With the 2013 season of Home and Away just around the corner, our forum members have been busy dissecting every hint that comes their way. Now, less than a week before the show's return, we take a look at some of the many rumours and theories that have been building since the 2012 finale episode aired back in November, as well as confirm some things that we do know.
This article contains major spoilers for readers in all countries. It was first written in January 2013, but is currently in the process of being updated. If you want to be the first to know of all the latest spoilers, head to our Forum and go to the Spoilers section.
As we reported earlier in May, Rob Mammone, who plays Sid Walker, has left the show. His character was allegedly written out after Mammone 'spoke up for the truth too often'. It is currently unknown how Sid will leave the show, and he is expected to be on screen until at least August.
Kate Ritchie has confirmed that she is to return to the show later this year, reprising her role as Sally Fletcher. Kate had been in the show since the very first episode in 1988, but her departure in 2008 saw Sally leave Summer Bay to travel the world, after an emotional storyline which saw her reunited with long-lost twin brother Milco.
Lucy Addario, Series Producer, commented: "Sally holds such a special place in the heart of the show and we trust fans will be as excited as we are to watch her story unfold and follow Sally’s journey again." Kate's first day of filming was Monday 25th February, and her first scenes are expected to air in July 2013.
Returning to the show is Irish actress Alison McGirr, who played Jett's case worker Molly Brenner. The actress is engaged to Sam Atwell, who played Kane Phillips in the show on and off from 2001 to 2008.
In a stranger twist, it has been revealed that Esther Anderson is due to reprise her role as policewoman Charlie Buckton. Esther's character was killed off in late 2011, but the actress returned in December to film "a handful" of new episodes. Exactly how the character will return remains a mystery, but as fatal gunshot wounds aren't the easiest thing to recover from, the best theory so far is that she returns as a ghost.
But why? Mishyy suspects that Brax will see her ghost whist on the verge of death, and will be forced to choose between Charlie/death or Natalie/life. Meanwhile, member Totally suspects that Brax goes to her for comfort... but why now?
Lynne McGranger (Irene) also revealed to Digital Spy that we may be set to see some familiar faces from Irene's past... but even she doesn't know who. The writers have hinted to her that some old favourites may be returning, leaving Lynne hoping it'll be some of her kids or grandchildren.
Lynne recently marked 20 years on the show, and we hope to see Irene in some prominent storylines as Home and Away moves into its 25th anniversary year.
This article was written at the beginning of the 2013 season, so some stories have already come and gone...
Again, we don't yet know how. With Romeo and Indi pictured in a hot air balloon at the start of the 2013 promo (seen below), some members speculate this could be related to his way out. Are they talking a lot of hot air?
Perhaps not. The trailer shows Romeo flying in a hot air balloon and at the lighthouse, leading to speculation that he is either living out his final desires after being diagnosed with a serious illness, or dies in a freak ballooning accident. Or could the hot air balloon scene be in the afterlife? lozlovesh&a made this bizarre suggestion, but there could be something to it. Luke Mitchell, who plays Romeo, tweeted the following a number of months back:
"Just shot one of the most unique scenes in the history of #HomeAndAway! #VeryCool #StayTuned"
One of the most unique scenes in the history of the show? Well, a balloon ride from beyond the grave certainly fits the bill. As if that wasn't bizarre enough, alreetlike suggests that Romeo falls out of the hot air balloon and lands on Gina... well why the heck not?!
Either way, while we may not yet know how Liam and Romeo depart, it's a question of how, rather than if, they leave Summer Bay.
It's expected that we will see a death involving the Austin/Palmer family, which will see Xavier return for the funeral, as first pointed out by dublinfan on our forum. A photo of the shooting of the funeral scene, posted on Twitter by one of the crew, confirms Xavier's return. The shot shows both John and Jett at the funeral, so just who does meet their maker?
Just whose funeral is being filmed in this shot, tweeted by a crew member?
All fingers are pointing to Gina, to the dismay of many forum members.
Oh my god I am shattered if Gina dies. I really like her and apart from Irene she is really the only other older female mother figure member there. But it will be an interesting story and see how John and Jett deal with it. dees189227
lozlovesh&a asks could it instead be Hugo or Brendan who meet their untimely death in 2013? Maybe... but godfrey_soapfish is quick to point out that Jett has never met either of them, so why would he attend the funeral? In addition, Shane Withington sent the following tweets in November, confirming he's to face a difficult grieving process.
Whoa ! An 18 hour day on Monday ending with band rehearsals...some of the most difficult scenes I've ever had to do as an actor... 7th November 2012
At this late stage in the year crying scenes are easy.....it's stopping that's difficult..... 28th November 2012
Just to put the final nail in the coffin (sorry!), the 2013 trailer (see the bottom of this article) shows a number of Summer Bay High students attending the funeral, presumably saying goodbye to their beloved principal.
Though with no official confirmation that Sonia Todd is leaving the show, and with the scenes not due to hit aussie screens until April or May, it could be a while until we discover the truth.
Presuming it is Gina, that still leaves the question of how she will die. The extended 2013 trailer features Adam and Brax fighting, leading some members to speculate that their fighting spills onto the road, causing Gina to swerve and hit something else. Yet other members believe her death will be caused by a brain aneurysm or heart attack.
Gina isn't the only character whose death is being speculated over. The Braxtons' acquaintance Adam (played by Martin Lynes) is only on the show on a guest contract, so his time may be numbered too. SmileGirl wonders if his fight with Brax leads to his death - maybe with Gina inadvertantly playing a part?
If it is Gina, then that leaves open the question of who the replacement principal will be? Bianca and Natalie? Lozlovesh&a points out that neither are particularly qualified for the job, so could a new character enter to take over the position? Perhaps a new love interest for Irene or Leah? Mishyy and b2sb09 certainly hope so. And what would her death mean for John and Marilyn? Could romance finally be on the cards?
In a year we're promised "fresh mystery, fresh love, fresh faces and fresh beginnings", the show is kicking things off almost immediately with the fresh faces.
New characters Spencer (Andrew Morley) and his 16 year old sister Maddie (Kassandra Clementi) show up at Roo's door in the first episode back. The pair are runaway teens with 'a secret to hide', who end up being fostered by Roo and Harvey. Bosses had previously revealed that there would be more focus on both Summer Bay High and fostering during 2013, and this is clearly the first step in that new direction.
Johnny Ruffo joins the cast as their brother Chris in March, as revealed by Lynne McGranger in an interview with Digital Spy. The three are seen in the current 2013 trailer, with Ruffo's character stating "Summer Bay, I'm here to stay!"
Charlie Clausen also joins the Home and Away cast as Natalie's ex Zac, who Casey meets whilst in gaol.
The final episode of the 2012 season saw Jamie leave Heath for dead in the middle of the ocean. Evil Adam had instructed son Jamie to get rid of Heath after he found out that Bianca was trying to rekindle her and Heath's relationship.
Image © Channel 5, 2012
A promo for the first week back shows us an angry Brax screaming at Jamie, pinning him down as Jamie confesses to leaving Heath out at sea. Throwing Jamie towards the wheel, Brax demands "you start this boat and take us to him". But will Brax and Kyle manage to find their brother in time?
Short answer, yes... Episode previews for the second week back (thanks to b2sb09 on our forum) show Bianca and Heath deciding to move in together "off the back of Heath's new found maturity." As if that wasn't enough, Heath applies for custody of Darcy, to the concern of Bianca. So Heath isn't going anywhere, but his life-threatening experience may have caused him to think harder about some of the more important people in his life.
So what about his attempted murder? Well, after cutting ties with Adam, it seems like Brax and his brothers are on the road to revenge. Episode previews for the first week back reveal that the Braxtons capture Jamie as a way of getting to Adam, and the following day both Adam and Jamie are arrested following Adam's confession.
Whatever happens, it certainly looks like Home and Away is in for an exciting 12 months, and Back to the Bay will be here to bring you all the latest news and gossip as we get it.
The 1 minute 2013 promo is below. Thanks to AUSTV2013 on YouTube.
Thanks to Totally, izzyhoyland, Lozlovesh&a, godfrey_soapfish, dees189227, alreetlike, b2sb09 and everyone else on our forum for all their speculation and investigations over on our Spoiler forum.
Our biannual update is now complete, with all current characters updated to the end of June 2013.
Our credits centre has recently been updated with the final sets of opening titles for the 1991 season.