relationship with Robyn very seriously, and is oblivious to reality. He has even gone so far as to buy her an engagement ring. Robyn regards Arnold merely as a friend. Terry adds a new dimension to the situation when she sees Robyn holding a hypodermic syringe.

243. (6/03) With Sally still away, Don and Paul's affair intensifies. Irving insists that he discuss Roma and Aldo's wedding plans with them at his new apartment. Sally arrives home and reacts very strangely to the news about Don and Paul. In Flat 8, Lucy is very upset about Mrs Sutcliffe Sr. It is revealed that Irving and Samantha did not buy the apartment with Roma's $30,000 - so now Irving has some explaining to do about how the flat was purchased, and what happened to his mother's money.

244. (7/03) Irving admits to Roma that he is in debt in the USA and he used her money to make some repayments. Terry encourages Bev to have an affair. Lucy's mother-in-law problems are worsening. Now Mrs Sutcliffe Sr is planning to stay with Alf and Lucy permanently. Roma agrees to lend Irving the money he needs to clear his gambling debts. Bev takes Dudley Hammond-Jones to bed.

245. (8/03) Sally finds it hard to hide her feelings from Don about his relationship with Paul. They have yet another confrontation. Many more items are disappearing from the flats, thanks to the poltergeist. Jack finds out that Bev is not with her mother at Buckingham Lodge after all. Sally tries to phone Don at his office and realises that he is not at work. She finally admits that she has fallen in love with him.

246. (9/03) At last, Arnold introduces his beloved Robyn to the other tenants of Number 96. She makes quite an impression on Aldo, Roma and the Whittakers. Vera and Terry have an amicable parting. Robyn realises that Arnold has not "guessed" correctly at all...

Arnold Feather: You... you must know how I... how I feel about you.
Robyn Ross: Honey, now listen to me first. There's something about me that you have to know -
Arnold: Don't say it, there's no need to. I already know.
Robyn: You do? How? You mean Terry's told you, after all?
Arnold: Well, she hinted the whole thing at me earlier today but, in point of actual fact, my dear Robyn, she, she had no need, for I had already guessed.
Robyn: You had - and you don't mind?
Arnold: How could I possibly mind? There isn't a particle of you that I don't love, or want, or remember...
Robyn: And you really don't mind me not being a girl?
Arnold: I... Beg pardon?
Robyn: I - I'm not a girl. But you said you'd guessed?
Arnold: I had guessed nothing of the sort! Miss Ross. Mr Ross?

247. (12/03) Robyn proves to be not the woman that Arnold thought she was, shattering Arnold's self-esteem. Lucy hears from Norma that Robyn is a transgender woman so she tries to console Arnold, who is worried about Alf and Les finding out the truth - and how they will react. Roma gives Irving the money he needs to be debt-free. Brian is concerned about the nusiance calls that Sonia has been receiving, so he stays on in Flat 1 with her. He makes some astute observations about many of the residents. Les, Alf, Norma and Lucy celebrate the news of Les inheriting the Scottish Earl of MacCraddonow title. Mrs Sutcliffe Sr feels that she has become a burden to her son and his wife. Alf and Lucy plan a lunch for her, to cheer her up. Jim Sutcliffe (Brendan Lunney) makes a surprise visit from Perth - and his grandmother is excited! Jim admits that his main reason for coming to Sydney is to locate his estranged wife, Noeline, and their son, Sebastian. Has Noeline really left Jim for another man? Aldo asks Arnold to mind the store for a few days so that he and Roma can visit some friends, but Aldo has a secret agenda. Les is concerned that there might be a lot of money associated with his Scottish title, but Norma says that he is being silly. [Episode written by Eleanor Witcombe.]

Brendan Lunney makes his second of three onscreen appearance arcs as the oft-mentioned Jim Sutcliffe. Previously "Our Jim" had a brief story arc from Episode #41. He would also return in Episode #858.

248. (13/03) Jim explains to his parents and grandmother that he will be looking for his missing wife and son. He is able to establish that Noelene is definitely staying with another man - and he resolves to win her back! Don meets up with Paul and apologises for not turning up to their theatre date. Paul knows that Sally doesn't like him but Don insists that Paul come to dinner to be proven wrong. Roma goes shopping and returns with new clothes and a wedding trousseau. Jack is off to the races but Bev won't be joining him. She needs to see Rod, who is getting very depressed about their mother's excessive drinking. Gil wants to move into Flat 7 with Vera but she refuses to let him. Jack rings Buckingham Lodge to check on Bev but Rod covers for her. In Flat 4, Don tells Sally that he has invited Paul to have dinner with them, but she becomes very upset. Don goes to buy white wine for dinner and, while he is gone, Paul arrives at the door. Sally lies that she is carrying Don's baby, and that Paul's ongoing presence is breaking up her marriage. Paul agrees not to see Don again. Jack confesses to Bev that he checked up on her and he apologises for being so mistrustful of her. [Episode written by Eleanor Witcombe.]

"Number 96" had premiered on Sydney TV on this date one year earlier. It was not expected by many to run longer than 13 weeks (or even 13 episodes). And yet it was a smash hit.

249. (14/03) Don is disappointed when Sally puts her foot down about Paul coming to dinner. Aldo tells Brian about Roma's shopping expedition, and how Arnold will be away for a few days. In Flat 2, Roma realises that her wedding trousseau has gone missing; the phantom thief has struck again! Exasperated by the disappearance of her iron, Dorrie calls a meeting in Flat 3 for all tenants of Number 96 to discuss the robberies. Aldo tells Herb that Roma has lost all of her new clothes. Bev won't go to the races with Jack and she rings Rod to thank him for covering for her. At the chemist shop, Dorrie tells Sonia, Brian and Vera about the meeting of residents. She refuses Brian's offer of assistance with the robberies. Sally meets Don for lunch because he is so upset about not hearing from Paul. Vera isn't at home in Flat 7, so Gil goes down to Flat 6 to visit with Bev. They end up in bed together! At Dorrie's meeting, Don, Sally, Vera, Sonia, Aldo, Jack and Herb debate the issue and decide that it is time to call in the police. After the meeting, Jack and Vera go up to Flat 6 and Bev and Gil hear them at the front door. Bev whispers to Gil to stay put in the bedroom. She heads out to the living room. [Episode written by Eleanor Witcombe.]

250. (15/03) In Flat 6, Jack almost goes into the bedroom, but Bev manages to prevent him from doing so. Vera is expecting a call from Gil, so they all go upstairs to Flat 7 for drinks. Still in Bev's bed, Gil sighs in relief at the near-miss. Arnold returns from his holiday, feeling more positive about his situation. An accidental discovery in the Whittaker family tree designates Les as the rightful heir of the Clan MacCraddonow castle. He is convinced that he and Norma will inherit a fortune! Brian questions Sonia about the meeting in Flat 3. Does everyone think that he is the culprit? Sonia assures him that only Dorrie was accusing him. Arnold tells the Whittakers that he will be minding the deli for a few days while Roma and Aldo are away. Gil arrives at Flat 7 and tells Vera how much he has missed her. Jack is in bed with Bev and he is relieved that she seems to be less demanding for romance today. Herb leaves the key for Flat 3 at the chemist shop - and Dorrie is livid that it is Brian who returns it to her in the deli. Gil stays with Vera but convinces her to have a few days away at Whale Beach. Les goes to the races with Jack. Herb buys Dorrie a replacement iron in the sales but, when he returns with it, the original one has mysteriously turned up! Brian is caught redhandedly returning Roma's clothes, but he claims that he just found them and was only doing the right thing. Dorrie is aghast when her fur coat goes missing! Les is back from the races with the news that he and Norma have been invited to Lady Gordillan's mansion for dinner. He has had a new brainwave, of course, but it creates a unique problem; after all, Scottish earls don't work as hospital orderlies. Norma realises that Les was only free to go to the races because he has resigned his job! [Episode written by Eleanor Witcombe.]

251. (16/03) Jim admits to his parents and grandmother that Noeline has left him and Sebastian forever. Les and Norma are dressed in their finery for an evening with Lady Gordillan. Alf has heard that Les failed his driving test when his sporan became caught in the gear lever. Lucy and Alf offer to care for Sebastian but Jim insists that the boy needs to return with him to Perth. Don is still unable to contact Paul and he is upset. Mrs Sutcliffe Sr attends the Senior Citizens Club dinner at the invitation of Dorrie and Herb. When she returns, Jim asks his grandmother to travel to Perth and live with him, and to help him to raise Sebastian. She agrees! Don happens to run into Paul and they compare stories. They return to Flat 4 to hear Sally's version of events. It seems that she has failed in her attempt to break them up. [Episode written by Eleanor Witcombe.]

252. (19/03) Sally becomes near-hysterical about Don and Paul's relationship. She demands that they go to a motel for the night and they agree. Dorrie and Herb are waiting for Flo to arrive so the three of them can head off to the Paddington Senior Citizens Club ferry cruise to Beauty Point. However, a phone call reminds them of a baby-sitting appointment for the same day. Dorrie must miss out on the cruise. Herb and Flo go alone. Vera tells Gil that she won't live with him until they are married. Brian breaks the news to Sonia that he must return to Calcutta, sooner than expected, to sort out the marriage in Ceylon that his parents have arranged. Herb and Flo are quite tipsy when they return from the ferry cruise. Flo falls and injures her back and Herb has to set her up in the spare bedroom. At the motel, Don feels guilty about leaving Sally alone in Flat 4 and tells Paul that he needs to head home. Sally finally apologises for her attitude towards Don and Paul - and Don accepts it. Again, Dorrie proclaims her suspicion that Brian is behind all of the missing items. Over the phone, Dorrie issue strict instructions that Herb must have Flo out of the flat by the time she gets back from town. Herb has to call the doctor to see Flo. The doctor puts her in traction and Dorrie is furious that the spare bedroom is still occupied. Don suggests to Paul that they should probably stop seeing each other, at least until Sally's demeanour improves. Vera is puzzled by the disappearance of her cigarette box.

253. (20/03) Norma is still angry about Les resigning his job at the hospital. As a Scottish Laird, he feels that being an orderly is beneath his status. Alf and Lucy go to the airport to see off Jim, Sebastian and Mrs Sutcliffe Sr. Bev again declines going to the races with Jack claiming that she has too much work to do. Instead, she goes to see Rod. With Aldo and Roma away for a few days - they plan to get married in secret - Arnold moves into Flat 1. He has been left in charge of the deli. Rod demonstrates to his sister how well he can get around with the walking stick. She tells him that she has been "playing the field" and Rod is delighted for her. Arnold realises that he wants to go back to living with the Sutcliffes in Flat 8, now that their spare bedroom is vacant again, but is unsure how to break the news to the Whittakers. Mick Milligan (Peter Berg) comes to see Alf about a job as a truck driver. Alf hires him. Arnold has a new problem to anguish over: Aldo still has the key to the night safe, meaning that Arnold now has two days' takings to look after - and there is still a thief in the building. He carefully places it in a top drawer of the bureau in Aldo's parlour... but the cash is soon removed from its hiding spot!

John Benton returns with an onscreen appearance as Rod Houghton, after many offscreen references. He will reprise the role in a story arc from Episode #372.

254. (21/03) Aldo finally rings Arnold from Surfer's Paradise Airport and Arnold is able to tell him that he has located Mrs Lubinski's missing trousseau. Lucy comes into the deli, on her way to the bank. Arnold asks her if she would please deposit the deli takings for him, then discovers that the money is gone! Bev again rejects Jack's invitation to accompany him to the races. She uses the opportunity to spend the afternoon with Gil instead. Vera is unsuspecting of Bev's invitation to Gil. Meanwhile, Vera is left to contend with Claire and her whims. Aldo and Roma arrive home and Arnold is surprised to learn that they are now married! Gil warns Bev not to take their relationship too seriously. Bev agrees that he is only "an interesting sideline". Gil boasts that he can introduce her to many more "interesting sidelines"! Bev is not so sure. Arnold breaks the news to Roma that the deli takings, that he thought he had hidden so well, had gone missing, but neither Roma nor Aldo seem concerned. Aldo is sure that the cash will turn up again, just as everything else the poltergeist has moved eventually reappears. While Sonia is in the deli, Irving bursts in and wants to speak to her alone. Don is on the verge of phoning Paul, but he decides that it would be a sign of weakness and he resists. Roma hands over another $1000 to Irving. Aldo finds out and is furious with Irving. As a special "thank you" to Arnold for "holding the fort" in their absence, the Godolfuses give him a day off.

255. (22/03) Strange things keep happening at Number 96 and one of the tenants is suspected. Les finds Arnold's missing transistor radio at the front door of Flat 5. Sonia gets annoyed with Brian because he won't tell her exactly how long it will be before he leaves for overseas. An unexpected guest, Rod, drops in on his sister, Bev - and he even gets to meet Gil! Aldo realises that he has not yet told Rose and Julian that he is married to Roma. He decides to put the news in a letter. Gil leaves Bev's flat and runs into Vera on the landing! He spins an unlikely yarn about why he had to visit Flat 6 - and Vera believes him. While doing some housework in her bedroom, a perplexed Sonia finds Vera's missing cigarette box in her pyjama bag. How did it get in there? Roma receives a phone call from R.J. Vanderhum, Samantha's father. He is checking on his future son-in-law, but Roma denies knowing an Irving Lewis. Hanging up the phone, Roma is beside herself with guilt. Sonia's mind finally snaps. She suddenly thinks that Brian is her late husband, Gordon. Sonia gets all amorous and tries to entice him into sleeping in her bed!

256. (23/03) Brian is very concerned over Sonia's state of mind. He makes an excuse to get away and goes upstair to talk to Don. He tells Don what just happened in Flat 1 and brings him downstairs to see Sonia for himself. At first, Sonia seems perfectly fine, but then she becomes delusional again and regresses into the past. The traumatic events in Sonia's past brings to the surface a bizarre inner self! Don is quite shaken. A worried Brian works with Don to try to make Sonia face reality. Brian eventually administers a sleeping draught. Don urges Brian to bring in medical assistance. Dorrie is put out over the fact that Flo is still encamped in the spare bedroom of Flat 3. She insists that, if Flo can walk, then she can go home to Paradise Street. Herb explains that the doctor has put Flo into a surgical corset - and she has no one at home who can look after her. In Flat 4, Don tells Sally about what has been happening to Sonia. Sally finds it hard to believe. Don returns to Flat 1, where he and Brian explain to Sonia about the events of yesterday. Sonia is incredulous. She remembers none of what they are saying, but she does believe what they are saying. She agrees to get treatment urgently. Brian makes a shocking disclosure: Sonia is responsible for all the missing items! He has been attempting to return them all, in secret, to protect her reputation. Arnold asks Alf to break the news to Les for him that Arnold is keen to move back to Flat 8. Alf refuses. Flo takes a phone call for Dorrie and Herb about a babysitting job. She is staggered to learn how much they are making per booking. She tells Herb that they are not allowed to earn money or they will lose their pensions. Herb is distressed. Brian comes into the deli and tells Aldo, Roma and Arnold about Sonia's condition. He begs them to look around for the missing $500 so that Sonia will stop stressing about it. Don accidentally meets up with Paul and they decided they really want to keep seeing each other. They both return to Flat 4. Herb breaks the news to Dorrie that earning money will affect their pensions. Dorrie becomes furious. Sonia is admitted to the hospital's psychiatric centre. Don sees her off and Brian decides to accompany her. Aldo and Roma have not been successful in their search for their missing money.

When Sonia Vansard returns in the 1974 feature film, she reminisces about her past mental breakdown to her new husband, Duncan Hunter. During the 1973 poltergeist mystery, Sonia had been "'Psycho', 'The Three Faces of Eve' and Vera Vague, all rolled into one". In "Psycho" (1960), a man portrayed by Anthony Hopkins was committing horrific crimes in the guise of his deceased mother. In "The Three Faces of Eve" (1957), Joanne Woodward played a woman with "dissociative identity disorder" (then-known as "multiple personality disorder"). Vera Vague was a confused spinster persona created in 1939 for radio by Barbara Jo Allen. Vera also appeared in several films and hosted the TV series, "Follow the Leader" (1953). Coincidentally, when Lynn Rainbow was reprising Sonia in the "Number 96" movie, she was appearing each night at the Marian Street Theatre, Killara, in the play version of "Blithe Spirit" (1945).

257. (26/03) Roma is worried about Arnold's reaction if she and Aldo are overheard discussing the missing $500 again. After a day at the races, Jack comes home to Flat 6 but Bev is having a lie down. He decides to go to a party without her. As soon as he leaves, Bev dials a phone number that Gil had given her. She makes arrangements to meet up. In the deli, the Godolfuses are discussing Sonia when Brian comes in. He has just been visiting her at the hospital. He announces that he has spoken to his parents and will soon be leaving for Ceylon to resolve matters with his fiancée. What will happen to the chemist shop? Herb, Dorrie and Flo are watching television in Flat 3. Dorrie says that she is missing her babysitting duties. In Flat 2, Roma rings Irving and tells him that she must see him urgently. When Aldo comes in from the shop, Roma suddenly pretends to be talking to an old friend. As Roma is leaving, she passes Bev, who is looking very glamorous. In Flat 4, Don, Sally and Paul are finishing up dinner. Don and Paul had been expecting an adverse reaction to their relationship from Sally, but her seeming acceptance of it throws new light on their situation. Don borrows Sally's car to drive Paul back to Pymble. As they depart, Sally rings Don's uncle, Sir Arnold Ashton, and says that she must meet with him tomorrow. Dorrie and Herb are chatting to Aldo when Herb notices Flo's doctor's car parked out the front. Dorrie rushes out to question him on Flo's condition, but she just misses him. In the chemist shop, Jack and Bev are talking with Brian about Sonia's progress. Aldo is about to sit down to have his lunch when Roma comes in from the kitchen, having found the missing money! Sally visits Sir Arnold. He is displeased with her current position - and threatens to tell Don everything! [Episode written by Lynn Foster.]

The synopses still make reference to Ceylon, even though it changed its name to Sri Lanka in 1972.

258. (27/03) Les is back on duty at the hospital and drops in to visit with Sonia. She has a memory lapse and starts talking about Gordon as if he is still alive. Norma comes into the deli for some groceries. She announces that Anna Maria, her former daughter-in-law, and her partner, Salvadore Russo, are coming to dinner. Aldo tells Arnold that the $500 has been found. Arnold lets on that Roma had suspected Irving as having taken it, separate to all of the other missing items that had been attributed to Sonia. Brian is coping well in the pharmacy, until the arrival of a cable. In the pub at lunchtime, he tells Jack, Les and Norma that he must return to Ceylon to cancel the wedding that his parents had arranged. Gil joins the table and asks Brian if he would like an introduction to an Australian girl. Arnold mentions to Roma his desire to move back to the Sutcliffes' flat, but building up the courage to tell the Whittakers is daunting. In Flat 5, Anna Maria and Salvadore are enjoying their evening with the Whittakers, but they must leave early when Mrs Russo is taken ill. Jack and Vera notice the seesaw effect of Sonia's condition when they go to visit her; she seems to be drifting further into fantasy. Over dinner, Roma admits to Aldo that she replaced the missing $500 herself. Vera arrives home to Flat 7 to discover that Gil has moved in! Vera and Gil descend the stairs just as Anna Maria and Salvadore are leaving Flat 5. Salvadore has a shock recognition when he sees Gil, but Gil hasn't seen him. Jack tells Brian of Sonia's intention to sell the chemist shop. Brian offers to organise the sale of the existing stock. In Flat 5, Arnold keeps failing in his attempts to tell the Whittakers of his desire to move out. Salvadore tells Anna Maria that he knows of Gil and his Mafia connections. [Episode written by Lynn Foster.]

John Serge and Rosalba Verrucci make their return as engaged couple, Salvadore Russo and Anna Maria Whittaker. Norma's former daughter-in-in-law last appeared in Episode #215.

259. (28/03) Gil and Vera are in bed. He tells her how happy she has made him. They are interrupted by a phone call. Gil is urgently required to go to his workplace. Arnold confesses to Lucy that he wants to move back into Flat 8. He then helps Alf with a few suggestions for his truck roster and says that he could be even more helpful if he was living with them. Anna Maria tells Salvadore that she is concerned about Gil's association with the Mafia and feels that Vera should be informed. Dorrie and Flo are reminiscing about old times with some photographs. Herb comes in and joins them. Flo accidentally drops a few photos and - seemingly forgetting her bad back - bends over to pick them up! Vera goes to the laundrette and mentions to Lucy that Gil has moved in with her. Alf tells Les that he is of the opinion that "titled people shouldn't have lodgers", and Arnold is always welcome to board in Flat 8 again. Flo is finally returning home to Paradise Street. Leaving Flat 3, she collides with an enthusiastic Arnold, who is racing upstairs. Flo puts her back out again! Anna Maria tells Norma about Gil and the Mafia. Norma immediately tells Vera, who becomes very upset. Les arrives at Flat 3, promising that he knows how to fix Flo's bad back. He gives her a mighty thump in the back - and Flo is cured! She happily departs the flat. Gil arrives at Flat 7 and Vera confronts him. Gil does not deny anything, but warns Vera that she is now "in it", too. [Episode written by Lynn Foster.]

260. (29/03) Sir Arnold is explaining to Sally that he is not satisfied with the current arrangements... when Don and Paul suddenly turn up. Sir Arnold is polite but makes an excuse to leave. Paul invites Sally and Don to spend the weekend with him in Pymble. Jack and Brian visit Sonia at the hospital. She says that the doctor explained to her how she keeps slipping back into the past. Jack announces that he has decided to take over the shop lease himself. He plans to open a wine bar! Brian has managed to find a buyer for the pharmaceutical stock, a Mrs Frazer (Judith Fisher). Gil tells Vera that he feels trapped by the Mafia - and Vera expresses her disgust. Sally confides in Don about what his Uncle Arnold had said to her earlier. Les, Norma and Don go to visit Sonia. Jack contacts Bev on the phone; he mentions that she wasn't at her mother's when he tried to ring her there last night. Sally drops in to see Jack in Flat 6 to borrow an overnight bag. They chat about Don and Sally's rocky marriage. Jack has organised the residents into shifts to look after Sonia, but she remains oblivious to their presence and suffers a relapse. She realises that she needs to return to the psychiatric clinic. Sir Arnold runs into Don and Paul having drinks at The Cosmopolitan in Double Bay and he wants to know if Sally understands the full situation. Jack makes an offer to the Whittakers: would they be interested in running his new wine bar for him when the liquor licence comes through? Sir Arnold tells Sally not to go away with Don and Paul, but to stay at home - with him - instead. She refuses but, used to getting his own way, Sir Arnold forces the matter. Vera, Gil, Norma, Les, Don, Jack and Brian are farewelling Sonia. Once again, she lapses into the past again. Sally breaks the news to Don that she can't go with him to Pymble on the weekend. Norma tells Les that she is prepared to give up her position at the pub to take on the wine bar, but she doesn't want him leaving his hospital job. Vera is talking with Gil and accidentally reveals how she came to learn about his Mafia connections. Gil waits until Vera goes to the bathroom for a shower, then he goes to the telephone and dials a number. "I've found out the swine's name. It's Salvadore Russo. Get him!" says Gil. [Episode written by Lynn Foster.]

Judith Fisher, who portrays Mrs Frazer, will soon return in a new role, Joan Parker, from Episode #283.

261. (30/03) Arnold arrives at the Sutcliffes' door, laden with some of his belongings. Dorrie drops in to Flat 4 to see Don, but only Sally is home. Sally explains that Don is away for the weekend. Dorrie's gossip mongering creates a new hapless victim when she overhears one side of a phone discussion between Sally and Sir Arnold Ashton. "Yes, Arnold, Don is away all weekend. Come over any time you like!" Dorrie returns home in shock and announces to Herb that Sally is having an affair... with Arnold Feather! She heads down to the deli, where she finds Aldo in a flap. It seems that Arnold hasn't shown up for work. Anna Maria tells Salvadore that she mentioned to Vera about Gil's Mafia connections. Salvadore is furious. His mood eventually softens and then he warns her that both of their lives may now be in danger. Dorrie intercepts Lucy on the stairs and confides her suspicions about Arnold Feather's affair with Sally. Lucy laughs heartily; it is so absurd! Suddenly, Arnold comes of of Flat 4 and Dorrie is open-mouthed. Alf and Herb are having a drink at the pub. Alf is cranky with Les. Alf had to help Arnold move the rest of his belongings upstairs because Les refuses to do anything now that he is a Lord. They go on to discuss Mick Milligan, who is working out well driving Alf's second truck. Alf is leaving the pub when Anna Maria and Salvadore arrive, looking for Norma. Salvadore announces that the decree nisi for Anna Maria's marriage to Gary arrives next week. In Flat 2, Aldo and Roma are having coffee when Arnold comes through from the shop to ask if he could leave work early. He wants to take Alf and Lucy to dinner. Poor Herb is busy doing lots of cleaning in Flat 3, in preparation for the arrival of Dennis, his germophobe son-in-law. Dorrie insists that she must talk to Don about her knowledge of Sally's affair with Arnold Feather. Meanwhile, Sir Arnold Ashton arrives at Flat 4 to visit Sally and tells her that he intends to stay the night. The Sutcliffes enjoy a night at The Cosmopolitan with Arnold, who is expressing his gratitude for them taking him back as a boarder. Lucy drops the bombshell that Dorrie is convinced that Arnold is having an affair with Sally Finlayson! Anna Maria and Salvadore return home from a cocktail party - and are attacked savagely by thugs! [Episode written by Lynn Foster.]

In 1973, a "decree nisi" was a provisional decree of divorce given by the court when legal and procedural requirements for divorce have been met by one partner. Following this, the marriage still continues, so further action must be taken to become fully divorced.

262. (2/04) Arnold has reservations over Mick's suitability as Alf's driver and business partner, but Alf has no concerns and thinks that Mick is doing well. They are both choosing to ignore Arnold's carefully prepared rosters, so Arnold's comments fall on deaf ears. Norma gets a phone call from Anna Maria, who tells her that she and Salvadore were beaten up. The Whittakers and Jack race over to them immediately. Anna Maria explains about the situation with the Mafia and warns them all to stay quiet about the incident. Les manages to spill the beans to Lucy about what happened to Anna Maria and Salvadore. Lucy is horrified to learn that Gil was responsible. With the truth about Gil's sinister background finally unravelling, Lucy informs Vera. Vera goes to Gil and confronts him with the story. Is it all true? [Episode written by Derek Strahan.]

263. (3/04) Dorrie and Herb redecorate the spare bedroom to get it up to the high standard that Dennis will expect. Gil convinces Vera that he is innocent of the bashing of Anna Maria and Salvadore, but agrees that it was the work of the Mafia. Once again, Dorrie jumps to the wrong conclusion when she overhears a conversation between Sally and Arnold. She tells Herb her skewed interpretation of their supposed "candlestine" relationship. Irving announces that he will be marrying Samantha in a week's time. Dorrie explains to Don that his wife is having an affair, slandering poor, innocent Arnold. Don thinks it is hilarious and can't take her seriously. Gil has a visit from the shady Mr Fisk (Kevin Leslie), who warns Gil not to leave Vera's flat until he is contacted again. The Mafia is most displeased with him over the assaults on Salvadore and Anna Maria. Gil is terrified! Vera overhears all of this and orders Gil to get out of her flat and out of her life. Gil is forced to reveal his true colours now that she is aware of his "business dealings". Arnold confronts Dorrie, demanding an apology for her slanderous gossip, but the conversation goes in circles. Irving takes Samantha to lunch. She breaks the news that she has found out that he is Jewish. Samantha informs Irving that her father is going to fire him. [Episode written by Derek Strahan.]

Kevin Leslie returns as a sinister Mafia identity, presumably the same Mr Fisk from Episode #195.

264. (4/04) The plans to redevelop the empty chemist shop are going well. Jack, Norma and Les are excited about the possibilities for the new wine bar. Irving accuses his mother of telling the Vanderhums that he is a Jew. Roma denies it and then mentions to him about the odd phone call she received from R.J. Vanderhum a while ago. Irving wants more money from Roma so he can return to the United States, but she refuses. Alf takes the opportunity to do some down-to-earth ribbing about Arnold and Sally. The Sutcliffes receive a letter from Alf's mother. She is still in Perth and having a wonderful time with Jim and Sebastian. Everything is fine! Once again, Jack is suspicious of Bev's activities. What is she up to? An amused Don regales Sally with everything that Dorrie Evans told him about the supposed affair. Sally is secretly relieved that these false rumours were about the innocent Arnold Feather and not Don's uncle, Sir Arnold Ashton. Aldo decides to ring Irving. They arrange to meet but Aldo says not a word to Roma. Unexpectedly, Aldo presents Irving with a plane ticket to America and $500 cash, on the condition that Irving does not return to Australia again! Lucy confesses to the Whittakers that she had told Vera about Gil. Everyone is puzzled about Vera's reactions to it all. Irving phones Roma from the airport to say goodbye. Roma is beside herself with anguish. Aldo commiserates but still doesn't reveal how Irving managed to get the money he needed to leave. [Episode written by Derek Strahan.]

265. (5/04) Don comes home unexpectedly and is confronted by the sight of Sally in the arms of his Uncle Arnold. Don becomes very upset as the reality dawns upon him. Sir Arnold confesses that Sally's baby is actually his. Of course, Lady Frances, Don's aunt, has no idea. Don rushes out of Flat 4. He goes upstaires to see Bev and Jack in Flat 6. He relates the whole story and they encourage him to stay the night. Next morning, Bev tries to talk Don into seeing Sally, but he refuses. After Don leaves for work, Sally comes up to Flat 6 to talk to Bev and Jack. She is in a dreadful state. She assumes that Don has spent the night with Paul, but Bev reassures her that Don stayed in their spare bedroom. Bev tries to comfort Sally, but she is inconsolable. Sir Arnold visits Don at Willoughby, Willoughby & Martin and explains why it was so important that Don and Sally had their marriage of convenience. Don realises that there is no way that Sally will divorce him because she has fallen in love with him. Bev spends the whole afternoon with Sally, trying to talk sense into her. Bev manages to convince Sally to buy some food and cook Don a decent dinner to break the ice. She agrees it is a good idea and heads downstairs to the deli. While in the shop, Sally bumps into Dorrie. Sally loses her temper, accusing Dorrie of spreading wild rumours. She collapses to the floor and Dorrie and Roma struggle to get he back upstairs. They call Don at work and he comes home immediately. Has Dorrie caused a tragedy with her gossip-mongering? Jack takes Arnold Feather to the races - and Arnold is thrilled to win $500 from him. Sir Arnold hears the news of Sally's ill health. He comes to Flat 4 and informs Don that he doesn't really care about Sally, only the baby! [Episode written by Derek Strahan.]

266. (6/04) Arnold throws an impromptu party to celebrate his race winnings. Salvadore and Anna Maria go up to Flat 7 to invite Vera to the party. They see Gil there! Alf is informed by Arnold that he will no longer construct any more rosters, since Alf and Mick keep altering them to suit themselves. Dorrie tries to make amends to Arnold about the rumours she spread about him and Sally by creating a sherry trifle for the party. Vera is disgusted over Gil and his behaviour, but her good nature will not allow her to take action. She explains to Lucy that she just can't get rid of him. Mick tries to talk Arnold into buying groceries from him for the deli. He can do a deal very cheaply. Arnold explains that he would have to run the proposal past Aldo first but Mick tells him to "Just forget it!" Gil receives a phone call from the Mafia. He is to report to his boss immediately. Gil panics; he knows that they will kill him! He persuades Vera to call him a taxi to help him get away. She does so. Gil leaves - and Vera breaks down. Les comes up with a brilliant new scheme, as a unique solution to the ongoing petrol strike: he will start breeding cockroaches in the cellar! "Scientists have discovered that if you feed them potatoes, they excrete pure petrol." He can make a fortune! [Episode written by Derek Strahan.]

The story arc with Gil Dawson will become an important plotpoint again in Episode #338.

267. (9/04) Don and Sally have a heart-to-heart conversation over dinner. Don makes it clear that he has no intention of giving up on his relationship with Paul. Just as they are finishing their meal, Sir Arnold Ashton turns up. He suggests that Sally gets a flat of her own and he will look after all of the expenses. Arnold Feather receives an invitation to a party being thrown by Lady Betsy White. Jack needs to travel to Melbourne and wants Bev to go with him but she turns him down. Her brother, Rod, is having a party. Jack is miffed that he didn't receive an invitation and wants to know why not. Don asks Paul back to Flat 4 for dinner. Chaos reigns supreme during every stage of the Whittakers' move into Flat 1. Les keeps finding parts of his old inventions and reminiscing about lost opportunities. Norma is at her wits' end with her husband and his misadventures. Jack's flight is grounded due to poor weather conditions and he returns to Number 96. He bumps into Alf, who is full of complaints about Mick. Arnold goes off to Lady Betsy's party wearing a trendy suit that he has hired especially for the occasion. Don, Paul and Sally are having drinks when an angry Sir Arnold arrives and threatens to "ruin" them all! Jack goes to the restaurant at Double Bay's Cosmopolitan Motor Inn for dinner and is chatting to the new manager, Helen Sheridan (Carmen Duncan). She notices Bev arrive in the company of another man and, when Helen mentions it, Jack storms out of the restaurant. [Episode written by Eleanor Witcombe.]

Carmen Duncan is introduced as a new long-running character, Helen Sheridan. The briefly-seen mystery man with Bev Houghton is probably Dudley Hammond-Jones.

268. (10/04) In Flat 3, Herb is trying to sleep, but Dorrie keeps nattering about an important dinner party she is planning for the committee members of the Paddington Senior Citizens Bowling Club. Alf arrives home to Flat 8 to find Mick having coffee with Lucy. Alf wants to know why Mick didn't check before he went to Wollongong, but Mick says that he did check... with Lucy! Bev arrives home alone, late, and is surprised to find Jack there. What happened to his Melbourne trip? Jack is angry and demands to know if Bev is having him on. She was supposed to have been at Rod's party? Lucy knocks on Arnold's bedroom door and finds that his bed hasn't been slept in. He rings on the phone and announces that he is off to Fiji for a couple of days. Bev and Jack spend an enjoyable day at the races. When they arrive home, Bev finds a note and announces that she must leave immediately. Herb puts Dorrie into a spin when he tells her that their daughter, Joan, has rung from Melbourne. It seems that her husband, Dennis, will be arriving a day earlier than expected, much to Dorrie's annoyance. She won't be able to host the dinner party for the committee members, as planned. Flo will have to host it instead! Aldo has learned about Mick's grocery deal and they finalise the arrangements. Roma realises that Aldo never told his sister, Selma, that they were now married. She urges him to ring her. Lucy and Alf try to settle their differences. Lucy goes next door to chat to Vera about Alf - but Vera already has another visitor in Jack, so they make another time to chat. Jack unloads to Vera about Bev and her strange behaviours of late. Jack also mentions that he saw Mick Milligan at the races today when, according to Alf, Mick was supposed to have been working. [Episode written by Eleanor Witcombe.]

269. (11/04) Helen arrives to inspect the now almost-vacant Flat 5, intending to sign a lease. Lucy has heard about how Jack saw Mick at the races and decides she needs to inform Alf. Sally tells Don that she has given up work. Helen has coffee with the Whittakers after looking over the flat. A bleary-eyed Mick arrives at Flat 8 and Alf demands the truth. Mick explains that he had had a fight with his girlfriend, whom he believed was at the races with another guy. He had gone in search of them before driving the truck. Alf sends Mick to have a sleep in Arnold's room. Sir Arnold Ashton tries to bribe his nephew, offering to set up Don with his own law practice. The Sutcliffes and the Whittakers plan a celebratory dinner: Les has received his Letter of Title, and he decides to buy a haggis for the occasion. Mick is on the phone to someone, telling them that he has found an outlet for the truckload of goods near his boss's home. Is Aldo about to be an innocent pawn in an underhanded deal? Don arrives home to find Sally sound asleep instead of attending her own work farewell party. He rings Paul and invites him over. Sir Arnold has now made threats against Don, Sally and Paul. Despite their gloomy futures, the three decide to stick together. During their dinner, Les, Norma, Alf and Lucy are interrupted by Don. He has been studying the paperwork for Les's title and it seems that all Les has inherited is a pile of debts! [Episode written by Eleanor Witcombe.]

270. (12/04) In Flat 2, Roma again reminds Aldo that he is yet to ring Selma about them being married. Aldo makes another excuse to avoid doing so. Les goes off to see his solicitor, Mr Locksley, to confirm Don's fears about his inheritance. Herb and Dorrie are still cleaning Flat 3 in anticipation of the arrival of Dennis. Flo, the new organiser of the special dinner, drops in to borrow some silverware. Dorrie is disappointed about not being able to join them, especially when Flo confirms that Mrs Terry will be bringing the Marquis of Chantilly as the Guest of Honour. Photographer Dudley Hammond-Jones has a photoshoot with his model (Yvonne Sherley-Price) when Bev comes to visit him. Flo heads down to the deli to buy some expensive tidbits and Dorrie is horrified that Flo now has access to the committee expense account because of the invited guest. Flo brings Herb an open check to countersign, pointing out that Mrs Terry has already signed it. Dorrie has never forgotten Mr Evans-Jones, who once tried to sign a lease on Flat 5. Now that the flat has been vacated by the Whittakers, she tries to contact him. He would bring some much-needed class to the building. Herb comes in, just in time to tell Dorrie that Helen Sheridan, from The Cosmopolitan, has already signed on as the new tenant. Dorrie exclaims, "Herbert, why wasn't I told?". Jack comes into the deli and chats with Aldo and Roma. He shows them a bracelet he has bought for Bev. He has decided to try making amends with her, although he continues to suspect that Bev has been two-timing him. Norma confronts Les about his visit to Mr Locksley (John Rayner). Les is extremely upset. Dorrie is preparing dinner for her son-in-law, who is now overdue. Flo arrives again, with another open cheque for Herb's signature. Bev tells Jack that she is going off on a promotional tour but he doesn't believe her. She eventually admits that it has been organised by Dudley Hammond-Jones. Roma again urges Aldo to ring Selma. Suddenly, Selma Horowitz (Hilda Scurr) herself walks through the door. She announces that Aldo's dead wife, Ida, is back in Sydney! [Episode written by Eleanor Witcombe.]

John Rayner was last seen as Mr Locksley in Episode #205. The mention of Mr Evans-Jones is a callback to Colin Croft's character from Episode #73. Mark Albiston reprises the role of Dudley Hammond-Jones, first introduced in Episode #242. Hilda Scurr took over the part of Selma Horowitz from Episode #271, a role previously played by Marion Johns. Hilda returns as Selma from Episode #461. She will be portrayed by Lea Denfield in Episode #807. A "marquis" is the French name for a noble ruler of border or frontier territories. (In the peerage of Great Britain, a marquess ranks below a duke and above an earl.) The Château de Chantilly is located in Oise, France, about 50 kilometres north of Paris.

271. (13/04) Sally is in the kitchen of Flat 4, cooking dinner, when Don and Paul arrive. She claims to need "time to think" and sends them off to Pymble. Aldo and Roma are aghast at Selma's strange news. She relates how she was confronted by Ida, Aldo's supposedly-dead first wife. Roma says, "Aldo, this means that our marriage is... bigamy!" Dorrie and Herb are still waiting for Dennis. Selma departs in her customary dramatic manner and Aldo tells Roma how Ida had left him and their daughter, when Rose was just a little girl, to go with a man named Joe Batholomew. Aldo had told Rose that her mother had died; eventually, Aldo deluded even himself that it was the truth. Dorrie and Herb are finally sitting down to eat dinner, having waited so long for their son-in-law. She has kept his meal warm in the oven. Dennis Parker (Ron Blanchard) finally arrives for his visit. He refuses to eat "twice-cooked food" and Dorrie swiftly takes away Herb's own plate. He has barely eaten a few mouthfuls of his meal. Sally is feeling distressed and goes up to Flat 7 to visit with Vera. She breaks down and confesses that she is in love with Don, even though she keeps encouraging him to see Paul. Dennis proves to be a very sanitary person. During their attempts to sterilise Flat 3 to Dennis's satisfaction, Dorrie and Herb had discovered that Herb is allergic to the air freshener. At breakfast time, Dennis is about to eat a large slice of rockmelon when Herb sneezes. Dennis pushes the fruit aside and decides that he will only have coffee. Arnold arrives back from Fiji, and the usually prim and proper Arnold is still wearing a brightly-patterned Fijian shirt. Flo calls in to see Dorrie and gets to meet Dennis. Flo sniffs the air, wondering about a funny smell and realises that the milk is off. Dennis is unable to drink his coffee. Don and Paul are having drinks in Flat 4 and Sally arrives home to join them. Although the two men make efforts to include Sally in the conversation, she feels left out. Aldo and Roma are having coffee when the phone rings. It is Ida! Aldo's sister, Selma, also arrives at Number 96. Sally finds herself back in Vera's flat. Vera assures her that she will feel much better after a good night's sleep and she gives her a sleeping pill. Vera is called away to answer her phone and, while she is distracted, Sally helps herself to a handful of pills from Vera's supply. [Episode written by Eleanor Witcombe.]

272. (16/04) Ida Godolfus (Brenda Senders) turns up to see Aldo. At first, he doesn't even recognise her! She informs Aldo that she wants to take her place as his wife again. She also wants to see their daughter, Rose. Aldo gets very distressed. He won't let Ida see Rose, omitting the fact that Rose now lives in Port Moresby, New Guinea. Aldo goes to see Don, to clarify his legal position. Norma insists that Les must renounce his title and he informs Mr Locksley, the solicitor. Jack returns home and tells Bev that he now believes that she should go away with Dudley Hammond-Jones to decide what and who she really wants. This time she must make up her mind, once and for all. Bev agrees. Don promises Aldo that he will do what he can to help Aldo with the likely bigamy charge. Sir Arnold Ashton again threatens to ruin Don and Paul if Don doesn't do things his way. Don refuses. Sally is resolute that, due to Sir Arnold's complete lack of concern for her, he will never have access to her child. Ida arrives back at Flat 2, with suitcases, to stay with Aldo! Aldo is only able to talk her into going to a hotel, instead, after promising to let her talk to Rose. [Episode written by Joe James.]

Joe James, who had played Gordon Vansard throughout 1972, was now writing for the series.

273. (17/04) Roma tells Arnold about the difficult situation regarding Ida. Arnold is horrified on behalf of Roma. What is she going to do? Les is convinced that extracting petroleum from cockroaches is a winning innovation. To appease Norma, who doesn't want any live insects in Flat 1, Les presents Herb with two carefully selected cockroaches for his breeding program and asks Herb to keep them safe for him, and to hide them from Dorrie. The cockroaches are named Stanley and Ruby. Herb takes them up to Flat 3 but, not long afterwards, he manages to lose them in the flat. Alf has a long drive ahead of him. He tries to cure his bout of tiredness by using the pep pills that Mick gave him. Herb is frantic as he searches for the cockroaches. Dennis sees one of them and decides to spray the whole flat with pesticide, his own new formula called DB32 (standing for "Dead Bug"). Herb foils the plan. Aldo receives a letter from Julian announcing that Rose is pregnant. Aldo is finally going to be a grandfather! Already stuggling to cope with the realisation that he is a bigamist and may face charges, Aldo resolves that, in Rose's current condition, it is best not to tell her about Ida's miraculous "return from the grave". Arnold realises that the drug Alf is taking is dangerously addictive. His argument against their use is convincing enough that Alf throws the remaining pep pills away. [Episode written by Bob Caswell.]

274. (18/04) Helen visits Flat 3 to tell Dorrie and Herb that she found a cockroach in Flat 5. She wants to know if there are many cockroaches in the building. Herb is seemingly more concerned about what she did with the cockroach. Helen says that she killed it - and Herb is horrified! Dorrie refuses to believe that there are cockroaches at Number 96 and proposes to Helen that she brought it to the flat herself when she moved in! Don and Paul meet up for drinks at The Cosmopolitan and Don suggests that maybe they shouldn't see each other for a while. Paul won't accept that and says that perhaps they should forget the whole thing - and he storms out. Dorrie, Herb and Dennis also have an evening at The Cosmopolitan's restaurant, where the assertive feminist, Helen, is the hostess. They can't make up their minds, so Helen offers to order for them. Neither Dorrie nor Dennis is impressed by Helen's recommendation of steak tartare when it arrives. "Raw steak?" Dennis insists that they all leave as the restaurant is "so unhygenic". Lucy learns that Alf has been taking pep pills supplied by Mick. She gets angry and tells Alf to get rid of Mick, but Alf argues that Mick is a good worker. Dennis spots a second cockroach in his bedroom and the chase is on again! Lucy confronts Mick about the pills that he gave to Alf. She tells Mick to watch himself because Lucy is prepared to get nasty. Vera is visiting Helen for a late-night coffee when there is a knock at the front door and a hippy makes his bizarre delivery to Flat 5: Helen's unconscious, younger sister, Jill Sheridan (Candida Raymond)! [Episode written by E. Bienstock.]

275. (19/04) Alf accuses Mick of knowingly supplying him with addictive pills. Mick denies it but Alf weakens and doesn't end up firing him. Herb is the unwitting victim of Flo's spendthrift attitude to Mrs Terry's blank cheques. Arnold suggests to Jack and Norma that they could hold a raffle on the opening night of the wine bar and raise the money that Herb needs to pay back to the committee of the Senior Cits. They agree that it is a good idea. A hungover Jill tells Helen that she has saved up $300 and intends to have a good time in the city before she gets a regular job. Helen remains sceptical that $300 will go very far. Aldo informs Ida that he will not let her see their daughter, Rose, and Ida responds by telling Aldo that all communications must now be done through her solicitor. Bev comes home and surprises Jack. She wants him to take her back. He does not need much persuasion. Ida rings Aldo and tells him that she has informed her solicitor to draw up papers to have him charged with bigamy. After a few more finishing touches, the new wine bar, to be known as Norma's Bar, will be ready to open on the site of the Vansard pharmacy. To celebrate, Jack invites all the residents of Number 96 plus his many society friends. He makes a point of inviting Helen and Jill to the opening and introduces them to Bev. The carefree Jill makes a big play for Jack's attention. The wine bar opening goes very well and Norma and Jack's raffle raises quite a bit of money for Herb. Aldo returns to the deli - Roma had elected to look after the shop while Arnold and Aldo were at the opening - but now she is nowhere in sight. [Episode written by Derek Strahan.]

On Good Friday, 20th April, the show was pre-empted by the movie, "Francis of Assisi" (1961).

276. (23/04) Dorrie and Herb return home from a committee meeting of the Senior Citizens Club and find Dennis in the throes of fumigating the guest bedroom. Dorrie is furious! Dennis produces a dead cockroach and Herb is close to tears. Poor Stanley - or was it Ruby? Herb dashes down to Flat 1 to tell Les of his cockroaches' demise. Les is convinced that it is an almighty blow to the future of the oil industry. Jack catches up with Herb and gives him the proceeds of the fundraising raffle that was conducted during the wine bar's opening night. Arnold is in quite a state and goes upstairs to consult with Don in Flat 4. Roma has gone missing - and Aldo has gone to confront Ida about it. Bev receives a call from Dudley Hammond-Jones regarding another promotional tour, this time to Brisbane. She doesn't want to go, but Jack convinces her that she must. It is business. Dorrie and Herb go downstairs to thank Norma for raising the money that Herb had to pay back to the Senior Cits. "That painting" of Norma has been transferred from the local pub to Jack's new wine bar. Dorrie has a predictable reaction to Norma's attitude to posing nude. Dorrie realises how many of the aristocracy she missed meeting by not attending the opening of Norma's Bar. She is quite upset. Don and Sally have dinner together and, later, Sally tries to coerce Don into sleeping with her again. He refuses. Dennis calls the Sanitation Department to fumigate Flat 3. Dorrie is livid when they arrive and she throws Dennis out of the flat, swiftly followed by the Sanitation Department workers. Arnold builds the courage to ask Jill to attend a party with him. At first, Jill declines. When she realises that Bev and Jack are attending, she changes her mind. Arnold is delighted. Jack invites Don and Sally to join him, Bev, Helen and Jill for lunch in the wine bar. Sally is reluctant, but agrees to go. During lunch, Helen, who is quite the feminist, is giving her views on men - and on independence for women. She manages to upset Sally with a statement about pregnant women. Sally rushes out and heads upstairs. In Flat 4, Sally becomes maudlin and contemplates suicide, retrieving the sleeping pills she took from Vera. [Episode written by Brian Faull.]

There are probably no surviving records of official synopses after this episode (until Episode #282. Plots are drawn from episode descriptions in the TV magazines.) Concerning the wine bar's painting, Norma Whittaker had actually posed for the portrait fully clothed (in Episode #224)! Its painter, Adrian Wolfe, is probably named for an actual artist and cartoonist, Alfred Adrian Wolfe (1891-1975) of the Jewish Association of Arts and Sciences (J.A.A.S.) and the Shletneils Club. The portrait of Norma was painted in the style of Goya's "Naked Maja" and first hung in the pub where Norma was the barmaid. It was in homage to "Chloé", an 1875 painting of a nude woman (by French artist, Jules Joseph Lefebvre), which has hung in the Young and Jackson Hotel, Melbourne, since 1909. Three versions of the Norma painting (created by Cash Harmon's props artist, Eunice Dyer) exist: one from the actual set, sold off in the 1977 "Number 96" charity auction; a duplicate created for actor Tom Oliver to display in his real-life wine bar, "Jack's Cellars" in Kensington, NSW; and a b/w printed version on canvas, signed by the cast and presented to Sheila Kennelly. Episode #276 was accidentally skipped in Melbourne, and #277 shown on the Monday instead, when a staff programmer at Channel ATV-0 assumed that #276 had aired on Good Friday. The error was corrected on the Tuesday night with a double episode, starting at 8.00pm.

277. (24/04) Don arrives home just in time to prevent Sally from making a terrible mistake. Roma is still missing and Aldo becomes more desperate. Neither Ida, nor her boyfriend, Maurice Hardy (John Faassen), know anything useful. Aldo keeps Roma's disappearance from the other residents. Sally decides to separate from Don Finlayson, upset over his homosexual activities.

Episode #276 had been accidentally skipped in Melbourne, and #277 shown on the Monday instead, when a staff programmer at Channel ATV-0 assumed that #276 had aired on Good Friday. The error was corrected on the Tuesday night with a double episode for Melbourne, starting at 8.00pm. This would have been the only occasion an episode had aired in Victoria before Sydney, NSW. The mix-up was reported in the press and became a talking point for "The Graham Kennedy Show" on rival channel, GTV-9. John Faassen, who portrays Maurice Hardy, previously played Sir Montague Porter in Episode #210, Warren Davies in Episode #236, and will return as Lucy Sutcliffe's obstetrician in Episode #840. Aldo's situation with his first wife, Ida Godolfus, is resolved over the next few episodes, although the original synopses have not been saved. Maurice Hardy was the best friend of Joe Bartholomew. When Joe died, Ida went to live with Maurice. After Don Finlayson's investigation, it was proven that Ida had actually divorced Aldo in absentia years ago. She breaks down and admits that Maurice is now dying and, as she had heard that Aldo had married a rich woman (Roma), she thought that demanding $10,000 wouldn’t hurt him. "My Maurice needs sunshine and fresh air so he can get another two or three years out of life." Aldo doesn’t send her away or call the police. Instead, he gives her a cheque for $5000. When Ida asks, "What’s this?", Aldo explains, "That's half of all the money I have in the world. I know it's not as much as you wanted, but maybe it will help."

278. (25/04) Arnold has two wonderful ideas: he suggests to Les that the wine bar should commence serving snacks; and furthermore, in point of actual fact, that Arnold himself could be the chef... to coin a phrase. However, when the two of them go looking for Jack to discuss these proposals, he is nowhere to be found - and Jack Sellars is not the only person missing. Dorrie can't understand what is keeping Herb and has to eat her meal without him.

279. (26/04) To make amends for standing up Dorrie at dinner the night before, Herb intends to prepare a sumptuous meal.

280. (27/4) Paul's editor at the newspaper is making life difficult for him, and Paul tells Don that he believes that Sir Arnold Ashton is the one applying the pressure. To settle matters, they decide to seek out Sally, who has been chatting to her doctor (Alton Harvey) about her situation.

281. (30/4) Sally calls Don at the office and informs him that she has taken an overdose of sleeping pills. Maybe Don will, once again, reach her in time. Perhaps he will finally understand just how much she loves him? Sally slurs her last goodbyes: "You've got Paul, you see, and Arnold won't leave me alone - so I thought, 'What's the use?' These sleeping pills work quite fast, really... Can't keep my eyes open... Thought I wasn't going to have time to say..." Don immediately goes to Sally's rescue, but he will never make it in time. In his panicked haste, he steps out in front of a moving bus - and is knocked to the ground!

Sally's speech is preserved in the novelisation, "Marriage of Convenience". Following this episode, there are once again official synopses to use.

282. (1/05) Paul makes two terrifying discoveries! One concerns Sally, whom Paul and Dorrie find unconscious on the floor of Flat 4. The other casualty is Don, who has suffered injuries in a traffic incident. Paul goes to Vera and tells her about Sally's condition. They call for an ambulance and the police. Paul then goes to the hospital to visit Don. He must break the news that Sally succumbed to a fatal overdose of sleeping pills in the ambulance. Don is very upset. Aldo takes delivery of the cartons of soup that he ordered from Mick. Don agrees to stay at Paul's place in Pymble to recuperate but, first, Don needs to see Sally's parents. Arnold has discovered discrepencies in Alf's bookwork. He accuses Mick of dishonesty and Mick becomes threatening. Vera worries that Arnold's suspicions will also affect her new boarder, Sue Marshall (Anne Lambert), who has just started working for Alf as his bookkeeper. [Episode written by Eleanor Witcombe.]

Anne Lambert, who portrays Sue Marshall, would achieve acting notoriety in "Class of '74" (1974) and the movie "Picnic at Hanging Rock" (1975). Later, she would use Anne-Louise Lambert in screen credits.

283. (2/05) Dorrie and Herb go next door, to Don's flat, to offer their condolences over Sally's untimely death, but they find only Vera there, who is tidying up the flat. Dorrie is put out that Don didn't leave his key with her, as "conserge". She becomes suspicious to learn that police had already been to Flat 4. In Flat 8, Arnold confesses to Alf that, after theorising that someone has falsified Alf's business account books, he had confronted the prime suspect, Mick. However, Mick quickly turns the tables on Arnold. When Alf demands explanations, Mick answers everything glibly. Sue accepts to go on a date with Mick but tells Vera that she doesn't like him much, and would much rather go out with Arnold. Dorrie and Herb return home from church and find their daughter, Joan Parker (Judith Fisher), on their doorstep. She tells her parents that she has left her husband, Dennis, for good! Dorrie is aghast. Sue takes every opportunity to catch Arnold's attention, without success. Arnold mistakenly makes a date with Helen over the phone, convinced he was actually talking to Jill. Dorrie and Herb become very concerned; Joan's problems are mounting up and she is becoming quite hysterical! [Episode written by Eleanor Witcombe.]

Judith Fisher, who portrays Joan Parker, had recently played the role of Mrs Frazer in Episode #260.

284. (3/05) Dorrie swears Herb to secrecy regarding Joan's unstable condition. This makes Herb extremely nervous when Les inquires about the strange sounds coming out of Flat 3. The situation makes Les suspicious and also inspires his latest wild scheme: he intends to pursue a part-time career as a private investigator. Dorrie sits Joan down and insists that, after she has had "a little holiday" with them, she must return to her husband, Dennis, in Melbourne. Joan refuses and becomes hysterical again. Roma is becoming more difficult to deal with every day and Aldo is full of concern. Herb arrives at his front door in time to catch Les trying to pick the lock! Les is quick to deflect; he is sure there is a burglar in there! Jack is very pleased when he receives notification that Norma's Bar can operate under extended hours, and is allowed to serve meals. In Flat 8, Alf is convinced by Mick that it is time to purchase a third truck. Lucy is against the idea. Les approaches Roma with an offer about organising the catering for the wine bar. Unexpectedly, she gives him a piece of her mind and flounces off. That night, in the spare bedroom of Flat 3, Joan has nightmare and wakes up screaming. Les investigates the noises with a stethoscope pressed to Flat 1's ceiling. He tells Norma that he thinks that Herb has gone mad. Norma just laughs. In Flat 6, Bev tells Jack that she has been offered six-months work in the USA. She is keen to challenge herself and to do it alone. Jill has a happy-go-lucky attitude to life, but a drastic change is looming. Jack realises that Bev's imminent departure might mean the end of their sometimes-rocky relationship. [Episode written by Eleanor Witcombe.]

285. (4/05) In Flat 6, Bev assures Jack that she didn't mean to suggest that she was ending their relationship. Jack observes that their love affair has been falling to pieces for some time and perhaps it is a good thing that Bev is going away. Meanwhile, next door, Jill is warned by Helen about life in the city and the need to find steady employment, but Jill is unconvinced. Concerned about her little sister's drinking binges, Helen suggests that Jill should seek a job at the local branch of the bank she worked at back in Wilcannia. Jill says no. Don returns home to Flat 4 and refuses to go in to work. Paul and Jack both try to convince him otherwise. Arnold asks Jill out again, but she is very rude in her response. Helen overhears their conversation and reprimands her. Jill is told, "Get yourself a job or get out!" Jack arrives at Flat 6 having collected all the paperwork from the American Consulate that Bev needs to organise her overseas trip. She is ungrateful, accusing Jack of trying to rush her; she hasn't yet made up her mind about the job offer. Helen drops in to ask Jack for his advice about Jill. Jack offers to drive Helen into work at The Continental, and they'll be about to chat over some drinks. Bev is very put out. As soon as Jack and Helen leave, she rings the agency and tells them that she will definitely accept the job in the States, starting as soon as possible. Don learns that Sally rang his Uncle Arnold just before she died, and that he refused to talk with her. Don resolves that Sir Arnold Ashton will pay! He accuses him of having killed Sally, as if by his own hand. [Episode written by Eleanor Witcombe.]

286. (7/05) Les tells Alf about his theory on Dorrie and Herb Evans and their mystery daughter. Les doesn't believe that Joan Parker even exists! Mick announces to Alf that his friend can't hold onto the new truck for much longer. Alf needs to make a decision if he intends to buy it. Don tells Paul about Sally ringing Sir Arnold at her lowest ebb, and how his uncle abandoned her. Sir Arnold arrives to talk to his nephew but Don informs him that he intends to reveal the whole story at the inquest into Sally's death. Alf tells Mick that he will definitely be buying the third truck, somehow, and for Mick's friend to hold it for him. Les confides in Alf that he is trying to get hold of the key for the cellar. He needs to look for evidence. Alf is puzzled: "Evidence of what?" Les isn't sure, but he is convinced that Herb is planning to murder Dorrie and dispose of her body. Don and Vera attend Sally's funeral. When Vera arrives back at Flat 7, she decides to take a sleeping pill. She notices that the vial is empty, save for one pill, and is horrified to realise that her pills are the ones that killed Sally. Vera tells Lucy, who wonders if she has told Don yet. Vera says that she hasn't told him, but she must inform the police. Disgusted by his uncle's conniving and selfish attitudes, Don goes to visit Sir Arnold. He holds Uncle Arnold responsible for Sally's death. Don is determined to make him pay for what he has done and intends to have Sir Arnold summonsed to appear at the inquest. Sir Arnold starts to get worried. Paul tells Don that he has been removed from the feature article he has been working on. They wonder at Sir Arnold's influence at the newspaper. Les has a theory that Herb is slowly poisoning Dorrie. He tells Alf about his findings. Norma and Lucy hear bangs and muffled screams coming from Flat 3. Everybody is getting suspicious about what is going on up there. Sue goes out with Mick and decides to confront him about all the swindling that he has been doing. Mick thinks that she intends to inform Alf. Sue turns the screws and says, "No!" - she just wants... her cut! [Episode written by Bob Huber.]

287. (8/05) In Norma's Bar, Alf and Les talk about Alf's difficult situation with the new truck. Les urges Alf to use Lucy's savings to buy the truck. Lucy and Norma join their table and the topic turns to the strange goings-on in Flat 3. What is behind all the strange wailing? Poor Herb tries to cope with Joan's moaning and Dorrie's crying. He tries to silence them, to no avail. Sue reveals her true self when she confronts Mick about his illegal activities. They go up to Flat 8 together, where Sue points out the discrepencies she has found in Alf's bookwork. If Mick is up to something underhanded and expects her silence, she definitely wants her cut. They are interrupted by a noise, just as Alf and Lucy arrive home. Sue realises that Arnold was also home, in his room. Now she has to ascertain if Arnold heard anything of her confrontation with Mick. Dorrie decides that Herb must announce to the other residents that their daughter, Joan, has gone back home. Arnold confides in the Sutcliffes that Roma has been terribly irritable of late. Dorrie turns up at the laundrette and mentions to Norma and Lucy that she has just returned from seeing off Joan on a train to Melbourne. Sue explains to Mick that she can set out the figures in Alf's books differently, so that his shady dealings are not so obvious. Alf suspects nothing when he arrives home, and is still dwelling over whether or not to purchase the third truck. Both Sue and Mick recommend that he should buy it. Herb is elated when telling Dorrie that Joan has been much calmer. She is happily listening to a transistor radio. Suddenly, an advertisement comes on for cleaning products. It reminds her of her fastitidious, estranged husband, Dennis, and she goes quite "beresk". Arnold tells Norma that Roma is irritated with him and he can't seem to put a foot right. Mick and Alf go to inspect the new truck. Lucy arrives home to Flat 8 and tells Sue about her plans for a trip to the UK. Isn't this the same money that Alf will be using to buy the truck? Herb tries to attend to Dorrie and Joan, who are both screaming! While ascending the stairs, Les can't help but to hear Dorrie's screams. Later, Les and Alf are chatting at the pub and Les happens to mention a patient at the hospital by the name of Harry Collins. Herb joins them and mentions that Joan flew to Melbourne this afternoon. Something is not adding up; didn't Dorrie say that Joan had left on a train this morning? Alf heads for home. Lucy greets him with the news that she has purchased their plane tickets to the UK. Alf is horrified: he just wrote a cheque, from the same joint account, as a deposit to secure the new truck. [Episode written by David Sale.]

288. (9/05) After work, Paul arrives at Flat 4 and finds Don feeling dejected. He tries to cheer him up, but is not very successful. Alf tells Lucy that she must get a refund on the plane tickets, but she refuses. Alf must abandon the plan for a third truck. Paul goes out to buy some takeway meals and Don is finally feeling chirpier. Paul insists that he will stay the night, but Don suggests that they should sleep in separate bedrooms. Alf brings Lucy breakfast in bed, trying to make up for the truck deposit debacle. Jack and Bev go into the deli and announce that Bev is heading overseas, to work in the USA. Vera calls in to Flat 8 to take Lucy shopping for new clothes to take to England. When she says that she won't be needing the clothes for a while, Alf is overjoyed! Paul tries to persuade Don to go back to work. Aldo is flummoxed as to what Roma finds so irritating about Arnold. Alf drops in to see Lucy in the laundrette at lunchtime. While on ward duty, Les rings the laundrette, wanting Alf to come to the hospital. Les has discovered that his new patient, Harry Collins, is known to the residents of Number 96. Harry is suffering severe withdrawal symptoms from his alcoholism and he relates his sad story to Alf. When he left Vera for the second time, he remarried but that woman was killed. Harry had gone on an alcoholic binge and was found in the gutter. Lucy visits Vera and breaks the news that Harry is in the hospital but Vera is unsympathetic and doesn't want him back. She soon softens, though, and goes to see him. Bev tells Jack that she is very nervous about going overseas. Later, she mentions to Don that she wouldn't go away if Jack wanted her to stay. Don gets irritated by her attitude but then realises he is being thoughtless. Bev and Jack are going out and drop by the deli to chat to Aldo and Roma. Something they say triggers Roma and she storms out. Paul returns to Flat 4 to find Don in a cheery mood, but Paul's news is grim. He has been fired from his job at the newspaper, and there is little doubt that Sir Arnold Ashton has been pulling some strings to punish him. [Episode written by David Sale.]

289. (10/05) Bev is in bed, caressing Jack, but he is not responding to her attempts at lovemaking. Arnold arrives a little late for his shift at the deli but, when he tries to explain, Roma is too annoyed to listen. Dorrie enters the deli hobbling. Bev is leaving Flat 6 and is surprised to encounter Harry coming up the stairs, on his way to visit Vera. At Flat 7, Vera opens the door to find Harry. Her ex-husband is stony broke and has discharged himself from the hospital - he couldn't stand it any longer - and now wants to know if he can stay with her. Claire Houghton arrives at Flat 6 and tells Jack that she is very displeased about Beverly going to the USA. Vera goes down to Flat 5 and asks Helen if Sue can move in with her for a while. On his delivery run, Arnold overhears a loud confrontation - with much screaming from Dorrie, Joan and Herb - as he passes Flat 3. Vera goes to the deli to plead with Aldo and Roma not to give Harry any wine, even if he asks for it. Meanwhile, in Flat 7, Harry goes to Vera's drinks cabinet and pours himself a glass. He sets it down, untouched. Bev and Jack share a tense farewell lunch. When Arnold tries to tell Roma about the commotion he heard in the Evans' flat earlier that day, she accuses him of emulating Dorrie herself. Herb is drinking his usual shandy at the pub but when Harry comes in, he orders himself a lemonade. Helen arrives home after a long day, and finds Jill amidst a terrible mess. They have a huge row. Claire and Jack take Bev to the airport, where Claire urges Jack to convince Bev to stay in Sydney. Claire departs abruptly, leaving Jack and Bev to chat privately. The pair have a heart-to-heart discussion but, when Bev's flight is called, she heads to the terminal gate. [Episode written by David Sale.]

Abigail's character of Bev Houghton was being rested (until Episode #313), while difficulties between the actress and Cash Harmon Productions were being resolved. Media articles speculated on Abigail being fired, but much of this misinformation was probably orchestrated for publicity purposes. According to the Sunday Mirror's TV critic, Veritas, Abigail's sabbatical coincided with tensions between her and several cast members, who were supposedly cautious about any Number 96 material that might appear in Abigail's forthcoming autobiographical book, "Call Me Abigail" (Petomane Publishing, 1973). In the coming weeks, Candy Raymond, who had only recently joined the cast as a new sex symbol, announced that she might write a tell-all book, "Call Me Candy". Pat McDonald and Bunney Brooke then jokingly claimed that they would also write a book, entitled, "Call Us, Please!"

290. (11/05) Norma and Les are talking in the wine bar. Norma warns Les not to serve any alcohol to Harry. Herb comes in and mentions that Dorrie and Joan had gone to Cowra. In Flat 5, Jill moves all of her gear into Helen's room to free up the other bedroom for Sue. When Sue arrives, she admires all of Jill's colourful hippy clothes. Vera tells Harry that she met a man from Alcoholics Anonymous and is keen for Harry to be introduced to him, but Harry insists that doesn't need any help. Don and Paul are having drinks when Sir Arnold rings. Don hangs up on him, then reconsiders. Don rings his uncle back and warns him that the Ashton reputation will soon be in tatters. Nothing will prove an obstacle in Don's path, even if he and Paul end up digging ditches for the rest of their lives. Jack calls by Flat 5 to see Helen, just as Jill and Sue are departing for a night out. Next morning, Herb is busy throwing out all of Dorrie's clothes when Les happens by. Les has his magnifying glass with him and he attempts to collect samples for closer examination. Jill drops in to check on Jack in Flat 6, and to make him breakfast. All he can think about is how Bev chose to leave. Vera comes to see Don and Paul in Flat 4 and she tells them about Harry. They offer her a drink, which she gladly accepts. In Flat 7, Harry is pouring himself a drink and calling out for Vera. Herb is near the open front door of the flat and sees Harry with the glass. Herb shouts, "No, Harry!" and Harry tosses the drink to the floor. Don has another confrontation with Sir Arnold and his uncle realises that the attacks on Paul have been useless. Later, Don is telling Paul about the incident and they are interrupted by a phone call. It is Don's aunt, Lady Frances Ashton (Faye Donaldson), who wants to see him. Jack runs into Vera on the stairs and she mentions how Harry has been attempting not to drink. They go up to Flat 7 to check on him. They find the flat empty - and all of the bottles are gone. [Episode written by David Sale.]

James Condon, who portrays Sir Arnold Ashton, will return as a new character, Nicholas Brent, in the 1974 movie.

291. (14/05) Lady Frances visits Flat 4 and admits to Don that she had already worked out for herself that her husband, Sir Arnold, was the father of Sally's baby. She pleads with her nephew not to ruin his uncle's career and reputation, fearing that such action would also lead to the termination of her marriage, such as it is. Sir Arnold has apparently left for Morocco. Don is now in a quandary about what to do next. Convinced that Harry has consumed all of the liquor that she had in Flat 7, Vera tells Lucy that Harry could be anywhere, lying in an alcoholic stupor. Harry turns up in the company of Mick and Alf, plain sober. He explains that he took all of the alcohol down to Herb in Flat 3, so he would not be tempted to drink any of it. Out of sight, out of mind! Vera says that she will still keep alcohol in the flat to serve to her friends and Harry finally agrees that he needs to speak to Alcoholics Anonymous about getting help. Jill and Sue go out on the town with Mick. When they return to Flat 5, he stays the night - and Helen is not pleased when she discovers him the next morning. Helen reprimands Jill again about not looking for a job, and for letting Mick stay overnight. Jill points out that Sue is not as innocent as she makes out. Alf is taking a bath while he tells Lucy about how Arnold is being treated by Roma. It is strange how she keeps snapping at the lad. Mick and Sue arrive for work and Lucy takes Sue aside and warns her about Mick. Lucy finds it hard to trust him. The Sutcliffes leave the flat and Mick and Sue climb into bed together, agreeing to keep to their bargain. Sue wants Mick to deliver a mysterious parcel to Melbourne for her and he tries to find out what it contains. Sue admits that it is "grass" (marijuana). [Episode written by David Sale.]

292. (15/05) Roma is still behaving strangely towards Arnold, and insists that he is "doing everything wrong". Aldo is unable to resolve the situation and wants Roma to go and have a lie down. She later apologises to Arnold, who tells her that Les had been into the deli to make the food arrangements for the wine bar. Roma thinks that Arnold is interfering again. He has no right to speak on her behalf. She tells Arnold to prepare the wine bar food himself! Jack offers Jill a temporary job in his office. He also sees Vera and warns her that Harry did not attend his A. A. meeting, as arranged. Instead he went with Alf in the truck. Les checks Herb's fingerprints on a jar from the deli. He announces to Norma that he has deduced that there never was a daughter named Joan living in Flat 3. Furthermore, it is obvious to Les that Herb has killed Dorrie and disposed of her remains. Herb and Flo get tipsy on a litre of wine that Harry had brought down from Vera's flat. Flo tells Les that she and Herb are off to lunch at a plush restaurant, and then plan to "paint the town red". Arnold has a talk with Vera and Lucy about the ongoing friction between himself and Roma. Considering his options, he goes into the deli to see Aldo and tenders his resignation. [Episode written by Lynn Foster.]

293. (16/05) Dorrie and her "phantom" daughter have supposedly vanished, leaving Flo and Herb to live life to the fullest. Flo helps Herb with all of his housework, and then he is off to the laundrette, just as Les calls by. Les suspects that Flo has spent an adulterous night with Herb, so she has some fun stringing him along. Meanwhile, in the laundrette, Herb gives Lucy some bloodstained pillowcases to wash. Les comes into the laundrette and secretly snips off a piece of one of the suspect pillowcases. He takes it home for closer examination, convinced it has the blood of the late Dorrie Evans on it. Arnold is out looking for a new job when Helen calls into the deli. She mentions to Aldo that she could use Arnold's help with some costing problems at The Cosmopolitan, where she is Manager. Jack takes Helen to lunch at the restaurant, which enables her to check up on the efficiency of the service. Don is with Paul. Paul should be happy because he has been reinstated at the newspaper, but he still doesn't have what he wants most: Don. Helen is not happy. The present set-up at her workplace is not functioning well. Jack talks about his food plan for Norma's Bar. Later, at the wine bar, Jack, Norma and Lucy are chatting when Les rushes in! He reveals a shin bone he retrieved from the furnace in the cellar. He is utterly convinced that the bone belongs to... Dorrie Evans! [Episode written by Lynn Foster.]

294. (17/05) Harry tells Vera that he finally called for assistance from Alcoholics Anonymous, and talked to its President. He has promised to attend the meeting being held tonight. He wants Vera to come with him but she thinks it is best if he goes by himself. Next morning, Harry is feeling quite positive and is planning to visit George Baker to ask him about a job. After many unsuccessful phone calls, Harry reaches George but gets the brush-off. He once again relapses into depression, goes to Vera's liquor cabinet and pours himself a stiff drink, then immediately downs another one. Arnold explains to Aldo and Roma that he needs to leave the deli to further his career. Aldo tries to convince him to stay. Les comes into the deli and sees Flo there. They discuss Dorrie's mysterious disappearance. Mick and Sue split the money they have received for delivering the parcel of "pot". Sue intercepts a phone call intended for Mick. She realises that Mick has been taking payment for cash jobs and not putting it into the trucking accounts. They celebrate the successful delivery in Arnold's bed, where Sue reveals that she has a connection to "Mr Big". She suggests that they can both get into the "Big Time". Les has a setback when it is confirmed that the evidence he retrieved from the cellar was a lamb bone. Undeterred, he says that he will continue his investigations. In Flat 3, Flo encounters Herb scrubbing all the woodwork in the flat and wants to know why. She opens a package containing more of Dorrie's old clothes and hands them to Herb. Later, in Norma's Bar, Flo mentions to the Whittakers that Dorrie has not sent a birthday card to her sister, Connie. This would be the first time that Dorrie has missed Connie's birthday in 25 years. [Episode written by Lynn Foster.]

The mention of George Baker is a callback to Barry Donnelly's character from an earlier story arc (Episodes #33-68). Dorrie Evans' sister, Connie Meadows, would not make an onscreen appearance until Episode #738.

295. (18/05) Arnold has a drink with Aldo and Roma and they wish him every success working as a chef for the wine bar. Surprisingly, Roma is very sweet to Arnold, quite a change to her recent attitude. Vera goes to Flat 4 to visit Don at Paul's suggestion. She tries to cheer him up. Don asks Vera and Harry to join him and Paul for dinner. Vera goes up to her flat to get Harry and she meets Arnold on the stairs. He is on his way to the movies to see Last Tango in Paris. Les arrives home from night duty at the hospital and says that he just bumped into Herb, who has booked a home decorator for the day. Is Herb trying to clean up a bloody crime scene? Vera returns to Don's with the news that Harry has had a very bad night and she apologises that he won't be joining them for dinner. She admits to Don that she has had enough of Harry and he will have to go. Just then, Harry turns up behind her. During the meal, Don cheers up somewhat. He tells Paul that he will be going back to work soon. On their way back upstairs, Harry promises Vera that he won't drink again and begs her to forgive him. Vera weakens and agrees that Harry can stay on in Flat 7, but only if he agrees to go back to Alcoholics Anonymous. Back home, Vera pours herself a drink. Next day, Arnold drops into the deli on his way home from a morning of golf, to collect Lucy's grocery order. The shop is crowded and Aldo orders Arnold to start serving the customers. He wants to know why is Arnold so late, then trips over Arnold's "golf sticks". When the confusion dies down, Aldo realises that Arnold no longer works for him. At lunchtime, Norma asks Les to take charge in the wine bar, as she has to attend to the meals. Arnold comes in for a drink. Les and Flo disappear to the cellar, with Les appointing Arnold to mind the bar for him, even though he hasn't actually started working there yet. Roma is still very irritable. Aldo feels quite helpless about the situation. Les and Flo search the cellar and discover the burnt remnants of Dorrie's bowling uniform! Later, Vera is preparing dinner when Harry returns to Flat 7. Sheepishly, Harry admits that he didn't get to the A. A. meeting because he got cold feet. Instead, Vera takes Harry down to Flat 1, where the Whittakers are holding a very different kind of meeting. Les, Norma, Flo, Roma and Don are all present. Vera and Harry join them. Les announces that he has concluded that Herb Evans is... a serial killer. He thinks that Herb will probably try to take them all out, one by one! [Episode written by Derek Strahan.]

The controversial "Last Tango in Paris" had recently premiered in Australian theatres on 13th April, 1973.

296. (21/05) Mick and his trucking buddy, Wally Scott (Peter Corbett), tell Sue that they have finished all their deliveries for Alf. Sue invites them into Flat 5 and they meet Jill. They decide to go on a double-date to Kings Cross. The main meeting at the Whittakers' flat, to discuss the situation in Flat 3, is over. The Sutcliffes, Flo, Les, Jack and Helen linger, and continue to talk about Herb Evans. Herb startles them all when he suddenly pops in. He wants to borrow a canister of caustic soda from Les, as he is cleaning the stove. (Or is he?) Alf finds the whole thing ridiculous and he heads off to his night drive. Jack takes Helen to Double Bay and they have a drink together at her workplace, The Cosmopolitan. Helen is distressed about complaints from the restaurant's customers, particularly those concerning the Assistant Manager, Frank Braidwood. At Norma's Bar, Flo is having a drink with the Whittakers. Les tries to empower Flo against serial killers by teaching her some karate moves. Suddenly, Herb turns up! Les gives Herb a bottle of Dorrie's favourite "muskrat". Herb invites Flo upstairs to share it and Les insists that it is very important that she goes. She might be able to trap a killer! Once in Flat 3, a suspicious Flo avoids getting tipsy by deliberately spilling her drinks. In Flat 5, Sue and Jill have brought Mick and Wally home. They are all dancing. Mick rolls a joint and it gets passed around. Jill is feeling uneasy. Helen arrives home and finds them all smoking the joint. Next morning, Mick and Wally report to Flat 8 to collect their orders and Sue gives an "off the record" order to Wally. It was meant for Mick, of course, and she has to quickly get it back. Lucy is off to the laundrette and tells Sue to look after the flat, and to make sure that Alf gets plenty of rest, as he has just returned from an all-night drive. Flo arrives at Flat 8 and takes Alf down to the cellar. Jill and Jack come into the wine bar and Norma says that Arnold is now working there and is in the kitchen preparing meals. Lucy comes in looking for Alf. She had assumed he would be still in bed. She decides to buy a can of soup from the deli. Flo, Les and Alf are searching the cellar and Les finds an envelope containing $1000! Herb comes into the wine bar, looking for Flo, who beats a hasty retreat before he spots her. Alf returns to Flat 8 and finds Lucy on the floor, writhing in agony. [Episode written by Lynn Foster.]

Peter Corbett, who portrays Wally Scott, previously played Alf's much-maligned son-in-law, Kevin Brinkman, in Episode #50. It is ironic that Alf enjoys Wally's company but disliked Kevin so much. It is presumed that the $1000 in the cellar is Herb’s hidden horseracing winnings.

297. (22/05) Vera and Harry are having lunch together in Flat 7, when Alf rushes in and tells them that Lucy has had a bad turn. They all rush next door and Vera tries to make a delirious Lucy a little more more comfortable. Frank Braidwood (Tony Ingersent) agrees with Helen that The Cosmopolitan has its problems but, together, they will overcome them. Now that Arnold has left the deli, Roma and Aldo are finding it difficult to cope. Roma is still a little snappy. Aldo complains that he is already tired of doing all the deliveries. Alf comes in looking to buy himself something for dinner. Aldo recommends the soup, as Lucy bought a can recently. Jack comes to visit Helen in Flat 5. She is very tired and he assures her that she can come next door any time she needs to talk. Meanwhile, Arnold is delighted with his new job in the wine bar. Don and Paul come in and are served by Arnold, looking resplendent in a catering jacket. Arnold asks Paul if he enjoyed Last Tango in Paris as they attended the same session. Don wonders who Paul had gone with to see the movie. Vera is also in the bar having a drink. When Harry enters, she quickly hides her glass. Aldo complains to Roma that he is so weary. He had not realised how much they had come to rely on Arnold. Helen takes up Jack's offer to drop in to Flat 6. They chat about Bev. Vera goes into Flat 8 to check up on Lucy. Was it food poisoning? Alf explains that he has to go out on a driving job soon and Vera offers to stay with Lucy. Vera and Alf have a drink together, then Alf leaves. Aldo goes into Norma's Bar to plead with Arnold to return to his old job in the deli. Don is still questioning Paul about his night at the movies and accuses him of having an affair. Harry goes in search of Vera and finds her, still at the Sutcliffes' flat. Vera has been drinking heavily. [Episode written by Lynn Foster.]

298. (23/05) Flo confides in Aldo and Roma in the deli, concerned that Herb is trying to kill her. Herb finds Flo in the deli and invites her up to Flat 3 for a drink. He says, "It is a pity that Dorrie won't be there, but at least she is with us in spirit." Sue and Jill are talking in the bathroom of Flat 5 and Helen urges them to hurry up. She needs to get ready for work. Jack drops in to say that he will meet Helen today at The Cosmopolitan for lunch. Sue arrives for work in Flat 8 and, when Mick turns up, she takes him into the kitchen and asks if he is "... ready to handle a job - a real job?" At Helen's restaurant, Frank describes to her all of the things that went so badly last night. Four couples actually walked out! Roma has been interviewing prospective delivery boys. Jack arrives at The Cosmopolitan and he and Helen start with drinks. Frank interrupts their conversation and Helen is quite rude to him. Mick tells Wally that Sue has suggested a lucrative way for them to make a lot of money - and fast. Flo goes into the deli to buy a can of Aldo's cut-price soup. She is chatting to Aldo and Roma when Herb comes in - and Flo jumps! Helen confronts Frank about his attitude. He advises Helen that "the staff probably don't like working for a female boss" - or perhaps they are reacting adversely to Helen's "masculine behaviour"? Mick takes Wally upstairs to see Sue, but Wally is scared. Mick reminds him of a job he did before. Jack goes to see Helen but they quickly end up in an argument and he leaves. In Flat 3, Herb pours Flo a drink and moves towards her. Flo panics again and gives him a karate chop, then she rushes to the front door and flings it open. Dorrie is standing there! [Episode written by Lynn Foster.]

299. (24/05) In Flat 1, Les and Norma are getting dressed in the bedroom when Norma casually mentions having seen Flo going upstairs with Herb. Les switches to hero mode and grabs his replica gun! He races out of the flat and goes up the stairs. In Flat 3, Dorrie is questioning Herb about what has been going on in her absence when suddenly Les bursts in, closely followed by Norma. Alf and Arnold also respond to the commotion, but Dorrie soon takes over, as usual. In Flat 8, Lucy has just taken a delivery order for the trucking business. Alf arrives just as Vera comes in to check on Lucy, who has seemingly recovered from her bout of food poisoning. Alf offers Vera a drink. In Flat 4, Don is still grilling Paul. Paul eventually admits that he had gone to the movies with a guy named Jeremy Conway, and then he spent the night with him. Vera is very sloshed, and still at the Sutcliffes' flat. Norma arrives and she and Lucy discuss how the constant strain of having Harry around is affecting Vera. Dorrie wanders around the flat admiring all the work that the decorator has done. She opens her wardrobe and notices that all of her clothes are gone! Vera is at the door of Flat 7, seeing Harry off to another job interview. Lucy and Alf meet her there as they leave their flat and Vera mentions that Harry is applying for a job as a chauffeur. As the Sutcliffes descend the stairs, they encounter Dorrie at the door of Flat 3. She is distraught as Flo is in agony. Lucy and Alf recognise the symptoms as the same as had affected Lucy recently. They urge Dorrie to take Flo to a doctor. Les has been examining the books for the wine bar and tells Norma that they are doing record business. Norma is concerned about the rowdy crowd that overwhelms Norma's Bar each night when the pub closes. In Flat 8, Arnold answers the phone and tries to handle an order, but he is unable to find the client listed in Alf's order book. Meanwhile, in Flat 7, Vera has a heated argument with one of her clients and, when they have gone, she pours herself a stiff drink. Don tells Paul to gather his belongings and leave Flat 4. Aldo's deli comes under suspicion after Flo's food poisoning. Everything she has eaten recently has come from the deli. Herb sits with the ailing Flo while Dorrie goes downstairs. On the way, she runs into Arnold and tells him all about Flo. Arnold offers to get Flo's prescription filled. Harry arrives home to Flat 7 from his job interview to find Vera very drunk. He informs her that he did not get the job and then he pours a drink for himself. [Episode written by Lynn Foster.]

300. (25/05) Herb is distressed by how much money Dorrie wants for the loss of her clothes. After clearing out the wardrobes for the interior decorator, he hadn't meant for all of Dorrie's clothes to end up in the rubbish. When she discovers that he actually burnt her old bowling uniform, she sends him out to buy a replacement, as there is an important lawn bowls tournament coming up. Vera is on a downward slide. She is losing clients by always being enebriated after her marathon drinking sessions with Harry. Herb has bought a can of soup from Aldo. Arnold opens it and sniffs it, making a guess that this is the same brand of soup that caused Lucy and Flo's food poisoning - and he pours it down the sink. Arnold goes down to the deli to warn Aldo - but Aldo refuses to believe that the soup is bad. Herb returns to Flat 3 with the wrong size of bowling dress and Dorrie takes it upstairs to Vera for alterations, but Vera is too drunk to be of any help. Dorrie leaves. Vera and Harry seem to be a couple again; she makes no attempt to reject his advances. They end up sleeping together in Vera's room. [Episode written by Eleanor Witcombe.]

The cast and crew celebrated the 300th episode with a party on the set of Norma's Bar. Brian Bury interviewed Pat McDonald, Ron Shand and Tom Oliver on the sets, which aired as a segment of "Sunday Magazine".

301. (28/05) Norma receives a phone call from Anna Maria, with the news that she and Salvadore are getting married! Don is very concerned about Vera and tells Alf and Lucy that he has a friend who is a member of Alcoholics Anonymous. He will ask him for advice. Angelo (Paul Faranda), the chef at The Cosmopolitan, accuses Helen of lying about him and resigns in anger. Helen is confused as she has never had a problem with Angelo's work. Alf tries to help Vera and Harry but they resent his intrusion and throw him out of Flat 7. Harry tries to buy grog at the wine bar but Norma refuses to serve him. Harry gets violent and Jack ends up knocking him out! Jack warns the Sutcliffes as to what happened and Lucy offers to look after Vera. Helen is getting the blame for all of the complaints about the restaurant and she quits her job in protest. Lucy calls into Flat 7 and makes Vera a cup of tea. She tries to warn her about Harry. Lucy points out that Vera and Harry's relationship will self-destruct unless one of them makes a strong stand. Her sage advice falls upon deaf ears. [Episode written by Eleanor Witcombe.]

Paul Faranda, who portrays Angelo, will return as a new character, Leroy LaRue, in Episode #684.

302. (29/05) Helen tells Jack that she has left her job at The Cosmopolitan. He talks her into going back with him and asking a few questions. She agrees. Alf's three employees continue to deceive him, but time is surely running out for them? Lucy has her own questions for Wally about Mick, but Wally assures her that Mick is a loyal employee. In Flat 3, Flo and Herb decide to take up the hemline of Dorrie's bowling uniform for her as a surprise. Helen discovers that Frank is behind all of the troubles she has been experiencing at the restaurant. She accuses him, slaps his face - and storms out! Dorrie returns from her Senior Citizens Club meeting and won't give Flo an opportunity to explain about having the bowling uniform altered. Dorrie sits down and alters the hem herself. Jill sleeps with Wally in Helen's bed. Helen and Jack return to Flat 5 just in time to catch them! Helen is furious with Jill and again tells her to get a job and stop acting like a slut, or go back to Wilcannia! Dorrie tries on the bowling dress and is horrified that it looks so short on her. Flo laughs. Mick and Wally set off for "the big job" that Sue has orchestrated for them to complete. Wally is very frightened when Sue slips him a gun. [Episode written by Eleanor Witcombe.]

303. (30/05) Roma is not well and, when Les comes into the deli, Aldo pleads with him to take a look at her. Maybe he can tell what is wrong? Even though Les is a mere hospital orderly, he cannot resist attempting a diagnosis. Alf's truck has mechanical problems, almost threatening to ruin Mick and Wally's latest big scam. Mick tries to keep it all a secret from Alf by offering to complete Alf's job as well as his and Wally's own. Alf agrees. Les examines Roma for several hours while consulting his 1001 Ailments textbook. Jill apologises to her sister for sleeping with Wally in Helen's bed. Helen forgives her and agrees to let Jill stay in the flat. Les has a new brainstorm and convinces Alf to keep Aldo distracted while Les secretly measures the dimensions of the deli. Les has plans to convert the deli into a restaurant! Wally and Mick complete "the big job" but Wally forgets where they are supposed to go next. In his panic, they go back to Flat 5 to ask Sue - and she is furious. In Flat 8, the Sutcliffes and Arnold are chatting. Alf mentions that Wally and the truck would be in Goulburn by now. Arnold doubts that very much, as he passed Wally on the stairs not long ago! [Episode written by Susan Swinford.]

304. (31/05) Dorrie relates the tale of how she won the bowling match for the 17th time. Flo insults her and Dorrie orders her to go back to her own flat in Gosford Mansion. Vera sits Harry down and tries to stress the importance of both of them pulling themselves together. Norma has learned from Les that Roma is still unwell. She chats with Roma, having realised that she is entering menopause. Norma urges her to speak with her doctor and Roma promises that she will. Dorrie learns that Mrs Terry, the bowling club President, has asked Flo to be her partner in the next match. Don sees Vera staggering on the stairs and helps her up to Flat 7. He makes her promise not to have another drink. He says that he will check in on her after work. Flo returns to Flat 3 to talk to Dorrie, who tries to convince Flo that she is still not well after her bout of food poisoning. Dorrie will have to partner Mrs Terry instead! Arnold arrives at the door with the news that his suspicions were correct. The cases of soup that Mick sold to Aldo are bad. Flo accuses Dorrie of poisoning her so she could replace her in the bowling match and rushes out with her suitcase. Don returns from work and finds Vera passed out in Flat 7. He tries to awaken her but Harry hits Don and tosses him out of the flat. Flo comes into the deli and tells the Godolfuses that Dorrie tried to poison her. Aldo tries to calm her down and offers her some soup. Flo screams and grabs her suitcase. As she leaves, she accuses them all of being murderers! Les finally comes to the conclusion that Roma's problems are symptoms of menopause. He presents this diagnosis to Norma, who tells him that it is not his place to inform Aldo as to what is wrong with Roma. Instead, Les seeks out Arnold and tells him, urging Arnold to explain the situation to Aldo. Arnold finally succeeds in telling Aldo what is wrong with Roma. Aldo now attempts to explain it to Roma and gets very muddled. Roma understands fully, confusing Aldo even more. Roma explains that she already knows what is wrong. Vera has refused all help, and Don realises that her situation will continue to worsen. He tells Norma that he has organised for a friend in A. A., John Vernon, to contact her about helping Vera while Don is in Perth on business. [Episode written by Susan Swinford.]

305. (1/06) In Flat 5, Jill announces to Mick and Sue that she has met a nice guy who is taking her out tonight after work. She heads off to the shower. Wally arrives in a bit of a panic. He has only just delivered the goods to the warehouse. When he got there last night, it was closed! Sue tries to calm him down. She assures him that Mick will come up with an excuse that will satisfy Alf. Norma tells Lucy about Mr Vernon so Lucy goes up to explain the situation to Vera. At the door of Flat 7, Harry is verbally abusive to Lucy and won't let her in. Les arrives home to from his night shift at the hospital. Norma relates the events of last night, when a group of ruffians turned up at the wine bar before closing. Les decides to visit Arnold in Flat 8 and offer him a job as a bouncer, but Lucy explains that Arnold is still asleep. Jills borrows a dress from Helen to wear tonight. Jack arrives to see Helen and he asks her how she feels about last night and she tells him that she has no regrets. Lucy and Sue are having tea in Flat 8 when John Vernon (Harry Lawrence) from A. A. arrives. Sue takes the hint and goes down to Flat 5 with the rosters. Lucy then rings Vera next door and invites her over. Vera and Lucy encounter Mick on the landing and Lucy sends him down to Helen's flat to find Sue. Helen finally leaves Flat 5 and Mick shows Sue the $2500 he collected for the illicite delivery. Alf and Les meet for lunch at the wine bar, while Jack and Helen go to The Cosmopolitan's cocktail bar. Up in the Sutcliffes' flat, Mick and Sue present Wally with his $500, which he doesn't want to accept. Alf and Lucy come in to see the money in Wally's hand - and Mick mentions that Wally had a win on the horses! Vera is sewing when Harry arrives at Flat 7. He tries to tempt Vera into joining him for a drink. She has finally accepted her predicament as a serious problem, and will be taking the advice of her friends and John Vernon. Harry is unimpressed and pours his drink all over her. [Episode written by Bob Caswell.]

Harry Lawrence, who portrays John Vernon, would return in two more roles: Horace Deerman in the 1974 movie (filmed in December 1973) and the recurring Sid Chatterton from Episode #475.

306. (4/06) Helen is job-hunting. She returns home to Flat 5 from an interview in a foul mood; she didn't get the job, supposedly, because she is a woman. Jack rings her but she refuses to speak with him. Dorrie has a list of exotic foods that she wants to buy from Aldo's deli. She is planning an exclusive dinner party. Flo enters and notices how exhausted Aldo seems to be. The deliveries are tiring him out. Flo offers to help out behind the counter whenever he needs her. In Flat 8, Arnold is doing his daily exercise regime, much to Sue's amusement. He explains that Mr Whittaker wants him to be a bouncer for the wine bar. He returns to his bedroom. Wally enters the flat and takes Sue aside. He admits that he panicked and disposed of the gun that she gave him. In Flat 3, Flo is doing the washing up and overhears Herb placing bets on the phone. Flo teases him and says that she won't tell Dorrie. Arnold calls in and Flo takes the opportunity to grill him for information on how to run a delicatessen. Over drinks while waiting for Jill and Sue, Wally and Mick are chatting. Wally admits to Mick that he has a police record. Jill and Sue visit the deli to buy cigarettes. Because he is short-staffed, Aldo closes the shop to have his break. He goes into the flat and realises that Roma only has cold meat for lunch. Flo turns up to help out, as promised but, while Aldo is gone, she gets into a terrible muddle. Aldo reads out to Roma the contents of Rose's letter, and Roma gets very upset and leaves. Dorrie meets Helen on the stairs and they witness Arnold rushing out of Flat 1, dressed in running shorts and a singlet. Dorrie continues on to the deli, where she finds Flo working behind the counter. This infuriates Dorrie, although she doesn't realise that Aldo and Roma find Flo's "help" to be more of a hindrance. In the wine bar, Wally confesses to Jill that he is being blackmailed by someone who obviously knows what they are up to. Helen is waiting in the deli with no one to serve her. Aldo arrives from doing deliveries and starts to apologise. They are interrupted by Flo, who comes in from the flat to tell Aldo that Roma is very upset. Aldo goes to her and Roma is inconsolable. [Episode written by Bob Caswell.]

307. (5/06) Vera confesses to Lucy that Harry keeps coercing her to drink - and she is at a loss as to what to do. It is late in the morning and Roma is still in bed. Aldo shows Norma in. Roma is "from the old country"; she doesn’t know anything can be done about menopause. She has been going to a Russian doctor who is just as old-fashioned. Norma gives Roma the name of her own doctor. A gang of hoodlums have made a regular nuisance of themselves outside the wine bar each closing time. Arnold hopes his new boxing skills will be sufficient to deter them. Les and Alf are talking in the bar, but Les keeps trying to taunt Arnold, to ready him for dealing with the hoodlums. Aldo comes in and pleads with Arnold to come and see him in the deli. Don arrives back from Perth and sees Lucy on the stairs. "How is Vera going?" he wants to know. Don doesn't like what he hears and heads into Flat 4 to ring John Vernon. In Flat 7, Vera is trying to cook and Harry, who is very drunk, is making each of her tasks as difficult as possible. Norma is carrying a pile of towels into the wine bar when Les, thinking it is Arnold approaching, springs out and startles her. Don, Alf, Lucy and John discuss Vera and Harry's predicament. Lucy rings Vera and invites her in. Vera then takes John next door to meet Harry. Aldo comes into the wine bar. He has left Flo running the deli while Roma is still at her doctor's appointment. Les is still annoying Arnold, in an attempt to keep Arnold "prepared for anything". Alf tells Arnold to hit Les, which Arnold does - and Les sinks to the floor! Roma arrives at the deli in good spirits after her appointment, but Aldo says that Arnold refused to return to his position in the shop. Vera shows John to the door and returns inside to thank Harry for behaving. Harry promises that he will make a concerted effort not to drink. In the wine bar, Norma calls, "Time, ladies and gentlemen..." but a group of "toughs" demand more drinks and a nasty fight develops. Arnold and Jack are overwhelmed in the melee. [Episode written by Bob Caswell.]

308. (6/06) Over breakfast in Flat 3, Dorrie tells Herb the people she has invited to her dinner party. Most of them hail from "the Point Piper socialist set". Norma and Les are cleaning up the mess in the bar after last night's altercation. Jack comes in and assures them that he has organised some of his track friends to act as bouncers. He has also booked a professional cleaning service. Arnold believes that stronger measures are necessary, so Jack promises to ask the police to keep an eye on the wine bar for a while. In Flat 8, Alf and Lucy are having breakfast when Arnold and Jack call in on their way into town. The Sutcliffes notice their injuries. Jill and Helen discuss the job interview that Helen is going to this morning. Flo, who is alone behind the counter of the deli, is having trouble with the cash register, so she gives the customers their change in sesame seed health bars. Jack arrives at Flat 5 to see Helen. Jill, who should have been at work by now, opens the door. Helen has already left for her interview. Jack gets angry because Jill is supposed to be working for him! Jill tells him to "stick his job". Dorrie comes into the deli to show off to Flo her expensive, new suit, but Flo's lukewarm reaction to it is a concern. Dorrie suggests that Flo should come to the party and act as hostess. When Flo hears that Harvey Wickshaw is coming, she is keen to accept Dorrie's offer. Jack is in Norma's Bar, chatting to the Whittakers, when Helen comes in. She admits that she turned down the job because it was for "a procurer for male tourists". She heads back to Flat 5. Herb comes into the deli and Flo asks him to place a bet for her. Meanwhile, in the wine bar, Don tells Jack about an unpleasant incident at the office about Don's homosexuality. Helen returns from upstairs and joins them. Jack is distracted when he notices Don disappear with a young man he has seemingly picked up at the bar. [Episode written by Eleanor Witcombe.]

309. (7/06) Aldo and Roma return from dinner at their favourite restaurant, The Blue Danube. On his way up to Flat 6, Jack notices a young man leaving Don's flat. Jack realises that this was the same lad that Don picked up earlier this evening. Jack is about to comment but Don tells him not to interfere in his life. Sue is cross with Mick because no one could contact neither Mick nor Wally last night. Wally arrives with the gun, having finally retrieved it. Mick takes it, warning Wally that his fingerprints are still on it. Dorrie and Herb are trying to cook for the dinner party but Herb has to be sent down to the deli with an instruction to buy sour cherries. Flo goes into the parlour of Flat 2 and explains to Aldo and Roma that she is sorry, but she must stop working for them. She collects her own wages by simply taking groceries off the shelves. Don is having a large breakfast when Vera and Harry call by to thank him for all his help. Deliverymen are bringing potted palms to Flat 3 for Dorrie's party, just as Flo rings Herb to tell him that the horse that he had put the bet on, for her, has won its race! Vera takes Don a present for helping her out and a young man comes out of Don's bedroom. Don can't remember the boy's name. Flo drops into the deli on her way to Dorrie's party and encounters Harry. Harry seems to be recovering well. Dorrie is dressed in her new, replacement gown but, to her horror, Flo walks in wearing the identical garment! Don's odd behaviour is of concern to both Jack and Vera; they discuss what to do when Jack drops in to see her in Flat 7. Dorrie, Herb and Flo are left, surrounded by exotic food, but no guests whatsoever. Dorrie decides they are just running late so she rings Mrs Claire Houghton to ask her why she hasn't arrived. Dorrie is deeply hurt when Claire just laughs and laughs. [Episode written by Eleanor Witcombe.]

310. (8/06) Helen and Jack have a row about how Helen handled her departure from her position at The Cosmospolitan. Jack believes that she should have phoned Mr Silver and informed him about how Frank's attitude had affected staff morale. Helen thinks that Jack should mind his own business. Dorrie's dinner party in Flat 3 is a complete failure. Only Flo and Herb are there to eat all the food. Dorrie is shattered and she, Flo and Herb get quite tiddly after opening the "muskrat". Arnold receives a report from his contact at the Health Department about the suspect cans of soup. He was right: the soup was contaminated. Jill starts her crash course in fashion modelling. Jack apologises to Helen, but she is quick to agree that he was right. She needs to meet with Mr Silver and clear the air. Arnold shows Aldo the Health Department's analysis of the soup. Aldo is horrified! Arnold reassures Aldo that he won't tell the Department where he obtained the soup so long as Aldo promises not to sell any more cans from the cartons he bought from Mick. Helen's meeting with Mr Silver goes surprisingly well. She is given the position of Controlling Manager of the whole chain of restaurants. Next morning, Flo and Dorrie have another tiff and Dorrie orders Flo out of Flat 3. Flo takes off immediately, still wearing a pair of Herb's pyjamas. Noticing how tired Roma is looking, Arnold offers to help her out in the deli part-time. Roma is delighted by this news! Jill tells Sue that Wally admitted to her that he was embroiled in a blackmail attempt. Someone has learned about his shady past. Sue is worried that this will affect her scheming. In the deli, Aldo mentions to Dorrie that several of his customers had reported seeing Herb chasing Flo - still wearing men's pyjamas - all the way down Paradise Street! Dorrie is mortified. Roma excitedly tells Aldo that Arnold is returning to his old job. Even though it won't be as a full-time employee, Aldo is ecstatic. Arnold has an eye-opener in store for Mick; he tells him that he has become aware of Mick's recent "criminal activities" and it is only a matter of time before the Sutcliffes realise the truth. [Episode written by Lynn Foster.]

311. (11/06) In Flat 8, Mick and Sue are terrified. They think that Arnold has uncovered the elaborate scheme they have been running with Alf's trucks, but Arnold actually only knows about the cases of contaminated soup. Arnold makes a proposal: Mick must reimburse Aldo in full for the illicit soup, and then surrender all of the cans to the Health Department. After Arnold leaves, Mick and Sue collapse with relief. They can't believe their luck! Jill is pleased that her new relationship with Tim Grose (Stuart Finch) is going well. She is enthusiastic about her first modelling job and the generous pay packet. Then she realises that Tim expects her to pose nude. She is taken aback but manages to cover her surprise. Don continues with his risky series of "one-night stands" in Flat 4; Lucy and Vera are very concerned. Jill has to "audition" for Tim and he expects her to be nude. She complies. Aldo tells Alf about the contaminated soup which came from Mick. Alf goes to confront him but Mick talks his way out of it. Lucy is immediately suspicious. Alf defends him, claiming, "Mick isn't bloody smart enough to be dishonest." Harry is doing very well through his association with A. A. and he decides to start looking for work again. At the wine bar, Arnold tells Norma that he will be helping out in the deli and Norma is concerned that he will stretch himself too thin. Jill tells Mick and Sue that she is developing a crush on Don Finlayson and Mick informs her that Don is camp. Don makes a half-serious pass at Arnold, who is horrified. Don assures him that he was only joking. Arnold accepts this explanation and is relieved. Harry tries for another chauffeur job - and this time he gets it. Back in Flat 7, he is terribly excited and tells Vera that he owes his newfound confidence to an A. A. preacher named Adam Lord. Harry describes Adam as the most sincere, warm, genuine and magnetic man he has ever met. Vera is a little taken aback. This is an all-new side to Harry Collins! [Episode written by Lynn Foster.]

The Australian Broadcasting Control Board's official report, released in September 1973, mentioned that storylines "did not conform to Television Program Standards" twice in June 1973. The Jill/Arnold/Tim storyline involves the production of a pornographic movie, and also a scene with a woman being whipped. Stuart Finch, who plays Tim Grose, later returns to portray Lieutenant Swanson of the CIB in Episode #717, and another recurring character, Ian Chester, from Episode #929.

312. (12/06) Les's reputation for tall tales has gotten him fired from his job at the hospital and everyone dreads what his next project will be. Norma has told him that he can't have a position in the wine bar because Jack cannot afford to add any more employees to the payroll. Mick does a sneaky, extra job on the side and earns himself $50. Sue tells him that he must admit this to Alf, or it will jeopardise all of her plans. It is too close to the larger, more lucrative, deal. Mick prepares for the worst and tells Alf. Alf is delighted and proud. He announces that, to celebrate, he is taking them all to the wine bar for dinner. Jack calls by Flat 4 to invite Don to dinner. Don explains that he has too much work to do. There is a sound from Don's bedroom: a young man coughing. Jack just says, "Never mind." Jack leaves and Don is upset. In the wine bar, Jack offers to put Les on the payroll if Norma wants him to, but Norma says, "Thanks, but no." Don goes up to Flat 6 to apologise to Jack for brushing him off. The young man he heard was actually a cousin who is staying overnight. Don would love to accompany Jack to dinner. Jack doesn't believe him but agrees anyway. In Flat 7, Harry is awaiting a phone call from Adam Lord, confirming details of his first shift as Adam's chauffeur, but it never comes. He gets uptight with all the waiting. Les is helping with the meals in Norma's Bar but, predictably, chaos ensues. Jack and Don come in to eat but, while they wait for Les to sort out the mess he has made, Don picks up a young man. He excuses himself and they leave together. In Flat 8, Lucy again expresses her doubts about Mick's honesty. Alf won't hear a bad word about him. Jack and Vera chat in the wine bar about Don heading down a dangerous path and Vera agrees to talk with him. Vera is also worried about Harry. He still hasn't joined them. He finally arrives, having gone for a walk. He still hasn't heard from Adam. Sue locates a vacant warehouse where the conspirators can store their share of the haul. She sends Mick to pay the rent on the place. Jack catches up with Don and mentions that he has just bought a block of units and intends using the penthouse for himself, but the building is under renovation and won't be ready for a few months. Jack doesn't want to renew the lease on Flat 6 in Bev's absence and suggests that perhaps he could move into Don's spare room in Flat 4? Don is very hesitant. He is agreeable, but only if Jack's presence doesn't intrude on Don's life. In Flat 7, Harry is still waiting for Adam Lord's phone call. Vera goes down to the wine bar to have a drink there (without making Harry uncomfortable). Harry is getting distressed and rings John at A. A. to prevent himself from taking to the bottle again. Jack is back in Flat 6, enjoying a beer. There is a knock at the door and he opens it - and there is Bev Houghton! [Episode written by Lynn Foster.]

Abigail had returned from an imposed "sabbatical" following several public disagreements with the producers - and media articles that had made out that she had been fired.

313. (13/06) Bev is back! But, as the newly-married Mrs Goodman, she still has one more surprise up her sleeve for Jack: Earl Goodman (Richard Lupino), her new husband, is bringing in the luggage. Dorrie and Herb are helping to run the "Over 80s' Social" at the Paddington Senior Citizens Club. In Flat 3, Dorrie is concerned that Flo will be there and still carrying a grudge from the other morning. In Flat 6, Jack assures Bev and Earl that he can move in with Don tonight, leaving them the flat to themselves. They tell him there is no need, but he insists. It is obvious to Jack that Bev has not told Earl anything about her previous relationship with him. Jill has brought Tim home to Flat 5 to meet Helen. Helen realises that Jill's modelling assignment requires nudity, which disturbs her. Tim is quick to convince Jill's sister that it is all for the sake of art. Dorrie and Herb arrive home from the Social. Dorrie is annoyed that Flo didn't turn up. The doorbell chimes and Flo is standing there - in a filthy bathrobe, her fluffy slippers and a plastic showercap - and holding her budgerigar's cage. Her apartment building in Paradise Street has been burnt out, leaving Flo with only the clothes she is standing in and her beloved Mr Perky (Himself). Flo says that she has lost everything, including her poor cat, Ponsonby. Dorrie and Herb take her in. Don is curious as to how Jack felt when Bev walked in with a brand new American husband. He admits that he was shocked, but that is all. It is all over between Jack and Bev anyway. Meanwhile, Bev is busy introducing Earl to everyone in the building. All are amazed. Flo borrows clothes from Dorrie so she can visit the insurance office. She finds out that her policy expired when she neglected to pay the renewal bill. A man approaches Jack in the wine bar. He is looking for Don. Jack tells him to try Flat 4 upstairs. The man is an irate father (Reg Gorman) who proceeds to bash Don for picking up his son in a public park. [Episode written by Lynn Foster.]

Richard Lupino, who portrays Earl Goodman, was the cousin of US actor/director, Ida Lupino. Reg Gorman, who portrays the Irate Father, previously played Constable Wyatt in Episode #175. He would return as Bert Kelly in Episode #625 and Oliver Hobbs in Episode #905. (Reg later took a long-running role in "The Sullivans" as the barman, Jack Fletcher.)

314. (14/06) Bev and Earl have all the tenants gossiping over their sudden appearance. Earl is quite enamoured by Claire Houghton, Bev's socialite mother, which does not impress Bev. The other topic of conversation is Flo Patterson, who has lost so much in the tragic Paradise Street fire. In Flat 3, Dorrie, Herb and Flo watch the TV news footage of Flo jumping from a window of her burning flat in Gosford Mansion. The newsman describes Flo as a local heroine because she risked her life to try to save her pet cat, but he gets Flo's name wrong. She is disgusted - and also saddened at the reminder of the deceased Ponsonby. She storms off the the spare bedroom. Dorrie tells Herb that they can't have Flo living in Flat 3 indefinitely. Arnold is getting very weary working two jobs. Paul Mathews rings the Evans' flat, hoping to speak to Flo Patterson. He heard the news on TV and realised that he knew who Flo was. He wants to interview her for his newspaper, but Flo is too distraught to agree straight away. The Senior Citizens Club takes up a collection for Flo and her interview with Paul brings in another $100. Mrs Terry decides to organise a fundraising dance. Dorrie proclaims the fire as "a blessing in disguise" as Flo will have more money than she has ever had before. Flo points out that all the money in the world won't bring back Ponsonby. A lout (John Fitzgerald) and his two mates come into the laundrette and threaten Lucy. They demand the keys to the money boxes of the machines. Lucy refuses their demands and they grab her, causing Lucy to fall and hit her head. The louts run out. In Flat 1, Les decides to help out Arnold by doing some meal preparation while Arnold is at the deli. Arnold walks in to witness the terrible mess that Les has made. Almost in tears, Arnold orders Les out of the kitchen. In Flat 8, Alf is worried about Lucy. She hasn't return home from work and, when he checks the laundrette, it is all locked up. [Episode written by Lynn Foster.]

Flo Patterson's cat, Ponsonby, might not have survived the fire, but he would still be part of Flo's story arc during her time in Flat 3. John Fitzgerald, who portrays the lout who bashes Lucy Sutcliffe, will return as Dr Peter Rathbone in Episode #585.

315. (15/06) Sue and Mick have carefully planned their latest and biggest scam for gang boss, Joe Corless (Tony Allyn), but things start going terribly wrong for Mick. Alf talks with Norma, Bev and Earl about his concern for Lucy. Arnold comes in, having checked the laundrette, which is still in darkness. Next morning, the relief laundrette manager, Valerie Mason (Sally McMaster), finds Lucy collapsed on the floor of the laundrette. In Flat 7, Harry has good news about his job - as chauffeur to Adam Lord - and tells Vera about it. Alf comes to get Vera to look in on Lucy, who is finally in her own bed, but delirious. Bev and Earl have dinner at Norma's Bar and are served by Arnold. Les tries to help Arnold but is, again, a hindrance. Vera and Alf return to Flat 7 and Harry chastises them both for drinking. Later, in Flat 8, Lucy wakes up and recognises Alf, who is very grateful. Alf goes out to the loungeroom and finds Arnold lying on the couch, still in his work clothes. In the kitchen of Flat 1, the Whittakers chat about Arnold over the washing up. Sue and Mick discuss the arrangement for fencing the stolen goods after the job. Alf comes to Flat 5 to tell Mick that his truck has broken down. He wants Mick to do the dayshift instead. Sue thinks on her feet and convinces Alf to take Mick's truck instead, so that "someone will be here at night to look after Lucy". The Goodmans make an invitation to Vera and Harry to come over for dinner in Flat 6 later in the week. Sue and Mick inspect the warehouse where they will store the stolen goods. Over a drink, Mick checks off the arrangements with Sue for the job they are doing for Joe. Alf goes to the wine bar for a drink and Les tells him about his new job: taking tourists on walking tours around Sydney. As Alf is leaving the wine bar, he runs into Mick - but Mick should have been out on his truck run by now! [Episode written by Derek Strahan.]

Sally McMaster finally makes an onscreen appearance as Valerie Mason. The character is often mentioned in dialogue but sometimes returns onscreen, such as Episode #515 and Episode #775.

316. (18/06) Helen and Jack meet for drinks at the cocktail bar of The Cosmopolitan. They are waiting for Jill and Tim, who finally arrive, resplendent in evening wear. Dorrie, Herb and Flo discuss the Paradise Street fire. As she is heading off to bed with Herb, Dorrie complains about the fundraising dance, and the fact that Flo is "living off the other residents" by accepting their charity. Furthermore, Flo is not helping out in Flat 3 - and Mr Perky is driving Dorrie crazy! Mick and Sue unload their illicit goods into the warehouse as Sue reassures Mick that she covered for him with Alf. In Flat 4, Jack and Don chat over their breakfast coffee - and Jack notices that Don had already made an extra cup. Herb goes into the deli to sell dance tickets for Mrs Terry's fundraiser. Jill calls in on her way home after last night's partying. Dorrie is now annoyed with Flo for taking over many of her "consergical duties". In Flat 5, Helen is trying to rouse Sue from her bedroom when Jill walks in the front door! Helen refuses to believe that Jill and Tim spent the whole night "just dancing". Flo and Herb are excited that they just won some money on the horses - and they almost get caught out listening to the next race when Dorrie comes in. Jack and Don have lunch together in Norma's Bar and Jack suggests that Don could become his business partner. Don is not convinced. Dorrie, Flo and Herb go to the wine bar for lunch on the secret proceeds of the horse race winnings. Also there are Sue and Mick, who talk about "the big job" and how they might fence the stolen goods. Jill poses for Tim in the nude again, but she is very nervous. Flo goes to the deli trying to sell dance tickets. Helen comes into Flat 4 for a drink with Jack while Don is in the shower. There is a knock at the door. It is a young man looking for Don and he mentions that he was assured that "Don is available at any time". [Episode written by Derek Strahan.]

317. (19/06) Roma receives a phone call concerning her son, Irving, and his new gambling debts. Aldo avoids the issue becoming a problem by "fixing everything up" behind his wife's back. Alf and Lucy are having dinner when the conversation turns to a news item about a robbery down on the docks. Les goes off to his first day on duty as a tourist guide. Vera is hard at work at her sewing machine. Harry wants her to accompany him to his A. A. meeting, but she refuses. She simply has too much work to do. Harry's personality is undergoing a radical change, and Flo and Dorrie notice this when they encounter him on the stairs and he refers to Herb as "an alcoholic". Alf drops into the laundrette to check how Lucy is coping. Vera comes in to do a pile of Harry's washing. Vera and Lucy chat about Mick and Sue. Les arrives at the wine bar, in the company of a tour busload of loud American tourists. He expects Norma to feed them all lunch. In Flat 3, Dorrie tries to foist upon Flo an old, ugly evening dress to wear to the fundraising dance and Vera offers to come down in an attempt to fix it a little, and make it more stylish. Lucy calls in to the deli and, while she is talking to Aldo and Roma, she has some trouble focusing. Herb gives Flo a parcel on her way up to Vera's, but she doesn't unwrap it until she arrives. When the parcel is opened, Flo finds a beautiful evening dress, a gift from the Senior Cits. Vera and Flo celebrate with a drink when Harry comes in. He chastises them for drinking. Harry is becoming very self-centred and is acting like a nasty, belligerent fanatic. Vera finds that her affection for him is cooling. In Flat 8, Lucy is trying to set the table but she is having trouble with her eyes. Vera comes in from next door, trying to get away from Harry. Dorrie and Herb are having dinner in Flat 3 when Flo arrives, looking stunning in her new evening gown. Dorrie is very surprised. Aldo, Roma, Norma and Les are in the wine bar when Herb and Flo come in with a telegram for Aldo. It is from Rose and Julian. Aldo has just become a grandfather! [Episode written by Derek Strahan.]

318. (20/06) Les and Norma discuss Les's new job and how a local cafe previously made special arrangements with the tour company to feed the people attending each tour. Les can see a business opportunity here for the wine bar. "We can make a fortune, Norma!" Bev and Earl have breakfast together. Aldo has exciting news when Arnold arrives at the deli for his shift. Aldo is now a grandfather. Poor Arnold is simply being too accommodating of late: first, Roma pulls Arnold aside to ask him to organise a plane ticket to New Guinea, so she can surprise Aldo with a visit to see Rose and the baby; then Norma comes in with another task for Arnold. (Les is too busy being a tour guide to help her.) "Could you please take my wig to the hairdressers, Duckie, and bring it back to the wine bar before opening time?" Jill and Sue chat about Jill's boyfriend, Tim Grose. Arnold orders a ticket for Aldo from Jack's contacts at QANTAS. Bev brings Earl into the deli and proud Grandpapa Aldo presents Earl with a celebratory box of cigars. Arnold finally arrives for his wine bar shift, but is running late, having collected Norma's wig from Mr Marcell. Norma is miffed that she had to open the bar without her wig on. Jack turns up with the plane ticket for Aldo. Don comes in for a quick lunch, but poor Arnold is run off his feet, so food might be delayed. Roma has overwhelmed Aldo with her surprise ticket, but it will mean even more responsibility for the already-stretched Arnold. Aldo's travel bag has already been packed by Roma and Jack will be taking him straight to the airport! While Arnold rushes back and forth with meals, Jack has a quick drink with Bev and Earl. Later on, Les turns up, fresh from his latest tour. He tells a gory story about how he nearly lost a lady tourist down The Blowhole at Kiama. Helen comes in and asks Jack to have a meal with her tonight but he explains that he will be having dinner with Don, who has a friend staying with him. In Flat 4, Don introduces Jack to young Kevin Ramsey (Robert Brockman) and they all eat together. Tim and Jill have dinner at Tim's apartment. Arnold collapses from overwork. Leaving Flat 4, Jack calls in to see Helen upstairs, and they have coffee. When Jack returns to Don's flat, he finds that Kevin has ransacked the flat and stolen a lot of his expensive clothes. [Episode written by Derek Strahan.]

319. (21/06) In Flat 3, Flo helps Dorrie to make the breakfast while Mr Perky chatters away, driving Dorrie bonkers. Herb comes in with news from the deli that Arnold had collapsed from trying to do his own two jobs and covering for Aldo's absence. Roma is in a flap because she has an appointment, so Dorrie races down to help. Flo rings down, unbeknownst to Dorrie. Arnold is now back in his room in Flat 8, being served breakfast in bed by Lucy and Alf. In Flat 4, Jack and Don discuss the incident of last night over breakfast, and how to tackle Don's "one night stand" addiction. Dorrie and Flo are now both in charge in the deli, managing to get things into a terrible muddle. Earl comes in and Dorrie has no idea who he is. ("Why wasn't I told?") Jack visits Arnold and tells him not to worry about anything. Out in the loungeroom, Mick has come to talk to Sue - and she orders him to go and see Joe Corless immediately. Joe is realising that Sue and Mick may have been playing him all along. He intends for revenge. Earl and Bev chat about their new, shared future. Jack and Vera discuss Don's situation. Does he even know that he has a problem? Flo and Dorrie continue to bicker about how to run the deli. Harry comes in but neither of them want to serve him. Flo takes off to get her hair done for the dance night. In Flat 8, the phone rings and Arnold answers it - but Sue snatches the receiver away from him. Meanwhile, in Flat 7, Vera and Harry chat about the upcoming fundraising dance and Harry promises to be on his best behaviour. Arnold is still in bed when Mick arrives to see Sue. They argue and, as Lucy arrives, Sue rips her own blouse. Mick takes off - and Sue tells Lucy that Mick tried to rape her! Dorrie arrives at Flat 3 after her long day in the deli. She finds a rather glamorous Flo dressed for the dance. Arnold tells Alf and Lucy of his suspicions about what Sue and Mick have been up to. Something is wrong with the brakes! Mick has an accident in the truck and is killed in a fiery crash! [Episode written by Derek Strahan.]

320. (22/06) Earl and Bev Goodman (Victoria Raymond) talk business, in bed and also over breakfast. Alf gets a call from the police. They deliver the news that Alf's truck has been found crashed and burnt out, with Mick's dead body found in the driver's cabin. The police suspect that the brakes had been tampered with. Sue tells Alf and Lucy that Mick was always a bit odd. Sue continues to play it cool, and only Arnold suspects her true motives. Mrs Terry's charity ball did not raise enough money for Flo to move out of Flat 3. There are more worries for Alf: someone has smashed his second truck where it was parked. Don has an appointment to speak with a clinical psychologist, Doctor Alistair Pascall (Raymond Duparc), who believes that he will be able to help Don with his recent sexual compulsions. Alf admits to Lucy that he has no comprehensive insurance on his trucks. He is now completely broke and out of business! [Episode written by Derek Strahan.]

Victoria Raymond, sister of Candy Raymond, had taken over the role of Bev Goodman from Abigail after ongoing disagreements between Abigail and Cash Harmon Productions. Essentially, Vicki - as Bev - serves her husband the meal that Abigail had prepared earlier. Raymond Duparc, who portrays Alistair Pascall, was previously Doctor Riley in 1972, and would return in 1975 as Herr Humpernickel.

321. (25/06) Arnold overhears a conversation between Sue and Wally when Sue is delivering the news that Mick is dead. Wally panics! How will Joe react? Their situation is dire. Les gets fired from his tour guide job when he manages to miss the bus back from the Blue Mountains. Aldo is back from Port Moresby - and having no luck interviewing replacements for Arnold's job in the deli. Roma announces that the only solution is to get Arnold back full-time, somehow. In the meantime, Arnold's talents have become as indispensable to Les and Norma in the wine bar as they were to Aldo and Roma in the deli. Arnold tells the Sutcliffes that he is convinced that Sue is deceiving them. Alf and Lucy cannot believe it. "Sue is such a sweet girl." Aldo tries asking the Whittakers to release Arnold from his wine bar duties but they are unhappy about it and refuse. Aldo offers Arnold the position of Manager of the delicatessen. [Episode written by Susan Swinford.]

322. (26/06) Earl approaches Jack directly about getting some introductions in the Australian property field. Jack is evasive. Aldo is worried about Arnold's decision to take up the deli Manager position and how it will affect Les and Norma. Arnold is yet to break the bad news to them. Aldo meets Dorothy Dunlop (Diana McLean), who has come to Number 96 to see Arnold. Aldo learns that Arnold and the eccentric Dorothy were at catering school together, and she is as talented a cook as Arnold. Jack has decided to give Earl some very limited help with property information. Don tells his therapist, Alistair, all about his first lover, the bisexual Bruce Taylor. Despite Don's latest setbacks, including Sally's death and the awkward breakup with Paul, Alistair firmly believes that Don can successfully change his character if he truly wants to, thus "curing" Don of his homosexuality. The mysterious Dorothy enters Norma's Bar and informs Norma, Les and Arnold that she received a mental flash from Arnold and she has come to take over Arnold's wine bar duties so that he will be free to return to his best destiny: working in the deli! Jack is at home with Don when Alistair turns up at Flat 4 to return Don's cigarette lighter. Don had left it behind in Doctor Pascall's office during their last session. Don and Alistair chat a little and they go off to the movies together, leaving Jack shaking his head and wondering. [Episode written by Susan Swinford.]

323. (27/06) In Flat 7, Harry is driving his ex-wife, Vera, crazy with his evangelical religious kick. She is finding him very hard to live with. After hearing that Alf has been wiped out, financially, by the incidents that resulted in Mick's death, Sue offers to keep working for him, but without pay for a while. Lucy, who had been starting to suspect that Arnold's low opinion of Sue was correct, is now completely won over by such generosity. Don discovers that the suite of investment properties that Jack and his business partner, Johnny Briggs, are interested in buying includes Number 96 itself! Lucy's eyes are getting worse. Flo, Dorrie and Herb go into training for the TV quiz show now that the application forms they requested have arrived. They have really caught the competition bug, trying to outdo each other. Joe threatens Sue. He knows that she has been two-timing him with a guy named Jerry! Sue is terrified! Don reveals to Alistair that there is one female who has recently come into his life who might have a chance at "changing" him - and she is a resident at Number 96! Alf comes to Flat 5 to tell Sue that there will be a policewoman coming around this afternoon, to talk to her about Mick's fatal accident. Sue races into her bedroom and starts packing frantically; she recognises the name of the policewoman, who had known her at reform school! Dorrie and Flo doubt each other's abilities to win. It is Flo who first finds success, winning a year's supply of frozen peas through a competition in the newspaper. Sue is about to abscond, but Joe suddenly returns to Flat 5. The jig is up! Before Joe can touch her, Jerry arrives - and knocks Joe out! Sue and Jerry gather Sue's belongings and depart, leaving the unconscious Joe on the loungeroom floor. [Episode written by Harvey Shore.]

The frozen peas became the topic of an unscripted running gag, in which Flo Patterson is often seen to rummage through her iconic carpetbag and sometimes even light a match. When producer Bill Harmon questioned Bunney Brooke about this, she maintained that Mr Harmon would be flatulent, too, if he had been eating a year's worth of frozen peas.

324. (28/06) Arnold is back, permanently, in the deli and Dorothy has taken his place as the chef at Norma's Bar. Les is fascinated by the flamboyant Dorothy, who has hundreds of recipe ideas for the wine bar meals. Dorrie, Herb and Flo call into the deli, dressed in their finery, on their way to a function at the Senior Cits. Mrs Terry will be handing over the funds that were raised for Flo. Dorrie buys two packets of Iced Vo-Vos for supper. Herb asks Aldo, "When did you get back?" and Dorrie realises that she wasn't told that Aldo had gone anywhere, nor why. Aldo tells her about the quick trip to Port Moresby and the birth of his first grandson, Aldo Bronislav Damien Myers, or Damien for short. Dorrie is miffed to be the last to know but offers her congratulations. Dorrie then realises that she also hadn't heard about the disaster with Alf's second truck. She worries that she has neglected her duties as "conserge" and must keep her ear to the "gridstone". Roma shocks Dorrie again with more missed gossip: she and Aldo are starting their semi-retirement, having appointed Arnold as Manager. "Then who's doing the catering next door?" Dorrie asks, quickly followed by "Dorothy who?" Arnold and Dorothy are putting food from a large cooking pot into smaller casserole dishes. Dorothy mentions that she hasn't worked in catering "for centuries" and Les is keen to hear more about her past lives. Arnold tries in vain to get Les out of the kitchen. Les has been asked by Sister Warren to return to his hospital orderly job. "Isn't it time for your first shift yet?" prompts Arnold hopefully. Dorothy thinks that there is something vaguely familiar about Mr Whittaker; she realises that he is a dead ringer for Thomas Edison. Jill arrives home and enters Flat 5 to find Joe sprawled unconscious on the floor! She runs upstairs to Flat 7 to get Vera and Harry. When they come down, the man's body is gone. In Flat 2, Roma remembers that she was going to bake a pavlova for Norma, as a thank you for letting Arnold return to the deli. Dorrie reminisces about her father, a strict Methodist and a leading ornithologist. Flo laughs that he knew birds so well that he went off with one: "that bottle-blonde from Katoomba". After opening the kitchen window of Flat 3 on Dorrie's command, Herb gives Mr Perky a broken Iced Vo-Vo biscuit. He leaves the budgie's cage door open - and Mr Perky flies away! Herb secretly searches for him, trying not to let on to Flo what has happened. According to Dorrie, once the "astrological" expenses are deducted, the fundraiser for Flo brought in $20.48. They send a weary Flo to bed and Herb is ordered to go over to Paradise Street, in case Mr Perky went back there. Norma congratulates Arnold on suggesting Dorothy as his replacement. Arnold mentions that Dorothy was supposedly once a witness to the martyrdom of Joan of Arc. Norma suggests that "those Frenchies" probably told poor Joan that "they were having a barbeque and to bring her own stake". Arnold introduces Dorothy to Jill and Vera. Dorothy puts her fingers to her temples; she is sure that she and Vera have met in previous lives. They are soul-mates! In fact, it was Vera, not Arnold, who drew her to come to Number 96. Herb comes in, looking for Mr Perky. Dorothy knows, through her ESP vibrations, that a blue budgerigar is sitting on a fence in Waterloo Street! Jill returns to Flat 5 with Tim and he unzips her dress. Helen is away in Brisbane with Jack for a few nights, and Sue is still missing. As Jill opens her bedroom door, she realises that the room has been ransacked and much of her stuff is gone. Next morning, Flo notices that Mr Perky is gone and becomes hysterical. She accuses Dorrie of the string of events that led to the bird's disappearance. "When I find Mr Perky, I will move out and take him to live in The Domain with me," claims Flo. Dorrie says that that she would get charged with "flagrancy". Flo leaves the flat, still wearing Herb's best pyjamas. Norma is not feeling well after eating the last of Roma's pavlova during the night, so Les calls the doctor. Arnold has reorganised the deli shelves and Aldo feels like a stranger behind his own counter. Harry comes into the deli, handing out Christian pamphlets to its Jewish owners. Arnold shunts him to the door. Jill pops in and asks Arnold to deliver her groceries while she and Tim are at the police station reporting the burglary. No culprit has been identified yet. Aldo begrudgingly takes his instructions from Arnold and then warns Roma not to laugh, as she might be "the new delivery boy". "An ounce of power and already he's a dictator!" The extent of Sue's treachery is finally revealed. In the wine bar, Jill and Tim, soaked from a rainstorm, tell Vera that it was Sue who ransacked the flat. The Sutcliffes are still at the police station, going through mugshots. Jill tells anyone who will listen about Sue's secret other life: "She has a police record as long as your arm! Shoplifting, soliciting, drugs... the lot! She ran away from a reformatory three months ago." Everyone is amazed; this is a side of Sue that they did not expect to know. Harry comes in and accuses Vera of pickling herself in alcohol. She tells him, "Keep your holy rolling for the pub and stop interfering in other people's lives." Dorothy suggests that Harry should try preaching at the Twilight Homes over on Ridge Street. Tim's cool exterior is to too good to be true. He promises to take Jill to his place and look after her until Helen gets back. Does he have something unexpected in store? Norma returns from the doctor with grim news. She has a high cholesterol level and high blood pressure. If Norma can't lose at least two stone in weight, she is heading for "a bloody great heart attack!" Dorrie and Herb test each other on quiz questions, using a glass and a pencil as a buzzer. Flo arrives, still in pyjamas and dripping wet from the rain. She walks over to the mantelpiece. She places a small urn on it, which Herb assumes is a gift for them. Flo explains that it is Ponsonby, her cat. Daphne Begley, her neighbour in Paradise Street, found a little pile of ashes in Ponsonby's favourite spot amongst the ruins of the Gosford Mansion flats. Now that Mr Perky is gone, too, all Flo has left to her name is a year's supply of frozen peas! Over at Tim's flat, Jill joins him in his bed and they make love. "Stand up," he tells her. "Right there... Give me some full frontal nudity." She is unaware that Tim's colleague, Hank (Frank Gallacher), is filming her whole performance through a two-way mirror. [Episode written by Marcia Hatfield.]

Mr Perky would actually remain missing until Episode #382! In an earlier version of Marcia Hatfield's script for Episode #324, Dorothy Dunlop holds up a fork and recalls how, in a previous life, she saw the Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, Thomas Becket, introduce the first forks to royal society under King Henry II. She also claims that, when forks were reintroduced, the priests forbade them as "irreligious" - because a missionary had discovered that cannibals of the South Seas had invented forks "for the sole purpose of eating human flesh". Marcia Hatfield would become famous as the creator of the animated TV series, The Toothbrush Family, an Australian production airing in 1977-1983.

325. (29/06) During his therapy session at Doctor Pascall's office, Don thinks that he could have a relationship with a girl - and Alistair encourages him to try it. Les makes life extremely difficult for Norma when she commences dieting. While Norma is eating her celery stalks, Les tucks into a huge, greasy meal. Norma keeps sneaking food off his plate. The Sutcliffes and Arnold are discussing Sue when Wally breaks down and surprises them with an admission: he was being blackmailed by Sue, Joe and Mick. Jack and Helen arrive back from Brisbane and go into the wine bar for a meal. After her romp in Tim's bed, Jill goes to his bathroom. Meanwhile, Tim unhinges the two-way mirror on his bedroom wall and Hank says that they have some great stuff! Don is letting himself into Flat 4 when Jill comes up the stairs. They smile to each other and Jill continues up to Flat 5. She finds that Helen and Jack are in there. In Flat 8, Arnold says goodnight and heads off to bed, leaving Alf to ponder alone over his rosters. Alf asks Lucy for some help but her vision blurs. Helen wakes Jill and they discuss Sue's departure. In Flat 4, Don and Jack talk about Helen over breakfast. Les has cooked himself sausages and chips for breakfast and, while Norma natters away, she finds herself eating a sausage from his plate. Norma blames her husband's "gory stories" from the hospital for her dietary lapse. Arnold is serving Don in the deli when Dorothy floats in. As Helen leaves for work, Jill is staring at the phone, willing it to ring. Alistair comes to chat to Jack about Don and mentions that Don is interested in a girl who lives in the building. Jack assumes that he is talking about Jill Sheridan. Tired of waiting for Tim's call, Jill goes to his flat. Tim answers the door in a bathrobe and shoos her away. He returns to his bedroom where there is a naked girl waiting. Tim picks up the whip... and continues where he left off. [Episode written by James Workman.]

The scene with a woman being whipped was one of the storylines cited by the Australian Broadcasting Control Board's official report of September 1973. It "did not conform to Television Program Standards", one of two problematic scenes airing in June 1973. A similar scene, with Alister Smart and Rebecca Gilling, would be included in a storyline for the 1974 movie. Over the forthcoming weekend, the Australian Government officially completed the withdrawal process of its troops in Vietnam. Jack Sellars, Gary Whittaker and Mal Jackson were all Vietnam War veterans. Danny Morrison had been a draft dodger, attempting to avoid serving in the army in 1972.

326. (2/07) In Flat 3, Herb arrives home with a pile of reference books that Les has lent him, to study for the TV quiz. Flo has a different competition she is training for: she comes out of her room with two balloons and Herb must help her sit on them to burst them. Vera is pleased to see Harry when he arrives home to Flat 7 early. He has been doing chauffeuring duties for Adam Lord, but now he has to go out again. In Flat 4, Don tells Jack that it is Helen he is interested in, not her younger sister, Jill. Jack tries to explain that Helen is an independent woman. Jack is heading out as he needs to speak with Earl about a concerning matter. Bev and Earl's conversation is interrupted when Jack comes into Flat 6 and tells Earl not to use his name in business talks again. A phone call from Mrs Terry, wanting Flo to partner her again in an important bowls tournament, puts the Flat 3 Scrabble game on hold. Dorrie is annoyed. Jack meets Helen on the stairs and wonders where Jill is. Helen explains that she isn't coming with them. Jack mentions Don's surprising interest in getting to know Helen; they had both thought it was Jill whom Don found intriguing. Claire Houghton surprises Bev and Earl by dropping by their flat with an invitation for them to come for lunch the next day. Flo is moping around while Dorrie does the washing up. Dorrie makes plans to take her bowling dress to the laundrette, to be ready for the tournament. Then she realises that Flo's uniform was destroyed during the fire which had made her homeless. Flo goes down to the ground floor foyer to check the mail. Her pension cheque has arrived but, when Herb turns up, she quickly shoves it into her cardigan, claiming it is just a letter from her daughter, Raylene. Herb is holding a parcel for her: material from the Senior Cits, so that Flo can make herself a new bowling dress. At lunchtime, Jack and Helen go to the The Cosmopolitan for drinks together. Jack has a business trip to Melbourne coming up and he is uneasy about Don's sudden interest in Helen. Flo goes up to visit Vera, and to show her the material. She asks about having a bowling uniform sewn. They sit to chat and have drinks. A rather moody Harry arrives, stomps around the flat, and then races out again. On his way back downstairs, he passes Dorrie and Herb, complaining that Flo and his wife are drinking again up in Flat 7. Claire offers to lend Earl some money but Bev comes back into the loungeroom - just in time to overhear this - and she is furious! [Episode written by Eleanor Witcombe.]

327. (3/07) It is a rare occurrence whereby mother and daughter, Claire and Beverly, offer apologies to each other. Claire says that she didn't mean to interfere and Earl assures them both that he couldn't possibly accept money from his new mother-in-law. Arnold is driving Aldo mad. When Arnold asks about the deli's established credit system, Aldo shows that his pockets are filled with little scraps of paper. Norma celebrates the start of her diet; she goes to the deli to buy sweets for one last treat. In the laundrette, Vera drops in to collect her service wash. She urges Lucy to seek the advice of an optician because it seems that Lucy's eyesight is continuing to deteriorate. Lucy agrees that she will make an appointment for a consultation. Bev and Earl eat with Claire at Buckingham Lodge and, when Bev goes off to have coffee with her brother, Rod, Claire suggests to Earl that he was free to use her Point Piper address in his business dealings. It might give Earl a higher standing? They make plans to have lunch together the next day. Dorothy enters the deli to buy chives for the wine bar, just in time to overhear Arnold's phone call, in which Jill invites him to take her out. In Flat 7, Vera has been waiting up for Harry, who has apparently been out "doing the Lord's work". The next morning, in Flat 8, Lucy keeps handing Alf all the wrong items during breakfast. Are her eyes really getting that bad? Meanwhile, in Flat 1, the Whittakers have agreed that they will both eat a dietary breakfast each morning. Norma and Dorothy go into the wine bar area together and, when Norma returns to the kitchen, she catches Les red-handed, sneaking cold sausages out of the fridge! Lucy's optician is concerned and recommends the services of an eye specialist. Earl reminds Claire very much of her late husband, who was a rich grazier - and she tells Earl this. In the evening, Vera cooks a beautiful meal for Harry in Flat 7. After coffee, Vera announces that she wants him to come to bed with her, but Harry declines. During their dinner in Flat 8, Alf needs some money from Lucy and asks her for some. Arnold takes Lucy aside and asks her, discreetly, about the optician's report. He can tell by Lucy's face that it was not good news but Lucy begs Arnold not to mention anything of it to Alf. [Episode written by Eleanor Witcombe.]

Lucy's eye problems had begun after she was bashed by the lout in the laundrette in Episode #314.

328. (4/07) In Flat 5, Helen and Jill catch up on each other's lives. Jill has a date coming up... with Arnold! Dorrie and Herb go down to the deli. While Herb goes into Flat 2 to collect Aldo's garbage bag, Dorrie urges Arnold to test her general knowledge to prepare for Jimmy Jock's TV quiz show. Because Jack is away in Melbourne, Helen decides to invite Don up to her flat for dinner. She is curious to see where it might lead. Arnold requests some time off for his "independent activity period". He needs a haircut and will also buy a corsage for Jill. Tim arrives to see Jill and has photos and some money for her. He asks her to come over to his flat this afternoon. Flo tries on her new bowling outfit that Vera made for her but, when Dorrie barges in, Flo leaps into her bed and pulls up the covers. Flo complains that she has put her back out again, so Dorrie heads out to the loungeroom to ring Mrs Terry with the bad news. Arnold arrives back at the deli with his new hairstyle and the corsage. Jill comes into the shop and regrets that she must break their date. In a day full of surprises, Jill has one for Arnold, Roma springs one on Aldo - and Tim has a zinger of a surprise planned for Jill. First, Arnold arrives back at the deli with his new hairstyle and the corsage. Then Jill comes into the shop and expresses regret that she must break their date. Now it seems that Roma has decided that she wants a second honeymoon and hopes that Aldo can convince Arnold to mind the shop while they are away. Dorrie is doing some housework in Flat 3 and accidentally throws out the ashes of Flo's departed cat, Ponsonby. Jill arrives at Tim's apartment. She lets herself in and finds that Tim is not home, but he has left her a note. She is furious and immediately rings Arnold to set up their date again. In a panic, Dorrie sends Herb down to the deli to buy something to put in the urn to replace Ponsonby's ashes. Arnold sells Herb a little jar of garlic salt. Aldo plucks up the courage to tell Arnold about the second honeymoon. Arnold says that he would be delighted to keep the shop running while the Godolfuses are away. Don and Helen enjoy pre-dinner drinks and witty conversation in Flat 5. In the privacy of Tim's flat, Jill and Arnold climb into bed. Behind the two-way mirror, Tim and his cameraman, Hank, watch on, impatiently. Dorrie and Herb have just settled into bed. Meanwhile, Flo is saying goodnight to Ponsonby, whose little urn is on the mantelpiece. She realises she can smell garlic. Curious, she looks inside the urn - and screams in anguish! [Episode written by Eleanor Witcombe.]

The oft-mentioned Mrs Terry, played by an uncredited extra, features in the 1974 movie version, also uncredited.

329. (5/07) In Flat 8, Alf and Lucy are having breakfast. They discuss the budget that Arnold has drawn up for them. Alf gets up from the table and Lucy knocks a cup onto the floor. It smashes. Norma is weighing herself when Les rushes in with the news: Mr Bayswater, the agent for Number 96, has told him that Number 96 has new owners. Les is carrying a parcel that he plans to give to Anna Maria as a wedding present. He obtained it from the hospital; it had belonged to a patient who was run over. When the parcel is opened, its contents are revealed to be smashed. Flo is in her bedroom, where Vera is adjusting her new uniform. When Dorrie arrives home, Flo keeps Vera hidden and tells Dorrie that she is still brokenhearted. Dorrie and Herb race out to buy Flo a new bowling dress as a surprise. Upon their return to Number 96, Dorrie and Herb call into the deli, where Harry is pontificating about religion and the evils of drink. In Flat 5, Earl races off when Claire rings him and Bev finds that her patience is being tested. Why must her mother keep interfering in her life? Vera visits Lucy to find out about what the eye specialist had to say. It was not good news and Lucy urges Vera not to let Alf know. Dorrie and Herb arrive back at Flat 3 only to catch Flo wearing her new bowling outfit. Norma, Vera, Alf, Bev and Dorothy are all chatting in the wine bar. Earl comes in looking for Jack. Les turns up in the bar waving around an ancient-looking meat grinder. He has ambitious plans to polish it up as Anna Maria's and Salvadore's wedding gift. Norma is bewildered and orders Les to throw it away. In Flat 3, Dorrie and Herb are having dinner when a dejected Flo comes in. Not only did Flo not get to play, but the Paddington Senior Cits' team lost the whole tournament. Vera is pacing back and forth in Flat 7, trying to decide what to do about Harry. She goes into the bedroom and they make love. They talk in bed and Harry is regretting sleeping with her. Vera gets out of the bed, dejected. Norma goes up to Flat 8 to check on Lucy, who is in bed. Lucy breaks down and confesses to Norma that she cannot see properly. [Episode written by Eleanor Witcombe.]

330. (6/07) Jill does not mince her words when she tells Arnold that his poor performance at Tim's flat means that there will be no "next time". In Flat 1, Les is disappointed with the diet food that Norma is forcing them both to live on. Lucy has a day off from the laundrette but, when Alf enquires, she claims that it is just a headache. Alf asks Arnold to check on her for him during the day and take up some magazines from the deli. At the last minute, Alf adds a box of chocolates to be delivered to Flat 8. Norma makes an appointment for Lucy to see the ophthalmic specialist. Tim has yet another surprise planned for Jill: he wants her to star in a movie that he is making! She is thrilled, but has no idea that she has already featured in one. With Claire's assistance, Earl concludes his first successful business deal with Richard Monkhouse (Roger Cox) during a meeting at Buckingham Lodge in Point Piper. Tim decides that he wants to cast Arnold as the lead actor in his movie project. The thought of being a film star is very appealing to Arnold. Lucy is immediated put into hospital for some exploratory tests by her eye specialist. Back at Flat 6, Earl announces to Bev that his business transaction with Richard is a done deal, but when Bev realises that Claire enabled it to happen, she becomes upset. Norma has difficult news for Alf to hear about Lucy's hospital admission. [Episode written by Joe James.]

This episode is another script contribution from Joe James, who had played Gordon Vansard throughout 1972. On this day, Abigail's first 45rpm single, "Je T'Aime (I Love You)" entered the Sydney Top 40 charts. The song soon peaked at #5, and was in the charts for 14 weeks. The "B" side was "Last Tango in Paris". Later in the year, Norman Yemm released "Jean" as a 45rpm single, with its "B" side, "Darlin' Vera", co-written by Yemm himself for his onscreen wife, Vera Collins.

331. (9/07) In Flat 3, Flo tells Dorrie that her pension cheque has not arrived. Dorrie suggests that Flo should make enquiries about it. A telegram is delivered and it creates great excitement for Herb and Dorrie: they have been accepted as contestants for the TV quiz show - and they will be appearing live tomorrow night! They immediately begin practising again with Flo. Jack is back! In the office of Willoughby, Willoughby & Martin, Don has prepared the paperwork that Jack now signs. The deal makes him and his business partner, Johnny, the official new owners of Number 96. Don casually mentions to Jack that he had dinner with Helen while Jack was away on business in Melbourne. Meanwhile, Vera returns home to Flat 7 to discover a strange, young woman sitting on her ex-husband's knee. Harry tries to explain that he was only trying to help the girl because she was so drunk - but Vera is furious and refuses to listen. Dorrie enlists Arnold's help to practise for the quiz show. She also discovers Flo's empty pension envelope. Jack finds himself getting a little jealous about Don and Helen meeting up while he was away. Harry promises Vera that he will not bring any more alcoholics into her flat. Aldo and Roma go off to make arrangements for their forthcoming cruise. Jack goes to Flat 5 to confront Helen about Don. He wants to know if she intends to sleep with him. Don has been very honest with Helen about his situation. She knows that Don has been working with Doctor Pascall in counselling sessions. Helen surprises Jack by saying, "If it will help him, then yes." Dorrie and Herb set off for the taping of the TV quiz show. They are both a bundle of nerves. Jack can't get the situation with Helen out of his mind. He tries to talk to her about it again but she tells Jack that it is too late: Helen is already serious about helping with Don's situation. [Episode written by Bob Caswell.]

The Vera/Harry plotline was novelised for the 1974 Arkon paperback, "The Sins of Harry Collins". The unidentified young woman is named Diana Ford in the book. (The cover featured no actors from the series, but the model playing Vera has been identified as Rickie Hilder. Among Rickie's TV commercials at the time was one for AGL - Australian Gas Light Company.)

332. (10/07) Lucy is very frightened about the ophthalmic tests. She tries to put on a brave front. The residents of Number 96 gather around their television sets to watch the Evans' appearance on the quiz show, which is compered by Jimmy Jock (Johnny Ladd). Dorrie and Herb win a cruise as their prize! Vera and Alf return from the hospital, with Alf feeling depressed about Lucy's plight. A concerned Wally shows Alf a note that was left for them by Joe Corless. Alf is not fazed and tells Wally to ignore it. Norma catches Les stealing food from the refrigerator in the middle of the night. Flo suggests that she should take over as "conserge" of Number 96 in Dorrie's upcoming cruise absence, but Dorrie refuses to allow it. Roma's travel agent has had to change her "second honeymoon" cruise itinerary at the last minute. Roma is horrified to realise that she and Aldo will now be on the same ship as Dorrie and Herb. Alf receives the results of Lucy's tests. The doctors are concerned by the odds but decide to operate. They warn the Sutcliffes that the results of this difficult operation are not always predictable. Aldo gets summonsed for jury duty - and it is for the same time period as their cruise booking! [Episode written by Bob Caswell.]

333. (11/07) Aldo is anxious to get out of having to report for jury duty. He has a shop to run! "They should ask people who have no responsibilities." Arnold tries to explain that jury service is a note of respect: it is also Aldo's civic duty. In point of actual fact, it is the law that Aldo must attend. Aldo doesn't care for civic duty; he just wants his second honeymoon. Jill comes into the deli and mentions that, in a recent trial she heard about, the jurors were locked away for three and a half months! Roma and Aldo are horrified. In Flat 4, Don tries to talk Jack into having lunch with him and Helen later today, but Jack refuses. Tim's film project is a source of great excitement - and impending fame! - for Arnold and Jill. Arnold even considers changing his name to "Rock" Feather. They are completely unaware of Tim's actual plans. As they perform their first scenes for him, they are convinced that the film will be "a great work of art". Aldo wants advice from Don about his jury service. Arnold had mentioned that "biased people are always excused from serving on a jury", so now Roma thinks that pretending to be biased would be a good plan. Later, in Flat 5, Helen encourages Don not to worry about Jack. Don must do "whatever is needed" to help himself change - and Helen will help if she can. Claire talks Earl into letting her lend him the money for a big land deal. It is to be their secret and Earl agrees not to mention the loan to Bev. Roma announces to Arnold about Aldo's intention to appear biased when fronting up to the judge. Arnold is beside himself. He tells Roma that, if Aldo does so, her husband can be held in contempt of court. Aldo could even go to prison! Roma is distraught. When Aldo finally returns to the deli, he explains that he did not lie to the judge. However, he was selected to be on the jury, so they will miss out on their second honeymoon after all. Roma admits that she is very relieved; at least Aldo has avoided prison, and that is the most important thing. Don accepts Helen's invitation to dinner in Flat 5, and hopes to spend the night with her afterwards. [Episode written by Bob Caswell.]

334. (12/07) Flo finally succeeds in convincing Dorrie to appoint her "conserge" while Dorrie is on the cruise. Dorrie insists on a written contract. Harry finds out that Vera went to see John Vernon at Alcoholics Anonymous to discuss Harry being so stuffy. He is very upset with her. In Flat 4, Jack is stressing out about Don staying the night with Helen. He fears that he has lost Helen for good. Don reassures Jack that "nothing happened", mainly because he couldn't do anything, not with Helen and not with Sally. Obviously, Don cannot just pretend away being homosexual. Jack feels sorry for him. Harry starts preaching to Dorrie, warning her about going on her free cruise, because she "didn't earn it through blood, sweat and toil". Then he starts preaching to Vera, who just can't stand any more of his nonsensical raving. Wally admits to Alf that he went to the police and gave evidence against Joe. There was a reward for the information. Wally wants Alf to have the $1000 reward money, as it would pay for Lucy's operation. Alf is quite overcome and accepts the money. Dorrie drags Herb to the doctor to get inoculated for their cruise. They both suffer with very sore arms - and poor Dorrie ends up bedridden, then learns that they didn't actually need any shots! Norma and Les excitedly head off to St Peters for Anna Maria's wedding to Salvadore, but can't find the location. They eventually realise the ceremony was being held in St Peters in Rome, Italy. Lucy has her operation and Alf tells her about Wally's generous gift of $1000. Surely things will now take a turn for the better? Vera arrives home to find a drunken girl - Diana Ford again - hammering on the door of Flat 7, looking for Harry. Vera explains that Harry is not in there. Vera tries unsuccessfully to make her leave and, when they struggle, Diana goes right over the bannister and down onto the next landing. She is obviously dead. [Episode written by David Sale.]

335. (13/07) Helen comes out of Flat 5 to investigate a disturbance. She sees a dead body on her landing - and a shocked Vera looking down over the upstairs bannister. The police are summoned and Helen and Harry take Vera back inside Flat 7. In the deli, Roma has made a huge pot of soup for Aldo to take with him each day to the courthouse, but she doesn't believe Arnold that she won't be able to see her husband during his jury service if he is empanelled. Jack enters the deli and agrees with Arnold. Helen, Don and Harry try to calm Vera down. Detective Sergeant Wellington (Andrew Grant) wants to question Vera. Don and Harry are worried that Vera will appear guilty during her police interview, especially when Don remembers that Wellington has an outstanding record for successful convictions. Herb and Flo discuss the accident and, as usual, Dorrie wants to know "Why wasn't I told?" Over coffee, Jack and Don chat to Helen about Vera's situation. Dorrie goes down to the deli, on the hunt for more gossip. She realises that everyone seems to know about Aldo's jury service - except her. In Flat 7, Vera is still very upset. She has convinced herself that she is responsible for the death of the drunken girl, Diana Ford. Harry, Don and Jack stay with her. Detective Sergeant Wellington examines the staircase and an enthusiastic Dorrie offers to help. Jack needs to go, so Don and Harry stay while Wellington questions Vera. Harry gets an urgent phone call to go and help another drunken girl, so he rings an A. A. colleague named Marie, to come over from Bondi and look after Vera. It is lunchtime and Dorrie, Herb and Flo chat about their event-filled morning. Don and Helen have lunch together. Wellington is showing a photo of the dead girl to the Godolfuses when Dorrie and Flo come into the deli on their way to bowls. Dorrie denies that she offered the policeman her help. Marie Crowther (Hazel Phillips) arrives at Flat 7 and consoles the still-fretful Vera. In the early evening, Herb and Dorrie are preparing dinner in the kitchen. Dorrie mentions seeing a station wagon that was parked in Lindsay Street earlier, marked with Adam Lord Revival signage, and she assumes it belongs to "one of those new pop groups". When the mischevious Flo announces that there is a policeman at the front door, Dorrie races out of the kitchen, but it is only Jack Sellars! A distraught Vera tells Harry, Don and Marie that, whatever happens, she is responsible for the girl's death. [Episode written by Ron McLean.]

Andrew Grant, who portrays Detective Sergeant Wellington, will return to play Roger Pycroft in a story arc from Episode #881. Hazel Phillips originally auditioned for Vera Collins when the pilot episode was being cast. (The role had been written with Hazel in mind.) Hazel had previously played a controversial role in the film, "The Set" (1970), and brought with her a large female fanbase due to her popular daytime chat show, "Girl Talk".

336. (16/07) Dorothy is preparing meals for the wine bar and having psychic "vibrations" while Les natters away. Norma is being driven crazy by both of them. She tells Les that the wine bar is due to open in half an hour, but she is going up to check on Vera first. When Norma arrives at Flat 7, Harry and Marie are with Vera, still trying to comfort her after the shock of seeing that poor, young woman die so terribly. Earl arrives home to Flat 6. While he is chatting with Bev, the phone rings. It is Claire. Alf goes to the hospital to see Lucy. He tells her all about Aldo and his jury duty but not about the incident that involved Vera. Harry is going out preaching with Adam Lord, so Marie volunteers to stay overnight with Vera. Norma orders Les to clean up the wine bar. Alf enters, feeling miserable after visiting Lucy. Dorothy suddenly changes the whole menu due to her vibrations. In Flat 6, Earl returns from seeing Claire, only to find... a very drunk Bev! Harry arrives home unexpectedly and asks Marie to make up a bed for him on the couch, since she is staying in the spare bedroom. Vera hears Harry's voice and comes out of her room, telling Harry that she wants him to sleep with her. Next morning, Norma drops in to see Bev about visiting Lucy together. Norma, Bev and Earl chat together happily. In Flat 7, Marie brings Vera breakfast in bed. Vera asks Marie to stay on. Norma and Bev go to the hospital to see Lucy, who is keen to hear how Vera is going. Lucy still doesn't know about recent events involving her dear friend. Over lunch, Earl and Claire are again talking business. Bev decides to have lunch at Norma's Bar and chats to the Whittakers. Not surprisingly, Les is now having his own psychic vibrations! Marie, Harry and Vera chat about the Diana Ford incident and Vera admits that she realises now that she was foolishly blaming herself for a freak accident. Vera certainly has plenty to keep herself occupied: both Claire Houghton and Lorna Lumberdale want new gowns made for a society function. A cheerier Vera is opening her mail and discovers an anonymous letter, filled with cruel accusations. Obviously, someone else still believes that Vera was responsible. [Episode written by Lynn Foster.]

The poison pen letters campaign takes inspiration from a 1939 British movie, "Poison Pen", which starred Flora Robson. The storyline is the series' next serial crime, in the vein of 1972's Knicker Snipper prowler storyline and the more recent poltergeist mystery.

337. (17/07) Earl seems to be spending more and more time at Claire's place, but Bev is still believing every word her new husband says. Now back at Flat 6, they chat about his latest, lucrative property deals. Helen and Jack have dinner, but Helen doesn't eat much. She hasn't been feeling well. Don has another therapy session with Dr Alistair Pascall. He relates to Alistair the complete disaster that was his recent night with Helen. Don and his therapist realise that they have many interests in common and make plans to meet up socially. Next day, Les comes home from his shift at the hospital and he and Norma chat about Dorothy over breakfast. Les finds their new chef fascinating but Norma is sick and tired of hearing about "Dorothy Bloody Dunlop"! Earl and Bev are lying in bed, and the topic keeps turning to business. Earl promises that he will cancel all appointments for this morning and they will spend the time together. They are interrupted by a phone call: it is Claire, who expects Earl to drop everything and meet her for lunch. Earl lies to Bev that he had forgotten an important appointment and he has to head out immediately. Norma drops into the deli and mentions to Roma that she finds Dorothy and her vibrations to be infuriating. Jack visits Flat 5 to see how Helen is. Jill is in a grumpy mood because Tim had promised to ring her with news about the film project. Why hasn't he called? Les warns Norma not to use the vacuum cleaner because he has been getting his own "vibrations" about an imminent disaster. Norma is exasperated and sends him away. She turns on the vacuum cleaner - and it blows up! Jack chats to Roma in the deli about Aldo, who is still at jury duty. Don comes in and they all continue to chat. Bev also joins them. Jack and Bev decide to go upstairs and check on Helen. While they are there, an increasingly anxious Jill tries to ring Tim, but he is not answering the phone. Claire and Earl are still talking business at Buckingham Lodge. Earl realises the lateness of the hour and hurries home. He fabricates a day of big business with important tycoons to bluff Bev, unable to admit that he spent the whole day with her mother. Alistair arrives at Flat 4 to have a serious talk with Don. He explains that he is seeking a long-lasting relationship - not just a casual affair - and that his marriage just isn't working. He wonders if Don thinks that a relationship with him is possible? Alistair announces that he will be telling his wife tonight that their marriage is over. [Episode written by Lynn Foster.]

338. (18/07) In Flat 3, Dorrie and Herb have been packing their luggage for the upcoming cruise. Flo arrives and immediately starts ridiculing Dorrie for "going overboard" with the suitcases. Jill comes into the deli to tell Arnold that she finally heard from Tim - and the rushes of their movie are ready to see! Roma can't help but listen in. In Flat 7, Vera and Marie discuss the anonymous "poison pen" letter that Vera received. They agree that the writer of that cowardly letter certainly knows how to press Vera's buttons. She then feels guilty about having a couple of drinks to calm herself, and hopes that Harry doesn't find out. After work, Arnold heads up to Flat 8, where he finds Alf terribly depressed over Lucy's plight. Arnold is so worried about Alf that he rings Jill and calls off their dinner date. In Vera's bedroom, Harry and Vera talk, but Harry's mood is cold. He rebuffs her attempts at lovemaking but eventually gives in. Next morning, Alf and Arnold discuss Tim's film project over breakfast. Herb and Dorrie are still packing. Flo comes out of her bedroom for breakfast, only to discover that Dorrie has not left her any food in the kitchen! Arnold reports to the deli a little late, having tried to help out Alf. He apologises to Roma as Vera enters with her grocery order. Flo also arrives to buy groceries. They all ask after Aldo and wonder how his court case is going. Vera says her goodbyes and Flo puts the cost of her own purchases onto Dorrie's bill. Tim rings Arnold to invite him to lunch. Dorrie and Herb have finally finished their packing, when Flo enters to tell Dorrie that a policeman was waiting outside and wants to talk to her. Dorrie doesn't believe her. Last time Flo made that claim, it turned out to be Jack Sellars! Dorrie eventually goes to the front door - and Detective Sergeant Wellington is there! Wellington has questions for all three of them about the late Diana Ford's accident. Typically, Dorrie has much to say. Jill has developed an insufferable star complex and reacts poorly to the news that an unexpected guest, Arnold, will be accompanying her and Tim to watch the first screening of their movie. Jill had thought that she would have had Tim all to herself. Alf and Harry are both feeling depressed and they end up in the deli, rather than tempt themselves with alcohol in the wine bar. Roma makes them some coffee, which neither of them drink any. Herb comes in and is unbearably cheerful. Tim runs the rushes of the film for Jill and Arnold. When they return to the deli, Roma wants to know how it went. Jill announces that Arnold bores her. Arnold informs Jill that the feeling is mutual. Jill storms off! Later that evening, Wellington comes to Flat 7, to ask Vera some additional questions. Harry and Marie are on hand to support her. Wellington surprises Vera with the results of his investigation. It turns out that the dead woman is one of Gil Dawson's "working girls". Vera is shocked. "Mr Dawson is a past romantic interest of yours, is he not?" says Wellington. This new information has cast a whole new light on the situation - and he arrests Vera on suspicion of causing Diana Ford's death. [Episode written by Lynn Foster.]

The story arc with Gil Dawson was from Episode #214 to Episode #266. The 1974 Arkon paperback novelisation, "The Sins of Harry Collins", includes scenes at the police station between Vera Collins and Wellington's superior, an Inspector Ellis. (This character may have been named for screenwriter and political commentator, Bob Ellis, who previously wrote Episode #122. He sometimes mentioned in interviews just how difficult it was trying to write for the TV series.)

339. (19/07) Helen comes to Flat 4 to talk to Don and Jack about Vera. Had they heard the news? Jack says that he was able to bail Vera out last night. Doctor Alistair Pascall rings to talk to Don. Does Don need this added complication in his life? Dorothy arrives at Flat 1 early and the Whittakers get a chance to talk with her about the wine bar menu again. Norma sends Les off to work. Over breakfast in Flat 4, Jack and Don discuss Alistair. Is it appropriate for a professional therapist to be dating his client? It is an exciting day for Dorrie and Herb. They both have several new outfits to wear on the cruise and Herb models his new clothes for Flo. The phone rings and it is Mrs Terry for Flo. The next bowling match is in the Blue Mountains and is rescheduled to this weekend. This annoys Dorrie very much. Dorrie tells Flo that Vera was arrested after what Flo told Detective Sergeant Wellington about Vera and Gil. Les calls by Lucy's hospital ward to visit her and mentions that Vera was arrested yesterday. Don and Jack talk about Vera and her dire situation. The conversation turns to business and Don mentions that the land that Jack and Johnny were interested in has just sold to an anonymous buyer. Jack needs to head off, to tell Johnny about it, but runs into Dorrie on his way down the stairs. She is in a fluster over the upcoming trip. Jack invites Dorrie and Herb to bon voyage drinks in the wine bar at 6.00pm. Dorrie makes a point of telling Flo about the invitation, but that Jack had not "pacifically" invited Flo to the private soirée. Flo boasts that she will turn up anyway, in her capacity as "acting conserge"! The wine bar is closing up after the lunch session but Alf is still there, nursing a drink. Norma offers him another one. He is maudlin about Lucy, whose bandages are coming off this afternoon. Norma mentions the party for the Evanses at 6.00pm. As Alf departs for the hospital, Dorothy and Les come in from the kitchen swapping anecdotes about their vibrations. Les tells Norma that he saw Lucy at the hospital earlier and has filled her in on Vera's situation. In Flat 5, Jack and Helen discuss the land sale that he missed out on. Next door, in Flat 4, Alistair has come to tell Don that he has told his wife everything. Jack bursts in to invite them to Dorrie and Herb's farewell. On their way downstairs, Jack and Helen get dragged into Flat 3 by Flo, to help Dorrie and Herb locate their missing passports, which are seemingly at the bottom of one of the six fully-laden suitcases! Alistair informs Don that he has to make a business trip to Melbourne but, when he gets back, they will sort things out. Jack rushes back in to ask them to come and help to repack Herb and Dorrie's luggage. Meanwhile, Dorrie, Herb and Flo keep searching for the passports. At Norma's Bar, Dorothy, Les and Norma wonder where the guests of honour are - or, indeed, most of the invited guests. Finally, Flo, Herb, Dorrie, Helen, Don, Alistair and Jack pour into the bar and Norma passes around the champagne glasses. They are about to toast Dorrie and Herb "Bon Voyage!" when Flo notices a note pinned to the blackboard menu. It is a bomb threat! At the hospital, Alf and Lucy talk about Vera before the doctor arrives to remove the bandages. The wine bar is evacuated out onto the street, while two policemen arrive. They search for the bomb and there is absolute confusion as a taxi arrives to take Dorrie and Herb to Circular Quay for their cruise. The doctor finally removes the bandages from Lucy's eyes. "I can't see, Alf. I can't see anything at all," she says. [Episode written by Lynn Foster.]

340. (20/07) In Flat 7, Vera is very uptight about the impending court case. She has reverted to drinking heavily. At the hospital, Alf talks to the doctor, who warns him that Lucy will be permanently blind. She will also need to attend a rehabilitation centre after being released from hospital. In Flat 5, Helen has to go back to bed again, as she is not feeling well. It's probably one of those 24-hour viruses. Jill is distraught, as she has not heard from Tim for two days. Alistair has left his wife. He moves into Don's bedroom in Flat 4, and Jack is quite taken aback. Dorothy finds that an important piece of Dorrie's luggage has been left behind after all the fuss of last night's bomb threat. During a visit to the deli, Norma attempts to ask Roma's advice on a matter: Les seems to be completely enamoured with Dorothy! Roma suggests that it is time for Norma to go out of her way to be "a loving wife". Norma implements a plan of action and Les is quite bewildered by the changes. Flo is taking her "consergical duties" very seriously and makes a point of hand-delivering the mail and newspapers to each flat's occupants. Helen discovers that she is pregnant and tells Jack that he is the father. [Episode written by John Bennett.]

341. (23/07) Jack has received a shock, but he is more concerned with Helen's reaction to her pregnancy. He had assumed that they would be getting married but Helen is a proud feminist and "has no need for marriage". She can cope on her own. This does not please Jack. Feeling threatened by Dorothy's skills in the kitchen, Norma asks Roma to teach her to cook, to help with her efforts to impress Les. Jack makes another unsuccessful attempt to propose to Helen. Jill tells her big sister that she's "mad" not to accept Jack's offer. Earl and Bev plan an exciting day together but Claire rings, demanding to see Earl again. He lies to Bev that the phone call was from Richard Monkhouse, and he must meet up with him today. Roma's first cooking lesson has commenced in the kitchen of Flat 2, but Norma doesn't do very well. Claire offers to provide Earl with more finance, but only if he agrees to play along with her. Earl makes a decision - and his business dealings with Claire transform into a secret love affair! Mrs Pascall (Judy Ferris) comes to visit Don. She is well aware that her husband is bisexual. She presents Don with a long list of the young homosexual men that Alistair has had affairs with over the years. [Episode written by David Sale.]

342. (24/07) Thanks to his association with Adam Lord, Harry is increasingly uncomfortable with the fact that he has been sleeping with his estranged wife. He tells Vera that he shouldn't be so tempted by "carnal desires". In Flat 4, Don tells Jack about Mrs Pascall's visit and her outrageous claims. Don didn't believe a word of it. Don then confronts Alistair, but he assures Don that nothing his wife had claimed is true. Aldo finally returns from jury duty and tries to catch up on Arnold's changes in his absence. He explains the whole case and how he and the other jurors found the young Marty Levin guilty. Roma is furious with Aldo that he passed judgement on "a nice, young Jewish boy". In Flat 7, Marie talks Harry into giving her "just one drink". He finally agrees. Vera arrives home and realises what has happened. She is angry with Harry and orders him to get out of her flat. At the hospital, Lucy tells Arnold that they will have to move from Number 96 because there is no way that a blind woman could tackle all those stairs. He promises that he will investigate alternate acommodation for them all. Don decides to ring one of the men on the list that Mrs Pascall gave him. He suggests that they should meet somewhere for lunch, where he learns that Mrs Pascall was telling the truth. Later that afternoon, Don tackles Alistair again and he is not even disturbed by Don's findings. He simply packs his bags and leaves. Roma keeps harping on about the Levin case. Jack puts forward a proposal for Don to consider: he would like Don to become the legal advisor of his property development company. In fact, Don could join him and Johnny as a third partner. Not having yet left Flat 7, Harry makes a salacious pass at Marie! [Episode written by David Sale.]

343. (25/07) Harry tells Vera that he intends to sleep on the couch from now on, because he has been "sinning" by sleeping with her. An event is about to disturb the peaceful rapture of Flo, Number 96's "acting conserge": Dorrie returns to Flat 3 unexpectedly! Poor Dorrie was suffering from chronic seasickness on the cruise and decided to come home early, but Herb was having a great time and elected to stay onboard. Dorrie insists on taking back her "consergical duties", but Flo refuses because she signed a valid contract - at Dorrie's insistence - to be "acting conserge" for three weeks! Aldo receives a threatening letter about the Levin case. Is this an anonymous "poison pen" letter, like the one that Vera received? Dorrie learns that Lucy's operation failed to restore her sight and she is very upset. She and Flo decide to clean up the Sutcliffes' flat before Lucy comes home. In Flat 7, Harry confesses to Marie that he wants to be with her, not Vera. In Point Piper, Claire rings Bev to inform her that Earl has had to fly to Melbourne urgently, to seal a business deal. It will require him to stay overnight. Earl learns what Claire has just done and is very angry. There is no Melbourne trip planned. Claire has the upper hand, though; she has uncovered information about Earl's substantial debts in the USA. He is also being investigated for embezzlement, and charges are pending. Claire has decided that Earl will stay with her whenever she wants, or she will tell Beverly - and the Australian police - everything! [Episode written by David Sale.]

344. (26/07) At the hospital, Lucy tells Alf that she has decided not to go to the rehabilitation centre. She just wants to go home! Jill comes into the deli to ask Arnold to take her out to dinner tonight, but he can't as he has already promised to take Bev Goodman out, who was feeling miserable after her husband, Earl, had to go to Melbourne on business. This makes Jill furious. Lucy returns home to Flat 8 but is finding everything very challenging. She is very depressed about losing her sight and cannot imagine how she will cope. In Flat 5, Jill has become unwell. She has a headache and a low-grade fever. It seems possible that Jill she has the same problem as her sister, Helen. A doctor is summoned, but the news from Doctor LeCross (Ann Brisk) is not good. The diagnosis is German measles! Helen is horrified because she realises the dire implications for her pregnancy. [Episode written by David Sale.]

345. (27/07) The Diana Ford inquest has been postponed due to the discovery of new evidence. Vera is understandably worried and she comes to Flat 4 to see Don. He tries to reassure her that everything will be all right. As Jack emerges from the shower, Helen rushes into Don's loungeroom. She tells them that her younger sister, Jill, has German measles, so there are now fears for Helen's unborn baby. In the deli, Dorrie is full of stories about her trip and is telling all to Aldo and Roma. Flo arrives to say that a phone call just came through from Lady Mendl, who was inviting Dorrie to dinner. Don is in Flat 5, caring for Jill, since the pregnant Helen fears catching German measles from her sister. Vera, Harry and Marie talk about co-existing in Flat 7. Vera asks Harry to go to bed with her but Harry refuses. Helen is in bed with Jack in his Flat 4 bedroom when Don interrupts. He has brought Helen her nightie from Flat 5. In Flat 2, Aldo is attempting to balance his account books and Roma tries to explain the figures to him. She convinces him to come to bed instead. In Marie's bedroom in Flat 7, Harry awakens her. He explains that he needs her. Marie turns him down. Next morning, in the deli, Aldo and Roma tell Don that they have decided to go to night school, perhaps to learn more about bookkeeping. Jack comes into the deli and he and Don talk about the business partnership. What has Don decided? In Flat 3, Flo starts packing her bag for her bowling tournament in Melbourne and Dorrie returns from visiting Miss Wendy at the Paradise Street hairdressing salon. Roma drops into Flat 5 to visit Jill. While she is there, Vera comes in to fetch one of Helen's suits from the wardrobe in Helen's bedroom. Vera takes the suit into Flat 4 and tries to persuade Helen to go to her doctor. In Flat 7, Harry tries to attack Marie! She attempts to fend him off. Don announces that he has given in his notice at Willoughby, Willoughby & Martin and will take up the position offered to him by Jack and Johnny. In the deli, Aldo and Roma peruse the course catalogue for the tech college. Later, in Flat 7, Marie tells Vera that she thinks she should move out but Vera insists that she stays. In Flat 4, Helen breaks the news that she has just attended her doctor's surgery. The virus she had recently was definitely a mild case of German measles. Doctor LeCross has recommended that Helen have an abortion. [Episode written by Ann Duroe.]

346. (30/07) Bev goes up to Flat 8 to visit with Lucy, who is trying to come to grips with her blindness. While Bev is there, Alf comes home. Dorothy chats to Arnold in the deli. Les comes in and the conversation turns to the seance that Dorothy and Les are going to tonight. Norma comes storming in, furious, looking for her husband - and her chef! Helen is adamant that, as a strict, practising Roman Catholic, an abortion is out of the question for her - even if the baby was to be born with defects caused by the German measles virus. Jack, who is worried about the risks to Helen herself, tries to make her see reason. "The doctor knows what she is talking about," he says. Lucy tries to set the table for dinner, but she is stressed by what used to be such a simple task. Alf suggests that they should go down to the wine bar for pre-dinner drinks with Arnold and Les. Jack goes to see Bev in Flat 6 and they talk about Helen's dilemma. Les and Dorothy have set up a Ouija board in the loungeroom of Flat 1. Norma comes in and berates them, ordering Les to get back to work in the bar. Lucy tries to order a drink at the bar but bumps into a rather aggressive customer and he yells at her. Next morning, in the Sutcliffes' flat, Arnold brings Alf and Lucy tea in bed. Lucy becomes distraught because she can't even drink a cup of tea without spilling it. When Arnold passes Bev in the stairwell, on his way to work in the deli, he gives her an update on Lucy's condition. Jack and Helen continue to discuss the abortion situation but Helen refuses to listen to reason. Bev and Norma goes upstairs to check in on Lucy and try to cheer her up. In Flat 1, Les and Dorothy are summoning the spirits with the Ouija board. Norma manages to spook them as she passes through the room. Bev calls into Flat 4, where Helen is staying while Jill convalesces, and tries to persuade her to consider an abortion. Alf, Les, Arnold and Jack enjoy a counter lunch at the wine bar. Bev also comes in to sample Dorothy's latest menu items and she chats to Norma and Dorothy. Les comes over with today's mail and hands the bundle of envelopes to Norma. She notices that one is from an anonymous sender. When she opens it, her mood changes when she realises it is a "poison pen" missive. [Episode written by Derek Strahan.]

347. (31/07) Claire and Earl return from a weekend away yachting on the Harbour. Earl is concerned about Bev's reaction to his lengthy absence. As far as Bev knows, Earl was on a business trip to Brisbane. While Don waits patiently to be served in the deli, Dorrie tells Arnold all about Lady Mendl's party. Norma comes in and shows Don the anonymous letter she received. Later, in the wine bar, Dorrie is wondering about how Herb is getting along on the cruise. She partakes of too many sweet sherries - "without the olive, of course" - and gets "a little squiffy". Arnold comes to Norma's aid and serves the food because both Dorothy and Les have gone to a seance. Lucy makes a valiant attempt at making hot drinks for Alf and Arnold. They are uncertain what the future holds for Lucy. Dorrie arrives home, still a little unsteady on her feet, to find Flo sitting on her suitcase outside the door to Flat 3. She is miserable because the bowling tournament in Melbourne was a disaster! In Flat 6, Bev and Earl are heading to bed. Earl is feeling quite depressed and Bev suddenly notices that Earl is not wearing the watch that she gave him at their wedding. Next morning, in Flat 1, Les regales Norma with gory stories from the seance. Norma is more concerned about the anonymous letter she received, and its contents. Someone knows their personal information! Les reads the letter and finds nothing in it that worries him, which frustrates Norma even more. Bev and Earl make plans to meet up at lunchtime. Don arrives at Flat 6 and mentions to Bev that her mother, Claire, has requested that Don meets her for lunch. On his way back down, Don encounters Dorrie and Flo, who are bickering on the stairs. Dorrie hands Don his mail, but the two women are still blocking his path, only parting to let him through when Lucy appears. Don takes Lucy by the arm and escorts her to the deli. There, they encounter Arnold talking to Les. Les has resumed his interest in being a private detective - and the enigmatic writer of the "poison pen" letters is his target. He rummages through the deli's newspapers on the rack, comparing the various typefaces, noticing that several different fonts had been cut up and used to create the letter that was sent to Norma. At Buckingham Lodge, Claire returns Earl's watch. Her butler, Forbes (Kenneth Burnett), had located it. Earl is curious to know why Claire made a lunch date with Don Finlayson. Lucy, Norma and Dorrie are chatting over drinks in the wine bar. Dorrie keeps unintentionally making references to Lucy's sight. Claire's lunch at a classy restaurant ends up becoming an elaborate affair that includes Don, Bev and Earl. Claire makes a request that Don looks after her business affairs but he politely refuses. Bev notices that Earl has his watch back. [Episode written by Derek Strahan.]

Ironically, Kenneth Burnett, who played Claire Houghton's butler, next appeared as an unnamed patient in a psychiatric ward in the movie "27A" (1974). His character of Forbes was replaced by Mutashi (in the 1974 Number 96 movie) and, later, Pocock in the 1977 season of the series.

348. (1/08) Earl has to do some fast talking about the reappearance of his watch. He tells Bev that the Brisbane hotel he was staying at over the weekend had sent it back to him. Vera talks to Marie about Harry. Don departs Claire's lunch early. Claire, Bev and Earl finish their lunch and Claire pays the bill. In the deli, Aldo and Roma chat about the courses they find interesting at tech college. Les comes into the deli to ask Aldo if he could borrow the anonymous letter he received, but Aldo refuses. Earl explains to Bev that he must go out again and she is very understanding. Dorothy and Norma chat in the kitchen while the meals are cooking. Dorothy assures Norma that there is no truth in the letter that she received. Marie comes into the wine bar and chats to Les. They are joined by Bev, who is at a loose end because Earl has had to go out. Of course, Earl is back at Buckingham Lodge again, where he mentions to Claire that he is worried about Bev finding out about their affair. Vera, Marie and Harry chat in Flat 7 but, when Harry starts preaching at Vera, she gets upset with him. Marie tries to console her. In Norma's Bar, Bev discusses tech courses with the Godolfuses. Norma and Les join the conversation and Aldo proudly brings out a photograph of Damien Myers, his baby grandson. Les again asks Aldo if he can examine the anonymous letter that Aldo received. With Aldo still reluctant to comply, Les accuses his suspect: Aldo himself! Marie packs her bags, intending to leave Flat 7, but Vera tries to persuade her not to go. Harry arrives, very apologetic. Vera stands firm: if Harry cannot live with her, as husband and wife, then she doesn't want to have anything to do with him. She also succeeds in convincing Marie to stay on in the flat. In Flat 2, Roma and Aldo discuss Les's ludicrous accusation. The phone rings and it is Mrs Levin, Marty's mother, insisting that she must see Aldo! This is all very mysterious to him. Earl arrives home to Flat 6 and he and Bev go to bed. She tries to get amorous with him but Earl falls asleep immediately. In the kitchen of Flat 1, Norma comes across Dorothy deep in a trance. When she snaps out of it, Norma sends her home. In Flat 7, Harry wakes up on the couch at 4.00am. He checks to see that Vera is asleep and then sneaks into Marie's room. Marie tells Harry that it is Vera she loves! [Episode written by Derek Strahan.]

The original synopsis for this episode (prepared weeks before the batch of scripts were written and finalised) mentions that Aldo's new grandson was to be named "Simon", but the final script for Episode #324 established that the baby is named Aldo Bronislav Damien Myers, or Damien for short. Bronislav Myers, the other grandfather, appeared in Episode #78, portrayed by Frank Hauser. Although Hazel Phillips' Marie Crowther is sometimes noted as being "the first lesbian character on Australian TV", 1972's Karen Winters (Toni Lamond) had already debuted. Both characters preempt the bisexual Vicki Stafford (Judy Nunn) on "The Box" (1974-1977), who has the honour of "the first kiss between two women" (with Helen Hemingway as Felicity Baker) on Australian TV.

349. (2/08) Harry is horrified by the 4.00am revelation that Marie is a lesbian. Meanwhile, in Flat 2, Aldo and Roma are awake and talking about the court case for which Aldo had been a juror. Roma is worried about Mrs Levin, the mother of the young man who was found guilty. Later that morning, in Flat 8, Arnold serves Alf and Lucy breakfast in bed. Lucy is very upset because of her feelings of helplessness after losing her sight. Down in Flat 4, Don and Jack chat while they eat breakfast. Don has to eat quickly and leave for work. Jill is out of isolation, so Helen is back in Flat 5. Helen comes to see Jack with the news that she had sought a second opinion on her pregnancy. This time, the new Catholic doctor strongly believes that the baby could be normal. Helen wouldn't want to abort a normal, healthy baby! Jack and Helen argue again - and Helen storms out! On the stairwell, Arnold mentions his physical fitness regime to Dorrie and Flo. Flo is delivering everyone's mail and Dorrie is miffed because it seems that Herb has sent postcards from the cruise to everyone in the building - except her! Finding the deli closed, Arnold ventures into Flat 2 to awaken the Godolfuses, who have overslept. Lucy visits Jack and asks him to take Alf out for an evening, as she thinks he deserves a break. In Flat 7, Vera gets ready to head off for a fashion parade. This leaves Marie and Harry at home together - and they have a huge argument. That night, Don and Jack are having a beer at the pub. Alf comes in and Jack tells him they are going out on the town. Alf refuses and Vera tries to persuade him to go. In Flat 5, Jill and Helen discuss Tim and his movie. Arnold arrives with a bunch of flowers for Jill. In Flat 3, Dorrie is still moaning that Herb never sent her a postcard, but everyone else received one. Flo announces that she has booked them tickets to see Last Tango in Paris and Dorrie is thrilled because she "loves a good musical"! Vera promises to look after Lucy so Alf is free to have a night out with Jack. Alf finally agrees. Vera heads upstairs to Flat 7 and chats to Marie. Harry tells them that he has decided to move out. Vera tells him that Marie can move into her bedroom and Harry can have the spare room. This arrangement does not sit well with Harry, but Vera has no idea why. Don has dinner with Aldo and Roma and tries to impress upon them that they must not meet with Mrs Levin. In Flat 5, Jill and Helen get ready for bed, when a phone call comes in from Jack. He tells Jill that she must come up to the Sutcliffes' flat immediately. In Flat 8, Jack and Alf sit Arnold and Jill down, and give them some shocking news. Jack and Alf went to Kings Cross for their night out and decided to see a Australian-made porno. The movie featured... Arnold and Jill! [Episode written by Derek Strahan.]

350. (3/08) Jack rings Don and asks him to come up to Flat 8. When Don arrives, Jack tells him about the blue movie that he and Alf saw in Kings Cross. What can be done about it to help Jill and Arnold? Don suggests that all they can do for now is to "sit tight". The next morning, Lucy announces that she has decided to go to the Rehabilitation Centre for the Blind, after all. Several postcards to Dorrie have turned up at last, but she is puzzled as to why everyone else's postcards mention a Mrs Sumner-Spring, whom Herb has apparently met on the cruise. There is nothing about her in Dorrie's. Jack formulates a clever plan to obtain the negative to the blue movie from Tim. Jack finally introduces Don to Johnny Briggs (Deryck Barnes), whose reputation for ruthless business decisions precedes him. The three men get along very well together. In the deli, Arnold tells Jill about Jack's intention to retrieve the movie from Tim. Arnold is disturbed to receive an anonymous letter. Johnny has a shrewd suggestion which surprises both Jack and Don: Johnny believes that they need to put the rents up significantly at Number 96. [Episode written by M. Cooney.]

351. (6/08) In Flat 6, Earl tells Bev that he has to leave for a business conference. Secretly, he goes to see Claire in Point Piper. Ignoring Don's previous advice, Roma rings up to arrange a meeting with Mrs Levin. Arnold carries out his part in Jack's ambitious plan. He bumps into Tim Grose "accidentally" and then enquires, "for a friend of a friend", about hiring the blue movie to screen for people he knows. Tim agrees to work out the details and will be in touch. After much searching, Jill manages to find a job... as a nightclub hostess. Roma meets up with Mrs Levin (Hazel Hollander) and becomes convinced that Aldo and the jury made the wrong decision: Marty Levin is an innocent man! Helen seeks peace of mind in her local church. In the privacy of the confessional box, she talks to the parish priest, who is adamant that Helen should not choose to have an abortion. Bev decides to drop in to visit her mother at Buckingham Lodge - and is shocked to find Earl there, with Claire. [Episode written by Susan Swinford.]

Helen's priest will eventually be revealed as Father David O'Brien in Episode #401.

352. (7/08) Bev wants to know what happened to the business convention that Earl was supposed to be attending. He and Claire manage to concoct a story that they were here at Claire's mansion secretly planning Beverly's upcoming birthday party! Bev believes the whole thing and is sorry to have spoiled their surprise! Roma gives Aldo all the reasons for her believing that Marty Levin is not guilty. Aldo doesn't buy any of it. Earl is working on his latest underhanded scheme. He comes to visit Jack in Flat 4, supposedly to talk to him about Claire. Jack leaves Earl alone in the flat for a while and Earl searches Don's briefcase for the papers pertaining to the land deal in Coogee. He then telephones Richard Monkhouse. Earl informs Claire that he needs money to outbid Jack on the Coogee deal. Claire agrees to help. In Flat 3, Dorrie is dressed and ready for a lawn bowls match. She heads out, just managing to miss Herb arriving home from the cruise... earlier than expected, and dressed up in Hawaiian garb. Herb, Flo and Bev end up getting very drunk while listening to Herb's travel anecdotes. Vera receives good news: at the inquest into the death of Diana Ford, Vera is exonerated. The death is ruled an accident. Dorrie arrives back from bowls to find the drunken party in her flat. In Flat 7, Harry breaks the news to Vera that Marie is a lesbian - and she is in love with Vera. [Episode written by Susan Swinford.]

353. (8/08) Les meets one of his new landlords, Mr Johnny Briggs. Les tells him of his elaborate plan to extend the wine bar. Johnny is quite interested in the idea. Norma receives a "poison pen" letter about the bomb threat that had happened on the night of the Evans' farewell party. This gets Les thinking about another new invention. In Flat 7, Marie tells Vera that Harry called her a lesbian because she refused to sleep with him. Vera is sympathetic. Jack arranges a meeting in an attempt to get possession of the pornographic movie featuring Jill and Arnold. He coerces Alf to play the role of a wealthy English businessman who collects blue movies. Tim arranges a screening for Alf. Johnny mentions to Jack that extending the wine bar into the delicatessen could be a good idea. Jack changes the subject to the Coogee deal. Johnny tells him to forget it, as they were leaked false information. He understands that Richard Monkhouse outbid everyone and secured the property. They wonder how Richard found out about it and they laugh about the fact that he is about to lose a lot of money. In Flat 1, Les demonstrates to Norma, Dorothy and Vera his latest invention: a bomb disposal unit. Les explains, "You simply insert the nozzle into the bomb and it squirts in liquid, which fills the bomb and the liquid congeals. This means the bomb is safely defused." Of course, the disposal unit itself explodes! Jack and Alf spring their trap to outwit Tim Grose. They manage to convince Tim to hand over all copies of Jill and Arnold's movie. [Episode written by Derek Strahan.]

Playing an extra in the bomb disposal unit scene is Mike "Shirley Temple" Williams, floor manager of "The Mike Walsh Show". Mike would return, but playing himself, when Dorrie Evans and Weppo Smith appear on "The Mike Walsh Show" in Episode #896. Les Whittaker's bomb disposal unit will probably be reworked into his bomb detector in Episode #555.

354. (9/08) Herb shows Dorrie and Flo his holiday snaps from the cruise. Dorrie is perturbed that Ingrid Sumner-Spring (Faye Hastings) features in so many of them! Herb also has a film of the trip that was given to him by the promotions people, and was part of his prize. Alf tells Arnold the good news that he and Jack managed to secure all copies of the blue movie. Aldo and Roma's arguing reaches a stalemate, so Aldo seeks Don's advice. He tells Don that he is very concerned that Roma has been visiting Mrs Levin. Herb leaves his holiday film with Jack so that they can arrange to have a viewing night with Jack's projector. Harry is back at Flat 7 and he and Vera end up sleeping together. Arnold comes to see Don in Flat 4 and says that he is very uncomfortable that the blue movie is out of his control. Don goes to fetch it for him and accidentally picks up Herb's reel instead. Arnold leaves with the film. Don reluctantly agrees to Dorrie's request that he operate Jack's projector to screen Herb's souvenir cruise film for everyone. Dorrie hasn't seen a movie since Last Tango in Paris, which was all Flo Patterson's fault. "Somebody could have warned me it wasn’t a musical!" Don ends up hosting an impromptu sherry party for the residents in his flat. Harry is relentless in his pursuit of Marie. Don's film night is a disaster when the blue movie starring Jill and Arnold is shown by mistake. Dorrie is not prepared for such "pornograffy". In Flat 8, Lucy is preparing to leave for the rehabilitation centre when, inexplicably, her sight starts to return! [Episode written by Derek Strahan.]

355. (10/08) In Flat 4, Don tells Jack how he accidentally screened Arnold and Jill's porno for Dorrie's soiree instead of Herb's holiday cruise film. Arnold arrives, very upset, but Don tells him not to worry. At least Tim no longer has any copies of it, thanks to Jack and Alf. Earl tells Bev that all of their worries are over. He and Richard have secured the property deal at Bondi and the area is being rezoned. In the deli, Aldo tells Roma what happened with Arnold's movie up in Don's flat last night. Arnold returns looking glum. Alf and Lucy come in and Lucy points out the box of chocolates she wants - and everyone realises that she can see again! Don and Jack chat about the Bondi property and how the idea of the area being rezoned was a deliberate plant. Over coffee, Aldo and Roma again discuss tech college courses. Roma's plan to learn "Australian" English is quickly put into motion when she finds herself a willing teacher: Arnold! Jack goes up to visit with Bev and Earl and warns Earl to steer clear of the Bondi property. As Jack comes out of Flat 6, he sees Helen at the door of Flat 5. She announces that she has returned to the church. Aldo and Arnold bicker in the deli as Roma goes out to visit Mrs Levin. Earl has to head out so Bev drops in on Jack. He tries to tell her that the Bondi area will not be getting rezoned. This is not something that Earl should pursue - but Bev thinks that Jack just wants the property for himself and she storms out. The Sutcliffes and Arnold have dinner together, content that their lives have resumed normality. Jack and Helen catch up, as promised. Helen maintains that the priest she spoke to was positive about her baby's future, and that she "should trust in the Lord". Roma returns to Flat 2 after seeing Mrs Levin - and Aldo is still annoyed with her. In Flat 6, Earl has just come back from the meeting of Paddington Town Council. The news is concerning and Bev realises that Jack was right after all. Don calls in to see Aldo and Roma. He has received one of those anonymous letters, this one about the Marty Levin case. Don has decided that he will be handling all matters stemming from the jury's decision from now on. [Episode written by Lynn Foster.]

356. (13/08) Mrs Terry rings Dorrie and asks her to a charity cocktail party in aid of the Artistic Children. In Flat 6, Earl is extremely depressed over the land deal and Bev tries her best to cheer him up. Don, Aldo and Roma have another discussion about the Levin case. In Flat 7, Harry tells Vera that Marie is irritable because she is craving alcohol. He plants a bottle of whisky in Marie's bedroom. Herb and Flo discuss their own talented, artistic children: Dorrie and Herb's Joan, and Flo and the late Eric's Raylene. They decide to make alternate plans for an outing when Dorrie is off attending her charity party. They should go "old time" dancing! Dorrie meets Bev in the deli and they chat together while Aldo serves them. Earl is concerned about raising the money he needs for his business deal but is Claire just stringing him along? He returns to Number 96 and rings Claire to say that he must see her immediately. Bev arrives just as Earl is headed out. He claims it is, once again, an urgent business meeting. Herb and Flo pretend to read sections of the newspaper while Dorrie gets ready for her cocktail party. As soon as Dorrie leaves, they race to get changed for the Old Time Dance. Don tells Aldo and Roma that he has met with Mrs Levin and he believes her. He stresses that the Godolfuses should not see her again. In Flat 7, Vera tells Harry that she has asked Marie to move out. They argue and Harry mentions that he knows that Marie is drinking again. Vera finds a bottle of whisky in Marie's room. Bev passes Herb and Flo on the stairs and notices that they are dressed in their "old time" dance gear. At Buckingham Lodge, Claire tells Earl that she will lend him the money that he needs. "All you needed to do was ask, Earl darling..." she tells him, but she expects Earl to be available at her beck and call, and for whatever she needs. [Episode written by Lynn Foster.]

357. (14/08) Bev and Arnold chat in the wine bar. She invites him to sit and have a drink with her, but Jill comes in and Arnold has been waiting for her. Jill explains that she can't go out with him tonight because she has a job now. Bev says that her invitation to Arnold is still open. Les returns to Flat 1, but without Norma's wig! Les was too late getting it to Mr Marcell to be styled, but he has given Les a temporary replacement: a severe Cleopatra wig. Jack arrives at Flat 5 to take Helen to dinner. Arnold and Bev drink champagne. Norma, begrudgingly wearing the Cleopatra wig, tells Bev that she is wanted on the phone. It is Earl, explaining that his business meeting will be going late and to eat without him. Arnold is becoming quite sloshed and gets maudlin over Jill. Herb and Flo arrive home to Flat 3, ecstatic about winning the first heat at the Old Time Dance! They burst through the door to find Dorrie waiting for them. It seems that the cocktail party was to raise funds for Autistic Children, not Artistic Children. Les, Norma and Dorothy talk about Arnold's enebriated condition and Dorothy volunteers to take him home. After dinner, Jack and Helen again argue about Helen having an abortion. In Flat 8, Dorothy undresses Arnold and puts him to bed. Earl sneaks into Flat 6 at 5.00am and slips into bed beside Bev. Dorrie is working out ways to raise $500 for the Autistic Children's Association. Herb and Flo agree that, if they win the Old Time Dance competition, they will donate the $500 prize money. Next morning, the Whittakers talk about Johnny wanting to see the original plans for the wine bar. Earl is under financial pressure and requires help from Jack, but he may not get exactly what he needs. Earl drops into see Jack in Flat 4 and asks to be taken into his partnership. Jack refuses. Arnold is upset because Dorothy undressed him and put him to bed. The conversation is overheard by Dorrie. Jill arrives home to Flat 5 and Helen is angry because her little sister stayed out all night. Mr Roger Wotherspoon, from the charity cocktail party, rings Dorrie about fundraising ideas. Herb arrives with the mail, which includes a letter for Dorrie. There is no sender on the back of the envelope. When she opens it, it is one of the "poison pen" letters, this time accusing Herb of a dalliance with Ingrid Sumner-Spring from the cruise. [Episode written by Lynn Foster.]

Roger Wotherspoon eventually appears onscreen in Episode #379.

358. (15/08) In Flat 7, Vera is hard at work at her sewing machine when Marie arrives home. Vera tells Marie that she needs to stay on in the flat, after all, as Vera found the bottle of whisky in Marie's room. Obviously she needs the support of caring friends. Herb, Dorrie and Flo discuss the accusation in the anonymous letter about Herb and Ingrid. Lucy receives a compensation payout from her workplace injury and she insists on giving the cheque to Alf. Arnold, Lucy, Norma, Vera, Flo, Herb and Dorrie meet in the deli to discuss the "poison pen" letters that have been turning up. Vera is convinced that everyone suspects Harry. Upstairs, Harry has arrived home in Flat 7 and tells Marie how much he needs her - and that's why he planted the whisky in her room for Vera to find. In Flat 1, Dorothy tells Norma that someone needs to rescue Arnold from Jill. Les arrives home with an unusual present for Norma: another wig. At first, she likes it, until she realises it had belonged to a female patient at the hospital... who had just died! Vera comes back upstairs and interrupts Marie's packing. She persuades her to stay. Dorothy is still causing problems for Arnold. He tells the Sutcliffes that he is worried about her. Vera is working into the night with her sewing. Harry and Marie start snapping each other. Harry goes out and the two women reflect on his aggressive behaviour and how it affects them. Next morning, Lucy and Norma are chatting in the deli when Les saunters in. Arnold tries to talk to Les about his situation with Jill and Dorothy, but he won't listen. In Flat 3, Flo is sewing her dress for the Old Time dance competition when Herb arrives home with a vintage tailcoat that he plans to wear as her partner. The gift that Dorrie receives is unexpected: a bunch of gladioli from Roger Wotherspoon! Dorothy reads Arnold's palm in the wine bar. Les watches on, fascinated. Norma comes over to interrupt them - and orders them all back to work. Herb and Flo depart for the contest and Dorrie awaits the arrival of Roger. Marie weakens; she is just about to have a drink when Vera walks in and stops her! Vera is comforting Marie when Harry arrives home. [Episode written by Lynn Foster.]

359. (16/08) In Flat 7, Harry arrives just as Vera is comforting Marie. He demands to know what's going on between them. Harry dares Marie to have a drink. In Flat 4, Jack and Johnny are discussing business as Don races in, but he must rush off again to see Aldo and Roma urgently. Don tells the Godolfuses that he was able to break down the motel owners' version of events in the Levin case. Don actually found a Star of David pendant in the motel room. This was a crucial factor in the outcome of the court case. Has Aldo really sent an innocent boy to gaol? Jill arrives home to Flat 5 from her nightclub job and immediately has an argument with Helen, who is on her way to Mass. Aldo and Roma talk. She begs Aldo to let her ring Mrs Levin but he won't give in. In Flat 1, Norma chats to Les when he arrives home from his shift at the hospital. She is just leaving to go into town when Johnny turns up to see Les. In Flat 4, Jack and Don chat about Earl, and how he must have taken the false information from Don's briefcase. Vera goes out and Marie and Harry continue their verbal sparring matches. Marie tells Harry how much she loathes him. Jack and Don go down to the deli for cigarettes, and Don is able to talk to Arnold, Aldo and Roma about the Levin case. Jack departs to drive Helen to work, while Les and Johnny come into the deli to subtly size it up for the wine bar expansion. When Jack gets to the door of Flat 5, Jill and Helen are arguing. Jill stomps up the stairs with a dress she wants Vera to alter for her. At Flat 7, Harry is the only one home when Jill arrives. After some small talk, Harry starts to attack her and - although she is shocked by his actions - she later admits to having enjoyed it. Jack and Helen meet up for lunch and the conversation again turns to the pending abortion. It is opening time for Norma's Bar and the Whittakers discuss Johnny's interest in repurposing the deli to expand the wine bar. Harry and Jill encounter each other at the bar and Harry calls her "a trollop" and barges out. Don, Jack and Johnny have a meeting about Number 96 business. Johnny wants Aldo out of the deli in one month - and that's final! Since Jack had his own way regarding not raising the rents, Johnny will have his way on this matter. [Episode written by Lynn Foster.]

The idea that a woman "enjoyed" being sexually assaulted was a recurring shock revelation in the series that has not aged well. For example, Tracey Wilson claims this about several attacks upon her during the Pantyhose Strangler arc of 1974/1975, and Jane Chester said the same about an attack by the Hooded Rapist in Episodes #991/992.

360. (17/08) Don tries to talk Jack out of letting Johnny win. Do they really want to evict Aldo from his long-running, successful shop? Jack can't see how they can talk Johnny out of it, as the numbers are quite sound: extending the wine bar makes good business sense. In Flat 7, Vera finds a familiar-looking woman's ring in her bed. She accuses Marie of owning it - and of sleeping with Harry. Marie denies that the ring is hers, but it does look familiar. Vera can't remember the identity of the owner... yet. Helen finally books an appointment to have an abortion. Don realises that Aldo has not yet renewed his lease on the deli, so there is now no way to fight to stay in the shop. Dorrie tries to thwart Herb's plans to have afternoon tea with Mrs Sumner-Spring. Herb retorts, "If you can spend so much time with Mr Wotherspoon, then I can have tea with Ingrid." Helen stands up Jack for lunch and has taken several days off without telling him. Don goes to the gaol to interview Marty Levin. Marty convinces Don that he is an innocent man. Don agrees to represent him and will immediately lodge an appeal against his sentence. [Episode written by David Sale.]

361. (20/08) Dorothy conducts a seance which produces some startling results: the spirit of Gordon Vansard speaks! Everyone in the circle who knew him is horrified! Don tells the Godolfuses that he now believes that Marty Levin is innocent. In Flat 6, Earl tells Bev that he must make a business trip to Canberra. In fact, he is spending several nights with Claire in Point Piper instead. Alf receives a phone call about Wally Scott. He is in hospital with appendicitis. Aldo buys a violin to use in his tech college class - and discovers that Arnold can play it beautifully. At Buckingham Lodge, Earl has a nasty spat with Claire. He walks out, vowing to tell Bev everything! Don suggests to Aldo that he needs to have a good look at his lease on the delicatessen. Claire arrives at Flat 6 and tells Beverly all about Earl's debts - and the embezzlement charge that is awaiting him in the USA. (Claire had realised that she needed to get in first, before Earl told his wife about the affair.) Aldo makes some progress in his evening violin class. Bev doesn't believe any of her mother's claims - and orders Claire from her flat. [Episode written by David Sale.]

Original character, Doctor Gordon Vansard, who was portrayed by Joe James, was comatose from the 1972 cliffhanger until his passing in Episode #216.

362. (21/08) Harry returns home to Flat 7 after a successful crusade. Vera confronts him about the ring she found in her bed, but he denies any knowledge of it. In Flat 3, Flo and Herb celebrate yet another win in their dancing heat. Following Claire's malicious attack, Bev has plenty to say to Earl when he arrives at Flat 6. Bev assures her husband that she doesn't believe a thing her mother said about him. They must never see Claire again. Earl is quick to agree. Herb receives one of the anonymous letters. This time, the claim is that Dorrie has been having an affair. She has been seen "gallivanting" with Roger Wotherspoon. Marie tells Harry that she will go to bed with him, but "only if Vera comes, too." Lucy is the next recipient of a "poison pen" letter that comes to Flat 8. She is accused of stealing from the laundrette and soliciting male customers. Back in Flat 7, Vera goes through Harry's briefcase and finds one of the anonymous letters - and it is addressed to Jill Sheridan! Vera shows the letter to Marie, who suggests that perhaps it has been Harry sending the letters the whole time. [Episode written by David Sale.]

363. (22/08) Vera confronts Harry and accuses him of posting all the "poison pen" letters. Harry denies it. Harry goes to see Jill and returns the ring that Vera found. She takes a risk, or several, when she makes advances to Harry and invites him into Flat 5 to make love to her again. Harry slaps Jill's face. In Flat 3, Dorrie demonstrates to Flo how to dance the Tangoette. Flo manages to injure her back again and is unable to move. Jill is sporting a bruise on her face from Harry's slap. She tells people that she "walked into a door". In the wine bar, Vera tells Norma that she suspects Harry of sending the anonymous letters. Dorothy overhears them talking and says that, no, the writer of the letters is "definitely a female"; her "vibrations" are never wrong. Dorrie is unable to straighten out Flo's back. Flo tells Dorrie that she will have to take her place in the dance competition. Aldo receives a letter from Mr Bayswater, the agent for Number 96. It says that Aldo will be unable to renew his lease on the deli. He must vacate the shop and his flat within a month. In Flat 5, Harry sleeps with Jill again - and this time he beats her up quite badly. [Episode written by David Sale.]

The Tangoette is an Old Time dance by Gerald Hales that originated in Melbourne. It appeared around 1939.

364. (23/08) Aldo receives Mr Bayswater's official Letter of Eviction for the deli (and Flat 2), as the lease has expired. He goes to see Don immediately. Johnny and Jack are there as well, but Don, who had pre-warned Aldo that his lease was up, doesn't react. Helen arrives home to Flat 5 and discovers the badly-injured Jill. She has been bashed. Not wanting to bring Harry's name into it, she fabricates a story about a man who followed her home. In Flat 6, Earl tells Bev that he wants them to move to Perth. He has good prospects for making business deals over there. They can start afresh. Bev agrees that it would be a good idea. Johnny is upset with Don for giving Aldo advance notice of the impending termination of his lease. In Flat 2, Aldo can't understand it; he tells Roma that Don did not seem to care about the eviction letter! Bev breaks the news to her mother that she and Earl will be going to live in Western Australia. Jack finally gets Helen to the hospital. Aldo tells Norma that he has to close the deli and leave Number 96. She is horrified! It is only now that Les admits his part in the situation: it was he who suggested the concept of expanding the wine bar into the deli. Don comes to see Roma, to inform her that the court has agreed to hear an appeal for Marty Levin's conviction. Aldo comes in from the wine bar, upset about the news Les has given him. Aldo did exactly as Don had suggested: he went to see Mr Locksley, and he was told to take it to the landlords' legal representative. That would be Don himself. Aldo asks Don to speak on his behalf. Now Don has a serious choice to make: will he be swayed by loyalty to his new job (working with Jack and Johnny's partnership, which now owns the Number 96 building); or his longtime friendship with Aldo? At Buckingham Lodge, Claire tells Earl that, if he attempts to leave Sydney, she will call the police on him. She also announces that she wants Earl to divorce Beverly - and marry her as soon as possible. [Episode written by David Sale.]

365. (24/08) Harry visits Flat 5 to apologise to Jill. In Flat 3, an exhausted Dorrie bathes her feet in Epsom Salts after filling in for Flo in the dance competition heat. Dorrie and Herb describe the evening's events to Flo, whose back is still painful. Bev is packing in Flat 6, preparing for the Goodmans' move to Perth when Earl arrives with the news that the deal is off. He has just received a much better offer here in Sydney! Jill wants Harry to resume their liaison, and she tries to seduce him. Suddenly, Helen arrives back home, having checked herself out of the hospital. She has changed her mind about the abortion. In Flat 4, Don and Jack discuss the pros and cons of throwing Aldo out of his shop when Jill rushes in to tell Jack that Helen is back from the hospital. The Godolfuses talk about finding a vacant shop nearby so they can move their deli. Harry comes in and starts preaching. Jack and Helen argue about Helen's baby and the abortion. In Flat 3, Dorrie and Herb practise their Old Time dance moves. The phone rings and it is Roger again, this time inviting Dorrie to another charity cocktail party. Dorrie tells Flo that her back will have to heal fast, because Flo will have to dance in the competition after all! In the deli, Aldo, Roma and Bev chat about the possibility of him finding a new shop. Earl and Claire discuss money - and Beverly. Dorrie goes to see Don about the anonymous "poison pen" letter she received that made claims about Herb and Ingrid having a "candlestine" affair. Jack and Helen run into Earl at The Cosmopolitan's cocktail bar. Bev arrives, so Helen and Jack go off to their lunch date. Bev and Earl chat over drinks. In Flat 7, Harry is deep in prayer when Jill arrives and tries to seduce him again. An unexpected discovery may spoil her plans. In Point Piper, Earl meets up with Claire and agrees to her terms: he will divorce Bev and marry her, but it will take time. In the deli, Dorrie describes to Aldo, Roma and Herb, her elaborate plan to catch the elusive writer of the "poison pen" letters. The phone rings, Aldo answers it - and he quickly races out. Don and Jack are chatting when Aldo arrives. Aldo asks Don, "Who is this new owner of Number 96?" - and Jack steps forward and announces that it is him. [Episode written by Ken Shadie.]

This would appear to be the first episode written by Ken Shadie, who was soon to become a prolific contributor of scripts for this series.

366. (27/08) Earl rings Bev to explain that he must travel to Orange for the night but, in fact, he is staying with Claire at Buckingham Lodge. Norma and Lucy chat in the wine bar. When Arnold comes in, still wearing his athletic gear, he catches Dorothy's eye. Don and Jack again discuss the eviction of Aldo from his deli. In Flat 1, Les prepares for the first demonstration of his latest invention: the Whittaker Wine-o-Matic. There is a selection of red, rosé and white wines. Alf will have the honour of being the first to sample a glass. Dorothy comes through from the bar and witnesses the troublesome machine, as wine starts flowing onto Alf's hand instead of the glass. Next morning, in Flat 8, Arnold, Alf and Lucy are having breakfast. When Lucy goes next door to see Vera, Alf asks Arnold for his room-and-board payment in advance. It is Lucy's birthday and Alf is short of cash. Bev shows Jack and Don a "poison pen" letter she has received. It is making preposterous claims about Earl. In the wine bar, Norma tells Lucy that the new owners of Number 96 are Jack and Johnny - and that Don is working for them as their lawyer. Les describes to Arnold the planned extensions to Norma's Bar. The Whittakers discuss the matter with Alf, Dorothy and Arnold. Poor Aldo will have to leave! When Don comes in, he gets a rather hostile reception. Claire visits Flat 6 and asks Beverly to forgive her after their big argument. Earl arrives home, and he and Claire greet each other as if they haven't seen each other in ages. In Flat 1, the Wine-o-Matic is functional again and Les demonstrates its operation to Alf. Norma comes in and orders Les to come and help in the bar. The wine finally comes out of the machine, but it is a very slow trickle. Earl goes to Jack's office and accuses him and Don of writing the anonymous letter that was sent to Bev. In the wine bar, Arnold, Dorothy, the Sutcliffes and the Whittakers are getting riled up about Jack and Johnny's treatment of Aldo. Jack wanders in and they all argue with him. Norma blows her top at everyone. [Episode written by Derek Strahan.]

367. (28/08) Marie and Vera chat about Harry as they prepare dinner in Flat 7. Jill drops into the deli and buys groceries while gossiping with the Godolfuses. As she prepares to leave, Harry turns up and volunteers to carry her purchases up the stairs to Flat 5. In Flat 3, Dorrie is again concerned over Flo's bad back. She goes down to Flat 1 to see Les about fixing it again. Les tells her that the building is now owned by Jack and Johnny. As "conserge", Dorrie states that she must be loyal to the new owners and will be giving them her support. When Norma hears this, she throws Dorrie out of the flat. Meanwhile, in Flat 5, Jill is attempting to seduce Harry once again. They are interrupted by Helen. Harry excuses himself and goes upstairs to see Vera. When Harry arrives at Flat 7, both Marie and Vera are angry with him because he is late for dinner. A big argument ensues. In Flat 3, Dorrie, Herb and Flo are watching television when Herb mentions that he will be visiting Ingrid. In the wine bar, Dorothy and Les discuss Dorothy's "vibrations". Norma tells Les that, if Aldo gets evicted from the deli, she will be leaving, too. Next morning, Helen awakens Jill and they chat about the baby. Helen has to head off to an early meeting at work. Les arrives at Flat 3 to check on Flo's back. Flo is still asleep, but Dorrie takes Les into Flo's bedroom. Just as Les is about to fix her back, she wakes up! In the confusion, Flo leaps out of bed and they realise that her back is cured! Jill rings Harry in Flat 7 - and he lies to Vera that he must go off to meet Adam Lord. Harry secretly takes a beautiful silk and velvet ballgown with him. Vera has just finished it, designed especially for Lorna Lumberdale. Harry turns up at the Sheridan sisters' flat, pretending that Vera wants Jill to try the gown on. Jill protests that the dress is not hers. She puts it on anyway. Harry calls Jill "a slut who wants to be punished". In Flat 7, Vera has had her fill of Harry's erratic behaviour. She tells Marie that she feels stressed, worn out and "utterly useless", and goes in for a shower. Marie stands at the door to the bathroom, peeping in. She offers to help wash Vera's back. The Godolfuses and the Whittakers discuss the fate of Aldo's deli. In Flat 3, Flo and Herb resume their dance practice while Dorrie is doing her accounts. Dorrie gets up from the table and collides with Herb. He hits his head and passes out. When he regains consciousness, he doesn't know where he is. Is it amnesia or a mild stroke? Dorrie worries that Herb's body may be "teeming with foreign orgasms". Helen comes home from work and arrives just as Harry is leaving Flat 5. She storms into Jill's bedroom - and finds her sister naked and bedraggled on her bed. Helen is exasperated! Tomorrow, Helen will be sending Jill home on the first train to Wilcannia. [Episode written by Derek Strahan.]

368. (29/08) Dorrie goes to the laundrette to ask Lucy to wash her Orlon stole. She mentions poor Herb's accident and how he is now "completely non-compus Menzies". Marie comes into Flat 7 and overhears Harry praying for her. She laughs at him cruelly. In Flat 8, Alf shows Arnold the watch he has bought for Lucy's birthday. Jill enters the deli looking glum and announces that Helen is sending her back home to Wilcannia. Vera and Lucy meet up for drinks in the wine bar and then Lucy announces that she must head upstairs to prepare Alf's tea. Jill comes into Norma's Bar and chats to Vera, who notices that she is wearing the distinctive ring that Vera had found in her bed! Dorrie, Herb and Flo are in the deli, waiting for their taxis to arrive. Herb and Flo need to get to their dance competition and they race outside when the first taxi arrives. Arnold checks on Dorrie's taxi but it is still 20 minutes away. Alf comes in and offers to drive Dorrie to her cocktail party and she finally accepts. In Flat 7, Marie tells Harry that he can come to her room later, when Vera is asleep. Vera comes upstairs from the wine bar and tells Marie that she solved the mystery of the ring. (Lucy had remembered asking about it in the laundrette; Jill had explained that it was a family heirloom passed down from a great-grandmother.) Alf gets back to Flat 8 and tells Lucy and Arnold about driving Dorrie to her party. Marie is well prepared for her dealings with Harry. When he creeps into Marie's bedroom, she starts screaming! Vera races in and orders Harry to leave the flat in the morning. In Flat 3, Dorrie is lying awake in bed. At 5.00am, she hears Herb and Flo trying to sneak in - and they are very drunk! Marie gloats to Harry that, when he leaves Flat 7, she will have Vera all to herself. In Flat 8, Arnold and Alf give Lucy a special birthday breakfast. There are presents, and flowers arrive from Perth and Darwin. Lucy also gets an international phone call from her parents in England. Vera gives Harry his marching orders and he leaves. Vera breaks down, but Marie is there to comfort her. Harry bumps into Jill on her way to Central Station. She is heading to Wilcannia on the train and Harry decides that they should go together. That evening, Arnold and the Sutcliffes celebrate Lucy's birthday with dinner at Pruniers restaurant in Woollahra. Herb, Flo and Dorrie are watching TV. They all decide that it is time for bed and Herb heads off behind Flo, whom he thinks is his wife! In Flat 7, Vera is in bed when Marie comes to her door. She admits to Vera that she loves her - and could she get into bed with her? [Episode written by Derek Strahan.]

Pruniers was one of Woollahra’s better-known restaurants, located at 65 Ocean Street, not far from Moncur Flats. Originally a Double Bay establishment, Pruniers had operated from the former stables in the grounds of Chiswick Gardens, Woollahra, since 1971. The restaurant was renovated several times over the years and was later known as Chiswick.

369. (30/08) Alf and Lucy chat over breakfast in Flat 8. Alf is suffering a hangover and Lucy is not very sympathetic. Marie and Vera chat about last night, and Vera realises that Harry was right after all. She tells Marie that she finds her manipulative behaviour repulsive, and she wants her to leave Flat 7 today. In Flat 1, Les has yet another demonstration of his Wine-o-Matic for Alf. Les claims that it is now working perfectly. Alf puts a coin into the slot and all three taps start dispensing wine: white, rosé and red - all over the floor! The two men fill wine glasses, cups, vases, the fruit bowl and even a plastic safety helmet, as the wine continues to saturate the carpet. Norma comes in to find her loungeroom is a complete disaster zone. She ends up on the floor in a puddle of wine. Later, Norma storms off to the deli to ask Roma if she has anything suitable for taking wine stains out of carpets. As Norma departs emptyhanded, Aldo and Roma again discuss looking for a new shop. Vera and Lucy are talking in the laundrette when Norma rushes in, still urgently looking for cleaning fluid. Jack comes into the deli to offer a new proposition to Aldo - Jack will provide financial compensation to assist with moving Aldo's business - but Aldo stubbornly refuses to accept anything. Helen rings her workplace and tells them she will be late in, because she is sick. Alf and Les are attempting to clean up the mess they made in Flat 1. They have sprinkled salt all over the floor and now squirt syphons of soda water onto the salt. Eventually, they are squirting the soda syphons onto each other. Norma walks in and Les manages to squirt her, too, by mistake. Is this the last straw for Norma? Jack meets Helen on the stairs when she is on her way to work. He asks her to meet him for lunch. Jack goes into Flat 4 and chats to Don, who is puzzling over a sum of money he has received from an unexpected source. Mrs Levin has supposedly sent him $500, payment for a bill that he never sent. Don also believes that he recognises the handwriting on the envelope. In Flat 7, Marie is packing her bags, and then she leaves. Over lunch, Helen tells Jack that Jill was having an affair with Harry Collins. The Godolfuses talk about their need for a new shop when Vera comes in for cigarettes. Vera then goes into the wine bar and chats to Norma, and then to Don, but he warns her to leave him alone. Les is bemoaning his impending divorce from Norma to the Sutcliffes, when Norma arrives and drags Les off to have his tea. Don visits Aldo and Roma in the deli, to tell them about the $500 that was made to look like it was sent to him by Mrs Levin. The handwriting on the envelope is the same as the anonymous letter that he had received at his office. All of this suggests that Marty Levin was guilty after all. That evening, Helen tells Jack that he needs to find himself another bedmate. [Episode written by Derek Strahan.]

370. (31/08) Aldo receives a final notice. Mr Bayswater, the agent, is giving him two weeks to leave the delicatessen. Helen comes to Flat 4 to apologise to Jack for suggesting that he needed to find another bedmate. She says that she didn't mean it. Don tells Jack that Aldo has received his final notice for eviction. Claire informs Earl that he must commence the divorce proceedings against Beverly immediately, as Rodney Houghton, Claire's son, is coming home. Jack and Don try to talk Johnny out of evicting Aldo, but they fail miserably. In Flat 6, Earl admits to Bev that he is now broke, having lost all of his money in failed business deals. Flo suspects that Herb might be pretending to have memory issues, when his S.P. bookie, Sam, rings about a horse bet. In Flat 5, Helen receives a concerning phone call from her father. Mr Sheridan (Tom Farley) says that Jill's luggage has arrived at the family home, but there is no sign of Jill! At Buckingham Lodge, Bev asks her mother for access to her trust fund, so she can lend money to Earl. Claire refuses. Dorrie is finding it difficult to cope with Herb. She worries about whether Herb will be able to remember all the steps to the Old Time dances. She decides on a unique solution - and hits him hard on the head to bring his memory back. Herb is knocked out cold. Flo thinks that Dorrie has just killed him. [Episode written by Ken Shadie.]

Tom Farley, who portrays Mr Sheridan, will have a major story arc from Episode #468. The actor also plays a farmer in Episodes #923-924.

371. (3/09) Aldo informs Arnold that he will be refusing Jack's offer of monetary compensation for departing the deli. Unfortunately, this will mean that he and Roma will be unable to afford to keep Arnold on as Manager. Norma states that she will leave the wine bar if Aldo is evicted from the deli. Harry returns to Number 96 and Vera wakes up in the morning to find him asleep on her couch in Flat 7. He sweet-talks her into allowing him to stay. He promises that he is a changed man; he has given up both drinking and bible-bashing! Arnold and Dorothy are becoming more deeply involved, but Arnold is still unsure about the situation. In Flat 1, Dorothy announces to the Whittakers that she and Arnold are getting married! Arnold hears the rumour on the grapevine: Dorothy is planning their wedding. He panics and goes to Dorothy to emphasise that he does not wish to marry her. He doesn't get very far. Harry is having no luck in finding employment. Norma manages to get her old barmaid job back. She announces that she starts working at the pub across the street again from next week. [Episode written by David Sale.]

372. (4/09) Rod Houghton arrives back at Buckingham Lodge. Although Claire is pleased to see her son again, when he asks for access to his trust fund to buy property - a stud farm - she refuses. Dorrie dubiously seeks Les's assistance to bring Herb's memory back to normal. Les explains that shock treatment is the only way and presents... his latest bizarre invention! In Flat 6, Bev informs Earl that she was unsuccessful in accessing her trust fund, and neither was Rod. Flo confronts Herb in Flat 3 about his memory problems and Herb admits that he has been pretending. Flo is puzzled as to why and Herb says that he has never been treated so well by Dorrie, "... so please don't tell her!" He is enjoying her fussing over him. Don confronts Mrs Levin and she finally admits that she has been manufacturing all of the evidence. She was desperate to keep her Marty out of prison. Don comes into the wine bar to assure Norma that he will show his support for Aldo by resigning from Jack and Johnny's company. In Flat 3, Dorrie tells Flo about how the shock treatment will work for Herb's memory loss - and Herb overhears her. He tries to run away, bumps into Les's shock therapy machine, bangs his head and is miraculously cured! Beverly, Earl and Claire celebrate Rodney's return with a special "welcome home" dinner at Buckingham Lodge. Bev and Rod fight with Claire again over their trust funds. Later, Rod catches Earl and Claire kissing on the patio. [Episode written by David Sale.]

John Benton returns as Rod Houghton, having been last seen onscreen in Episode #253, when his sister was still being played by Abigail.

373. (5/09) In Flat 8, Wally hands in his notice to Alf, putting Alf into a panic as to how he can run his business with only one truck and one driver. Arnold suffers through a tirade of man-to-man advice about handling women like Dorothy. In the deli, Les gives Arnold a suggestion for freeing himself from Dorothy's attention. Dorothy surely won't want Arnold if she thinks that he is crazy about her? Lucy tells Vera that Alf is in desperate need of a reliable, new driver for the truck. Vera asks Alf to give Harry the job. At his mother's place in Point Piper, Rodney tells Claire that, if she denies him the financial assistance he needs from his trust fund, he will tell Bev about the affair with Earl! Claire tells him to go right ahead. Arnold tries Les's approach on Dorothy during a quiet moment in the deli. When Dorothy comes in, he leaps over the counter to embrace her!

Arnold Feather: ... I need you!
Dorothy Dunlop: Uh! Here? In the delicatessen?
Arnold: Here! There! Anywhere! The place is unimportant. All I can see is a red mist: a fog of passion that engulfs us, surrounds us...
Dorothy: But what about the lunches? What will Mr and Mrs Godolfus say?
Arnold: I don't care if they sell tickets, just so long as you kiss me and kiss me!
Dorothy: Uh!

As they sink to the floor, a nun enters the deli and witnesses this embarrassing display of affection. (Arnold asks meekly, "May I help you, Sister?") However, later Dorothy is thrilled by this change in Arnold! Alf gives the trucking job to Harry. Claire tells Earl about Rodney's threat to expose them. Rod goes to see his sister, Bev, in Flat 6, but he doesn't tell her about Earl and Claire's affair. At Buckingham Lodge, Claire collapses, clutching her stomach. In Flat 7, Vera finds the "poison pen" letter to Jill in Harry's cufflink box. She goes next door to tell Lucy. Rod and Earl talk. Rod says that, so far, he hasn't told Bev what he knows about Earl's secret affair with his mother. Doctor Gott (George Carden) examines Claire and pronounces her ailment as "a slight case of food poisoning". [Episode written by David Sale.]

George Carden returns as Doctor Gott, having made irregular appearances during 1972, beginning in Episode #35. When seen in 1977, in Episode #1172, he is being portrayed by John Dease.

374. (6/09) All of the residents are giving Don and Jack the cold shoulder over Johnny's plan for the deli. Don tells Jack that Norma is leaving the wine bar and he needs to resign from the company. It is the big night for Herb and Flo at the Old Time dance contest. They are cheered on by Myrtle McIntyre and some of the Number 96 residents, including Bev, Earl, Les and Norma. Dorothy is escorted to the event by Arnold. Herb and Flo are declared the winners, meaning they will be receiving a $500 cheque to donate to the Autistic Children's charity. Vera confronts Harry about the anonymous letter. Harry denies writing it. He blames Marie - and Vera believes him. The Godolfuses are having no luck in locating a suitable shop. In Flat 5, Helen is growing increasingly concerned. Jill has still not arrived in Wilcannia. Mr Sheridan has reported his youngest daughter as a Missing Person in Wilcannia, but Helen decides to make some enquiries in Sydney. Once again, Jack and Don confront Johnny about Aldo's deli, but it seems they are wasting their time. They decide to combine their shares in the company and now they can out-vote Johnny regarding the deli takeover. They then take Johnny to the deli and make him tell Aldo and Roma that they can stay after all. Don throws a party in Flat 4 for the Godolfuses. At the party, Lucy mentions to Helen that she saw Jill with Harry on the day that Jill left to catch her train to the country. [Episode written by David Sale.]

As explained by Bettina Welch in the 1976 documentary, "Number 96: And They Said It Wouldn't Last", Cash Harmon Productions presented a $500 cheque to the real-life Autistic Children's Association charity to coincide with the airing of this episode. The uncredited extra playing the oft-mentioned Myrtle McIntyre is a regular in scenes involving members of Paddington's Senior Citizens, and sometimes as a customer in the deli.

375. (7/09) Les returns home from Don's party. He tells Norma that Aldo and Roma are staying on in the deli, but Norma reminds him that she has already given in her notice at Norma's Bar. Next morning, Harry arrives back at Flat 7 after a night drive in Alf's truck. Vera asks him about Jill because Lucy had seen them together, with Harry helping to carry Jill's suitcases past the laundrette on her last day in Paddington. Harry admits that he has no memory of those two days. They are a complete blank. Johnny Briggs still has a surprise in store for Jack and Don. Jack drives Johnny home and, when he returns to Flat 4, Jack tells Don that Johnny wants to drop out of the partnership. In Flat 8, the Sutcliffes are having a late breakfast when Harry calls in to give Alf the keys and logbook of the truck. He warns Alf of a strange noise coming from the gear box. Will Alf suffer another bout of bad luck? When he goes next door, Harry talks to Vera about Jill. He wishes he could remember what happened on the train. In Flat 4, Jack and Don are clearing up mess from the party and discuss finding a new business partner. Norma comes to warn them that she must still work out her week at the pub. Vera chats to Lucy at the laundrette. Helen joins them and tells Vera that Harry bashed Jill before she left. Jack is having a drink at The Cosmopolitan when Maggie Cameron (Bettina Welch) walks in! They have lunch together and discuss an idea that Maggie has for a fashion parade which could be held in the wine bar. They are eventually joined by Helen, so Maggie makes her departure. Don is at the laundrette, chatting to Lucy. Alf comes in with several bruises; his truck's gearbox jammed while he was driving it, causing Alf to hit his head on the windscreen. In Flat 1, Les is again tinkering with his Wine-o-Matic. When Norma comes in, Les urges her to put 20 cents in the machine's coinslot and she receives a steaming hot glass of wine. Just then, the machine explodes! In Flat 7, Harry and Vera again talk about Jill. In Norma's Bar, Jack describes Maggie's idea of a fashion parade event to Les and the Sutcliffes. Norma comes in and is very offhanded with her opinions. Vera drops in on Helen in Flat 5 and tells her that Harry has no information on what happened to Jill, as he has somehow lost 48 hours. Jack and Don chat over drinks about how to replace Johnny Briggs' contribution to the business when Maggie arrives to make a big announcement: she is their new business partner! [Episode written by Ken Shadie.]

The character of Maggie Cameron, again portrayed by Bettina Welch, had not been seen in the series since December 1972.

376. (10/09) At Buckingham Lodge, Claire gets out of bed and goes into the study to talk to Rodney. Suddenly, she doubles up in pain. At their office, Maggie, Jack and Don talk business. When Maggie has to leave, Don confides in Jack, revealing that he and Maggie never really got along. Their problems date back to when Don was living with Bruce Taylor (in Flat 5), and the three of them were in an awkward lovers' triangle. Later that day, in Flat 6, Bev and Earl are getting ready to go out to dinner when a phone call comes in from Rod. He tells Bev that their mother has had another attack of whatever affected her the other day. In Flat 3, Dorrie is practising her speech to Flo and Herb. Roger Wotherspoon rings about the cheque that Flo and Herb won and they all realise that the cheque is apparently missing. Earl, Beverly and Rodney talk with a bedridden Claire, who is attempting to coerce the Goodmans to move in with her at Point Piper. The Godolfuses are impressed with their successes at the evening college courses. Roma's ceramics class and Aldo's violin lessons continue to bring pleasure to them both, but they are also oblivious to each other's passions. The topic of the Houghton Family trust funds is again brought up. Both Bev and Rod are keen to get control of their money. Flo and the Evanses turn the flat upside down hunting for the missing cheque that they were supposed to donate to charity. Roger rings again to set up a meeting with Dorrie but she begs off until the next morning, as she is suffering from a "migrant headache". She then sends Herb off to get a new cheque drawn up. Don and Jack call into the deli and are immediately pounced upon by Roma and Aldo, both keen to boast about their new hobbies. Roma's little ceramic frogs are... quaint. Earl tries hard to convince Bev to move into Claire's mansion. Maggie, Don and Jack meet up for drinks. When Don heads off, Maggie makes sure to tell Jack that she doesn't like Don. Earl is deep in conversation with Claire when Maggie turns up briefly, expresses some sharp opinions, then breezes out again. In the deli, Flo tells Roma and Bev about the lost cheque. Herb soon joins them, on his way back from the Ballroom Association. He has had the missing cheque stopped but was unable to get a new one drawn up. Don comes in holding the missing cheque! Too late! Back in Buckingham Lodge, Rodney and Earl are planning another attempt to convince Claire to give her children access to their trust money. Maggie turns up again to visit with Claire. Rod tells Earl that he must be the one to persuade Claire about the trust fund. [Episode written by Ken Shadie.]

377. (11/09) The Sutcliffes, Vera and Harry chat with Les and Dorothy over their drinks in the wine bar. In Flat 2, Aldo is practising his violin and Roma is packing her ugly frog ashtrays into a carton. When Arnold comes through from the shop with an urgent query, neither of them will listen to him. Bev comes into Norma's Bar for a drink while waiting for Earl to show up. While she is talking to Les, Norma arrives from her shift at the pub. Dorothy enters from the kitchen, hoping that Arnold has come in tonight. Earl finally turns up. Where has he been? In Flat 7, Vera and Harry are in bed but Harry is having a restless night, dreaming about Jill and mumbling her name. Next morning, over breakfast, Vera tries to get Harry to remember what might have happened to Jill. Alf turns up with the truck keys and logbook for Harry to undertake his shift. Norma is off to work at the pub and calls into the deli on her way. Dorothy bustles in, looking for Arnold, of course. Meanwhile, Arnold is at the laundrette, trying to keep out of Dorothy's sight. Alf comes in with a letter from England for Lucy. Her parents are coming out to stay! Les installs the Wine-o-Matic into the bar and Dorothy starts talking to it. Vera comes in, telling Les that Norma asked her to help out in the wine bar over the busy lunch period. In Point Piper, Rod finds Claire in terrible pain. Earl and Bev come straight over and see that Claire is very weak. When Rod and Bev go out of the room, Earl takes the opportunity to ask Claire about the trust money again. In Norma's Bar, Vera and Dorothy are cleaning up after the lunches and Norma arrives from the pub, pleasantly surprised that the Wine-o-Matic was a great success! Dorothy heads across to the deli and hovers around, wanting to chat with Arnold. Roma, Aldo and Alf come in and, when all of them start speaking at once, Arnold can't stand it any more and darts out onto the street. In Flat 7, Harry returns from his shift in the truck. Jill's vanishing act has been a worry, but something happens which may incriminate Harry. He interrupts Vera's sewing to give her today's mail. Among the envelopes is yet another anonymous letter! This one places suspicion for Jill's disappearance squarely upon Harry. In Flat 8, the Sutcliffes and Arnold are having dinner. When Arnold heads out for the evening, Alf and Lucy discuss the forthcoming arrival of her parents. What will happen to Arnold when Lucy's parents need to stay in the spare room? Rod and Bev head off to the movies together while Earl elects to stay with Claire. Roma proudly presents Norma with one of her ceramic frog ashtrays. In the wine bar, Aldo uses the Wine-o-Matic and tells Les that he is very impressed, and especially that it dispenses free wine. Les looks at him, stunned. Has the machine been doing that all night? Back at Buckingham Lodge, Claire tells Earl that she is feeling much better - and she invites Earl to join her in the bed. [Episode written by Ken Shadie.]

378. (12/09) In Flat 3, Dorrie and Herb are chatting over tea when Roger Wotherspoon (Terry O'Neill) arrives to collect the cheque in person. Luckily, Herb had just arrived back with a new one. Vera comes down to Flat 5, where Helen, who has been ill, is being cared for by Jack. Vera shows them the latest "poison pen" letter that came for Harry. He has been accused of knowing exactly what happened to Jill. Later that day, the Godolfuses are again absorbed in chatter about their evening college hobbies. Roger comes in to buy a box of chocolates and Roma tries to foist her frog ashtrays onto him. Roger returns to Flat 3. Only Flo is at home and she assumes the chocolates are for her. Dorrie meets Roger on the stairs. She has been to the hairdressers for her appointment with Miss Wendy. In Flat 7, Vera and Harry again discuss Jill. Meanwhile, in Flat 5, Helen receives a phone call from the Missing Persons Bureau, raising her hopes that Jill has been located. Aldo is practising with his violin in Flat 1 when he calls to Roma because he can smell her latest batch of ashtrays burning. Roger comes to the deli and runs into Flo again. Roger buys one of Roma's ashtrays and it immediately crumbles in his hand. Vera is altering a dress for Dorrie in Flat 7 when Harry arrives home. Jack mentions that Norma is annoyed that Maggie is suggesting so many changes for the wine bar. He and Helen make the grim trip to the morgue to identify a body. In Flat 2, Roma expresses the humiliation she felt when her first sale of a frog ashtray crumbled to pieces. Roger arrives at Flat 3 to collect the Evanses and Flo for a special presentation at The Connaught Rooms. Flo latches onto him. Back at Flat 5, Jack consoles Helen. They notice Vera heading up to her flat, and Helen tells her that they had to go to the morgue. The mutilated body was not very recognisable, but it could have been Jill. [Episode written by Ken Shadie.]

Terry O'Neill finally appears onscreen as Roger Wotherspoon, having been referenced since Episode #357. Terry was originally mooted to play an early, regular character in the series: a fussy antique shop owner. "Number 96" creator, David Sale, eventually settled on a chemist shop in front of Flat 1. It was thought that residents of the building would visit a pharmacy more often than an antique store. Previously, the actor had appeared in "The Group", playing the landlord, Mr Tinto. Terry would return to portray another landlord, Edgar Eggerton, in the comedy spin-off pilot, "Fair Game", which was incorporated across Episodes 1079-1081. Terry O'Neill is the real life father of actor/screenwriter Coral Drouyn, who appeared as regular character Consuela McPhee in "Arcade" billed as Coral Kelly. The Connaught Rooms would become a plot point of the 1974 movie when Aldo invests in a reception business there, and the Evanses hire it to celebrate their Ruby Wedding Anniversary.

379. (13/09) Rodney is chatting with Claire at Buckingham Lodge when Maggie turns up with a bottle of champagne. Claire is too ill to drink it, so Maggie leaves. Dorrie delivers her speech at The Connaught Rooms and hands over the $500 cheque to the Autistic Children's Association. In Flat 6, Earl wakes up Bev and they chat about their future. Flo comes into the wine bar to do her cleaning duties and chats to Les. Maggie sweeps in and starts reorganising everything! Norma is not happy at all, but has to leave for her shift at the pub. Maggie rings upstairs to Earl and invites him to join her for a drink, but Earl refuses. Roger arrives at Flat 3, intending to take everyone to lunch - but Dorrie is off to a bowls tournament. Flo comes in from the wine bar and tells Roger that she and Herb would love to go. Les is talking to Arnold in the deli when Dorothy turns up, hoping that Arnold will take her to lunch. Earl, Rod and Bev again talk to Claire about the trust funds. Roger, Herb and Flo enjoy a sumptuous lunch at The Cosmopolitan. Later, Flo is in the deli when Dorrie arrives back from bowls. Flo announces that Roger has invited them all to the ballet. Norma comes into the wine bar and looks on as Maggie orders Les around and they reorganise almost everything. When Norma objects, Maggie reminds her that, as Jack Sellars' new business partner, she is also the Whittakers' landlady. In Point Piper, Bev, Rod and Earl again gather at Claire's house to strategise about getting their hands on the money from the trust funds. Maggie arrives to see Claire. On their way to the ballet, Dorrie, Herb, Flo and Roger call into Norma's Bar for drinks. Arnold comes in to collect Dorothy for their date, but she isn't there. Les has Dorothy's home address and he gives it to Arnold. At Buckingham Lodge, Maggie urges Claire to see a specialist about her ongoing illness. [Episode written by Ken Shadie.]

380. (14/09) In the deli, Arnold confides in Don about how Dorothy is pursuing him. Don tells him that it is time to be upfront, that he isn't interested in marriage. Maggie suspects there is something terribly wrong with Claire. She warns Bev, Rod and Earl that, if they don't get Claire to another doctor, she will die - and it will be their responsibility. In Flat 7, Vera tells Harry about the body of a young girl that was found. It was so mutilated that Helen was unable to identify it as her missing sister, Jill. Dorothy goes out with Arnold, but nothing is said about how he feels. The next morning, she overhears the Whittakers talking in Flat 1, and they mention how Arnold really isn't interested in marrying Dorothy. She tells Les that her "vibrations" never let her down and that Arnold's thoughts are so lustful that she couldn't possibly marry him. Vera finds a used train ticket to Wilcannia in Harry's wallet. She goes to Flat 4 to tell Don. He warns her to have it out with Harry before she talks to Helen. Dorothy tells Norma about Arnold's lustful thoughts. Despite their past arguments, Maggie makes an enticing suggestion to Norma, floating her plan for a fashion parade event in the bar. She wants Norma to be one of the models. Norma is excited! In Flat 7, Vera decides she must confront Harry about the train ticket. Harry swears that he knows nothing about it. Maggie goes to Buckingham Lodge and convinces Claire to go to the hospital. Arnold visits the wine bar to tell Dorothy that he is not interested in marrying her, but Dorothy gets in first: she wouldn't marry Arnold under any circumstances! Arnold is left bewildered. Vera and Don head upstairs to Flat 7 to talk to Harry, only to discover that he has packed his clothes into a bag and left. [Episode written by Lynn Foster.]

381. (17/09) Vera goes to see Alf in Flat 8. Harry has seemingly "skipped town" again, so Alf is now down a relief truck driver. Alf is furious. In Flat 3, Dorrie has big plans for Roger. She has decided that Roger would make a perfect marriage partner for Flo Patterson. Flo is not so sure. Later, in Flat 8, Lucy receives another letter from her parents; they are still definitely coming to Australia. Lucy tells Alf that they will have to stay with them - but Arnold overhears her. Arnold overreacts, of course, and becomes miserable. Maggie decides that, in order to cheer Vera up, she will redecorate Flat 7. Arnold is even more depressed; now the Sutcliffes are constantly arguing about her parents staying in the spare bedroom while they are visiting! Dorrie prepares a mudpack for Flo's face, to help make her beautiful for the high tea that she has arranged for the date with Roger. Aldo and Roma's evening classes are creating problems with the efficient running of the deli, but Arnold tries to avoid another difficult situation. He concocts a story about getting a new job in the Blue Mountains that will require him moving there. Lucy won't feel bad about needing his room as a guest bedroom. Returning to Flat 8, the Sutcliffes believe Arnold's lie - and he tells them that he will be departing in three weeks. [Episode written by Lynn Foster.]

382. (18/09) In Flat 3, Flo falls asleep and leaves the mudpack on her face too long. Her face goes all blotchy. Inspired by the students at tech college, Aldo informs Roma that he has joined NSW Young Liberals. Roma is aghast, as she has just joined the Australian Labor Party. Jack stays the night in the spare bedroom of Flat 5, because Helen is so upset about Jill. In the morning, she confesses that it was Harry Collins who had bashed Jill. Dorrie sends Flo off to the hairdressers to prepare for the arrival of Roger Wotherspoon. When Flo returns, her hair has turned green. Herb has taken it upon himself to invite Ingrid to the high tea, too. Dorrie is unimpressed when she arrives. While watching TV, Herb sees an interview with a little girl who found a lost blue budgie with a wide repertoire of sayings, including "Why wasn't I told?" Mr Perky? It has to be him! Herb rushes off to reclaim Flo's missing pet - and they arrive back in the middle of Dorrie's high tea. The event is totally upstaged by Mr Perky's return, but Flo is delighted! Roger, however, is highly allergic to birds - and he goes off, sneezing uncontrollably, in the company of Ingrid. Dorrie's valiant matchmaking efforts have not had the desired effect, as Flo is still firmly entrenched in the spare room of Flat 3. A weary Helen comes home from work, but collapses in the deli. Roma takes her upstairs to Flat 5 and puts her to bed. In her Point Piper residence, Claire is complaining to Maggie that none of her test results have come through. She is getting impatient, but perhaps her medical condition will improve soon? While they are chatting, Claire delights in mentioning her secret affair with her son-in-law, Earl Goodman. Maggie is horrified! [Episode written by Lynn Foster.]

Flo Patterson's budgerigar, Mr Perky, went missing in Episode #324!

383. (19/09) Doctor LeCross orders Helen back to hospital, but her patient is refusing to go. In Flat 4, Don tells Jack about the train ticket that Vera found in Harry's wallet. Norma tells Arnold the real reason why Dorothy won't marry him: her vibrations find him "too lustful". Arnold is amazed. In Flat 8, Alf mentions to Lucy that he is uncomfortable with her parents finding out that his trucking business is struggling. Arnold has a request to make of Helen. He asks her if she can recommend a job opening for him, and explains why he needs one. Lucy bumps into Norma and tells her about Arnold's new job and Norma is puzzled as to why he hasn't said anything about it to her. Les offers his services to Dorothy, who is still searching for a man. They compose an advertisement to place on the wine bar's community noticeboard. Flat 4 is the destination of a kooky visitor to Number 96: Don's Aunt Amanda, the Baroness von Pappenburg (Carol Raye), arrives out of the blue and dazzles Don, Jack - and everyone! It seems that Amanda recently caught up with her older brother, Sir Arnold Ashton, in Marrakesh. He mentioned that Don had been quite maudlin after the suicide death of Sally, so Amanda decided to drop everything to fly to Sydney and brighten up the world of Don, her "favourite nephew-type person". Even though the Baroness has no money at the moment - she is still awaiting her share of her deceased husband's estate - Amanda had hitched a lift in the private plane belonging to some of her friends. In the deli, Alf tells Aldo about Arnold's new job in the Blue Mountains. Aldo feels betrayed. Arnold builds his confidence to approach Dorothy in the wine bar. Dorothy won't let him get a word in! She keeps apologising to Arnold for breaking his heart. Norma sees Dorothy's advertisement for a marriage partner on the wine bar's noticeboard and she strongly objects to it. Aldo and Roma confront Arnold about his new job. They are deeply hurt that he accepted it without talking to them first. Arnold is upset that they are upset - and he doesn't know how to extract himself from this situation. [Episode written by Lynn Foster.]

Amanda von Pappenburg's brother, Sir Arnold Ashton, was last seen in Episode #290, and his sudden relocation to Morocco was mentioned in Episode #291. Don's Aunt Amanda is inspired by the main character of the 1955 novel, "Auntie Mame" and the 1974 musical, "Mame", with a hint of Dolly Levi, of "Hello, Dolly!" (1969).

384. (20/09) Jack moves into Flat 5 with Helen - as a board-paying guest - because Amanda has moved in with Don and, all of a sudden, Flat 4 is feeling much smaller. Amanda tells the bizarre story of how her third husband, Baron Max Von Pappenburg, was killed while they were on safari in Kenya. Helen decides that she needs to go back to work. On the stairs, she encounters Vera, who tells her about finding Harry's train ticket. Helen says that this information needs to be given to the police. While at her mother's house in Point Piper, Bev makes an unusual discovery: a desk drawer full of unpaid invoices - for things that Claire would never buy! She mentions her suspicions to Earl, who is quick to blame Rod. In Flat 4, Amanda demonstrates her spendthrift nature and is charging all and sundry to Don's accounts. Included is an expensive bed for the guest bedroom. Don is a little disturbed by the extravagance, but Amanda assures him that her inheritance is coming through "any day now". In Flat 5, Helen and Jack discuss the incriminating train ticket. Helen has still not told the police, as Vera had asked her not to say anything for a couple of days. Amanda takes Florence, as she calls Flo, to lunch - and gets her smashed! Harry suddenly turns up! In Flat 7, he tells Vera that he cleared out to retrace his steps, to try and remember his missing days. He has had no luck. Vera tells him that she did finally tell Helen about finding the train ticket to Wilcannia in his wallet. He goes down to see Helen in Flat 5 and pleads for a few more days before going to the police. The hospital finally has the results of Claire's tests: it seems that someone has been poisoning her! [Episode written by Lynn Foster.]

385. (21/09) In Flat 4, Don and Jack struggle to assemble Amanda's new bed. Jack says that they have all been invited to a party being thrown in Amanda's honour at the home of Ozzie and Rita Rhinegold. Amanda arranges for Donald to take "dear Florence" to the party as his "plus one". In Flat 1, Norma is being fitted by a dressmaker while Maggie watches on with a critical eye. Les makes several suggestions, all of them unhelpful. Dorothy wanders through and adds her own ideas. Bev and Earl go to the hospital to visit Claire and they all discuss the poisoning. The next morning, Flo, Don and Jack all have terrible hangovers from the society party. Amanda, however, is bright and cheerful. She is heading out to attend an audition. Bev and Earl reflect on yesterday's hospital visit. Who had opportunity to poison Claire over a lengthy period of time, and what would be the motive? Flo, still nursing her heavy head, arrives very late to the wine bar, to find Norma and Dorothy cleaning up in her absence. Les arrives back from night shift at the hospital, laden with replies to the Lonely Hearts column advertisement he placed in the newspaper on Dorothy's behalf. Jack, Maggie and Don are having a business meeting over drinks at The Cosmopolitan's cocktail bar. Amanda arrives and completely derails their conversation. Dorothy and Les discuss the letters that they have received. Norma comes out in another gown for the fashion parade. Beverly, Rodney and Maggie visit Claire at the hospital. As Don and Jack discuss business in Flat 4, two deliverymen arrive with a baby grand piano, which Amanda had apparently ordered. At Buckingham Lodge, Earl slips Claire's medicine bottle into his pocket. Bev and Rod arrive back from visiting their mother and then Bev and Earl depart for Number 96. Maggie is doing test shots in the wine bar for the fashion show and there is much confusion. In Flat 4, Amanda and Flo are having a marvellous singalong at the baby grand. Amanda had no idea that Florence was so talented! The champers will soon be flowing. Don and Jack walk in to a party atmosphere. Amanda makes an interesting proposal to Flo. In Flat 6, Bev finds Claire's empty medicine bottle in the rubbish bin. [Episode written by Eleanor Witcombe.]

386. (24/09) In Flat 3, Dorrie and Herb are having tea without Flo. She is next door in Don's flat, having a grand old time with Amanda, singing and partying, much to Don's frustration, as he is trying to work. He suggests that it must be time for a tea break. Florence and Amanda decide to head down to Norma's Bar. Flo quickly pops into Flat 3 to collect a handkerchief and Dorrie makes her annoyance known. In Flat 6, Bev steers Earl into the bathroom and suggests he have a shower before they go out. She makes a secret phone call to her brother, Rod. In Flat 2, Aldo is gathering his things to go to his violin class while Roma is preparing for her political meeting. They pass through to the deli, where Don is being served at the counter by Arnold. Both of the Godolfuses start chatting to Don simultaneously about their latest passions. Rod expresses his concern about the medicine container that Bev reported finding in her bin. It had to be Earl that put it there? Don returns from the deli and Dorrie barges through his doorway with a flimsy excuse to visit. While she is there, the Baroness and Florence come rolling in, loaded with champagne. Rod has to make a decision on what to tell Bev about Earl's affair. While they are talking on the phone, Claire arrives home to Point Piper from the hospital. After Rod's shocking news, a distraught Bev stays the night in Vera's flat. Next morning, she goes down to her own flat to confront Earl about the affair. Dorrie and Herb chat to Arnold, Roma and Aldo in the deli. Dorrie seems very jealous of Flo's instant friendship with the Baroness. In Flat 6, Bev packs her bags and leaves Earl. Once again, the noise levels in Flat 4 are unbearable for Don. Amanda and Flo end up entertaining Dorrie, Herb, Arnold and Aldo with an impromptu singalong. Don is furious. He picks up his papers and briefcase and leaves. Earl rings Claire to tell her about Bev's departure. Amanda persuades Aldo to let her work in the deli when Arnold leaves for the Blue Mountains. Back in Flat 3, Dorrie and Herb are doing the housework. Dorrie is still angry with Flo, who seems to have abandoned her old friendships. A family meeting is called at Buckingham Lodge, where Bev is staying temporarily. She, Rod, Claire and Earl all talk about the situation. Bev suddenly announces that Earl has been poisoning Claire - and she has the proof! "What nonsense you speak, my dear deluded girl," says Claire. In fact, it is revealed that Claire has been poisoning herself - and Earl will be leaving "that ghetto in Paddington" and coming to live with her! [Episode written by Eleanor Witcombe.]

387. (25/09) In Flat 7, the topic has returned to Harry's missing 48 hours. Vera urges him to remember, for his own sake, if not for poor Jill Sheridan's. Alf arrives, hoping that Harry can do a truck run for him. A concerned Rod moves into Flat 6 with Bev, leaving Claire and Earl to their Point Piper love-nest. At The Cosmopolitan, Jack and Helen talk about Helen's troubles. In the wine bar, Lucy and the Whittakers talk about the extraordinary antics of Don's Aunt Amanda. Alf comes in and the conversation turns to Lucy's parents, who will arrive in Australia for their visit soon. Helen and Jack arrive at Number 96. Helen continues up the stairs to see Vera as Bev comes out from Flat 6 and literally runs into Jack on the landing. She breaks down in tears. In Flat 7, Helen is curious if Harry can remember anything about his "lost" 48 hours. Jack tries to calm Bev down and, when she has regained some composure, she invites Jack and Helen to dinner. Harry gets back from driving Alf's truck and drops off the keys and logbook to Flat 8. Harry goes into Flat 7 just as Helen is leaving. Vera shows Harry a parcel that arrived for him today. It contain's Jill Sheridan's heirloom ring, the distinctive one that Vera once found in her bed! Lucy comes into Flat 8 to find Alf in the shower, getting ready to head out on another truck run. Harry turns up and offers to go in Alf's stead. Helen and Jack chat about Bev, Earl and Claire as they get ready for Bev's dinner. Vera and the Sutcliffes eat dinner together in Norma's Bar and they chat about Dorothy to Les and Norma. Apparently, Dorothy is off on a blind date; her vibrations had suggested that this person is her "twin soul". Jack, Bev, Helen and Rod chat over pre-dinner drinks in Flat 6. Bev and Rod are planning a few nights away in the snowfields. Suddenly, Jack notices that Helen has passed out! He carries her back to her flat next door and puts her to bed. Harry comes to the wine bar, having finished the truck run. The Sutcliffes head upstairs, closely followed by Vera and Harry. They find a letter shoved under the front door of Flat 7. It is a demand for money! [Episode written by Eleanor Witcombe.]

388. (26/09) Harry's anonymous letter suggests that he may have killed Jill during the time of his amnesia. Dorrie comes into the deli and hears Aldo practising his violin in the parlour of Flat 2. She invites herself through the plastic flystrips. Meanwhile, Herb comes into the shop, all dressed up for an outing, and buys a box of chocolates from Roma. Herb explains that he is off to visit Ingrid. Dorrie and Aldo come through to the shop together - and Dorrie realises that her husband is sneaking off behind her back! She stalks out, fuming. Vera and Harry talk about the ransom letter. He has a difficult decision to make. In Flat 8, Lucy is off to work, leaving Alf watching TV. Arnold is dressed for his early morning run. Vera calls in, just as Arnold is going out. She asks Alf if he could do Harry's shift today. In Flat 5, Helen is still in bed. She and Jack talk about an abortion again. There is a strong possibility that the baby will be affected by the German measles virus, but the decision weighs heavily on Helen. Arnold arrives back from his run but no one is home and he doesn't have his key to get in. Harry tells Vera that he will go and speak with the police. Arnold jogs around to the laundrette, but Lucy doesn't have her key, either. She assumed that Alf would be home all day. The Godolfuses are serving Dorrie in the deli when Arnold arrives in his singlet and running shorts. Dorrie is shocked to see him at work in such a state of undress. Jack is rather stern with Helen as they talk about the baby. Dorrie arrives at Flat 3 to discover that Herb has prepared her a delicious lunch. He is trying to make up for sneaking out to see Ingrid. Arnold is now wearing Aldo's pants and is serving in the deli. Alf comes in from his shift in the truck, needing to speak to Arnold for a few minutes. Arnold asks Aldo for some time off but Aldo says, "Not in those pants!" A frustrated Arnold takes off Aldo's pants - just as Dorrie comes back in for something she has forgotten! Harry goes to the police station. Alf tells Arnold that Helen wants to see him about an important matter. Arnold goes up to Flat 5, where Helen mentions the day that he had asked her about any suitable jobs. She has found him one, but it is in Melbourne! A sullen Harry gets back from the police station and goes upstairs. Arnold is relieved that he no longer has to lie about a Blue Mountains job. He tells the Sutcliffes about the exciting job offer in Melbourne. Jack comes home to find Helen waiting for him to drive her to the hospital. She has decided to have the abortion after all. [Episode written by Eleanor Witcombe.]

389. (27/09) Earl and Claire talk at Buckingham Lodge. She wants to know about all of the unpaid invoices that turned up while she was in hospital. That afternoon, Norma is serving customers in the wine bar when Maggie turns up with her team of workmen, to set up for the fashion parade. Norma puts her foot down and tosses them out. Next morning, in Flat 4, Don brings Amanda breakfast in bed, hoping to have a calm chat about the huge bills she is racking up. He has no luck, which worries Don considerably. In Flat 3, Dorrie and Herb are finishing breakfast. Flo still hasn't joined them, so Dorrie goes to Flo's bedroom to wake her up. "It's all those late nights, traipsing around with the Baroness like a raggle-taggle gypsy...". The Whittakers' breakfast is interrupted by Maggie, who is back with her workmen. Dorothy spins a great yarn about her blind date of the previous night. Unfortunately, her date turned out to be 13 years old! Earl and Claire are in bed. When Earl starts to get up, Claire stops him. Amanda ropes in Florence, Donald and the Evanses to help her to rehearse The Gramophone Girl. Maggie goes to the deli to buy nuts and cheese for the fashion parade and makes a point of inviting the Godolfuses. Claire overhears Earl talking to a woman in Perth on the phone. The fashion parade begins in a crowded Norma's Bar. It goes off well, but Amanda manages to upstage everyone with an impromtu performance! Back in Flat 4, Amanda chats to Donald as he gets ready to go out. Maggie arrives so Amanda makes a grand exit! Maggie admits to Don that, even though they don't like each other, they will have to make the best of it for the sake of their business partnership with Jack. The Whittakers and Dorothy are tidying up after the fashion show, trying to restore some normality. Dorothy's new blind date arrives: a very elderly man. Earl is in deep trouble after he and Claire have a row. She claims to know all about him and throws him out of the mansion. [Episode written by Eleanor Witcombe.]

In 1917, Walter Johnson had a stage production entitled "The Gramophone Girls", which played in several Australian states in 1917. The song "My Gramophone Girl", written by Reginald A. A. Stoneham and sung by Miss Mabel Morgan, featured in the 1918 pantomime, "Jack and the Beanstalk", at Melbourne's Tivoli. "The Gramophone Girl" was also sung by Mercy Morrison in a 1919 "revusical", entitled "The Lion's Roar", at the Gaiety Theatre, Sydney. The tune is later referenced by Dorrie Evans in the 1974 movie, as a song that she and Herb often heard playing on the radio during their honeymoon.

390. (28/09) In Flat 8, Alf tells Lucy that he strongly suspects that Arnold doesn't really want to move to Melbourne for the hotel job that Helen found for him. Lucy is not really listening, as she is so excited by her parents coming to stay. Amanda decides that she can't really work in the deli after all, because the rehearsals for her play are coming up very soon. Roma is pleasantly surprised by some unexpected news: Irving has repaid the $60,000 that she lent him. Aldo is not so impressed since, once again, he is married to a woman who is much wealthier than himself! Arnold tells Aldo that he has found a replacement for his managerial position in the deli. It is someone that he and Dorothy met at catering school. Don wants the partnership to buy some property but Maggie disagrees. Jack sides with Don. To prepare for her overseas visitors, Lucy is on a spring-cleaning binge and it is driving Alf crazy. Next door, in Flat 7, removalists take all of the old furniture, as Maggie had arranged, but they don't have any of the new furniture, leaving Vera with an empty flat. It is expected that the blackmailers will again be in contact with Harry. In the hospital, Helen has finally had the abortion and tells Jack that she is glad that she finally agreed to it. Now they learn of the results of the procedure: Helen will be unable to have more children. For this dire result, she holds Jack fully responsible. [Episode written by Derek Strahan.]

Helen Sheridan's abortion storyline had reflected the contentious international news story throughout 1973: the Supreme Court of the United States' ruling on Roe v. Wade, making a woman's right to an abortion a US constitutional right.

391. (1/10) Flo has some bad news about her room. Dorrie receives a phone call from her daughter, Joan, saying that she and husband, Dennis, will be moving to Sydney soon, so could she please stay in Flat 3 while she does some house-hunting? Dorrie informs Flo that she will have to move out. Rod and Bev arrive back to Flat 6 from their snow trip just as their mother, Claire, turns up. She tries to explain what happened with Earl - and begs both Beverly and Rodney to forgive her. In Flat 7, Harry has a new dilemma. He tells Vera that he has been offered a car sales job at Sotherby Motors but feels that he would be letting Alf down if he takes it. Additionally, there is the likelihood that Harry will be involved in a long court case over Jill's disappearance. Claire relents on her children's trust funds and she gives Rodney the money he needs to purchase the stud farm. He decides that Bev can come with him to the country - and she agrees. Bev goes next door, to Flat 5, to tell Jack the exciting news. Jack is not so sure; he warns Bev that living with Rod might reopen an old problem. Bev insists that Rod has changed; he is no longer infatuated with her. Vera's news is quite different to Harry's. A parcel has arrived, containing a pair of jeans. Was Jill wearing these when she vanished? There is another note from the blackmailers in the package. Vera shows it to Harry. Roma starts coercing Aldo that they should take a cruise together. Aldo refuses to consider it, since it will be Roma's money paying for their tickets! Claire has gone back to Point Piper, so Bev and Rod are finally alone in Flat 6. Rod tries to seduce his sister! [Episode written by Derek Strahan.]

392. (2/10) Jack hears a woman's screaming through the wall of Helen's flat and he races into Flat 6. "Bev!" Jack flattens Rod and knocks him out. Norma is fed up with Les's interest in Dorothy's love life and says that the Lonely Hearts column stuff has to stop. Flo is very upset about needing to move out of Flat 3, and is having trouble finding anything suitable. Jack calls Claire, who immediately comes over to Number 96 to take Rod back to Buckingham Lodge. Rodney will stay with her until settlement of his stud farm, then he will move to the country, far away from Beverly. Meanwhile, Jack and Don have another argument with Maggie over the property that the partnership was purchasing. Maggie is still reluctant about them committing to buy it. Bev comes to see Jack again and asks him to stay the night in the spare room of Flat 6. Jack agrees. Dorrie is tired of Flo's whingeing about having nowhere to live and decides that she needs to find Flo a husband - and have her married off within two weeks. Flo is shocked. Dorrie wonders about the eligibilty of "that nice Mr Thorburn", from Lucy's laundrette. Dorothy talks to the Whittakers about Madelaine, who lives with her. She explains that she and Madelaine "shared a flash of vibrations about something evil" that would be arriving in tomorrow's mail. Les and Norma are concerned that there is something very odd about this Madelaine. Next day, Norma receives a phone call from her ex-daughter-in-law, Anna Maria Russo. She and Salvadore are having a baby! Norma is thrilled but everyone remembers Dorothy's warning. Norma scoffs at the premonition of forthcoming evil. "Dorothy and Madelaine's vibrations must have gone haywire!" - as this morning has brought nothing but good news! In Flat 6, Jack confides in Bev that Helen's procedure to abort the baby has left her sterile. Helen is blaming him for talking her into having the baby aborted. Of course, he will have to move out of Flat 5 before Helen gets home. Bev suggests that he could move into Flat 6 again. It will be "like old times", but in separate bedrooms. Flo collects the mail from the foyer and is dropping the letters off to various tenants. There is an envelope for her: it is a particularly nasty "poison pen" letter. [Episode written by Derek Strahan.]

393. (3/10) Flo has received one of the anonymous letters and Dorrie - as both friend and "conserge" - is very concerned about it. She goes to see Don. After he examines the letter, Don decides to call a meeting of all the tenants. At this meeting, they resolve to inform the police. Don has noticed that all of the letters received have been created on the same distinctive notepaper - and it is of a type sold in Aldo's deli! Helen comes home from the hospital and Harry asks if he and Vera could talk with her. They come to Helen's flat and show her the jeans that were sent to Flat 7. Helen identifies them as belonging to Jill. Harry will take the package, the jeans and the kidnappers' note to the police station. Dorrie does all she can to help Flo, but not in the way that Flo wants. She finds an ad in the newspaper: an old gentleman is looking for a live-in housekeeper. Dorrie volunteers to vet the man before Flo meets him. Flo is feeling very uncomfortable about this idea. Don comes to speak with Helen in Flat 5 about Jack, but she is not willing to discuss the matter. She heads off to work, wanting something different to occupy her mind. Harry decides that he should leave Number 96. He turns himself in to the police. Amanda decides to pawn some jewellery so that she can invest the money in The Gramophone Girl musical. Don is not keen on this idea. Vera goes to stay with Maggie for a few days. After a long day, Helen arrives home from work. She opens the door to Flat 5... and Jill is waiting inside! [Episode written by Derek Strahan.]

394. (4/10) Jill is back, apparently safe and well, but appearances can be deceiving. She tells Helen that her kidnappers kept her on LSD. When she realised that Harry Collins was being blackmailed, Jill vowed to escape. She managed to make her way back to Number 96. Jill starts to hallucinate. Helen phones for Don but only Amanda is in Flat 4, but she comes upstairs immediately. Amanda warns Helen that LSD can cause permanent brain damage. Arnold confesses to the Godolfuses the real reason he is leaving for a job in Melbourne: the Sutcliffes will be needing the spare room when Lucy's parents come to stay from England. Aldo and Roma are upset at Arnold's situation. Jill has another hallucination and Amanda urges Helen to get her sister some psychiatric care. In Flat 8, Lucy receives another phone call from England. It is Lucy's mother, explaining that her father has suffered a heart attack and they can no longer travel all the way to Australia. Lucy wants to go to England instead, but she knows that she can't afford it. Arnold overhears the phone call from old Mrs Harrison and goes out to buy Lucy a return air ticket to London. He presents it to Lucy. At Dorothy's place, Madelaine is composing yet another "poison pen" letter and it is revealed that Madelaine... is actually Dorothy! [Episode written by Derek Strahan.]

Once again, as with the Rose Godolfus scenes involving marijuana (Episode #19), the Australian Broadcasting Control Board insisted that Jill Sheridan not be seen to be enjoying the experience of LSD.

395. (5/10) Arnold and Flo are chatting in the deli. Alf comes rushing in to thank Arnold for his gift of air tickets to Lucy. At The Cosmopolitan cocktail bar, Helen and Don chat over drinks. Dorrie is in the deli buying groceries when Vera comes in with a list for Arnold. She also gives him a little going-away present. Herb is up on the top landing, collecting the garbage, when Dorrie turns up at Flat 8 to offer her services to Lucy. She finds that Flo has beaten her to it! Alf goes into Flat 7 to borrow a suitcase from Vera for Lucy. Helen rings Vera to announce that Jill is back. While she is on the phone, Harry comes back and Vera is overjoyed to see him. Flo and Dorrie squabble over who will complete a certain good deed for Lucy: acting manageress of the laundrette. Vera and Harry relax over a pot of tea. They chat happily together. Don comes home to Flat 4 to find Amanda and Jill singing showtunes. Amanda announces that she has bought Donald "a darling new shirt" and that they are all going to a society party at the invitation of her new friend, Sir Joshua. Jill goes upstairs and meets Harry coming the other way. When Helen arrives home, she finds Jill looking quite happy. In Flat 3, Dorrie and Flo are having dinner as they work out a plan for them both to cover Lucy's laundrette shifts while she is away. Herb arrives late for dinner. He is concerned over something he found in the Whittakers' garbage bin: a newspaper with lots of letters cut out of it. Arnold and Alf take Lucy to Mascot Airport and see her off. Helen calls in to see Harry and Vera in Flat 7. She is apologetic to Harry. The phone rings for Harry and it is Gerald Sotherby offering Harry the car salesman job. Arnold starts to pack his belongings for the Melbourne job. Later that night, Herb is still working in the foyer when Amanda, Jill and Don return from Sir Joshua's party. Jill is exhausted and needs to go to bed, so Don and Amanda escort her upstairs, then leave. Not long after Jill turns in for the night, Helen hears noises and finds her sister having a violent LSD flashback. [Episode written by Ann Duroe.]

396. (8/10) Jack arrives back at Flat 6 while Bev is taking a shower. Helen rushes in from next door. She is distraught. Helen tells Jack that Jill is hallucinating again. In Flat 2, Aldo is practising with his violin as Roma comes in from pottery class. They talk about Arnold leaving. Meanwhile, in Flat 5, Helen and Jack stand helplessly by Jill's bed. There is nothing more that they can do. Next morning, Aldo and Roma are having breakfast. Aldo is dressed up because today he meets Mr Butterfield, the young man recommended by Arnold for his deli position. In Flat 1, Les comes in from night shift and Norma has prepared his breakfast, which Les completely ignores because he is transfixed by a transistor radio that needs repairs. Dorothy arrives to start her work day, but is full of complaints about Madelaine. In Flat 5, Jill is bright and cheerful, and busily cooking breakfast for Helen. She has no recollection of last night's LSD hallucinations! Jack drops in from next door and is puzzled why Helen didn't call for the doctor. Helen shows him that Jill seems fine now. Bev comes out to the landing and tells Jack that Maggie just rang and wants to meet him for lunch. In Flat 2, a nervous Aldo spills coffee all over his trousers and goes to the bathroom to take them off. Of course, this is precisely when Roma brings in Dudley Butterfield (Chard Hayward). Once Aldo regains his composure, they all go through to the deli. Dudley is a flamboyant movie buff and he has plenty of wild schemes for redecorating the shop. At The Cosmopolitan, Maggie and Jack talk business. Maggie has organised for them to inspect a property on the Gold Coast. Maggie leaves just as Helen comes up to Jack's table and they discuss Jill. Meanwhile, Bev and Jill are lunching at Norma's Bar. They chat away to both Dorothy and Norma - until Jill begins hallucinating again! In the deli, Dudley has settled in quickly and is charming all the customers. Helen must come to a difficult decision concerning Jill: she arrives at Flat 5 to find a silent Jill staring into space. Bev comes in from her flat to explain that she has just got off the phone to her family's Macquarie Street physician. Dr Gott's recommendation is that Jill needs to go into a clinic to be monitored professionally. Dudley has finished his trial shift and departs the deli. Aldo and Roma chat about the "poison pen" letters and the cut-up newspaper that Herb found in the Whittakers' rubbish bin. Someone had used it to create the anonymous letters. In Flat 6, Bev tells Jack the latest developments with Jill. Maggie arrives to collect Jack so they can head to the Gold Coast. In the wine bar, Norma is chatting to Dorothy and Les when Dorothy suddenly runs off into Flat 1, saying that Madelaine is calling. Les tells Norma about the incriminating newspaper that Herb found. [Episode written by Ann Duroe.]

Chard Hayward makes his debut as long-running character, Dudley Butterfield. This was not Chard's first appearance, though. In Episode #13, he had played the male hippy who strips down to his underwear in the laundrette.

397. (9/10) In the afternoon, Aldo, Roma and Arnold are all serving in the deli when Bev comes in to buy some frozen food for an easy dinner. On her way out, Bev passes Helen. When the others enquire about Jill, Helen breaks down. In Flat 4, Amanda is getting ready for another of Sir Joshua's parties when her "Darling Donald" arrives home. In Flat 1, the Whittakers again talk about the cut-up newspaper that Herb found. Dorothy comes in and makes a quick phone call to Madelaine, then puts the receiver down beside the phone. She goes through to the wine bar to check something for her. Norma goes over to the phone and introduces herself to Madelaine, but there is only a dial tone. Next morning, in Flat 4, Amanda is having a breakfast of ginseng tablets when Don emerges from his bedroom. Amanda makes the startling revelation that Sir Joshua was a confidence trickster and he has managed to take the rest of her money. In Flat 8, Arnold cooks breakfast for Alf, who is really missing Lucy. The Whittakers make more startling discoveries about Dorothy. Les arrives at Flat 1 late from the hospital. As Norma gives him his breakfast, Les explains that he called into Dorothy's place on the way home and spoke to the caretaker of the boarding house - and apparently Madelaine doesn't even exist! Bev and Helen chat over coffee and Bev asks Helen where she stands with Jack. In the deli, Arnold and the Godolfuses discuss Dudley. He seems to have fitted in well. A now-penniless Amanda sweeps in and announces that she is available to work in the deli after all, and Roma has to break the news that a Mr Butterfield has already been engaged to take over Arnold's position. Don comes in to ask Aldo about the notepaper that has been established as that used by the anonymous letter writer. Arnold remembers that Dorothy Dunlop bought some. In the wine bar, Don, Les and Norma are discussing Dorothy. Don calls out to Madelaine - and Dorothy answers! Jack is back from the Gold Coast and catches up with Helen at The Cosmopolitan. There is much friction between them and Jack gets annoyed. He walks out. In the deli, Arnold tries to explain how the shop's credit card system works to Aldo, but Aldo just won't concentrate. Alf comes in and Aldo tries to escape with him, but Arnold is unrelenting. This is information that Aldo will need to know for when Arnold has left the shop. In Flat 1, Don, Norma and Les discuss Dorothy with Doctor Hawthorne, her psychiatrist. He explains that Dorothy has a split-personality disorder. Dorothy comes in - apparently as Madelaine - and says that she hates Dorothy and is going to kill her! Norma has to go and open the wine bar and Amanda arrives, not as a customer but offering to help. A relieved Norma lets Amanda take over behind the bar and goes back into the flat. Doctor Hawthorne takes Dorothy to his psychiatric clinic. Jack is tired when he arrives back at Flat 6. He goes straight to his room but Bev follows him. She asks Jack if she can go to bed with him. [Episode written by Ann Duroe.]

Dorothy Dunlop's caretaker at the boarding house is possibly Mrs Parallel, who starts getting frequent mentions in scripts, but is never seen onscreen. Around this time, we learn that Dudley Butterfield is a resident at Mrs Parallel's and, eventually, Lorelei Wilkinson will also take a room there.

398. (10/10) Jack firmly rejects Bev's attempts at rekindling their love life. He is "not the answer" to her problems, Jack explains, and he is deeply in love with Helen. In Flat 3, Dorrie and Herb are getting the tea ready as Flo comes in from a shift in the laundrette, covering for Lucy. As for Mr Thorburn, the laundrette franchise's manager, Flo thinks that they get along "like a house on fire", perhaps not the best simile after the recent Paradise Street incident. A rift between Don and Jack is widening; Don has only just found out about the Gold Coast property deal. He realises that Jack and Maggie have been making decisions without his input. Harry and Vera are asleep in Flat 7 when Gerald Sotherby rings about the car sales job. Harry returns to the bedroom to tell Vera that he has decided to take the position. Flo and Herb break the news to Dorrie that it was Dorothy Dunlop who had been sending all of the anonymous "poison pen" letters, including the bomb threat that was found on the night of the bon voyage party in the wine bar! "Why wasn't I told?" asks Dorrie. Flo responds, "We're telling you now..." In Flat 6, Bev and Jack have breakfast in awkward silence. Don calls in and wants to talk with Jack about being left out of the Gold Coast deal. Vera and Dorrie share gossip at the laundrette. Flo arrives with a letter from Mr LeFort, the gentleman to whom Dorrie wrote, on Flo's behalf, about the room he had for rent. Later, Amanda and Florence are singing show tunes in Flat 4 when Flo suddenly becomes maudlin. Dorrie is still so keen to make her find alternative accommodation, Flo tells Amanda. Don comes in with an enormous phone bill. It would seem that Amanda has been having many social chats to friends back in Heidelberg. In Norma's Bar, Harry, Herb and Bev are chatting. Bev announces that she has a new job: showing people around the Sydney Opera House. At The Cosmopolitan, Jack and Maggie discuss Don's reaction to their recent business decisions. Later that day, Bev comes home to Flat 6 and tells Jack about her new job. She also adds that Helen is not interested in romance with him. Harry is awoken by a knock at the door to Flat 7. He answers it in his underwear. Maggie Cameron is there! In typical fashion, she barges inside to wait for Vera. She seems to appreciate what she sees. In Flat 3, Flo and Herb chat about horseracing. Meanwhile, Dorrie is off to interview Mr LeFort about his vacant room. She continues her exaggerated impersonation of Flo. Mr LeFort gets amorous and tries to attack her. [Episode written by Susan Swinford.]

The Sydney Opera House was about to have its official opening, on 20th October, 1973, after 14 years of construction.

399. (11/10) In Norma's Bar, the Whittakers reminisce about Dorothy and how much they miss her quirky personality. Roma comes in to buy some wine for a farewell dinner with Arnold. Flo and Herb wonder about Dorrie's whereabouts. She suddenly turns up at Flat 3, with a story about her horrible experience with Mr LeFort. Arnold, Aldo and Roma are all falsely bright has they eat dinner together, knowing that Arnold is soon off to Melbourne. Norma and Les complain about how shortstaffed they are now without Dorothy. Herb brings a traumatised Dorrie some breakfast in bed. Flo volunteers to do the morning shift at the laundrette. Arnold finishes his packing in Flat 8 and then heads down to the deli for work. Harry comes in from next door to break the news to Alf that he now has a fulltime job at Sotherby Motors. The Godolfuses and Dudley are behind the counter when Arnold arrives at the deli. Dudley asks if he can try on Arnold's manager's jacket and then claims that it suits him much better. In Flat 7, Harry tells Vera about how Maggie made a pass at him. The Whittakers chat about a young lad named Ian, whom Les met at the hospital. Aldo comes into the bar to escape Arnold and Dudley. Dudley shows Arnold that he really doesn't need any help; he understands everything already! Dorrie and Flo have another conversation about finding Flo somewhere else to live. Vera gloats to Harry, realising that she finally outmatched Maggie! It has been quite a while since their feud over Simon Carr. Flo's prayers seem to have been answered. Has she has found somewhere to live? She suggests to Herb that she could stay on with him while Dorrie is off helping Joan. Arnold carries some of his belongings down the stairs, aided by Alf, Vera and Harry. Perhaps Flo could take over Arnold's room in Flat 8? Alf presents Arnold with a farewell gift: a travelling chess set. A gathering in the wine bar, consisting of the Evanses, the Godolfuses, the Whittakers, Flo, Dudley, Vera and Harry is held to say goodbye to Arnold. Aldo makes a touching speech, and there are lots of tears, as Arnold begins his long, lonely drive to Melbourne. [Episode written by Susan Swinford.]

The Vera/Simon/Maggie story arc had ended in a stalemate in Episode #111. It would be reignited in the 1974 movie.

400. (12/10) At the hospital, Ian Daniels (Alan Wilson) admits to Les that he doesn't want to go home. What is the boy so worried about? Maggie keeps riding Don over the Redfern deal losing money. This was the purchase that he had recommended for the partnership to secure. Alf finally has news from Lucy in London. Maggie has a new reason for being angry with Don. Amanda reveals that she knows all about Peter Russell, who is part of an unsavoury chapter in Maggie's past. Amanda threatens to use this information, thus keeping Maggie off Don's back. Les comes up with another brilliant idea. He is full of concern for Ian, whose father is a businessman currently on a work assignment in Germany. Norma warns her husband that he is employed as a hospital orderly and it is not his role to keep interfering in his patients' lives. Despite Norma's well-intentioned advice, Les brings home Ian to be a boarder in Flat 1. At first, Norma is upset, but her attitude softens because Ian is such a likeable and helpful young lad. [Episode written by Ken Shadie.]

Alan Wilson, who portrays Ian Daniels, will return to play a different recurring character, Mark Hobson, from Episode #1083, in scenes incorporated from the spin-off pilot, "A Law To Himself".

401. (15/10) Helen visits Jill at the psychiatric clinic. A maudlin Jill admits that she would prefer not return to Number 96. In fact, she would rather die! Jack, Maggie and Don have another argument about work issues. Maggie doubts Don's capabilities - and Don resigns. Norma is still reluctant to take in Ian as a boarder. His father would be expecting that Ian would be back at the family home by now, and being looked after by their housekeeper. Norma gives in eventually, especially after she finds out that Ian has several unexpected talents around the flat. The place has never looked so neat and tidy! In the deli, Dudley suggests that they drop Arnold's roster completely - and the delighted Aldo and Roma both agree! Dudley meets Don when he visits the deli and Dudley shows definite interest. Norma tells Ian that it is important to telegram his father, who is still in Germany, and tell him exactly where he is. Ian agrees, but he carefully holds a finger down on the cradle of the phone and fakes it. Helen looks for help, both for Jill and for her own problems. She asks Father David O'Brien (Hilton Bonner) to speak with Jill at the hospital. He does and - despite Jill being her usual, rebellious self - she does eventually listen to him. Don has gained a new admirer in Dudley. Aldo, Roma, Dudley and Don have dinner together at The Blue Danube restaurant. Dudley realises that Don has been through some trauma lately and wonders if he could be any help to Don emotionally? Don is grateful but says no. Meanwhile, Helen informs Jack that it is over between them. Maggie tells Norma that she would like to make her a model for "the fuller figure". In Flat 6, Bev again asks Jack to sleep with her. [Episode written by Ken Shadie.]

Father David O'Brien, who is portrayed by Hilton Bonner, was seemingly the same local parish priest first referred to by Helen Sheridan in Episode #351.

402. (16/10) This time, Jack does sleep with Bev, but reminds her that he is still deeply in love with Helen. It is Helen who doesn't want a relationship with him. While life looks rosy for Harry and Vera, things seem to be looking gloomy for Flo. In Flat 8, Alf's brand new boarder, Flo, is trying to be helpful and sends all of Alf's clothes to the laundrette. He has nothing to wear and is extremely upset. Bev starts telling people that she and Jack are an item again. Jack is in a quandary and now considers moving away from Sydney altogether. Alf loses his temper with Flo and throws her out! Vera catches up with Jack to warn him about what Bev has been saying. In Flat 6, Jack confronts Bev about this revelation and she apologises. Jack accepts her apology. Dorrie has cause for alarm. Flo comes back down to Flat 3, once again with nowhere to live. Dorrie decides that Flo must marry Mr Thorburn! In the deli, the Godolfuses are once again arguing about Roma's money and the cruise. Dorrie has completed her shift at the laundrette and arrives home to Flat 3. She discovers Herb lying, unconscious, on the floor. [Episode written by Ken Shadie.]

403. (17/10) Amanda decides to make it her mission to get Don and Dudley together. Jill is ready to leave the hospital. She is quite looking forward to returning to Number 96. Jill asks Father O'Brien if she can talk to him in the future, whenever she needs him. Of course, he says yes. Alf seeks out Flo to offer her an apology for tossing her out as a boarder. Dorrie tells Flo that the doctor informed her that Herb has suffered a slight stroke. Dorrie is at her wit's end with worry. She is "almost completely beresk". In Flat 7, Harry asks Vera to marry him again. Vera is pleased that they are getting along so well, but tells him that they shouldn't rush things. In Flat 3, Dorrie is concerned; she fusses over Herb and takes excellent care of him. Amanda uses every opportunity to matchmate her nephew with Dudley. Don tells her that he is quite happy being single. Helen is amazed when Jill announces that she is going to Confession at the church. Amanda sets up a romantic situation for Don and Dudley, but it doesn't work out as she planned. Maggie has really upset Don this time. Flo tells Dorrie that she is taking a room at Mrs Parallel's boarding house, where Dudley lives. Helen is being stubborn. Jack rings her but she refuses to speak to him. In Flat 3, Dorrie receives a phone call from her daughter, Joan, who announces that they won't be leaving Melbourne after all. This means that Flo can stay. Dorrie and Flo realise the depth of their friendship, which has survived so many of life's difficulties. They are both rather delighted about this arrangement. How will Alf cope with a decision being forced upon him? He receives a letter from Lucy saying that, now that her father has died, they need to sell up and move back to England so that Lucy can care for her elderly mother. [Episode written by Ken Shadie.]

Amanda's continued attempts to get Don and Dudley together takes inspiration from the character of Dolly Levi, in the movie "The Matchmaker" (1958) and the musical, "Hello, Dolly!" (1969). Mrs Parallel is often mentioned in scripts, but is never seen onscreen.

404. (18/10) Two of the building's oldest tenants may be leaving, as Alf digests the contents of his wife's letter. In Flat 1, Ian talks to Norma about his father. He claims that his father, a ruthless business man, doesn't care about him. Les comes in with the mail. There is a letter from Ian's Dad but Ian doesn't bother to read it. Can Jack finally get Helen to reveal the truth? In Flat 5, he tries to talk to Helen but the conversation goes nowhere. Jack meets Father David O'Brien on the way out. The priest tries to offer support but Jack says that Father O'Brien would not really know about the love between a man and a woman, and is thus "hardly qualified to give advice". The priest is taken aback by the outburst. In the deli, Aldo and Roma continue to bicker about the cruise. Ian shows Amanda the letter from his father. She thinks it is a rather nice letter, but Ian says that his father is mean and cruel. Father O'Brien almost tells Helen that he "may not have been entirely right" about Jack. Dudley suggests to Amanda that her attempts to push him and Don together all the time is a mistake. Ian announces to the Whittakers that he intends to join a commune! Jill is in love again, but with whom? Helen has invited Father O'Brien to dinner tonight and, when she arrives home to Flat 5, she is shocked to find Jill, dressed very provocatively, entertaining the priest. Helen takes Jill aside and tells her that her behaviour is not right. Jill protests that Father O'Brien "is a man, after all." [Episode written by Ken Shadie.]

Ironically, the late actor Alan Wilson, who had portrayed Ian Daniels, would leave acting to become a successful theatrical agent. He eventually gave away that occupation, too... to join a commune.

405. (19/10) In Flat 2, Aldo and Roma are dressed to go out when the phone rings. Roma answers it and realises that she is supposed to be at a political discussion group, so she races off, leaving Aldo behind. Dudley comes in, having just closed up the shop. Aldo insists that Dudley will come with him and together they will "go out on the town". In Flat 4, Amanda is just about to leave for her shift at the wine bar when Don arrives home from work. Jack turns up, looking for a suitcase which Amanda has apparently given away. Amanda leaves and Don and Jack discuss business. Jack mentions his intention to go to Melbourne for a break. Helen and Father O'Brien talk about Jill, who has seemingly found an outlet for her needs by helping with his community project. Bev returns to her flat to find Jack packing his belongings to go to Melbourne. Bev tries to cajole him into taking her, too. Maggie rings Jack on the phone. Soon, Jack, Don and Maggie are all arguing over a property deal. In Flat 2, Roma is having a hot drink before heading to bed, when the front door bursts open and Aldo and Dudley, both drunk, come barrelling in. Amanda heads upstairs to Flat 4 and finds a gloomy Don. She tries her best to cheer him up. In Flat 6, Bev makes another attempt at getting Jack to sleep with her. He rejects her. The next morning, breakfast is once again quite strained. The tension is disrupted by a phone call from Claire. She tells Bev that she has discovered Earl's whereabouts: he is in Perth, living with a woman. What else has he been up to? In Flat 2, the Godolfuses bicker over breakfast, with Aldo nursing a hangover. Roma offers him no sympathy. Amanda goes down to the deli, trying to think of a scheme to bring Don and Dudley together. Don suddenly comes in, but he is only after a pack of cigarettes. Jack, on his way to Melbourne, meets Helen on the landing outside their flats. She is cool to him and again suggests that they need to spend some time apart. Maggie spots Amanda drinking at The Cosmopolitan and Amanda can't resist reminding Maggie what she knows about Peter Russell. In the deli, Aldo and Dudley are chatting when Roma comes in with an apology gift for Aldo. Aldo takes her into the flat. He is extremely angry with Roma because Aldo had been the one at fault last night. Dudley is trying to eavesdrop but Amanda suddenly enters, dragging Don in with her. She then departs, leaving Don and Dudley looking embarrassed by her lack of subtlety. Helen and Father O'Brien arrive at Flat 5 and chat for a while. They wonder where Jill is? They find that she has left a note in her room. Helen realises that Father O'Brien has developed romantic feelings for her younger sister. [Episode written by Lynn Foster.]

406. (22/10) Dorrie returns to Flat 3 from her day at lawn bowls. Herb notices that she has somehow managed to get paint on her uniform. She takes the dress off and is standing in the lounge room in just her petticoat - when in walks both Flo and Mr Thorburn! In Flat 5, Helen talks to Father David O'Brien about his feelings for Jill. David has fallen in love with her! Dorrie races into the bedroom to get changed and is profusely apologetic to Mr Thorburn, blaming Flo and Herb for everything! Flo makes tea for everyone but Dorrie grabs Herb and insists that it is time for their customary 6.00pm walk. In fact, they only sit on the stairs outside the front door. Inside, Mr Thorburn avoids Flo's attempts at romance by offering to get the paint out of Dorrie's dress. As a laundrette manager, it is his area of expertise, after all. Bev sinks deeply into self-pity. In Flat 7, Vera is fitting Bev for a new dress, in an attempt to cheer her up, when Harry arrives home. Flo and Mr Thorburn sit and make small talk, having no idea that the Evanses are just outside the front door. Alf has to step around them on his way up to his flat. Mr Thorburn is leaving and finds Dorrie and Herb sitting there. Flo is insulted by Dorrie's interference and stomps upstairs to make Alf's tea. Bev drops in to see Helen in Flat 5, but her real reason for the visit is to find out Helen's feelings for Jack. Alf explains his current dilemma to Flo. After all those years complaining about life in Australia, now that he has to sell up and go back to England for Lucy, he realises that he prefers it here. Alf heads next door to tell Harry that he is selling his trucking business. They go into the kitchen and chat while Harry makes them both coffee. Helen arrives to confide in Vera, telling her how miserable she is. In the laundrette, Bev chats to Dorrie. Dorrie is a bit agitated as Mr Thorburn is there. Flo comes in, with her hair in rollers, and Dorrie takes her through to the office "to help Mr Thorburn", but managing to knock over the piles of money that Mr Thorburn was counting. In Flat 5, Helen is trying to ring Jack but Father David arrives, so she hangs up and they try to contact Jill. Helen is a bit suspicious of Jill's sudden motives for helping others. Jill answers the phone and, just as Helen hands the receiver over to Father O'Brien, Jill hangs up on him. Dorrie is trying everything to match Flo up with "husband material". Dorrie tells Vera all about the blossoming romance between Flo and Mr Thorburn. Flo turns up to do the shift change with Dorrie, just as Mr Thorburn comes in with the exciting news that he has... succeeded in removing the paint from Dorrie's bowling uniform! Dorrie sees a new opportunity and sends Flo off with Mr Thorburn to collect it for her. At Sotherby Motors, Harry has just clinched a deal with two men. He has to leave the room for a moment to get the paperwork - and they lace his ginger ale with something stronger. [Episode written by Lynn Foster.]

407. (23/10) Norma is in Flat 1, being fitted for a new garment by Maggie's dressmaker. Les races in from the wine bar to announce that Amanda is recording The Gramophone Girl in there today! The recording session evolves into a party, as Vera, Dudley, Ian, Herb, Dorrie and Les all join Amanda in the singing. Don and Maggie have another terrible row over a business deal. She slaps him across the face and marches out. Harry arrives back at Flat 7 drunk. Meanwhile, in the kitchen of Flat 1, Ian and Amanda chat about Ian's father while they prepare the wine bar meals. In Flat 3, Dorrie and Herb are both nursing hangovers from the aftermath of Amanda's recording session. Flo comes in and, soon after, Mr Thorburn arrives to take them all out. Herb and Dorrie politely refuse the offer but Flo is quick to accept, then feigns joy that the special invitation is to... a washing machine exhibition! Don is in Norma's Bar doing the account books. Dudley comes in and Amanda suggests that the three of them go to the movies. Maggie arrives and that is a signal for Don and Dudley to leave. She offers an apology to Don but it is an ungracious one. In Flat 7, Vera is angry with Harry for drinking, but he explains how he was duped at the car yard. Next morning, Amanda and Don have breakfast together and Amanda mentions that she has given up her job in the wine bar. She has much higher aspirations for herself and, in any case, young Ian Daniels has been helping Les and Norma. In Flat 1, the Whittakers are also at breakfast. Norma mentions that Ian made an an early start this morning and has taken a bag of washing to the laundrette. While there, Ian and Don are chatting away amicably, with Dorrie hovering around, trying to eavesdrop on their conversation. Mr Thorburn comes into the laundrette with Flo's umbrella, which she left behind in his car. Dorrie sends him around to Flat 3 to return it in person. Vera has to attend an appointment, leaving a depressed Harry alone in Flat 7. He is restless, pours himself a drink - and then smashes the bottle against a wall! As Amanda heads out for a job interview, Maggie comes to Flat 4 with a bottle of whisky for Don. She tells him that she really meant her earlier apology. He is still reluctant to forgive her. Dorrie and Dudley chat in the deli. Vera comes back to find Harry, still despondent and now slumped in a chair. Flat 7 is reeking of alcohol! She doesn't realise that he stopped himself from drinking. Maggie intends to teach Don a lesson. She gets him very drunk and he eventually staggers off to his bedroom to sleep it off. Maggie follows him in - and tries to seduce him! [Episode written by Lynn Foster.]

408. (24/10) Roma and Aldo argue about money in the parlour of Flat 2. Dudley has to come through from the deli to ask them to be quiet, as their angry voices can be heard in the shop. Maggie's revenge on Don was successful. When Amanda arrives home to Flat 4, she finds Don slumped in a chair. He tells Amanda what happened and she goes to find Maggie. Later, Don and Amanda talk over breakfast and Amanda is very kind. In the loungeroom of Flat 1, Ian is making up the couch and folding his sheets when Les comes in with another letter from Mr Daniels that came to the hospital. Norma makes Ian send another cable to his father, explaining exactly where he is, not realising that Ian only pretended to send the last one. Father O'Brien comes to see Helen in Flat 5. They discuss Jill, but there is also a confession from David himself: his intention to leave the priesthood. Dudley brings up a small gourmet package to Flat 4 that Amanda had ordered from the deli. Don suggests that they go to a movie together tonight. He needs to get away from the flat. Maggie sees Amanda drinking in the wine bar - and Amanda again threatens her with the Peter Russell story! Les, Amanda, Ian and Helen chat. Les has to leave for his shift at the hospital and Amanda volunteers to help out again - but just for this one night. Don and Dudley arrive at Norma's Bar separately and Don tells Amanda that they had agreed to meet here before going to a movie. They notice that Helen seems down in the dumps so they sit with her for a while. Norma comes in from the flat, dressed to the nines. She asks if anyone has seen Maggie yet? - and Don and Dudley take their leave. In Flat 2, the topic of consternation between Aldo and Roma is money - again. Still in the wine bar, Amanda and Ian talk about Ian's father. Amanda considers taking on the role of mediator for Ian when Mr Daniels comes to Sydney. Back in Flat 5, Helen has another visit from Father O'Brien. Jill rings the flat, but Helen refuses to pass the phone to the priest. Their movie over, Don and Dudley return to Norma's Bar for another round of drinks. Maggie comes in and Amanda makes her apologise to Don for the previous night's shameful incident. Don and Dudley then leave immediately. In Flat 2, the Godolfuses get ready for bed but their bickering over Roma's money continues. Aldo takes a pill for his indigestion. Up in Flat 4, Don and Dudley have a nightcap and share some pleasant conversation. It is late and Dudley is about to leave. Don asks him to stay the night. [Episode written by Lynn Foster.]

409. (25/10) It is morning in Flat 3 and Dorrie and Flo bring Herb breakfast in bed. Dorrie is still really worried about her husband after his slight stroke of a few weeks ago. In Flat 2, Aldo is also in his bed. Roma brings him a cup of tea, but his stomach pains are no better. Norma, Les and Ian have breakfast in Flat 1 and Ian is being his helpful self. A telegram arrives at the door and Les brings it over to the table. It is for Ian, from his father - and Ian reacts strangely to its contents. Mr Daniels is due home tonight! Norma urges him to ring the house and inform the housekeeper of his father's return. He refuses. Later, at the laundrette, Norma and Bev chat with Dorrie, who is on duty. Norma tells Bev that she is being stupid over Jack Sellars. It is obvious how much Jack cares for Helen. Meanwhile, in his hotel room at Melbourne's Cosmopolitan, Jack is pining over a photo of Helen Sheridan. There is a knock at the door and it is Arnold Feather. This is the hotel where Helen had recommended him for a job. They are pleased to see each other and organise to have dinner together that night. In Flat 8, Alf has finalised the sale of his trucking business. Flo arrives brandishing an aerogramme from Lucy. He heads downstairs to the deli, where Aldo and Roma are chatting, and hands them a grocery list. He has to stock up, as Lucy is arriving back from England - tonight! At lunchtime in the wine bar, Flo, Herb and Bev are chatting to Les and Norma over their drinks. Herb and Flo put in their orders for lunch and Les takes the slip to the kitchen for Ian. Alf also makes a lunch order. In Melbourne, Jack has just placed a trunk call to Helen when Arnold turns up again, this time with an enormous basket of fruit. In Norma's Bar, everyone is wondering what is taking Les so long with the lunches. Les comes in to tell Norma that Ian is gone: he has packed all of his clothes, and left a note to say goodbye. Later that afternoon, Dorrie is trying to change a light bulb in the foyer, while Herb holds the ladder. Dorrie won't let him do the climbing when he is recovering from his stroke. Alf races past, almost knocking Dorrie off the ladder. There is much confusion! Alf goes up to the top of the stairs - and finds Lucy sitting on her suitcases outside their front door. In the deli, Aldo and Roma reach an agreement about their trip; Aldo wants Roma to make all the necessary bookings. Inside Flat 8, Alf and Lucy chat about her trip over a cup of tea. Bev is helping Norma with the wine bar dinners in the kitchen of Flat 1. Les comes in and says that he has been unsuccessful in finding Ian. In Melbourne, Jack and Arnold are enjoying pre-dinner drinks. Arnold breaks down and confesses that he is really missing everyone at Number 96 and says how much he would like to come back. [Episode written by Lynn Foster.]

410. (26/10) Helen and Jill argue over the situation with Father O'Brien. Yes, Jill is in love with the priest, but she knows that he is in love with her, too. After a trip to the bank, Lucy discovers that, the whole time she was away, both Dorrie and Flo have been paying the entirety of their laundrette wages into the Sutcliffes' bank account! Jack is back, and he tells everyone how unhappy Arnold is in Melbourne. In the wine bar, Les arrives with the startling news that the plane that was bringing Ian's father to Australia has gone missing. Jack stresses how important it is that the Whittakers tell the police about Ian. They will be trying to find him. In Flat 5, Helen is close to realising her true feelings; happiness seems within her grasp. Then Jack informs her that he is definitely moving away from Number 96. Helen is upset. [Episode written by Derek Strahan.]

411. (29/10) In Flat 6, Jack announces to Bev that he is leaving Number 96. Bev begs him to stay, but he refuses. Aldo decides that he and Roma need to go on their European trip in two weeks. Roma is horrified. She says that it would be impossible to make all the arrangements in such a short time. Harry is selected by Gerald to audition for a TV commercial for the car yard and he is very nervous. Don tells Dudley that he would like to try living with him in Flat 4. Dudley would prefer leaving things as they are, at least for a while. He will remain a boarder at Mrs Parallel's. Helen Sheridan (Jill Forster) comes to Flat 6 to see Jack, but only Bev is home. Bev announces that she and Jack are back on again! She then adds that Jack has already moved out of the building. Helen is startled by this news. Amanda takes a job in cosmetic sales. Don says that, unbeknownst to Helen and Jack, he has organised a reunion lunch for them both. Can Helen and Jack finally reach a decision about their future? At Don's lunch, they are left alone to talk - and Helen agrees to marry Jack! They are deliriously happy! In the deli, Roma is concerned, perhaps needlessly, for Aldo's health. Why is he so keen to hurry their trip overseas? At Sotherby Motors, Harry gets the part in the TV commercial. Aldo is anxious to have a private discussion with Don. He explains to Don that he has cancer and is dying. He makes Don promises not to tell this news to anyone. Will Don please help him to organise his Last Will & Testament? [Episode written by Derek Strahan.]

Jill Forster replaced Carmen Duncan as Helen Sheridan from this episode due to Ms Duncan's real-life pregnancy.

412. (30/10) Don tells Aldo that he mustn't give up. He needs to get urgent treatment for his cancer diagnosis. Aldo says that he doesn't want to spend the last of his time left in a hospital bed. In Flat 7, Harry is rehearsing the script for his Sotherby Motors TV commercial, helped (or hindered?) by Flo, Vera and Herb. They find it all quite hilarious but Harry is unimpressed by their antics as they continue to send it up.

Harry: Right, now the table can be the car.
Flo: Oh! Look at that.
Harry: Now, I'm the salesman. Vera, you're the lady customer.
Vera: Oh, fine!
Harry: Herb, you're Vera's husband.
Flo: Oh, bully for you, Herbie-Berbie.
Harry: Now Flo, you're Sales Manager of Sotherby Motors.
Flo: Oh, tiggedy-boo! Let's see what I have to say.
Harry: Well, it's a new version. Now, Vera, you're trying to persuade Herb to trade in your old car, right?
Vera: Right. 'Hey Wayne, isn't it about time we traded in our old car, eh? It's rustin' to pieces!'
Herb: 'Yeah, I know, Charlene! But who'd take this heap o' junk?'
Flo: Charlene? Do you know, I knew a girl called Charlene once! Yeah, Scouts' [honour]. She was a real nag. Her hubby ran off with the bar girl down at the Rose & Crown. I'd forgotten all about it.
Harry: Flo, be serious!
Flo: I'm sorry, Harry.
Harry: Well, go on. 'Sales Manager.'
Flo: Ah... Er.
Harry: Well, go on! We haven't got all afternoon.
Flo: 'Now look here, Harry!' Hey, that's your name!
Harry: Of course it's my name. I'm appearing in the commercial as myself. That's the whole idea.
Flo: Oh, I see. Are we really going to see you on the telly, Harry?
Harry: Yes, yes, yes, you are! Now will you get on with it?
Flo: 'Now look here, Harry. We've got a problem. We've been so busy selling new cars, we forgot about the superseded models.'
Harry: 'Oh struth, Boss, we forgot about the superseded models!'
Vera: 'Hey Wayne, cop a load o' that!
Herb: 'Yeah!'
Vera & Herb (together): 'They forgot about the superseded models!'
Harry: 'It's a mad-house here in the yard at Sotherby Motors, folks! And looking around me, I can see row after row of superseded models, all going for a song!'
Flo & Herb (sing together): 'Oh, with a song in my heart... I feel a song coming on...'
Flo: Oh, congratulations, sir! You have just won a superseded model of the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang! All yours, sir!
Vera: Come on, Herb!
Flo: Get on, we'll give you a push!
Herb: Beep! Beep! Beep!

In the deli, Roma shows Aldo all the things she has bought for their trip, but she still tries to persuade Aldo to wait a few more weeks. He refuses. An unexpected visitor arrives at the deli: Arnold Feather, who is in Sydney for an interview about the House Manager job at a new Bali hotel! Arnold also visits with Lucy and Alf. Everyone on the top floor is delighted to see him. Alf tells Harry that he doesn't want to return to England, but he hasn't yet told Lucy. Harry mentions this to Vera, who immediately tells Lucy. In Flat 4, Amanda is beside herself. After selling a lot of cosmetics using her samples, she tries to place the order for her customers. She discovers that the firm is bogus, and she has been swindled out of the large amount of money that she spent on the sales kit. Amanda decides to start making her own cosmetics. Arnold discovers that the deli's account books are in disarray. He bawls out Dudley, who is very apologetic and promises to do better. In Flat 8, Lucy has heard some surprising news about Alf. She confronts him, demanding the truth about how he feels about moving back to England. Alf admits that he has no intention of going back: Lucy must choose between him or her ailing mother. [Episode written by Derek Strahan.]

The dress worn by Vera Collins in this episode is the same garment that is ripped open by bikies in the prologue of the 1974 movie.

413. (31/10) Father David O'Brien is still fighting his feelings for Jill. He tells her that they must not see each other again. Flo comes up with the idea of a walkathon to raise funds for the Autistic Children's Association. Jill has a surprise in store for Bev: Jill announces that Jack and Helen are engaged to be married. Bev is very upset and heads to the wine bar, where she gets very drunk. She picks up a man and goes off with him. He robs her. Dorrie makes another attempt at matchmaking Flo and Mr Thorburn, and it is another dismal failure. In Flat 8, Alf reiterates that he will not be returning to England and Lucy does not know what to do. Her mother is expecting them. Ian finally turns up at Flat 1 and promptly faints from hunger! Once revived, he admits to Norma and Les that he has been squatting with some other young men, but they were always out and there was never any food in the house. The Whittakers explain that his father's plane has gone missing. Ian is unconcerned. Jill goes looking for Father O'Brien and tells him that she will be returning to Wilcannia for good. He is distraught. At the laundrette, Mr Thorburn offers Lucy the chance to buy into the franchise at the Paddington site. She should be able to clear $200 a week. She finds it to be a very attractive proposal but regrets that she cannot take it up because she and Alf are moving back to England. She chooses not to tell Alf about the offer. Father O'Brien turns up at Flat 5 to see Jill. He drops a bombshell. He says that he has decided to leave the priesthood - just for her! [Episode written by Derek Strahan.]

The walkathon to raise funds for the Autistic Children's Association was an actual event, attended by Bunney Brooke, Ron Shand and Pat McDonald (in character as Flo, Herb and Dorrie) and later covered by the media. In the scripts, it is mentioned that most of the residents of Number 96 donated 20 cents per mile each, while the Whittakers donated 75 cents per mile (becoming a plot point). The Baroness Amanda Von Pappenburg insisted on a generous $2 per mile. The walkathon itself will be featured in Episode #429.

414. (1/11) Aldo is getting very irritable, due to Arnold's constant nagging about the deli not being run properly. Arnold is puzzled; is that the real reason, or is something else playing on Aldo's mind? In Flat 4, Amanda is brewing up her own range of cosmetics in the kitchen - and Don is horrified. As she works, she relates to Don the intriguing story of Maggie's encounter with Peter Russell. News comes through that the crashed plane has been located. Les is able to confirm that Ben Daniels, Ian's Dad, has survived! Again, Ian is strangely unaffected by any news about his father. Amanda and Jack are talking about the partnership. Amanda feels that Jack should know about Maggie's attempt to rape Don when he was inebriated. Jack is furious. In Flat 7, Harry again asks Vera to marry him, but she politely turns him down once more. Don has prepared Aldo's Last Will and Testament. He takes it to Flat 2, where Aldo signs it and Arnold witnesses it. Arnold wonders why the urgency on Aldo getting his will finalised. While some of the residents feel like celebrating, sadness looms for others. A phone call comes through for Arnold: he has been given the job at the hotel in Bali. Aldo takes Arnold aside and confides in him that he has terminal cancer. They do not realise that Roma has overheard the conversation. [Episode written by Derek Strahan.]

415. (2/11) Alf is being stubborn in Flat 8. He finally hears about Mr Thorburn's tempting offer of buying into the laundrette franchise, but Lucy is determined to keep a promise to her mother and return to England. Alf is refusing to go. In Flat 3, Dorrie is again trying to convince Flo that she should find a husband. She pushes the idea of Mr Thorburn again but Flo reveals that Mr Thorburn recently became engaged. In the deli, Aldo is talking excitedly about the forthcoming European trip, but Roma has secret worries. She had overheard Aldo mention terminal cancer and now she has to persuade him that it is not a good time to go overseas. Jack calls in on Helen in Flat 5. They chat for a while. He mentions that Bev has gone to stay with her mother, Claire, to recover from the shock of being robbed the other night. When Jack leaves, Helen asks Jill how serious she is about Father David O'Brien. The Godolfuses explain shop routines to Dudley. Flo comes in to see Roma and they go through to the flat, where Flo is keen for Roma to sponsor her in the walkathon. Meanwhile, Dorrie arrives in the deli and gets Aldo and Arnold to sponsor her in the walkathon. At their office, Maggie, Jack and Don discuss business. Jack gets extremely annoyed with Maggie and Don taking verbal swipes at each other's business accumen. Jack threatens to dissolve the partnership if they can't stop arguing. In Flat 8, the Sutcliffes are just sitting down to lunch when Arnold drops in to ask if he can have his room back. He has decided not to take the job in Bali. Helen and Jill are having a row in Flat 5 over Father O'Brien. Jack arrives and puts an end to it by insisting that Helen leaves with him. In the deli, Arnold is trying to go through the books with Dudley. Don arrives and asks Dudley out but Arnold reminds him that Dudley can't shut the deli early. Business always comes before pleasure, to coin a phrase. In Flat 2, the Godolfuses are discussing their upcoming trip, when Arnold comes in to ask if he could stay on as Manager. Roma heads out into the deli and Aldo informs Arnold that he has left him a 50% share of the deli in his new will. Flo encounters Maggie on the landing outside Flat 4 and cajoles her to sponsor her in the walkathon. Maggie goes into Don's flat to ask him to dinner, attempting to bury the hatchet. Don refuses her invitation. Just then, Dudley arrives to tell Don that Arnold won't let him get off early from his shift at the deli. Maggie says that she will take both of them to dinner, thus thwarting Don's attempt to avoid socialising with her. In Flat 3, Flo, Dorrie and Herb discuss their progress on the walkathon planning. Later that night, as the Godolfuses get ready for bed, Roma makes another attempt at getting Aldo to agree to having a medical checkup. Still he refuses. Don, Maggie and Dudley's dinner at The Cosmopolitan has gone on late into the night. They see Jack and Helen, who are just leaving. Don needs to head off, but Dudley elects to keep the party going with Maggie, much to Don's annoyance. Back at Number 96, Helen invites Jack in for a nightcap. They find Jill inside Flat 5; she announces that Father O'Brien is definitely going to leave the priesthood so they can be married. In Flat 8, Lucy and Arnold are celebrating Arnold's return with a customary supper of Ovaltine. Alf arrives home a little merry, but still definite that he will not be moving to England. [Episode written by Eleanor Witcombe.]

416. (5/11) In Flat 1, at breakfast time, the Whittakers are having breakfast with Ian, when a telegram arrives. It is from Mr Daniels, informing Ian that he will be arriving in Sydney soon. In Flat 7, Vera and Harry are in bed together when they hear a knock at the front door. It is Helen, who has come upstairs to ask Harry to talk to her sister, Jill. They seem to have a connection. Maybe he can make Jill see reason about Father David O'Brien? Vera suggests to Helen that perhaps she shouldn't interfere. The Sutcliffes are again debating returning to England. Alf is still very serious that he doesn't want to go. Les, Amanda, Alf and Harry all chat in Norma's Bar while Ian and Norma are serving customers. Everybody - except Alf - is in good spirits. Jack comes to The Cosmopolitan to have lunch with Helen. She wants to turn the conversation to Jill's situation, but Jack dismisses her concerns as none of Helen's business. Amanda and the Whittakers discuss ideas for a TV commercial. Amanda goes back out to the kitchen of Flat 1 to chat to Ian. He is miserable about his father's imminent return and pleads with Amanda to convince his Dad not to take him home. He much prefers living at Number 96. Father O'Brien is about to receive advice from well-meaning friends; how will he react? First up is Jack, who tries to pre-empt Helen's upcoming lecture. In Flat 4, Amanda has commandeered Don's kitchen, once again cooking up her homemade cosmetics. She creates a terrible mess. Les turns up and the two of them take everything down to the cellar. Ian Daniels rings his father's secretary and tells her to pass on the message that he never wants to see his father again. Norma overhears the call. They chat about the situation, then Norma tries to convince Ian to see things her way. Alf bumps into Harry and Vera on the stairs and invites them into Flat 8 for drinks. They go inside, where Lucy is very upset about not being in England with her ailing mother. That evening, in the wine bar, Amanda, Ian, Harry, Vera, Jack and Helen chat over drinks with the Whittakers. Helen needs to head off for an early night. Later, the Sutcliffes are preparing for bed in Flat 8, when the phone rings. It is Kevin Brinkman, their son-in-law, with the news that Ethel has just had the baby: a little brother for Garth and Debbie! Father O'Brien comes up to Flat 5 to visit Helen. He tells her of his plans to leave the church and marry Jill. [Episode written by Eleanor Witcombe.]

417. (6/11) In Norma's Bar, Amanda has ordered champagne for all as they salute the birth of Baby Brinkman, the Sutcliffes' new grandchild. The Whittakers, Jack, Don, Harry and Vera are all there. Maggie arrives, with photos from Norma's model shoot for the Fuller Figure Fashions spread, and soon joins the party. When Vera and Harry head upstairs, Jack, Amanda, Les and Maggie decide to go off to an exclusive gambling den, The 39 Club. Don won't be going as he needs to chat to Aldo. He goes to Flat 2 to discuss Aldo's will. Roma overhears the conversation between Don and Aldo but pretends that she didn't. Don goes through into the deli, looking for Dudley, but Arnold is there instead. Arnold explains that he won't be leaving after all, due to Aldo's health. Is Dudley out of a job? At The 39 Club, Jack, Amanda, Les and Maggie are having a great night gambling, with Amanda doing particularly well. Vera and Harry are having a much quieter night playing cards in Flat 7. The Godolfuses and Arnold are eating dinner together, but Aldo gets ill and has to rush out. Arnold tries to tell Roma that she should not be worried, not realising how much she knows. There are disastrous consequences for going to a gambling den: The 39 Club is raided by the police! In the wine bar, Norma sends Ian to bed. She is just closing up when Ben Daniels (John Trenaman) arrives and wants to see his son. Ben and Ian argue and Norma tries to intervene, eventually asking Mr Daniels to leave. In Flat 7, Vera and Harry are awakened in the wee hours by a phone call. It is Jack, ringing from the police station, where he, Maggie and Les are being held for participating in illegal gambling. Somehow, Jack explains, they managed to lose Amanda during the raid. In Flat 1, Norma wakes early and finds Ian sobbing. As she comforts him, she realises the time and the fact that Les has not returned home from his outing with Jack, Amanda and Maggie. Arnold is heading out on his morning run and encounters Jack, Maggie and Les arriving back at Number 96. Later, in the deli, Arnold urges Aldo to see his doctor before embarking on the upcoming European trip. In Flat 4, Don hosts an impromptu coffee morning with Maggie and Jack, who catch him up on their big gambling escapade. Jack announces that he will be flying out to the USA for business later today. Amanda finally arrives home, dressed in a cleaner's outfit. The pockets of her overalls are filled with cash: Amanda's abundant winnings from the night before! Meanwhile, in Flat 1, the Whittakers are having breakfast with Ian when Ben arrives at the door with a policeman. Ben insists on taking Ian immediately. [Episode written by Eleanor Witcombe.]

Originally, "The 39 Club" was an exclusive English organisation for commercial travellers, representatives and agents in the menswear trade, dating back to World War II, when such gatherings in London were limited to 39 people. (Also of note is Sydney's "The 729 Club", a licensed bar in St Leonards, tradionally patronised by members of the "pioneering days" of Sydney radio, television and advertising industry. Channel TEN associates were also included once the station debuted. It had poker machines but wasn't known as a gambling den.)

418. (7/11) In Flat 3, Dorrie, Herb and Flo chat about the upcoming walkathon, including the importance of "clean living". Flo must give up her cigarettes if she is to be fit enough for a long day of walking. They hear Don at his front door and race out onto the landing to ask him and Jack to sponsor them. Don explains that they just missed Jack, who is off to the USA. Amanda and Dudley chat in the deli. Dudley will be staying on, even though Arnold is keeping the Manager position. Flo comes in and asks Amanda to sponsor her, and receives a most generous $2 per mile! In Flat 1, Norma talks through the situation with Ian and Ben. During this meeting, Norma realises that Ian is only 16 years old - and never should have been working in a licenced wine bar. Ben departs, with Ian in tow. Norma and Amanda chat in the wine bar, and Les comes in from his court appearance. Amanda gives him the cash to cover his fine. Herb wanders in, looking for walkathon sponsors. In Flat 5, Jill and David talk about matters of the heart. Over lunch in Flat 3, Dorrie, Herb and Flo compare their sponsor sheets for the walkathon. In Flat 4, Les and Amanda pack her homemade cosmetics into boxes, but they are disrupting Don, who is trying to work. Jill turns up at the front door, wanting to see Amanda. At the Daniels' house, Ben tries to tell Ian about his mother, but he refuses to listen. Herb is chatting to Dudley in the deli when Dorrie and Flo arrive, having been to a bowls tournament. Norma comes in. Dorrie and Flo offer to help cook for the wine bar. Jill goes to the community centre to see David. She asks him to take her out, and to call for her at 7.00pm. In Flat 4, Amanda and Les are preparing to take more cosmetics stuff down to the cellar. Dudley arrives and Don breaks the news that an old friend, his former lover, Bruce Taylor, is coming back from overseas. Ben visits the wine bar again and explains to the Whittakers that he seems unable to communicate with his son. Would they please help him talk to Ian? It is 7.00pm and David arrives at Flat 5 for his date with Jill. Amanda is on the landing and tries to prevent him from entering the flat. "Jill is expecting me!" he says, pushing past her. David goes through to Jill's bedroom and finds her in bed... with Dudley Butterfield! [Episode written by Eleanor Witcombe.]

419. (8/11) Jill has been very calculating in her recent outrageous behaviour, allowing poor David to find her in bed with Dudley, but the misguided ruse was mostly Amanda's idea. In Flat 8, Lucy and Arnold are having dinner when Alf arrives home. Dorrie and Flo are quite out of their depth making wine bar meals in the kitchen of Flat 1. Dudley arrives in the nick of time - and saves the night! Helen comes home to Flat 5 to find Jill very upset. She explains that she has "ended it" with David. Next morning, Dudley comes to tell Helen about what happened last night with Jill. It seemed to have the effect on David that Jill wanted. In the light of day, though, is Jill okay? Dudley leaves and Jill comes out of her bedroom. Helen races over to comfort her. Flo chats to Arnold in the wine bar. Roma comes in and tells Arnold that Aldo is still in bed with a headache. As Flo is leaving, she mentions to Arnold that she would like his help with some exercises to help her train for the walkathon. Arnold goes to Flat 2 to see Aldo, just missing Dorrie, who is looking for Arnold. Arnold again tries to convince Aldo to see a doctor. Meanwhile, Dorrie is earbashing Roma. When Arnold returns, Dorrie pounces on him for some exercises to help her to train for the walkathon. Arnold suggests that she and Mrs Patterson can do the exercises together. Dudley realises that he must explain his motives for helping with Amanda's plan. He visits Father O'Brien to apologise. Jill is leaving for Wilcannia, but calls in to say goodbye to Arnold. They are both very upset about missed opportunities. The Godolfuses chat with Dudley in the deli. A phone call comes in for Dudley. It is Don - and something he says has upset Dudley. Does Don have another man in his life? In Flat 3, Arnold is putting Dorrie and Flo through their paces with some exercises. The two women are exhausted, when Herb comes in. They complain that Herb "is not training seriously", so he does an effortless cartwheel across the room. Everyone else is stunned! In Flat 8, Alf cannot bear seeing Lucy so upset all the time and agrees that he will accompany her back to England. David calls into Flat 5 to see Jill but Helen explains that she has already left for Wilcannia. Helen herself has to make a work trip to Adelaide. David admits that he may have misjudged Helen's motives regarding Jill. Dorrie and Herb are about to sit down to dinner in Flat 3, but they are being kept waiting by Flo, who is having a secret ciggie on the loo! Arnold and Dudley talk about deli matters when Roma races into the shop: Aldo has collapsed! [Episode written by Eleanor Witcombe.]

Ron Shand's cartwheel was a regular feat from his old Vaudeville routine. He was called upon to repeat it "The Mike Walsh Show" and the like. This episode marked Candy Raymond's abrupt exit from the series as Jill Sheridan. Scripts had been hastily rewritten to accommodate illness (a kidney ailment), with the hope that Candy would eventually return. Jill will get namedrops in future episodes and even offscreen telephone calls. A tragic Sheridan family mystery also gets uncovered early next season.

420. (9/11) While shopping in the deli, Alf is still miserable about leaving his friends to go back to England. Dudley tells the Sutcliffes about Aldo being rushed to hospital with a medical emergency. Amanda is cooking for the wine bar, but has turned the kitchen of Flat 1 into utter chaos. Ben has brought Ian back to work in the wine bar. They have made an agreement: Ian can work for the Whittakers for two weeks - in the kitchen, of course, not in the bar - but then he has to go back to school and finish his education. Roma tells Arnold that she actually knows that Aldo has terminal cancer, having overheard several conversations. Alf receives a letter from Kevin in Darwin. The Brinkmans are calling the baby boy Alfred Jr, after his grandfather. This doesn't quite have the anticipated effect. Alf is now even more upset; because they are going to England soon, he'll probably never see the boy in person! Things are still strained between Ian and Ben. Norma tries talking to Ian, while Amanda attempts to counsel Ben. Don reassures Dudley that there is nothing between him and Bruce Taylor, who is returning to Sydney soon. Dudley thinks that it is best for them to "wait and see". Ian confides in Amanda that he has no intention of returning to school and will be joining a commune. In the deli, Arnold has a message from the hospital for Roma, but he is reluctant to pass it on. Aldo's doctors do not expect him to last the night. [Episode written by David Sale.]

421. (12/11) In Flat 3, Dorrie tells Herb that the walkathon route has had to be extended. It will now go from Paddington all the way to Parramatta. Even with all their preparations, they will never make it! In Flat 7, Harry again proposes marriage to Vera but she refuses. Father David O'Brien is in the wine bar, getting smashed. He tells Norma about how Jill is the love of his life and Norma commiserates. David just can't live without Jill. Ian runs away from Flat 1, so Amanda dresses as a hippy and goes in search of him in some likely places. Vera receives a letter containing grave news, which awakens dark memories of her past. Her stepfather, Neville De Groot, has written to say that Vera's mother has passed away in South Africa. Vera is inconsolable, but she manages to tell Harry that De Groot was "a monster". Despite her enthusiastic efforts, Amanda has had no luck finding Ian. Later that night, while sleepwalking in Flat 3, Herb inadvertently climbs into bed with Flo! He will have some explaining to do. Meanwhile, in Flat 7, Vera also has a restless sleep. She has a nightmare about her stepfather. [Episode written by David Sale.]

422. (13/11) Next morning, Dorrie is horrified when she finds Herb and Flo in bed together in Flo's room. Herb is at a loss to explain and Dorrie won't listen to reason. Dorrie announces that she intends to divorce Herb. Bev arrives back at Flat 6, having spent some time with her mother, Claire, at Buckingham Lodge. She is "ready to make a fresh start". In a flood of memories, Vera reveals to Harry that her stepfather had raped her when she was 13. De Groot's letter had brought it all back to her. In the deli, Maggie invites Dudley to a party and he agrees to go. He later wonders why he accepted the invitation and realises that it was probably because he knew that it might irritate Don. At the hospital, Aldo regains consciousness and he immediately asks the staff to contact Arnold Feather urgently. Dorrie desperately wants Don's assistance, and in his official capacity in his capacity as her solicitor. Don is amazed that Dorrie wants a divorce. Little does he realise that he will soon have his own problems of the heart. Arnold races to Aldo's side. Still convinced that he is dying, Aldo tells Arnold that he must take care of Roma for him. Vera's recurring nightmares about De Groot are having a detrimental effect on her attitude to Harry. She becomes cold and remote. At the office, Maggie hears that Bruce Taylor is returning and she explodes at Don for not telling her. Don defends himself by reminding her how unreliable Bruce can be; he may not even show up. Vera has to travel to Palm Beach for a client's fitting. Harry wants her to come straight back tonight, but Vera intends to stay there overnight. In Flat 3, Flo tells Dorrie that she saw Herb sleepwalking the night before. Dorrie refuses to believe it. Bev has been invited to dinner in Flat 4 by Don. While they are eating, there is a knock at the door - and Bruce Taylor (Paul Weingott) walks in! [Episode written by David Sale.]

Paul Weingott returns as Bruce Taylor. He was last heard in a voiceover of a letter to Don Finlayson in Episode #35. Bruce now sports a beard.

423. (14/11) Bruce expects to be staying in Flat 4 with Don. Don has to explain that it is impossible because his Aunt Amanda is staying with him, in the spare room. In any case, although Don is pleased to see him again, after such a long time, he simply doesn't want Bruce around. Alf has organised for Arnold to take over the lease of Flat 8 when he and Lucy move back to England. While working with Dudley in the deli, Roma tells him that Aldo has cancer - and Dudley is aghast. In Flat 1, Les suddenly remembers the name of the hippy commune that Ian was talking about. Ben and Amanda set off to find him. Bruce, still looking for a convenient place to stay, moves into Flat 6 with Bev. At the hospital, Don tells Aldo that Roma knows that he has cancer, and that it's terminal. Ian's newly-gained freedom may not be what he expected. When Amanda and Ben find him, Ian is in a very bad way: he is half-starved and under the influence of some kind of drug. They take him back to his father's home, a rather expensive beachhouse, where Ian relates some recent, terrible experiences. Ian thanks Amanda for saving him, but she is quick to point out that it was Ian's father who led the search. Maggie renews an old acquaintance; she goes to see Bruce and reminds him of how influential she is in the field of fashion photography. Maggie tells Bruce that he "ought to be nice" to her, or she'll see to it that he doesn't work professionally in Sydney again. Don approaches Dudley in the deli and offers for them to start up again where they left off before Bruce's return, because it now obvious to Don that Bruce means nothing to him. Dudley agrees, but is not ready to move into Flat 4 with Don just yet. Don takes Roma aside and tells her that Aldo now knows that she knows that he is dying. Maggie and Bruce go to bed together in Bev's spare room in Flat 6. Maggie boasts that, without her help, the only industry that Bruce could make it in is... pornography. Ian chats to Dudley in the deli about education. Ian has absolutely no interest in returning to school. Dudley says that he has always regretted choosing catering school over university. With a proper education, Dudley wouldn't be just "slinging hash". In Flat 8, Lucy receives a telegram from her mother, telling her and Alf not to come to England, after all, because she is getting married! In Flat 6, Bruce wants to get his photographic career up and running again. He asks Bev if she would pose nude for him - and she agrees. [Episode written by David Sale.]

424. (15/11) A letter arrives for the Sutcliffes, elaborating on Lucy's mother's recent telegram. Mrs Harrison is marrying a man she has known as a friend for many years. They are doing it "for each other, for the company, not love." Lucy is worried that it is a pretence just to stop her and Alf from having to uproot and return to England. Alf says that, if that is the actual case, there is still nothing they can do about it. In Flat 3, Dorrie and Flo witness Herb sleepwalking. They decide to follow him. Roma visits Aldo in his hospital room. She tells him that she knows about the cancer. They have their first honest conversation since Aldo's illness befell him. On the streets of Paddington, Dorrie and Flo manage to lose the sleepwalking Herb. When they finally catch up to him, Herb is walking a strange poodle on a leash. Flo notices that there is an address on the poodle's engraved dogtag and she takes it back to its home. Dorrie finally admits that she realises that Herb probably climbed into Flo's bed accidentally. There was no "candlestine relationship" after all, and she will no longer be pressing divorce charges. Vera returns to Number 96 from her stay in Palm Beach and confesses to Harry that she really wanted to come home the night before. Alf has finally found a new job: he signs up to be a taxi driver for a man named Bob Jones. Roma finally convinces Aldo to agree to having an operation on his cancer if anything can be done to save him. Lucy commits to taking on the franchise on the laundrette, as organised by Mr Thorburn. In Flat 3, Dorrie organises Flo and Herb to undergo training with her for the walkathon, under the guidance of Arnold. She also tells Herb about the sleepwalking, and the poodle incident, but Herb remembers none of it. Doctor Magnus, at the hospital, has discovered that Aldo not only lied about having been examined previously by his own doctor, but also about the supposed diagnosis. Aldo admits to Roma that he had been too scared to see the doctor, but he knew that he had cancer. Roma steels herself for the doctor's verdict. Will Aldo's fears be realised? Doctor Magnus says that it is definitely not cancer. Aldo has a stomach ulcer, and it is an operable condition. Next morning, Dorrie and Flo can find no sign of Herb in Flat 3. He must be sleepwalking again. Herb's pyjamas are in a pile on the landing, just beside the front door. Wherever Herb is, he is stark naked! [Episode written by David Sale.]

425. (16/11) Dorrie and Flo take Herb's pyjamas inside Flat 3 and get changed out of their own bed attire so they can look for him. Meanwhile, Herb is coming down the stairs above them, completely naked. He goes to Flat 4 instead and knocks on the door. Amanda opens it and is surprised to see Herb standing there in the altogether. He thinks that he has arrived at a massage parlour and Amanda swiftly takes him inside. Dorrie and Flo, now dressed, race downstairs to look for Herb. In Flat 4, Amanda wraps the naked Herb in her eiderdown. She guides Herb back to the unlocked Flat 3 and puts him into bed. Bruce finds himself in great demand in Flat 6. Firstly, Bev invites Bruce to come to bed with her. He asks if she would do some more nude modelling for him but she says no. She goes into her bedroom alone and the phone rings in the loungeroom. Bruce answers it. It is Maggie, insisting on Bruce coming to see her. He leaves the flat without telling Bev. In Flat 3, Flo and Dorrie admit defeat. Dorrie is going "completely beresk" about Herb's disappearance. She goes to her bedroom - and there is Herb, sleeping like a baby! At Maggie's place, Bruce and Maggie are in bed. Maggie suggests that Bruce should move in permanently. In Flat 1, the Whittakers are having breakfast when Amanda drops by. She is on her way out to buy sticky labels for her homemade cosmetics. She is taking out the jars to show them - and, inadvertently, Norma ends up spreading the contents of one jar onto her toast, thinking that it is creamed honey. Dorrie and Flo are tallying up their walkathon sponsors in Flat 3. Herb wanders out from the bedroom, fully rested, but oblivious as to what had happened to him in the wee hours of the morning. In the wine bar at lunchtime, Les, Don, Amanda and Ben are chatting. Les is talking about his latest "get rich" scheme, this time a door-to-door sales business. Amanda notices some high society friends from England, who are drinking in the bar; she introduces everyone to the Duke and Duchess of Bedford (Themselves)! In a quieter moment, Ben invites Amanda to visit his beachhouse for the afternoon. Dudley is serving in the deli when Herb comes in. Dudley knows all about this morning's sleepwalking incident. Bev comes in to buy some groceries. She mentions that Bruce didn't come home that night. In Flat 3, Dorrie and Flo are doing their training exercises for the walkathon. Flo looks some of them up in a book and realises that one of the exercises is actually for enhancing bust size! Maggie arrives at Flat 6, and tells Bev that she is looking for Bruce. Maggie makes a point of mentioning to Bev that Bruce had spent the night with her. That afternoon, Ben and Amanda chat on the patio of the Daniels' beachhouse. Amanda urges Ben to face up to his responsibilities regarding his son. Dorrie, Herb and Flo call into Norma's Bar, on their way to the Senior Cits, and Norma wraps up a bottle of wine for them to take with them. Les arrives back at the bar with his pants ripped open and carrying only the handle of his briefcase of samples. A dog attacked him as he was going door-to-door. In Flat 6, Maggie and Bev are waiting together for Bruce to turn up. When he does, he informs Maggie that he won't be moving in with her. [Episode written by Ken Shadie.]

This episode features cameo appearances by the real-life Duke & Duchess of Bedford, who are playing friends of Baroness Amanda Von Pappenburg. They were said to be visiting Sydney from England and drop in to "Norma's Bar", hoping to see Amanda. Ian Russell was the 13th Duke of Bedford. His wife, Nicole, was known as the Duchess of Bedford. The famous nude portrait of Norma was discreetly removed from the set for the filming of this scene.

426. (19/11) Helen arrives home from her Adelaide trip. She is unpacking in Flat 5 when there is a familar knock at her door: it is Jack, who presents her with an engagement ring, which features an enormous diamond. In Flat 8, Lucy and Arnold are having dinner when Alf returns from his first shift in the taxi. He regales them with several bizarre stories of quirky passengers. Roma goes to visit Aldo in the hospital. Helen and Jack are having dinner at The Cosmopolitan and Jack finally realises that Helen doesn't really like the ring. She would prefer something less pretentious. Jack tells her to go and get it changed for whatever style she wants. In Flat 6, Bruce and Bev again chat about Maggie. Bruce makes another request for Bev to pose for him. Lucy's business venture may not be what she had hoped. She puzzles over the figures and Alf is no help when he tries to interpret them. Arnold comes home and takes a look at the accounts. By his calculations, Lucy will be earning an average of $37 per week running the laundrette. Helen and Jack return from the restaurant to find Father David O'Brien, very drunk, leaning against the door of Flat 5. They take him inside and put him into the spare bedroom. Next morning, Helen brings David some coffee and they have a serious talk about his complicated dilemma. Dudley finds himself in an awkward position and has to ring Arnold to say that he will be late for his shift in the deli. Lucy calls into the deli on her way to the laundrette and enquires after Aldo. She emerges from the deli to find Alf polishing the bonnet of his taxi. Lucy asks him for a lift to work. In Flat 6, Bruce and Bev are chatting in bed. Helen and Jack talk about the David-and-Jill situation over lunch. Bruce takes some photographs of Bev and a male model in revealing outfits. It is the day of Aldo's stomach ulcer operation, so Roma, Alf and Arnold drop by during visiting hours to wish him well. Roma and Arnold head off together, with Arnold confiding in her that such operations can have serious complications. [Episode written by Ken Shadie.]

427. (20/11) Once again, Dorrie and Flo are in an intense workout in Flat 3 to prepare for the walkathon. Herb wanders out of the bedroom and they assume he is sleepwalking again, but he just wants a baked bean sandwich. Dorrie send him back to bed. In Flat 7, Vera is doing a final fitting for Amanda's new dress. Harry comes home, interrupting their gossip session. In Flat 1, Norma and Ian talk about him going back to school. Amanda, sporting her new outfit, comes into the wine bar with Ben. They will have some pre-dinner drinks before their big night out. They chat to the Whittakers. Dorrie and Flo brainstorm ideas to keep Herb in his bed and Dorrie comes up with a strange solution: they put a large cow-bell around Herb's neck. Arnold is in the wine bar and Norma invites him into the flat to talk to Ian about the importance of a good education. Later in the evening, Vera and Harry are chatting in bed but, when Harry gets amorous, Vera is cool to him. Dorrie and Flo discover Herb in the kitchen of Flat 3. Is he sleepwalking? No, he is making the baked bean sandwich that he wanted earlier in the day! Returning to Flat 4 after the gala ball, Ben and Amanda have a drink together. The next day, Arnold and Les visit with Aldo in the hospital. He is recovering nicely from his operation. The topic of conversation in Flat 3 is again the walkathon. Norma, Vera, Harry and Amanda chat in Norma's Bar. Ian and Ben are having lunch together and Ben asks his son how he would react if he asked Amanda to marry him. They surprise each other by how reasonably they can talk about their issues. Ian announces to Les and Norma that he will be returning to school. Flo, Dorrie and Herb go to the hospital to visit Aldo. Ben calls by Flat 4 to take Amanda out. He asks for her hand in marriage. [Episode written by Ken Shadie.]

428. (21/11) Amanda is flattered by Ben's marriage proposal, but the oft-married Baroness turns him down. Bev's patience may have been rewarded. Vera and Roma go to visit Aldo in the hospital and find him in good spirits. Les and Ian get up to mischief in the kitchen of Flat 1 and Ian tells Les that his father intends to marry Amanda. In the parlour of Flat 2, Amanda does a glamorous makeover on Roma. Later, Norma arrives in the deli and breaks the news to Dudley and Roma that Amanda is to be married to Ben Daniels. In Flat 7, Vera apologises to Harry for being such a bore lately. Dudley goes to visit Aldo at the hospital and decides to redecorate his room with movie posters and campy kitsch. Orderly Les Whittaker happens to drop in and is horrified. Ian asks Amanda why she won't marry his father. Ben arrives and Ian rushes over to greet him. Their relationship seems to be on the mend. Harry has lunch with a South African man he has just met. Dudley arrives back at the deli from the hospital and Roma warns him that Arnold is very angry with him. Later that afternoon, Norma and Amanda are chatting in the wine bar when Ben and Ian arrive to say goodbye. Ben gives Amanda a parting gift. Harry arrives at Flat 7 and tells Vera that he met an old friend of hers today. She suggests that Harry should bring him over for dinner tonight, but it is an invitation made under false pretences. Amanda goes upstairs to Flat 4 to change and opens the present from Ben Daniels. Roma is off to the hospital to visit Aldo. Dudley and the Whittakers chat in Norma's Bar while Dudley waits for Amanda. When she arrives, Amanda explains that, with Don still on his business trip to the Gold Coast, she and Dudley are off to a glamorous, high society party. Norma asks Dudley if he is interested in coming to work in the wine bar at night. In Flat 7, Vera is busy preparing dinner. There is a knock at the door and Harry goes to answer it. Vera is aghast when her stepfather, Neville De Groot (Ronald Morse), walks into the room! [Episode written by Ken Shadie.]

Ronald Morse, who portrays Neville De Groot, previously appeared as surgeon Mr Craig in Episodes #112 and #136, and that character will again be namedropped in Episodes #1177/1178.

429. (22/11) In Flat 5, Helen is preparing dinner for Jack. Father O'Brien arrives and informs them that he will not be leaving the priesthood after all. When they are alone again, Helen shows Jack the new, much less flashy, engagement ring. In Flat 3, Dorrie, Herb and Flo decide to prepare for a big day tomorrow by going to bed early: it will be the Autistic Children's Society's Charity Walkathon. A distraught Vera abandons Harry by going to her bedroom, leaving Neville to try to explain the situation regarding his stepdaughter. Next morning, Herb and Flo are only half-awake, but Dorrie is full of life, darting around Flat 3, making last-minute preparations for the walkathon. In Flat 8, Lucy tells Alf that her mother is marrying her old friend, Mr Wilberforce, in two weeks. Maggie is relentless. She visits Bev in Flat 6 and attempts to warn her about Bruce. In Flat 7, Vera is still in bed and Harry brings her a cup of tea. She tells Harry that she will never forgive De Groot for the way he treated her as a child. The walkathon commences and Dorrie, Herb, Flo, and hundreds of other walkers, stride off down Oxford Street. Destination: Parramatta (15 miles away)! Harry and Neville meet up again for lunch - and now Harry doesn't know what to believe! Jack takes Helen to see his new penthouse apartment. It is decorated in very poor taste. At the walkathon, Herb seems to be going the wrong way. Dorrie is making good progress but is being followed by a sleazy, old man in a plastic raincoat. Bev decides to go and confront Maggie in her office. Lucy arrives at Flat 8 just as Alf is leaving for a shift in his taxi. She decides to go next door to check in on Vera. Lucy finds her very upset because it is obvious that Harry believes Neville De Groot, not her. Back at the walkathon, a weary Flo hitches a ride in a removalist van. Herb admits defeat and goes to catch a bus back to Lindsay Street. Meanwhile, Dorrie is still striding along. In Flat 8, Lucy is working on her laundrette account books. Dinner at Vera and Harry's flat is very subdued. Helen and Jack arrive back from the penthouse and find Alf's taxi parked in Lindsay Street. Alf - severely bashed - is in the front seat. [Episode written by Ken Shadie.]

The walkathon plotline, based on an actual event, was first discussed onscreen in Episode #413. Jack's poor taste in decor has been highlighted before, including Helen Sheridan's first engagement ring, and the wedding gift he previously bought for Rose and Julian Myers' wedding.

430. (23/11) Alf has been bashed and robbed in his taxi. He has suffered a bad cut and concussion. Don's business trip to Queensland has revealed some disturbing news. He tells Jack that the property they had bought on the Gold Coast, at Maggie's insistence, is actually half under the sea, and therefore worthless. Maggie refuses to believe it. Dorrie and Herb have both made it back to Flat 3 after the walkathon. There is no sign of Flo. Just then, a phone call comes in. It is Flo calling from Mittagong. She has made it to the house of her daughter, Raylene Shackleton. Dorrie is horrified at the thought of Flo walking all the way to Mittagong instead of Parramatta. Dorrie can't get to Norma quickly enough to inform her that Flo made it to Mittagong, 70 miles away, in the walkathon - and to remind Norma that she had sponsored Flo for 75 cents per mile! It is now Norma's turn to be horrified. Dorrie resolves to keep up her fitness regime and manages to injure her knee. The Sutcliffes decide to have a drink at Norma's Bar. While they are there, Alf recognises one of the thugs who bashed him. He goes over to the other table to confront the man - and the thug pulls a gun on him! [Episode written by Lynn Foster.]

Dorrie Evans doesn't realise that Flo Patterson hitched a ride to the Southern Highlands in a removalist's van. The oft-mentioned "Raylene of Mittagong" will finally appear onscreen in Episode #588.

431. (26/11) In the wine bar, Alf bravely keeps walking towards the gun-toting thug. The gun is still aimed at Alf. Les tries to help but Norma steps out from behind the bar and cracks the man over the head, knocking him out cold. In the deli, Roma tells Arnold that she and Aldo are definitely having their overseas holiday soon. Arnold says that he will be needing an assistant to help run the shop. Roma is puzzled: what about Dudley? Arnold explains Mrs Whittaker's offer for Dudley to work in the wine bar each evening and Roma is confused. Arnold is exasperated. In Flat 7, Harry informs Vera that he has invited Neville to dinner again. Vera says that Harry will be doing the cooking as she won't be home. She storms out. Norma calls the police to collect the unconscious hood. When they arrive, Alf is required to go to the station to make a statement. Back in Flat 7, Harry is entertaining Neville, who came to Sydney on a one-way ticket from Johannesburg, just to see Vera and to clear the air with her. Neville will be returning to South Africa as soon as he has the money for his plane fare. Harry knows of a sales position at his workplace, Sotherby Motors. Would Neville be interested? He says that he is definitely wanting such a job. Roma won't let Arnold tell Aldo about Dudley leaving for the wine bar position. He should let them go on their holiday first. Les does an interview for the newspaper, weaving an exciting tale about how Alf the taxi driver captured his "armed assailant". In his hospital room, Aldo changes his mind again about leaving for a vacation in Europe. He really can't afford it. He is not in a medical benefits scheme and, after the operation, he will have many large bills to pay. He won't let Roma use her own money to pay for a trip or Aldo's doctors' bills. While Harry is at work, Neville returns to Flat 7 to see Vera. He tells her that he came all the way to Australia to make his peace with his stepdaughter after her mother's death. Neville understands that, as a young child, Vera suffered from some strange sexual fantasies. Vera does not believe him, but it does make her start to doubt her own memories. In the deli, Roma tells Arnold that the European trip is definitely off, just as Arnold has engaged a replacement for Dudley. Roma insists that Arnold disengage Mr Seymour, the new assistant, immediately. Harry comes home to Flat 7 and Vera tells him about De Groot, and his attempt to place doubt in her mind. She is convinced that the man is lying. Later that evening, Arnold mentions to Roma that he left Dudley in charge of the shop this afternoon. Now there is money missing from the deli's till. [Episode written by Lynn Foster.]

During this week at Channel TEN, Judy McBurney began filming scenes as a new character, Marilyn MacDonald. A bout of peritonitis during the show's Christmas hiatus led to her having to drop out of the role. In January 1974, Frances Hargreaves assumed the role and had to reshoot six episodes' worth of Judy's scenes in one day.

432. (27/11) In Norma's Bar, Les tells Amanda that one of the patients he is caring for at the hospital has broken out in terrible blotches from using Amanda's homemade face cream. As they are talking, Norma comes in, also covered in blotches after using the same cream. Maggie arrives at Flat 6 to see Bruce. Bev comes home in the middle of a tense conversation - and Bruce throws Maggie out! Amanda doesn't want to believe that her cosmetics are responsible for her customers' blotches. Les reminds her that everyone who has used the face cream has reported getting blotches, so it is important that she stops selling it. In the deli, Arnold admits that he is finding it hard to question Dudley about the missing $50 from the till. Roma insists that he must do it. Arnold recalls that Dudley was wearing an expensive new suit last night in the wine bar. In Flat 4, Don explains to Amanda that she must get her cosmetics laboratory-tested, and also apply for a trading licence to sell them. Meanwhile, in Flat 1, Les uses all of Amanda's range of beauty creams on his face at once, testing them like a human guinea pig. In the deli, Arnold finally asks Dudley about the missing money, and also mentions the new suit. Dudley is mortified to have his honesty in question - and the suit cost much more than $50! He has been saving up for it for weeks. Then Dudley remembers that he left Amanda running the deli yesterday, while he went off to collect the suit from the tailor. Bev may live to regret her assignments for Bruce. He shows her the shots from their latest photographic session. He will be getting about 2000 copies made of racier ones that he considers to be the best. Bev is not happy. In the partnership's office, Jack, Maggie and Don realise that their business is in very bad shape. Don did not sell the Redfern property as they would have lost too much money on it. Jack and Maggie are furious with him for going ahead with the sale. Jack tells him to sell "no matter what offer is made". At the hospital, Aldo receives a letter from his daughter, Rose Myers. He is suddenly so anxious to see her, and her family, again that the whole trip is back on: Europe via Port Moresby, New Guinea! Roma must make the bookings immediately. Dudley and Arnold discuss the $50. The situation is awkward. Neither of them want to approach Amanda about it. Just as they decide to each put $25 into the till, a deliveryman comes in with a large carton of male contraceptives, and a delivery docket signed by an Amanda Von Pappenburg. Dudley and Arnold are aghast. "But delicatessens don't sell contraceptives!" Bev receives an obscene phone call. She expresses her concern to Bruce. How did the man get her name and phone number? Amanda is at a loss as to why Dudley and Arnold are so upset about the carton of condoms. She had taken the $50 out of the till to pay for them, but she will now sell them herself - and will make a big profit for the deli! Les has forgotten that he is wearing Amanda's cosmetic products on his face and gets some funny looks while going about his daily routine. Don tries to sell the Redfern property, but fails. He, Jack and Maggie make the decision to begin the liquidation of their investment company. [Episode written by Lynn Foster.]

433. (28/11) Dorrie's painful knee is still giving her grief after the walkathon. She claims to have been diagnosed as having a "strained cartridge". Jack tells Helen that he will have to give up the new penthouse apartment, as he is stony broke. In Flat 6, Bev tells Bruce that she will not be doing any more photoshoots. Bruce puts on the charm and changes her mind again. In Flat 3, Dorrie rubs some of Amanda's face cream onto her troublesome knee. The knee actually feels a lot better and there is no sign of a rash. The NSW Government changes its mind and now wants to buy the Redfern property. Don informs Jack, who already knows that the proposed expressway has been re-routed. He tells Don not to sell for less that $200,000. Amanda takes over the deli for a few hours and quickly sells all of the contraceptives. Dorrie comes in and tells the Baroness how she successfully used the face cream on her knee. Don does even better than hoped. The Redfern property sells for $250,000! Jack throws an impromptu housewarming party at the penthouse to celebrate. Dorrie brings Helen and Jack a gift of a ballerina music box - just like the one that Helen hates! At the party, Maggie tells Bruce that she has received an envelope containing risque photos of Bev that were obviously taken by Bruce. Unless he agrees to come home with her, she will be making sure that the pornographic material is placed in the hands of the police. They leave together. The next morning, in Flat 7, Vera decides to invite De Groot to dinner, in an attempt to be friends with him. She is beginning to think that his version might be correct after all. In Flat 6, Bev and Bruce have a terrible row over Bruce staying the previous night with Maggie. Bev has come to realise that Bruce sleeps with "anyone who can be useful to him". She must accept this situation or lose him to Maggie permanently. While at the hairdressing salon, Amanda discovers some interesting reading matter in a magazine called Women & Culture. She brings it to Don and Maggie, reading aloud several excerpts of a fictitious serial, 54 Paddington Place, which is seemingly all about... Number 96 - and everyone who lives there! Maggie is ropable about what she hears and snatches the magazine from Amanda's hands. Maggie intends to sue! [Episode written by Lynn Foster.]

434. (29/11) Roma informs Arnold that the trip with Aldo is back on again. Arnold has to re-engage Mr Seymour to replace Dudley in the deli while the Godolfuses are away. In the deli, Dudley has a copy of Women & Culture magazine and reads some of the 54 Paddington Place serial to Dorrie, Herb, Arnold and Roma. They are amazed, as they are all seemingly represented by characters in the serial! Roma goes to collect Aldo from the hospital and he is handed a copy of his bill as they are leaving. The total is so big that he announces that their overseas trip must be cancelled. In Flat 3, Dorrie and Herb receive a telegram from Flo in Mittagong to say that she is coming home. Lucy and Vera have a copy of the magazine serial and they describe it as uncanny. These instalments need to be stopped! Don promises to try to find out from the magazine just who is writing the serial. Aldo and Roma arrive back home to Flat 2. Roma goes through to the shop to tell Arnold that the trip is off again. He is horrified and goes to ring Mr Seymour. In the laundrette, Lucy is fretting that the business is not doing as well as Mr Thorburn had led her to believe. Everyone tells her to raise her prices, but she worries that doing so would lose customers. Alf comes in with the news that the hoods who attacked him have police records - and they are now in gaol. Aldo finds out that, because they are cancelling the trip so late, Roma is not entitled to a refund. Aldo suggests that, since they have already paid for the first leg of the trip, to New Guinea, they should just go there for a short stay and forget about visiting Europe altogether. Arnold is at his wit's end. Now he has to tell Aldo about Dudley leaving the deli to work in the wine bar and he has to ring Mr Seymour again and tell him he is needed. Mr Seymour is very rude to him and hangs up on him. Everyone has a theory on who is writing the magazine serial. In Flat 3, Dorrie has decided that Flo Patterson is the writer of 54 Paddington Place! Herb and Dorrie notice Mr Perky, Flo's budgie, lying on the floor of his cage. Herb cannot feel a pulse and pronounces the bird dead. Dorrie and Herb start to panic, as Flo is due home tomorrow. In Flat 7, Vera attempts to put the past out of her thoughts. Neville has come for dinner and everything is progressing surprisingly well. Vera apologises, but she is very tired after Jack and Helen's party yesterday, and she retires to her bedroom, leaving Neville and Harry drinking brandy. Harry says that he has to make a phone call and is heard promising Bev that he will come down to see her. He makes out that he is having an affair with Bev on the side. Does Harry really have something to hide? Neville tells him to head down and see her now; he will finish his brandy and then depart for his hotel room. Harry leaves and De Groot sneaks into Vera's bedroom and attacks her! Arnold rearranges the rosters so that Dudley can work in the deli by day, and the wine bar each evening, while Aldo and Roma go to Port Moresby to visit Rose, Julian and little Damien. [Episode written by Lynn Foster.]

435. (30/11) Neville is assaulting Vera in her bedroom but Harry is secretly listening outside - and now he comes to his ex-wife's assistance. Neville takes off down the stairs. Les, Norma and Dudley are closing up the wine bar. While they are chatting, Les mentions that he has an opportunity to appear on a TV show about unique Australian inventions. Would Norma mind if he does? In Flat 3, Dorrie and Herb are getting ready for bed when they hear Harry and De Groot fighting on the landing. Next morning, Herb goes to the pet shop to buy a replacement for Mr Perky. Flo arrives back at Flat 3, earlier than expected. To Dorrie's amazement, the budgie is back to full health again. In Flat 7, Harry apologises to Vera for allowing Neville back into the flat and leaving him alone with her. He wanted to test the man's motives but underestimated him. In the wine bar, the Whittakers chat to Flo about her Mittagong stay as she cleans the bar. Flo's daughter, Raylene, does not sound to be a very grateful person. Amanda sweeps into Flat 1 to inform Les that, according to Don, they can't sell any more cosmetics without a licence. In the deli, Dudley asks Don is he still wants him to move into Flat 4 with him. Arnold arrives back, having just dropped off the Godolfuses to the airport to catch their plane to New Guinea. In Norma's Bar, Les organises some men to transport his Wine-o-Matic to the TV studio, while Vera, Helen and Norma catch up on each others' lives. Vera asks Herb to escort her upstairs, but there is no sign of her stepfather. In Flat 3, Dorrie and Flo are counting their sponsorship money from the walkathon and Flo finally admits that she didn't actually walk, thanks to hitching a ride on the removalist truck. Herb arrives in the midst of their argument. Don comes into the deli while Arnold is checking Dudley's figures at the end of his shift. Don waits patiently for Dudley, and then Amanda floats in. Since it's already "a quarter past a daffodil", it is time for champagne - so she accompanies both of them to the wine bar. Harry gets beaten up by two thugs who have been paid off by... Neville De Groot. Amanda is still complaining about her failed cosmetics venture and Don is determined to find her a suitable job from the classified ads in the newspaper. Norma and Dudley are watching Les on the TV inventors program. Has Les finally achieved success? Everything is going fine on the show until the compere asks Les for a drink - and the Whittaker Wine-o-Matic explodes - and all three varieties of wine in the machine start flowing everywhere! In Flat 7, Vera is also watching Les on television when there is a knock at her front door. Neville De Groot is back - and he has "some unfinished business"! [Episode written by David Bragden.]

The original synopsis is unclear as to whether the first Mr Perky was replaced, or if he actually recovered while Herb Evans was at the pet shop. Les Whittaker appears on an analogue of the popular ABC-TV series, "The Inventors", which had been launched in 1970. It lasted until 1982.

436. (3/12) The Sutcliffes are just finished dinner in Flat 8 and decide to go down to Norma's Bar, not suspecting what sinister plans De Groot has for poor Vera next door. In Flat 7, Neville ties his stepdaughter, Vera, to the bed and rapes her. Lucy and Alf chat to Norma in the wine bar, hearing all about Les and his TV debut disaster. Maggie and Bruce also arrive at the wine bar. When Bruce goes over to chat to Bev, Maggie drags him away. Maggie wants everything her way, which could explain Bev's melodramatic behaviour. Les arrives back from the TV studio, very upset about the failure of his Wine-o-Matic, but full of new schemes that are sure to "make a fortune". The battered and bruised Harry races up the stairs to Flat 7 and finds a distraught Vera. Next morning, Jack visits Helen in Flat 5 and explains that he is unable to extend her lease by one week. At Flat 8, Lucy is preparing to head off to work at the laundrette and decides to check in on Vera first, but Harry refuses to let her in. Bruce calls in to see Bev in Flat 6 and begs her to be patient for just a little longer. He is close to getting Maggie to provide the connections that he needs for restarting his photographic career. Norma and Lucy chat together in the laundrette before Norma heads off to open up the wine bar for the lunchtime rush. Over drinks, Harry and Vera try to put on a brave front for the other residents in the wine bar. It seems quieter than usual as they chat to Les and Alf. There are rumours of Dudley's latest brainwave: for the deli to set up an outdoor Boulevard Cafe - and it is already a success, with a queue of hungry people waiting for a free table. At The Cosmopolitan, Helen, Maggie and Jack are eating lunch together. Helen and Jack are about to leave for the jewellery store as Bruce arrives. They explain that they have made an appointment to look at wedding rings. Maggie tells Bruce that she expects him to leave Bev's flat. In Flat 1, Les has set up his old offset printing machine, and is making business cards for his latest "get rich" scheme: selling burial plots! Norma closes up the wine bar and comes into the flat to chat to him while he works. In the early evening, Lucy has arrived back from work and, when she sees Harry on the landing, she again enquires after Vera. Lucy goes into Flat 8 and finds Alf watching television. Unable to hold her concerns to herself any longer, Lucy breaks down and admits to Alf that her laundrette is in financial trouble. In Flat 7, Vera tells Harry that she will need him to sleep in the spare bedroom again. After her terrible ordeal with De Groot, she wants solitude. The Whittakers and the Sutcliffes chat together in the wine bar. At another table, Jack and Helen chat about the rings they have just purchased. Bruce goes into Flat 6, and then leaves... with all of his belongings. [Episode written by Anne Duval.]

Dramatic use of shadows make the attack on Vera Collins a confronting scene; inspiration from the movies of Alfred Hitchcock? In an interview, series creator David Sale pointed out another (perhaps not-so-subtle) directorial choice in this episode. When Vera is being attacked by Neville De Groot, she is tied face down on the bed when he rapes her. Although it is not mentioned this way in the script specifically, it does make the scene even more sinister for what it implies. No TV critics, nor the Broadcasting Control Board, seemed to make note of it at the time.

437. (4/12) Next morning, Dorrie and Flo chat about the latest instalments of the 54 Paddington Place serial in the Women & Culture magazine. They agree that the writer must be someone in the building; the author's knowledge of all the comings and goings is too accurate to be coincidence. Amanda is filling out application forms for her new job, managing to distract Don, who is trying to work. They are interrupted by Dudley, who brings in a box of groceries for Bev, but can't get an answer at Flat 6. Don remembers that she always keeps a spare key over the doorframe. They go upstairs and use the hidden key to gain access to the flat - where they find Bev, apparently dead on her bed! It was fortuitous for Bev that Don and Dudley had decided to check in on her when they did, as she was able to get urgent medical assistance from Doctor Benton. Dudley has to return to the deli but Don is able to talk with Doctor Benton. Don assures him that it must have been an accidental overdose of sleeping pills, as Bev has been in good spirits in recent weeks. At Maggie's place, Bruce and Maggie are in bed together. She is uncharacteristically concerned about Bev. Only Maggie and Bruce know the pressure that they have been putting Bev under. In Flat 4, Amanda, Dorrie, Herb and Flo are all drinking champagne as Amanda interviews them for her new job as a market researcher. Dudley comes in, looking for Don. He mentions what happened to Bev. Meanwhile, in Flat 6, Don is sitting at Bev's bedside. When she awakens, she calls out for Bruce. Don settles her down again and then answers the front door. It is Maggie and Bruce, who have come to check on Bev's wellbeing. Don orders them to leave! Doctor Benton returns to check on Bev and tells her that he hopes she has learned her lesson about medications. The doctor departs as Bruce returns to Flat 6, also to see Bev, but Don refuses to let him in. Dorrie and Flo are keen to try out the new Boulevard Cafe and they are impressed with Dudley's wait service (and faux French accent). Dudley goes inside to get the coffees and raisin toast. As they enjoy the view of leafy Lindsay Street, a Sydney City Corporation street-sweeper truck comes past, saturating Dorrie and Flo with water. Herb calls in at Flat 4 to collect the garbage while Amanda is on the phone to Otto Schiller in Germany, who has been attempting to hasten progress on her inheritance of Max's estate. Don arrives home and he and Amanda have a long, lively conversation before Amanda realises that poor Otto is still on the line. In Flat 3, Dorrie and Flo have dried themselves off and changed clothes. A man named Mr Holly arrives and explains that he wants them to collect old clothes for his charity drive and he will gladly pay them $5 per bag. Maggie and Bruce meet for lunch. In Flat 4, Amanda and Don are chatting when they are interrupted by the arrival of Dudley, laden with all of his suitcases. He is officially moving in! Amanda is both surprised and delighted. Mr Holly makes his departure from Flat 3 just as Herb arrives, holding the latest issue of Women & Culture magazine. What are the tenants of 54 Paddington Place up to now? [Episode written by Anne Duval.]

Doctor Benton, Bev Houghton-Goodman's doctor, is probably named for actor John Benton, who had played Bev's brother, Rod Houghton, in numerous episodes. Otto Schiller makes his first onscreen appearance in Episode #555. For the comedy scene outside the deli, the large set of the ground floor facade of the apartment block was temporarily dismantled and set up in the Channel TEN car park, thus allowing Pat McDonald and Bunney Brooke to be squirted with a powerful firehose, which was standing in for the street-sweeper truck.

438. (5/12) In Flat 3, Dorrie, Herb and Flo read another new instalment of the 54 Paddington Place magazine serial. Lucy returns to Flat 8 at midday to cook Alf's lunch after his long shift in the taxi. Alf shows her a wallet that someone had left in his cab. He goes through the papers, looking for some identification. Alf suddenly remembers that he has to go to a union meeting and quickly shoves everything back into the wallet, accidentally leaving one slip of paper behind on the table. Jack and Helen meet up for lunch at The Cosmopolitan and their conversation turns to the differences in their religions. Don sees them together and comes over to join their table. In the deli, Arnold and Dorrie discuss the mystery of the serial in Women & Culture. This is not "just a fragment" of Dorrie's imagination: so many of the supposedly-fictitious incidents are actual events that have happened to the residents at Number 96! Don, Jack and Helen have moved to a drinking session in Jack's penthouse. Dorrie has been out collecting old clothes for Mr Holly and she returns to Flat 3 with a fur coat. She finds Flo and Herb drowning in a sea of old clothes. In Flat 8, Arnold and Lucy have already started tea when Alf arrives home, boasting of the $50 that he received as a reward for finding Mr Poreski's wallet. Don, Helen and Jack finish dinner at the penthouse, then Helen and Don head back to Number 96. Dorrie, Herb and Flo wonder if they have overdone it in collecting all the clothes. Helen invites Don into Flat 5 for a coffee. In Flat 8, Lucy Sutcliffe is having an Ovaltine before bed and makes one for Arnold. Alf comes in, wondering why Mr Poreski was so keen to get his home address. Alf still has no idea that he is harbouring secret information. Dorrie goes to see Don in Flat 4 about the serial running in Women & Culture. Lucy finds the slip of paper that had earlier fallen out of Mr Poreski's wallet. She shows it to Arnold, who notices that it is a list of notorious terrorists. Helen may yet have received an unexpected reprieve. She meets Jack for lunch and announces that her latest medical tests have established that she should be able to have children after all. [Episode written by Susan Swinford.]

439. (6/12) Norma comes into the wine bar after a morning working in Maggie's fashion parade. Les tells her how quiet the bar has been. The popularity of the new Boulevard Cafe is causing a ripple effect. In the deli, Amanda is trying to ask Arnold and Dudley the market research survey questions for her new job. They are both too busy to give lucid responses. When Vera comes in, a relieved Amanda takes her up to Flat 4 to do the questionnaire instead. Alf comes in to talk to Lucy in the laundrette and suggests that she might like to come for a drive to Palm Beach. Vera tells Amanda all about her horrible encounter with De Groot. Amanda goes to Flat 6 to see Bev and has a serious talk with her about coping with Maggie Cameron. They hear thumping noises from next door and go in to find Jack helping Helen to pack all of her belongings. Helen will be moving into Jack's penthouse. Alf and Lucy are having dinner when Mr Poreski (Tim Eliott) rings Alf. In the deli, at the end of the work day, Arnold and Dudley are going over the books, when Helen, Jack and Bev come in and insist that they come with them to Jack's penthouse for dinner. In Flat 7, Vera is cooking dinner when Harry comes in and tries to touch her. She pushes him away. In the eerily empty wine bar, Norma and Les wonder where the customers have gone. As Vera and Harry watch TV together, Harry suggests that they go to bed together - and, again, Vera refuses him. The champagne is flowing when Amanda joins the party at Jack's penthouse, along with Jack, Helen, Arnold, Dudley and Bev. In Flat 8, Alf and Lucy await the arrival of Mr Poreski. When he gets there, he requests that Lucy leave them alone - and he immediately grills Alf about the missing list of names that had been in his wallet. Next morning, in Flat 4, Amanda realises that Dudley has overslept and is now late for his shift at the deli. She goes into Don's bedroom to wake him and there is a knock at the door. It is Arnold, looking for Dudley. Amanda says that Dudley is not there. Dudley emerges from the bedroom and thanks Amanda for covering for him - just as Arnold comes back. He sees Dudley standing there. At the penthouse, Jack brings Helen a cup of tea in bed. In Flat 7, Harry tries to be nice to Vera. She rejects him. This attitude of hers is really trying Harry's patience; he warns Vera that he may be forced to seek consolation elsewhere. He storms out. Bev sees Harry on the stairs and she invites him into her flat. [Episode written by Susan Swinford.]

Tim Eliott, who portrays Mr Poreski, will return as a new recurring character, Larry Maguire, from Episode #927.

440. (7/12) In Flat 4, Don is about to be greatly inconvenienced by Amanda's generosity. When Dorrie comes calling for old clothes for Mr Holly's charity drive, Amanda gives her all of Don's clothes from his wardrobe. Bev tries to seduce Harry Collins but - even though he hasn't slept with Vera in over two weeks - Bev fails in her mission. Now that Amanda's probationary period is over, she can officially start her market research job. She desperately needs the regular income until Max's money comes through. Bev confides in Don. As Bev's confidence has suffered a blow with Harry, she tries to seduce Don instead - and just as quickly fails. Helen and Jack ask Dudley if he and Arnold will handle the catering for their wedding and Dudley eagerly agrees. Don discovers that Amanda has donated all of his clothes to charity. He is furious and goes next door to Flat 3 to demand that Dorrie unpacks all of the bags to locate his missing clothes. Chaos ensues. Amanda hears that her huge inheritance from the estate of her late husband, Max, has finally come through! Vera and Harry are not getting along. Harry decides to go away for a couple of days, to give Vera some space. Helen decides that she should stay at The Cosmopolitan until the wedding day. Flo makes a shock announcement: she will be leaving Number 96 for good, as Amanda has just invited her to join her on a world trip. [Episode written by Derek Strahan.]

441. (10/12) Jack thinks that it is ridiculous that Helen, a lapsed Roman Catholic, will be staying at The Cosmopolitan hotel until they are married. Eventually he agrees with her decision. Les is concerned that the wine bar's profits are not only being affected by the Boulevard Cafe next door, but now Norma's frequent absences to fulfill her role as a model for Fuller Figure Fashions. Meanwhile, Lucy is still fretting about the downturn in business at her laundrette. Bev throws in her job as a tour guide at the Sydney Opera House. She tells Bruce that she can't go on sharing him with Maggie Cameron. Bruce must choose one of them! He convinces her that it won't be too much longer. The Godolfuses return from New Guinea, laden with unusual souvenirs. Aldo is quite fascinated by the duty-free cassette tape recorder he bought. Maggie finds out that Bruce is with Bev so she phones him and demands that he come over immediately. He does so. In the deli, Arnold continues to nag Alf about the urgency of taking Mr Poreski's list of terrorists to the police. Alf is resolute that he will not. Aldo is not very happy with the Boulevard Cafe concept that sprang up while he was overseas. The Whittakers are still bickering over Norma's modelling career. Norma wants to "do her own thing". Roma confides in Arnold that she is buying Aldo a double bass for his birthday, as a surprise. Lucy may regret taking on the laundrette franchise. The power goes out in the building and she is informed that the laundrette will be out of commission for two weeks. She has calculated that she stands to lose at least $1,500. [Episode written by Derek Strahan.]

Production of the "Number 96" feature film commenced on this day. Only eleven days later, the cast wrapped for the Christmas hiatus! The movie was filmed on 16mm film stock, later blown up to 35mm for release to cinemas. Only five prints were deemed necessary, premiering throughout Australia on a staggered release during much of 1974, including drive-ins and regional cinemas. The budget for the movie was a mere $100,000. However, most sets, props and costumes were already available. Some film historians have calculated that, until the release of "Crocodile Dundee" in 1986, the "Number 96" feature film's profits were record-breaking for an Australian production. Other sources call it "the fifth highest grossing film of the 1970s".

442. (11/12) Amanda and Flo are caught up in a series of frenetic activities: market research interviews, Flo's passport, hotel bookings and airline tickets. While Flo is very excited, Dorrie finds that she is very upset to lose her friend for so long. Bruce comes to Flat 6 to see Bev. She is drunk and screams at him about Maggie. Once again, he convinces her that it won't be for too long. Now that the Godolfuses have returned to the deli, Dudley is free to start working fulltime at Norma's Bar. The Boulevard Cafe is doing great business. Without Dudley, Aldo and Roma are run off their feet. In Flat 6, Bev hears that her estranged husband, Earl, will not be contesting the divorce and that it should come through quickly. Maggie comes to see her, to warn her away from Bruce. Bev's affair with Bruce is "all over" - and Bruce will be staying with Maggie. Bev does not believe her. Dorrie is still in a snit about the serial in Women & Culture magazine. Maggie starts an investigation to determine the identity of the writer. She tells Dorrie that, when she finds out, she will sue the culprit. Maggie actually accuses Bruce of being the serial's author, since one instalment has an accurate, explicit description of Bruce and Maggie's lovemaking! Bruce denies it but Maggie still isn't sure. In Flat 3, Dorrie quizzes Flo about being the "lady-in-waiting" to a Baroness. Flo says that she has to do it. It will be her only chance to travel the world. Dorrie thinks she has noticed a slight doubt in Flo's resolve. Roma has a phone conversation which puzzles Aldo. He overhears her purchasing his surprise double bass, but the discussion makes it sound like a very different transaction. Maggie and Bruce arrive at Flat 6. Bev is drunk again and Bruce does not mince his words. Bruce and Maggie intend to get married - and he wants nothing more to do with Bev. She is left shattered. [Episode written by Derek Strahan.]

443. (12/12) Vera is helping Les in the wine bar as Norma is late getting back from modelling in another fashion show. Norma finally gets back and manages to take Vera's assistance for granted. Helen brings Jack over to Flat 4 and presents him to Don, who is arranging a Bucks' Night for Jack. It will be his last night on the town as a bachelor. Vera heads upstairs to Flat 7 to find that Harry is back. At the laundrette, Lucy is having trouble with the electricians. She complains that she was making more money as a salaried employee than as a franchise manageress. In the deli, Alf tells Arnold to forget all he knows about Poreski's list of terrorists, but Arnold still recalls three of the Croatian names on the list, and had recognised a reference to the Eráti District of Mozambique. In Flat 7, Vera is still unable to sleep in the same room as Harry, and he is relegated to the spare bedroom again. Having returned to Flat 4, Don and Jack are feeling very seedy from last night's celebrations - when they are roused by an overly-cheery Dudley! Arnold arrives at the front door to remind Dudley that they have to head off to handle the Sheridan/Sellars wedding reception. Norma asks Les to look after the bar on his own, over the lunch period, but he refuses. Mr Poreski threatens Alf that Arnold needs to keep his mouth shut about the list of names, and Alf says that Arnold "only remembers a few of the names anyway". Jack and Don head off to the Registry Office to meet Helen and Vera. A troubled Vera goes down to the wine bar to have a drink, to brace herself for witnessing two of her best friends getting married. Helen is still upstairs, putting through a last call to her father in Wilcannia on Vera's phone. A little later, Vera turns up at the Registry Office alone. She has to break the news to Jack and Don that Helen has seemingly vanished. The three of them go back to Jack's penthouse, to tell Amanda, and the other residents and friends, who are all gathered there for the reception. No one feels in a party mood. Arnold remembers more names from Poreski's list, but is at a loss as to what to do with the information. Helen has made an amazing decision: following her father's mentioning of troubling family secrets, she rings Jack at the ruined reception, briefly apologises - and then hangs up! [Episode written by Derek Strahan.]

444. (13/12) Les is about to go to Jack and Helen's reception, and to tell them why Norma can't make it - but all the guests from the reception are suddenly crowding into the wine bar! Amanda tells everyone what has happened, how Helen rang Jack to excuse herself from the wedding. They are all very disappointed, but sympathetic to Jack's situation. Alf's persistent warnings to Arnold about danger seem to have fallen on deaf ears. Arnold admits that he thinks he was followed back to Number 96 from Jack's building. Alf suspects it was one of Poreski's men. Now they know exactly where Arnold lives! Don tells Norma that she is letting Jack down. Either she puts her best efforts into running the wine bar, or she does modelling fulltime. Flo confesses to Dorrie that she is having second thoughts about going overseas with Amanda. Vera and Harry have another fight about her not sleeping with him. Harry insists that he will be moving out. In Flat 1, Norma has made her decision. She will give up the wine bar and take up being a plus-size model fulltime. Les is upset as it means they will have to give up the flat as well. There is great excitement as Flo and Amanda leave for their world trip. In the deli, Arnold and Roma are awaiting delivery of Aldo's double bass, but Aldo still has the wrong idea about it. In Flat 7, Harry regrets theatening to move out and he apologises to Vera. She reveals that she suspects that she is pregnant. Arnold's exercise routine is interrupted by the arrival of a package, which he assumes is a bundle of catering books that he ordered. But it is a parcel bomb - and it explodes in his bedroom as Arnold is opening it! [Episode written by Derek Strahan.]

445. (14/12) Don goes to Jack's penthouse, opens up all the curtains and tries to rouse a morose Jack. The Whittakers are working in the wine bar and are concerned that Bev is drinking heavily. She is now very drunk. Maggie and Bruce come in and Bev is very rude to Bruce. Just after Maggie and Bruce depart, Alf races in to announce that Arnold has been injured by a bomb while opening a parcel sent to him. Harry comes into the deli to buy some groceries from Aldo and Roma, and encounters Vera there. She tells him that the doctor confirmed that she is pregnant. Don takes Jack back to Flat 4 because he needs him to look over some papers. In Flat 7, Vera breaks the news to Harry that it is Neville De Groot's baby. Harry promises that he will stand by Vera. The Sutcliffes chat about Arnold and wonder how he is. In Flat 4, Dudley makes coffee for Don and Jack. The Whittakers come up to tell Jack that they will be leaving the wine bar and vacating Flat 1. Later, Don, Jack and Dudley are chatting when Bev races in with the news that Bruce's intention is to marry Maggie. In Flat 2, Roma is trying to get Aldo to go into the shop when the double bass she ordered for his birthday arrives. Alf and Lucy are just about to sit down to dinner when they are called into the hospital. Bev turns up at Maggie's office, where Bruce and Maggie are looking at photographic layouts. Bev pulls out a gun, and she and Bruce struggle with it. The gun goes off and Bev is shot in the stomach! Harry comes into the wine bar and announces to Dudley and the Whittakers that he is going to be a father. In fact, he is now rather excited about the future. Jack leaves to go to Surfers Paradise for a week. Being jilted by Helen has made him depressed. Bruce rings Flat 4 and tells Don about what has happened to Bev. Don should come to the hospital immediately! Don races out and almost bumps into a young woman named Jan (Denise Otto), who says she is looking for Dudley Butterfield. She claims to be Dudley's wife! Arnold's worsening condition causes concern; Doctor Dalton seeks the Sutcliffes' permission to amputate Arnold's leg to save his life. Harry's joy about fatherhood may soon turn to despair when Vera informs him that, because De Groot has some "coloured blood", there is a likelihood that her baby will be born black. [Episode written by Derek Strahan.]

Denise Otto, who plays Jan Butterfield, is the sister of actor Barry Otto. This episode's cliffhanger endings would not be resolved until the 1974 ratings season. On 20/12/1973, the Australian sex comedy movie, "Alvin Purple", made its cinema debut. It starred Graeme Blundell and featured several "Number 96" alumni: Abigail, Bill Bennett, Jill Forster, Penne Hackforth-Jones and Judy Lynne; plus future players, Lynette Curran, Dina Mann, Dennis Miller and Brian Moll.

Number 96 synopses © 1994, 2020, 2023 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 Tim Purcell and Anne Hall) and viewings of existing 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 2024.


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