Episode Pilot

Australian Air Date: 17th January 1988
UK Air Date: 11th February 1989
Writer: Bevan Lee
Director: Riccardo Pellizerri

New Australian drama serial about a childless couple who foster five children from broken homes, orphanages and institutions. When 42-year old Tom Fletcher is retrenched, he and his wife Pippa sell up and buy a derelict caravan park in Summer Bay, taking their five charges with them.

Extended Summary

It’s 1978. A policeman chases 8-year-old Frank Morgan who gets caught.

Mr Jarvis from Youth and Community Services talk to Tom and Pippa about Frank. They will be fostering him from now on. Mr Jarvis warns them that Frank is usually in a lot of trouble.

Now it’s 1988. The Fletcher family members are Tom, Pippa, Frank, Steven, Carly, Lynn and Sally.

It’s Tom’s 40th birthday. Pippa has baked a cake for him. They celebrate his birthday. Tom holds a speech at birthday party.

Tom is at work. He get the bad news that he will be retrenched. He’s worried. Tom comes home and talks to Pippa about it. He tells his family about it and says it will work out anyway somehow.

Steven have only lived with Tom and Pippa for a few weeks so far.He is worried he’s not really welcome in the family. Pippa explains to him that he is definitely a part of the family and Tom says that too.

Mr Pearce at Youth and Community Services say they might have to take Fletcher kids away from Tom and Pippa. Their reason is that since Tom have lost his job maybe they can’t support the kids. Tom and Pippa tell Mr Pearce that they can sell their house and move out of city so their economy will let them keep the kids. Mr Pearce is impressed how much they’re willing to do for the kids.

Steven keeps his karate practice a secret. Frank is curious what he does when he sneaks off to the practice.

Tom and Pippa tell the family about the plan to move out of city. Their kids seem to be OK with it.

Steven practises karate with his teacher who was an old friend of Steven’s dead father. Steven talks to him about the plan to move out of city.He also talks about his parents and that he haven’t got over their death in a fire yet.

The Fletchers put their house up for sale and drive to Summer Bay.

Alf drives to Caravan Park which he owns.

He talks to Floss and Neville, who used to work as circus artists. Alf says a family is coming to check the Caravan Park house out. Floss and Neville get worried for some reason. Neville hurries to a caravan and talks to Bobby who is in it. He tells her to hide.

Tom introduces the Fletchers to Alf, Floss and Neville. They also find out that Sally have a imaginary friend named Milko.

Sally walks around the caravan park and when she comes near a caravan, Bobby rushes out and Sally gets hurt by the door. Bobby runs. Sally cries and tells her family what happened.

Floss, Neville and Alf is there too. Floss and Neville act innocent even though they knew about Bobby.

Alf shows the Fletchers around the house. Everyone likes the house. Alf give Tom and Pippa a bed for free. It’s an antique bed which had been in Martha’s family for a very long time (Martha was Alf’s wife. She is now dead).

Bobby sneaks around caravan park. She then hides so she won’t be seen.

Floss reads Pippa’s future in a crystal ball for fun.

Fisher walks to the caravan park. Bobby hides. He introduces himself to the Fletchers.

Fisher’s house has been broken into and burgled recently.

Bobby talks to Floss and Neville. Bobby is angry and is worried now when she can’t hide in caravan park anymore.

Sally notices Bobby and say that’s the girl who ran out of caravan when Sally got hurt.

Tom and Frank chase Bobby. She gets caught. Fisher comes by and is thankful. He says it was Bobby who broke into his house. The police then take Bobby away in a police car.

Neville talk to Pippa about Bobby. He knows Bobby a bit. Bobby insists she haven’t broken into Fisher’s house.

Pippa gets interested in helping Bobby.

Pippa meet Ailsa and Doris Peters in Ailsa’s store.

Steven and Frank Fisher don’t get on well.

Ailsa talks to Pippa about Bobby. Ailsa knows Bobby very well.

Steven practices karate down at beach. Bobby sees him and act tough.

Bobby reckons his family have caused her trouble.

Sally gets her own room in their new home. Carly and Lynn share a room. Steven and Frank also are sharing a room, which is quite difficult since they Fisher’t get on too well!

Pippa puts up the family photos in the house.

Lance and Martin meet Carly and think she’s hot! Carly meets Matt and think he’s gorgeous.

Bobby sees Carly, Lynn and Sally in Ailsa’s store. She is angry at them. Ailsa gets angry at Bobby for bothering them.

Carly, Lynn and Sally come to Pippa and look worried. Sally is teary.

Pippa talks to Bobby on beach. Pippa is friendly to her but Bobby is angry. She blames the Fletchers for her arrest. Pippa offers her to live in a caravan in the caravan park. Bobby isn’t interested and acts very defensive.

The Fletchers fixes things in caravan park (painting,cleaning etc). Floss and Neville help too.

In the middle of the night Neville yells outside the Fletchers. A caravan is on fire! Frank, Tom, Floss and Neville try to put out the fire. The firemen come to put the fire out but it’s too late (Alf is with them too). The firemen drive the car right into a outdoor veranda! Alf yells, “Where’s the fire?!” Tom and Pippa laugh!

Ailsa talks to Bobby. She asks Bobby if she burned down the caravan. Bobby says no. Bobby and Ailsa have a heated argument. Bobby is teary and Ailsa hugs her.

Fisher speaks to Tom and Pippa. Fisher is convinced it is Bobby who torched the caravan. Fisher wants Bobby in prison and wants help from them. They get angry and tell him to leave.

Most of the Fletchers hate Bobby. Tom and Pippa say there’s no proof that Bobby is responsible for the fire.

Lance and Martin act tough and say to Bobby they know who was responsible for the fire. They say it was a mate of Lance. Bobby gets angry at them. She starts a fight with Lance and Martin. Steven comes by and helps her and uses his karate. Bobby is surprised and talks to Steven.

Bobby finds out all the Fletcher kids are fostered. Bobby seems to change her mind about Tom and Pippa.

Alf is spending a lot of time together with Ailsa. Pippa finds out they are an item.

Bobby talks to Pippa and say she’ll live in a caravan if the offer is still open. Pippa is happy. Pippa tells Tom that Bobby will be living in a caravan. Tom doesn’t think it is a good idea. A family meeting starts about whether Bobby should live in caravan park or not. Carly, Lynn and Sally are against it. Sally says she hates Bobby! Tom, Pippa, Steven and Frank are for letting Bobby live in caravan park. So Carly’s side loses. But Sally says Milko’s vote counts too! Carly agrees with Sally (to get the vote on their side!). Pippa says Milko can’t vote. Sally is upset. So it’s 4 votes against 4 votes! Pippa say she have to try to get Sally to change Milko’s mind!

Pippa talks to Sally and Milko (she pretends Milko is sitting on a chair). Pippa talks about Bobby’s situation and how much it would mean to Bobby with some help. Sally changes her mind about Bobby so she can move into a caravan.

Bobby comes to the Fletchers. Pippa shows her the caravan she will live in. Bobby will live there for free as long as she helps out around caravan park.

Floss does a tarot card reading on Steven.

Neville plays his bagpipe. No one likes it!

The atmosphere between Bobby and Carly is very tense.

Tom is looking for work and has a job interview today. Before his interview, Fisher talks to Mervin Baldivis (the man who will interview Tom). Ailsa sees Fisher talk to him. Mr Baldivis phones Tom and say they’re looking for someone younger for the job.

Ailsa tells Pippa about a event happening soon (Variety Night).

Tom can’t get any job. Pippa talks to Ailsa about it. Ailsa reckons Fisher is one step ahead of Tom to make sure Tom doesn’t get a job. Tom comes to Fisher’s house and is very angry. Fisher denies he has done so Tom can’t get a job. The atmosphere between Fisher and Tom is very tense!

Mr Pearce is at the Fletchers. He has a letter saying that Bobby is living in caravan park and that she is a moral threat to the kids and that Tom can’t find a job so the kids’ security is at stake. Tom say he won’t allow the kids to be taken away.

Just then, Ailsa walks in telling Tom he’s got a job at her store (she says so to impress Mr Pearce). Ailsa also tells Mr Pearce how good Tom and Pippa are for Bobby. So Mr Pearce seems pleased to hear things aren’t so bad after all! Then Carly and Bobby fight outside the Fletchers. Mr Pearce sees it so now things look bad for the Fletchers again!

The whole family is very worried. Carly cries to Pippa. Carly is worried she might have caused the risk of family to be split.

At morning during breakfast, Neville comes into the Fletchers saying Bobby has run away. Bobby has left a note saying the Fletchers will be better off without her. The Fletchers go out to look for Bobby but can’t find her.

Bobby comes to Mr Pearce’s office saying he can’t split the Fletchers. She speaks up for Tom and Pippa how good parents they are, etc. Mr Pearce seems to understand. Bobby leaves in a hurry.

Mr Pearce ask Tom and Pippa if they can foster Bobby if she comes back. The kids are very happy since they won’t be taken away. Pippa say it’s Bobby who made it possible. At night, Tom gets a call saying Bobby have been found.

Floss talks to Neville. She have done a tarot card reading and saw death. She thinks Bobby somehow will cause a death of one of the Fletchers! Floss is scared.

Tom and Pippa have collected Bobby and drive her to the Fletcher. Fisher’s car have broken down on the road near a big water puddle. Tom drives through it and Fisher gets water all over him! Tom, Pippa and Bobby laugh! Bobby is welcomed home by the the Fletchers. Carly is a bit friendly to Bobby as well!. *(happy music plays).

A new family photo of the Fletchers is taken by Neville.

Ola Carlsson, 1999

Guest Cast

MATT WILSON (GREG BENSON)
First episode. Local surfer who set Carly’s heart aflutter.

SGT. BOB BARNETT (ROB BAXTER)
First appearance. Local police sergeant and brief love interest for Celia.

DORIS PETERS (GWEN PLUMB)
First and only appearance. Local gossip who was privy to Alf’s conversation in Hogan’s Store.

TOM’S BOSS (JOHN DOUGLAS)
Tom’s boss who fired him from his city desk job.

YOUNG FRANK MORGAN (BRADLEY PILATO)
Appeared in a flashback being chased by a city policeman.

POLICEMAN (BRUCE VENABLES)
Appeared in a flashback giving chase to a young Frank.

MR. JARVIS (JOHN STONE)
Foster department worker who met with Tom and Pippa.

MERVIN BALVIDIS (PETER BOSWELL)
First appearance. Council bureaucrat who got Tom his road gang job.

MISS PURVIS (KAY EKLUND)
Introduced Bobby to the Fletchers.

TARQUIN PEARCE (JOHN O’BRIEN)
Foster department worker who met with Tom and Pippa.

BILL (MONROE REIMERS)
Steven’s karate teacher.

Characters

Arrivals and Departures

TOM FLETCHER (ROGER OAKLEY)
First episode. Pippa’s husband who moved with his family to take over Summer Bay Caravan Park.
PIPPA KING / FLETCHER (VANESSA DOWNING)
First episode. Tom’s wife who moved with her family to take over Summer Bay Caravan Park.
STEVEN MATHESON (ADAM WILLITS)
First episode. Tom and Pippa’s new foster kid and karate expert, whose parents had died in a house fire.
FRANK MORGAN (ALEX PAPPS)
First episode. Tom and Pippa’s first foster kid, whose parents had severely neglected him.
CARLY MORRIS (SHARYN HODGSON)
First episode. George’s daughter. Samantha’s twin sister. Came to the Bay with Tom and Pippa.
LYNN DAVENPORT (HELENA BOZICH)
First episode. Barry’s daughter. Strict Catholic girl who came to the Bay with Tom and Pippa.
SALLY KEATING (KATE RITCHIE)
First episode. Tom and Pippa’s youngest foster child, taken in after her grandmother passed away.
AILSA O’ROURKE / HOGAN (JUDY NUNN)
First episode. Bridget and Tony’s sister. Local owner of Hogan’s Store and Alf’s love interest.
ALF STEWART (RAY MEAGHER)
First episode. Martha’s former husband. Celia, Morag and Barbara’s brother. Ruth’s father. Local Bait Shop owner and Ailsa’s love interest.
FLOSS McPHEE (SHEILA KENNELLY)
First episode. Neville’s wife. Scott’s mother. Ben’s grandmother. Former circus fortune-teller who lived in the Caravan Park.
NEVILLE McPHEE (FRANK LLOYD)
First episode. Floss’ husband. Scott’s father. Ben’s grandfather. Former circus strong-man who lived in the Caravan Park.
DONALD FISHER (NORMAN COBURN)
First episode. Barbara’s ex-husband. Alan, Rebecca and (unknowingly) Bobby’s father. Summer Bay High school vice-principal and strict disciplinarian.
BOBBY SIMPSON (NICOLE DICKSON)
First episode. Donald and Morag’s (unknown) daughter. Local street-kid who had been abandoned by her widowed foster father years before.
MARTIN DIBBLE (CRAIG THOMPSON)
First episode. Fred/Ern and Nora’s son. Scheming local layabout and Lance’s good mate.
LANCE SMART (PETER VROOM)
First episode. Stan/Les and Colleen’s only son. Dopey local layabout and Martin’s good mate.

Trivia

  • The pilot episode is one-hour long, all subsequent episodes run for 30 mins.
  • Martha Stewart passed away in 1985.
  • Lance and Martin both left school in 1985 (prematurely).
  • Donald has a younger brother, Clive Fisher, who runs the oyster farm employing Martin and Lance (although he is never seen).
  • Pippa’s brother Danny is mentioned, having been Tom’s army mate in the Vietnam War.

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