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Ailsa Stewart - Judy Nunn


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Actually Ailsa never "went crazy". She suffered from serious mental health issues and being strong as she was she coped very well on a day to day basis. However certain things that she had been though in her life affected her always in this way. A character trait like this has nothing to do with running out of idea's but insures good continuity of character. Sadly something that the show lacks today.

The first part of Ailsa trauma and what stared her mental instability was probably watching the abuse her Mother went through from her Father, which resulted in Ailsa stabbing him. Other times was suffering post natel depression 1989 which lead to her nearly smothering Duncan. In 1995 she was attacked at the Diner which could through anyone in a state, let alone someone with Ailsa's history. And in 1999 she had a major car crash and came out of the coma hearing that Alf wanted to turn off her life support.

Then of course there was the road rage incident that scared her to bits resulting in almost shooting Alf!

As the years went on Ailsa was not as strong as she used to be in the pilot but after what she went through who would. After losing Bobby in 1993 she was never the same, which is why in her darkest moment she saw her vision. (Also she had been taking out of date anti-depressants)

Judy Nunn played all of these scenes amazingly with care and sensitivity and I'm sure any actor would rather those stories then just pouring coffee in the diner.

And by all account Judy left from ill health. The only negative thing I have heard her say was the way they wrote her out. Which I myself thought was pretty awful.

Excellent post! I think you've hit the nail on the head in regards to the mental health issues Ailsa had during her time on show.

Her overall departure was disappointing, but I was glad she was brought back in early 2003 when Alf was having a brain tumour, as I think the writers thought that Ailsa's final appearance should be a memorable one. You knew that after that storyline concluded, Ailsa would never been seen again.

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Alf's been carrying on like He's been alone since the day Martha left.It's insulting to long term viewers.

So that's why they then immediately all carried on as if everything was the same? Sorry but a 3 minute, semi-decent funeral scene with no surrounding storyline on either side, really isn't approp

I think it is and that’s largely because they want to gloss over Alf being a bigamist, although he didn’t know Martha was alive when he married Ailsa. I’d much rather they said that Alf had told

Didn't Ailsa promise Alf that he'd see her again when it's "really time for him to go?"

I hope that when/if Alf leaves that we see him move on with Ailsa.

Yes Ailsa did say that, but I believe we won't see her on-screen ever again.

Don't forget about Martha, Alf's first wife as well even though she never appeared on-screen because she died in 1985.

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Didn't Ailsa promise Alf that he'd see her again when it's "really time for him to go?"

I hope that when/if Alf leaves that we see him move on with Ailsa.

Yes Ailsa did say that, but I believe we won't see her on-screen ever again.

Don't forget about Martha, Alf's first wife as well even though she never appeared on-screen because she died in 1985.

No she appeared in flashbacks in 1988.

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Didn't Ailsa promise Alf that he'd see her again when it's "really time for him to go?"

I hope that when/if Alf leaves that we see him move on with Ailsa.

Yes Ailsa did say that, but I believe we won't see her on-screen ever again.

Don't forget about Martha, Alf's first wife as well even though she never appeared on-screen because she died in 1985.

No she appeared in flashbacks in 1988.

Yes you're quite right. That was during the time when Bobby was finding out about her parents.

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  • 4 years later...

No matter how many years have gone by, Ailsa will always be the one character I wish was still on the show, and Ailsa would be the only character I'd happily bring back from the dead, even if it was the most far-fetched storyline.

I really think that if TPTB hadn't given Judy so many storylines and gave her more time in her dressing room to write her novels, or more time off, then Judy would have stayed longer. Given H&A was her last acting role I think there's a very good chance she'd be still on H&A today.

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  • 1 month later...

Who would have been happy for Nancye Hayes to have taken over as Ailsa from 2001?

I would have been, as it felt Nancy was more true to Ailsa then Debra was at playing Pippa. 

Who agrees?

Of course I'd rather Judy had stayed, but I'd rather have recast then lose Ailsa altogether.

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