Al Simpson

Al Simpson (1988, 1990)
George Leppard (1988); Terrence Donovan (1990)
Episodes: 226, 458-484

Marital Status: Doris Simpson (deceased)
Children: Sophie Simpson; Bobby Simpson (adopted)

Al Simpson first appeared when his adoptive daughter, Bobby, visited him in prison demanding answers about the letter he sent her saying he wasn’t her natural father. When Bobby asks why he had decided to tell her now, he says that he wanted to start a new life when he got out of prison and Bobby would no longer play a part in it. Appearing very rude, he remarks that there is no point in Bobby introducing him to Frank, her boyfriend at the time, as it is unlikely he will ever see either of them again. Al continues by saying that his wife Doris, who had died from cancer years earlier, was desperate to have a child and so he agreed to adopting Bobby. Bobby’s birth mother, Morag Bellingham, with the help of her good friend, Martha Stewart, had arranged for money to be put into a special account for Bobby’s upbringing without Al and Doris knowing where the money had come from. Al explains that raising Bobby proved worthwhile financially while the money was being sent but now he had nothing to gain from pretending to be her natural father. Before Bobby leaves, Al gives her the name of someone who might know who her natural parents are on the condition that he never hears from her again. She agrees. The name is Alf Stewart.

Al is next seen just over a year later when he arrives in the bay with his daughter out of wedlock, Sophie. Naturally Bobby is furious when she serves a customer in the Diner and it turns out to be Al. When Bobby is introduced to her foster sister, Sophie, she says that she never knew of her existence to which Al replies that nobody did until recently, not even his late wife Doris. Bobby leaves and Sophie says her father was right that they would not receive a warm welcome. Al replies that Bobby will come in handy, making it clear that his motives for being in town are less than pure.

Having checked into the Caravan Park, Al and Sophie chat about their plans while staying there; Sophie makes it clear she wants to go up North, but Al insists that Bobby will be useful since she is running a successful business. Al encourages Sophie to beg on the street which she does, first conning local resident Marilyn Chambers out of $10, eventually making $80 on her first day alone. Later that evening, Al sits back while Sophie cooks dinner, eventually interrupted by local principal, Donald Fisher. Taking great delight in Donald’s unease, Al asks what Donald wants. Donald tells Al that he hopes he’s not in Summer Bay to cause trouble, and that he won’t go through what he did before.

It is later revealed that Al knows Donald is responsible for the death of local teenager, Shane Wilson. Al clearly wants to use Donald’s secret that he accidentally shot Shane in the bush to extort money for himself, and he is thrilled when he finds out that Donald is Bobby’s natural father, meaning Donald has more at stake.

A few days later, Al demands $10,000 to keep Donald’s secret. Reluctantly Donald agrees, arranging a bank loan and paying $200 in cash up front. While he waits for the money, Al continues his manipulation of Sophie, encouraging her to ask Bobby for a job at the diner. Eventually Bobby warms to the idea, but Al bullies Sophie into taking a little extra from the cash register, telling her to think of it as a donation to the needy. As she is starting to like Summer Bay, Sophie is clearly uncomfortable with the idea, but to keep her father happy, she does what he asks. When Donald finds out that Sophie is working at the Diner, he is more than unhappy with the idea and heads straight to Al’s caravan. Unable to be convinced to leave town and be sent the money, Al continues to get drunk in his caravan. It soon comes to light that he hits Sophie, when she next appears at the Diner with a bruise on her face. Despite Bobby clearly knowing Al is responsible due to the fact he used to hit her, Sophie is adamant that Al is not to blame. That day in the Diner, Al pays Sophie using a counterfeit $50 note hoping to once again rip off Bobby. He is less than impressed when Sophie returns home after work having not stolen as much as he’d like. She pleads with Al to leave as she doesn’t like ripping off Ailsa and Bobby, but Al makes it clear he intends to get the money from Donald before they move on from Summer Bay.

When Donald confesses to Ailsa what had happened 8 years ago, she bans Al from the Diner. He soon finds out why when Sophie tells him that Ailsa had been acting strangely since visiting Donald earlier that day. To speed things up, Al phones Donald about the money but Bobby answers making the pair unable to talk. He then waits until Bobby leaves the house and sneaks in, demanding that Donald finds him the money there and then. Later Al begins to panic realising that Donald planned to confess everything when Sophie tells him that Donald urgently wanted to speak to Matt and Bobby about something. In a drunken haze Al demands that Sophie tells the police she had witnessed Donald threatening to kill him. When the police question Al, he tells them he saw Donald deliberately fire at Shane.

When Donald’s foster daughter Viv Newton finds out the news, she heads to Al’s caravan and asks for his side of the story. Al lies that he couldn’t tell the police what had happened because Donald had threatened him. After it is revealed that Donald’s gun doesn’t match the bullet which killed Shane, Sophie realises that her father is lying about the whole thing. Al defends his lies by saying it was a good opportunity to make money. Viv and Bobby later head back to Al’s caravan for answers. Finding Sophie alone, they demand that she tell them what she knows, but she refuses. Al returns, and is delighted when Bobby nearly hits him, threatening to charge her with assault. When Viv and Bobby leave, Al loses his temper, believing that Sophie let slip that he was lying. Later that day, Al once again hits Sophie when he catches her sneaking out of the caravan with a packed bag. When it becomes clear that Al isn’t letting Sophie out in public, Carly distracts him while Matt and Bobby speak to Sophie about getting help. Unfortunately Sophie continues to defend her father.

As a result of his involvement in Shane’s death, the authorities deem Donald no longer suitable as Viv’s guardian which results in her and Steven running away. Al is then banned from the local shop when Alf Stewart says that he is responsible for their disappearance. However, Sophie bears the brunt of Al’s fury when he gets home and she sticks up for Alf, leading to another beating. Once again Al apologises and tells Sophie that she needs to realise he is the only person she can trust and rely on. Later that day Al goes to the diner which Matt uses as an opportunity to speak to Sophie alone. After having been thrown out by Celia Stewart, Al finds Matt hanging around the caravan park and warns him to stay away from Sophie.

In a bid to clear Donald’s name and expose Al as Shane’s killer, Matt and Bobby go through Shane’s old belongings in hope of finding evidence. When they find a comic book with Simpson’s name written above the drawing of a villain, they hope to use this as evidence. Bobby gives Al an ultimatum to leave town the next day without Sophie, otherwise they will go to the police with the comic. Al accepts, but when Sophie is packing her things, he tells her that he won’t leave without her and will be back for her soon.

The next day, while Matt is out shopping, Al breaks into Fisher’s house, stealing the comic, and barges into Matt’s, demanding that Sophie get her things and come with him. Sophie bravely opposes her father, wanting to know whether he really was the one who killed Shane. He angrily tells her to shut up before dragging her out of the house. Al then abandons his car and digs up a chest full of money on the beach which were proceeds from the job he went to prison for. A childhood memory makes Bobby think she knows where Al and Sophie are, but when her and Matt go to the hut Sophie is hiding in, Al catches them trying to take Sophie home with them. However, Al’s plans soon come to a halt when he holds Matt and Bobby hostage in the hut, resulting in his confession to killing Shane Wilson being overheard by Detective Hunt. Al is never seen again, but goes to prison, while his daughter Sophie is eventually fostered by the Fletchers.