As the 2016 season draws to a close, we take a look back at the changes on- and off-screen, the big events that took the Bay by storm and what’s coming up in the season final.
Last year, Home and Away fans were bombarded with 15 episodes in two weeks. This year, the final weeks of the show are, although less compact, prolonged. As announced two weeks ago, the 2016 season of the long-running soap will conclude on Monday, 19th December – the latest season finale ever. This does, however, follow the previous two years’ suits with the finale falling in mid-December, instead of the usual last week of November.
Behind the Scenes
This season saw several major changes in the story department. Dan Bennett left the role of Series Script Executive in August, with his position filled by Alexa Wyatt, a former Home and Away writers and the creative mind behind the last two seasons of the popular Australian drama, McLeod’s Daughters. Her tenure in the top job lasted twelve weeks before Dan Bennett returned to the top job.
Gary Sewell remained on as the Script Producer until July with Hamilton Budd and Brooke Wilson credited as the Associate Script Producers before and after his departure. Brooke was employed as the Acting Script Producer for two weeks in April. Faith McKinnon remained as Story Consultant, with Romina Accurso as the Associate Story Producer and Hannah Carroll Chapman as the Story Associate until four weeks into Alexa’s tenure. The roles were taken over by Lesley Lewis, as the Story Producer, and Kate Bradley, as the Associate Story Producer, with Alexandra Cullen as the Story Associate.
Since Alexa and Lesley’s departure, Kate has remained in her respective role, however Hamilton is now the Script Producer and Brooke, the Associate Script Producer. Fiona Bozic has become the Supervising Script Editor, while Rachel Laverty and Anna Bauweraerts have both been credited as Storyliners. Faith McKinnon made a return to the role of Story Producer for the last three weeks of the season.
The series had 230 episodes go to air, as with the majority of the Early Years seasons. Over all 230 episodes, audiences will have seen:
- 5 arrivals (Tori Morgan, Justin Morgan, Brody Morgan, Mason Morgan and Raffy Morrison)
- 5 returns (Darryl Braxton, Morag Bellingham, Duncan Stewart, Bianca Scott and Heath Braxton)
- 7 departures (Kyle Braxton, Maddy Osborne, Ricky Sharpe, Skye Peters, Josh Barrett, Andy Barrett and Chris Harrington)
- 3 weddings (Nate Cooper & Ricky Sharpe, Josh Barrett & Evelyn MacGuire (called off) and VJ Patterson & Billie Ashford (called off))
- 3 deaths (Oscar MacGuire, Hannah Wilson and Atticus Decker)
- 2 proposals (Josh/Evelyn and VJ/Billie)
- 1 abortion (Olivia Fraser Richards)
As well as these rites of passage, several major events rocked Summer Bay over the course of 2016. From February to May, the police force of Summer Bay attempted to no avail to uncover who shot Charlotte. Irene continued the search for her child, who turned out to be psychotic Mick Jennings who raped Billie, resulting in her pregnancy and kidnapped Irene for six weeks. Billie then decided to pass her child off as VJ’s and dupe the town into believing he is the baby’s father.
Roo’s fundraiser for the hospital in May ended in disaster when a fight between Andy and Tank Snelgrove resulted in an explosion in the Caravan Park, killing Hannah and Oscar and resulting in Maddy having her arm amputated. In June, the mysterious Morgan brothers arrived in town to join their sister Tori, but it was soon revealed they were on witness protection. Alf reconnected with his son, Duncan, thanks to Roo’s meddling. At the beginning of August, a plane crash rocked the town, carrying several much-loved residents. This acted as the Olympic Cliffhanger.
When the show returned, the crash victims were rescued, however the Morgan siblings learnt that they had a younger sister – the product of an affair between their mother and their witness protection supervisor. Olivia was rocked by a stalker who held her hostage in her own home, whilst John was admitted to hospital after a fall. Caroline revealed she was suffering from Huntington’s, and VJ and Billie made it to the altar, before she jilted him and revealed the truth about the baby. Heath and Bianca returned to Summer Bay, on the verge of divorce, while Phoebe and Justin grew closer. The Morgans secret was revealed after Decker was killed and Justin went to court to out Ranae Turner as the leader of the Syndicate.
The synopses for the season finale week, which can be viewed alongside others on our Upcoming Australian Episodes page, are as follows:
Monday, 12th December (Episode 6573)
Summer Bay finally learns the Morgans secret. Nate struggles to come to terms with Tori’s lies. Salt gets trashed.
Tuesday, 13th December (Episode 6574)
Evelyn’s fears threaten to destroy her chance at love. A teenage love triangle spells trouble at the formal. Olivia is forced to question who she wants to be with.
Wednesday, 14th December (Episode 6575)
Mason punches Hunter. Heath and Bianca break the cycle. Ash wants to find Billie’s attacker.
Thursday, 15th December (Episodes 6576 & 6577)
Ash and Kat clash over the garage investigation. Another fire breaks out in the Bay. Justin fights to be in his daughter’s life again. Nate has second thoughts about Tori.
Monday, 19th December (Episodes 6578, 6579 & 6580)
Billie’s world is rocked by news of Mick’s release. The arsonist prepares to strike again. One of the Morgans is left clinging to life. An unwelcome visitor returns to the Bay.
In a rare move, the season finale of Home and Away will air on Monday, 19th December – not only making it the latest season finale ever, but also making it the first season finale to air on a Monday. The first official promo for the 2016 season finale aired last Thursday in Australia, and can be viewed, both on the official website, and in the link embedded below.
Home and Away airs at 7pm Monday through Thursday on Channel Seven.