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Chris Hale


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When Dodge returned to Summer Bay and brushed off Michael's threats about going to the police with, "I haven't seen Chris Hale for years, it'd be good to see him again...", some had commented hat this was a continuity error, since Bob Barnett was the police Sergeant at the time Dodge lived with the Fletchers.

Delving into the matter a bit, I'm not sure how cut-and-dry this is. John Meilon jnr did play a cop on the show in the early days, one of his memorable appearances was nabbing Martin for illegally hawking his bunyip toys. The credits for this episode simply bill him as "Policeman". However, this site's episode guide identifies him as Chris Hale.

This could well be a matter for debate on par with "Is it Frank/Riff-Raff/Magenta at the wedding at the beginning of The Rocky Horror Picture Show", but is there any evidence that this character (whom I believe was recurring in the early days) was/evolved into Chris Hale?  Was it a coincidence that an actor who made appearances as a cop in the early days also played the named Sergeant a few years down the track?Is it simply a matter of viewers putting two and two together and concluding that "Policeman" from episode 402 was indeed a proto-Chris?

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Yes, I think it is a fair conclusion to make that Chris Hale was indeed the policeman in episode 402. I would only think it is someone else if the script specifically gave him a different name on screen and in this case they didn't.

In the world of Summer Bay it may be that Chris Hale was working out of Yabbie Creek in the Dodge days and therefore could indeed have encountered him. I would normally presume that character's recollections are accurate unless we have a reason to believe they are mistaken.

One thing I think we are missing in the current Home & Away is the number of background locals who appeared in the early days. Those who gossiped in the shop, taught at or attended the school, were on surf club committee and attended town meetings. Betty Falwell, Alison Patterson and the local minister come to mind and gave the reassuring impression that there was a close community built up of many locals most of whom we didn't see on a regular basis but who lived there all the same. Extending this slightly it is likely that the local police were part of this community and well known to everyone even if we only saw Barnett initially.

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