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Exclusive Interview with Dan Bennett

Dan F

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You asked for it, and we hope we've delivered!

We're very happy to reveal our exclusive interview with Home and Away Script Executive Dan Bennett.

As many of you will know, Dan has a long history with the show - having worked under the likes of Ray Harding, Coral Drouyn and Bevan Lee before taking to the Script Producer chair himself in 2005. After departing in 2007, Dan worked in an executive position on Neighbours and as co-producer on Out of the Blue before returning to the Seven umbrella to oversee Winners & Losers.

In 2015 he returned to Home and Away as the show's Script Executive (later Network Script Executive).

With Dan's final storylines coming to air over the next 3 months, we're very grateful for him to taking time out to talk to us about his time on the show - both back in 2005-2007 and his current stint.

Thanks to our team member Matt also for taking on the job of corresponding with Dan as we worked through rather a lot of questions! We didn't open it up to member questions on this occasion, but we do hope we've covered a lot of the main ones that have been brought up in recent times.

So a big thanks to Dan once again, for what we believe is quite an insightful interview :)


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Great interview! A very interesting read for sure. I laughed when you mentioned Irene's "dead shelf", I haven't heard that one before :lol:

Amanda got some love in this interview, that was nice. I was never the biggest fan of Belle, but she and Amanda was a great duo and I'm glad they made Belle Amanda's daughter if that meant saving Amanda's character from being axed.


"Yep. We had a huge Fisher story planned. I hope it plays out one day."

I'm sure a lot of people on here are tearing their hair out just reading that! And I don't blame that, I would have loved to see him return too. Hopefully they're just saving it for another time (not that I can see see a more natural opportunity than Marilyn thinking she's still married to him presenting itself anytime soon <_<).



"It’s fair to say that the issue of diversity has caused a lot of criticism of the show in recent years. You had previously mentioned that you intended to address this during your recent tenure, but this didn’t appear to come to fruition…?

It was part of the plan, definitely. I was desperate for it. But unfortunately not all plans are able to come to fruition.

A number of viewers picked up on early hints indicating that the character of Brody Morgan could turn out to be gay. Was this the original intention before Jeannie came along?

No comment"


I'm gonna take that "no comment" as a yes. First of all, I knew it! And second of all, that means they basically introduced Jeannie for the sole reason of proving Brody's heterosexuality. I always knew she was useless. But seriously, that's awful. (Not trying to turn this into another "complaining about no diversity" thread, sorry.)


We had a different ending planned for Kyle but Nic Westaway made an emotional pitch for it to end this way, so we obliged. It’s not the way I would have chosen to go.

Petition for your next interview to be with Nic Westaway so you can ask him what exactly he was thinking.


A lot of that episode actually hit the cutting room floor because of length so there were even more updates on past characters that unfortunately viewers never got to receive.

Teasing us like that is actually just mean :o

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9 minutes ago, Therese K said:

I laughed when you mentioned Irene's "dead shelf", I haven't heard that one before :lol:

It's a long-running in-joke on the show :wink:

10 minutes ago, Therese K said:

Teasing us like that is actually just mean :o

I do actually have a copy of the original script for that ep, and have spoken about a few of the cut scenes before (conversations with Sarah/Barbara etc.) - hope to have some of the extracts up on the site one day.

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26 minutes ago, Dan F said:

I do actually have a copy of the original script for that ep, and have spoken about a few of the cut scenes before (conversations with Sarah/Barbara etc.) - hope to have some of the extracts up on the site one day.

You really have an answer to everything, don't you? (That sounded mean, but I mean it in the best possible way.) I'm very impressed with your dedication to Home and Away and this site. And I would love to see at least parts of that script one day :)

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Very interesting interview.  Well done Dan and Matt.

I wasn't surprised that his answers to some questions acknowledged how the "financiers" of the show are a powerful influence on how the show develops. Also that a show written exclusively for the long term fans would be very different. Not new news of course.!!!

His comments on Morag reflect my own feelings that she works best as a a semi regular character who reappears at intervals.

I share his disappointment that his plans for a Fisher return didn't work out.  Let's hope that at some stage they do get "dusted off" as he hopes. I loved Fisher and we haven't had a seriously believable Principal for Summer Bay High since.  Unfortunately I would have to include Sally in that.

I'm still considering his responses to some of the questions he didn't really answer.  He has left us with some intriguing things to speculate over.

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A very, very good interview. Thank you BTTB and Dan Bennett for such great in-depth answers and not the usual sitting-on-the-fence stuff.

I'd forgotten just how much I enjoyed the 2005-6 era. Looking back, it was quite a self-contained era. Cartoony in places (if you know what I mean), but great fun, full of heightened drama but always lots of attention to character and a good feeling of community. Lots and lots of very strong, stand-out emotional moments (e.g. Beth telling Amanda to get out, or she'll throw her out, at Graham's wake. Or Sally crying on the rocks after learning of Flynn's terminal illness). It always reminded me (and still does) of the show Desperate Housewives in the way stories were told from emotional viewpoints of (often female) characters. 100% agree with the moving of Sally to central place on the show. As a fan I'd been crying out for years that she was criminally underused and it seems like Dan agreed, which makes sense as he was also a fan.

By far the most interesting answer was about the plans for Fisher's character that never happened. Such a shame Dan couldn't tell us more but obviously wants to protect the story just in case. Got a very strong suspicion it would have been Fisher's swan song (i.e. death) and an emotional way for he and Marilyn to finally tie-up loose ends and draw a line under everything. An alternate (and much more wacky) idea would be the notion that Byron is alive (we never actually saw what happened in America...). Ok, that's more far fetched! Back to the Fisher-dying idea... perhaps with Marilyn's amnesia Fisher would live out his last few weeks believing that Marilyn had come back to him and really loved him. In essence they would both get to re-visit their marriage and have some happy times one last time.

It's obvious from watching any 2005 episode that Dan loved Morag - just as many writers say they do - yet inexplicably none of them want her around too much. I have to-ed and fro-ed on this one. I do understand that she works better as an impact character and there are periods during her 1989 stint as a main character that didn't work. On the other hand, there are long periods when she's around so little, it beggars belief. She should be in the show at least 4-5 months every season.

I LOVE that he fondly remembers the Summer Bay Nutter story - I always thought that the Stalker story was kind of reminiscent of it, so that was probably a deliberate not to the past. Speaking of which, I like that he so fondly acknowledges the past. Episode 4000 was fantastic (even including Bobby's theme... I wonder if that was his suggestion?). Very interesting that Justine Clarke offered to record a voice message but they decided not to. I've never had a problem with Chloe's death in episode 4000, it was a genius soap move.

Interesting that he recalls the Corey story as camp - I remember it being quite dark and sinister. Maybe my 11-years-older self will have to find a way to re-watch it.

The whole mystery of Kim trying to find his mother and finding out secrets about Barry (and Jonathan) is one of my all time favourite stories post-2000. It's also another one that strongly reminds me of Desperate Housewives. I just found this story so compelling and thought it did wonders for Kim and Barry as characters.

His answer about Brody Morgan (whoever that is, I don't watch anymore) pretty much says everything you need to know, without actually saying. Clever answer. Must be so frustrating for writers being held back by whatever silly bureaucracy blocks such stories/characters.

There are several things I wish we could have read his thoughts on (but I guess the interview couldn't go on forever) like his opinion on his season finales - I personally felt the 2005 season finale was dreadful (although I appreciated what it was trying to do, I felt the execution sucked), while the 2006 finale was up there with Chloe's ordeal with Brad and Ailsa appearing in the Diner. And also a big part of 2005 was Josie (whose 1989 secret was another Desperate Housewives moment) - who doesn't get a single mention in the whole interview even though Josie and Jesse's wedding has to be one of the best episodes of 2005. Another one is Beth who I felt got neglected after moving out of Summer Bay House - I'd love to have known Dan's feelings on that because she was such a strong character when given the material.

Reading that interview has actually made me feel so nostalgic for the 2005/6 era (5 in particular). I wish it was available on DVD so I could binge-watch it now. Even characters like Tasha and Robbie who I didn't care for so much at the time, I'm feeling nostalgic for.

As for losing Leah's house... I understand wanting to "elevate" Leah/Ada's status on the show by moving her into Summer Bay House. I guess she'd never have left the other house voluntarily - it was her and Vinnie's home not to mention all the other years of memories (Dan etc). Just a shame we had to lose such a good set that fans liked in the process. I'm sure there are other ways they could have done it, like have a smaller fire and Leah live in SBH while her home was being refurbished, and then upon completion, realizing all the memories she had in the house were gone, and that it was just "a house" now, and not wanting to live in it anymore. That way the fans would still have the house but Leah would no longer want to live there. I don't know... something like that. Could have given Leah/Ada some emotional material wandering around the "new" old house, realising it doesn't feel like her house anymore and that Vinnie, Dan etc were always "there" with her before the fire... and now it feels like they are not there at all. Does this make sense?

It also would have been reeeeeeeeally interesting, since Dan is a fan of the show, to have heard his opinions on certain storylines and characters from outside his era. I'd love to know what he thought of Ailsa's death for example, and Pippa's original exit (did they do the right thing by not giving her a "proper" goodbye even though they knew the actress was going for good?). And also The Sutherlands... a family that many loved and many hated.

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Great interview, thanks guys.

I love that a Fisher return was on the cards, pity it didn't pan out.

Sounds like Nic Westaway getting his way spoilt the ending for the Barretts.

Nice to get confirmation of the plan to make Leah central to the show, although I still find it odd keeping Alf in with her. 

I enjoyed the subtle little dig at the Braxtons early on in the interview, how villians work best when they're on the outside.



I'm sure Dan's view on Sally is shared by many, the show definitely did lose part of it's heart when Sal departed.

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11 minutes ago, Matt said:

Just a received a last minute addition - an edit to give a little more insight into Kyle Braxton's exit!

Right, so Kyle would have gone to prison for his own actions, rather than someone elses (although with the BTS intention that he was paying for Brax, Heath & Casey).

I assume they didn't know that Andy & Josh would be leaving when that was plotted as surely it would make more sense to send the two murderers to prison.

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