When Home and Away returns later this month, there’s a baby bombshell for Ziggy and Dean, while a strange package in the mail suggests Marilyn may have a secret child.
Home and Away is currently off the air in Australia until after the Commonwealth Games, and a number of promos have been released teasing the drama in store when the show returns on Monday 8th August.
The first shows a favourite fighting for their life – Read more here. Now, a further promo has been released, indicating what looks to be two baby bombshells for the residents of Summer Bay!
The first surprise is for Ziggy (Sophie Dillman) and Dean (Patrick O’Connor), with Ziggy seen holding a positive pregnancy test in one version of the promo.
We’ve already been expecting this news in the coming months, with Sophie Dillman having been seen filming at Palm Beach with a baby bump recently, by attendees of Celebtime’s Home and Away tour.
Back in 2019, Dean had told Ziggy that he never wanted to have children, worrying that his mother Karen’s (Georgia Adamson) schizoaffective disorder could be passed down through his genes.
However, he seemed to change his tune after discovering he already had a son, Jai (River Jarvis), who he’d never known about. In a brief rekindling of his relationship with Jai’s mother Amber (Maddy Jevic), Dean even suggested having more children.
So how will Dean react to the news that Ziggy is expecting, and is Ziggy herself even ready to become a mother? At the moment Ziggy is quite settled working as a mechanic at Justin’s garage, whilst also having committed to being Theo’s (Matt Evans) mentor through an apprenticeship.
Dean and Ziggy had also planned to take another road trip, this time up to Cairns to see Ziggy’s sister Coco, before Ziggy chose to stay and help Theo. If they’re soon to have a baby to juggle, the two can probably say goodbye to any other such activities in the near future!
The promo also shows a newly single Theo sharing a kiss with newcomer Kirby (Angelina Thomson). Theo broke up with Chloe (Sam Barrett) following her sudden departure from Summer Bay two weeks ago, which Tane (Ethan Browne) had organised for her own protection.
Whilst Chloe went to New Zealand to be with her mother Mia (Anna Samson), Tane warned Chloe that she shouldn’t tell Theo where she is for the time being. With Chloe’s continued refusal to give Theo any details, their relationship came to an end.
We’d previously reported on Theo and Kirby getting together, after the two were spotted holding hands on several occasions whilst filming scenes at Palm Beach.
The most intriguing snippet in the promo, however, revolved around Marilyn (Emily Symons).
Channel 5’s commissioning editor Greg Barnett recently teased that there would be a huge storyline involving Marilyn, and what looks to be the beginning of this has been cryptically hinted at.
Marilyn is shown opening an envelope, in which there is a photo of a baby. She appears to recognise the child, and on turning the photo over, she finds a message written on the back…
Does one of the bay’s longest-serving residents have a dark secret that’s about to come to light?
Let’s take a look at some of the possibilities…
Is Byron Fisher alive?
Now there’s a question that we’d never expected to be speculating on.
Marilyn and Donald Fisher’s (Norman Coburn) baby son died nearly 23 years ago, and it was this heartbreak that led to the breakdown of their marriage.
Whilst Byron’s death occurred off-screen in the US, which would be an obvious advantage for storyliners tempted to go down this route, it would be hugely controversial with long-term fans if the show were to undo one of 1999’s most emotional storylines. As such, we find it a rather unlikely option.
However it wouldn’t be the first time in recent years that a retcon had occurred, given the return of Martha Stewart (Belinda Giblin) in 2018—whose apparent death back in 1985 (now explained to have been faked) provided one of the foundations that the very beginnings of the show were built on.
So, let’s take a look at what we know about Byron…
After marrying Donald in 1996, Marilyn was keen to start a family. They fell pregnant with a son, Oscar, in 1997, but Marilyn sadly suffered a miscarriage.
With fibroids meaning that she’d be unlikely to be able to carry a child to full-term, Marilyn underwent surgery to remove them in 1998, and later that year the pair were delighted to learn she was pregnant again.
Marilyn gave birth to Byron Vincent Fisher in February 1999, but after being placed under anaesthetic in order to have her son delivered via an emergency caesarean, she struggled to bond with her son. Marilyn disappeared for two months, suffering from post-natal depression, whilst Donald placed Byron under the care of live-in nanny Ellen Porter (Anne Grigg).
Marilyn eventually returned and came to terms with motherhood, before tragedy struck again when Byron was diagnosed with liver cancer at six months old, which had already spread to his lungs.
Byron was taken by Donald and Marilyn to a prestigious private clinic in the US, with Donald returning to Summer Bay two weeks later in order to raise further funds whilst Marilyn and Byron stayed in Seattle, initially lodging with Colleen’s cousin Charlie.
Early news was good, with Byron responding well to chemotherapy, but he soon took a turn for the worse. In the final week of the 1999 season, Donald was devastated to receive a call from the hospital to say that Byron had died as the result of an infection.
Marilyn was said to have been sedated in the hours after Byron’s death, but just as Donald was preparing to fly overseas, he learned that she had gone missing.
With no sign of Marilyn on his arrival in the US, Donald spoke to a chaplain she had befriended, Father MacGuire, who had been asked to perform a service if anything happened to Byron. In accordance with Marilyn’s wishes, Byron was laid to rest in the states, with only Donald and Charlie in attendance. Donald later received a letter from Marilyn stating that it would be too painful for her to return to Summer Bay, putting an end to their marriage.
If this were proven to be untrue, it begs the question as to how it could be done in a realistic fashion—could there have been some outlandish baby-swap/cover-up at the hospital?
There’s also a storyline of 2010 to consider, where Marilyn saw a vision of an 11-year-old Byron in a dream. Whilst it could be argued that this doesn’t prove anything regarding Byron being dead or alive, the sighting had only come as a result of Marilyn dreaming about Miles Copeland’s (Josh Quong-Tart) deceased daughter Amber, affectionately known as Rabbit.
Marilyn did not know Rabbit’s true identity until she saw a sketch that Miles, who had been seeing visions of Rabbit himself during a period of depression, had drawn. She immediately recognised her as being the same girl from her dream, indicating that it hadn’t merely been part of Marilyn’s imagination.
Does Marilyn have a secret child?
Whilst still potentially controversial, a somewhat less drastic theory is that Marilyn has at some point given birth to another child during her years away from Summer Bay.
Marilyn first appeared in Summer Bay in 1989, as the girlfriend of Lance Smart (Peter Vroom). At this point Marilyn was 20 years old, and had spent the latter years of her childhood being brought up by her aunt Jean (Maggie Kirkpatrick), who had taken Marilyn out of the children’s home she’d been placed in by her parents.
In 1991, Jean delivered the bombshell that Marilyn’s good-for-nothing parents, George and Heather Davidson (Doug Scroope & Lynn Rainbow), were actually alive—and had simply put Marilyn in the home as she didn’t suit their life as carnival workers—but she at no point mentioned Marilyn having given up a baby.
If Marilyn were to have had a child pre-Summer Bay, they would now be around 34-37 years old.
Although Marilyn previously had a three-month break from Summer Bay in 1989 after turning down Lance’s marriage proposal, she didn’t leave the bay again until her exit with fiancé Phil Bryant (Vince Martin) and his daughter Toni (Kathryn Dufty) in 1992.
Marilyn was away for nearly 3 years until her return in 1995, having left Phil as soon as she discovered he had been cheating on her. There was certainly no mention of her having left a toddler with Phil, and we imagine he’d have shown up in Summer Bay if she had done so.
Following Marilyn’s departure in 1999, it would be nearly two years before we saw her again. Could Marilyn have been pregnant when she left Summer Bay with another of Donald’s children, who she chose to give up? That would seem unnecessarily cruel on Donald…and undermine their later conversations about how she was dealing with her grief over Byron, so we’ll count that one out.
When Donald met up with Marilyn in London in 2001, after spotting her at the launching of his book “A Letter to Byron“, Marilyn had two primary school aged children with her as well as one in a pram, but soon explained to Donald that she was working as a childminder.
Did Marilyn go on to have a child at some point in the early-mid 2000s, whilst in the UK, who would now be in their late teens or very early 20s?
This would perhaps seem the most likely option given the timeframes. There were 8½ years between Marilyn’s first meeting with Donald in London and her eventual return to Australia in 2010, in which time she could have left behind a new partner and child, or had a baby put up for adoption.
Donald had also visited Marilyn off-screen, as she battled cancer in 2007, so any child would likely have come before then.
Again, a secret child for a long-established character isn’t something that’s unusual to Home and Away. Alf (Ray Meagher) has had two of his own (Quinn and Owen) come to light over the past 34 years, with his wife Ailsa (Judy Nunn) also revealing that she’d had a daughter, Shauna (Kylie Watson), whilst in prison in the 1970s.
Even in more recent years, Summer Bay stalwart Irene (Lynne McGranger) confessed that she had a long-lost child, eventually revealed to be Mick Jennings (Kristian Schmid), who she’d been forced to give up after being abused by her uncle in her teens.
A Wicked Hoax?
Could it just be the case that someone has something against Marilyn, and is playing mind games by trying to convince her that Byron is alive?
It’s easy to see how Marilyn could start second-guessing herself given her fragile state at the time of Byron’s death, particularly if she’d had to be sedated in the hours immediately afterwards and hadn’t attended his funeral—but could Marilyn really have such an enemy out there, cruel enough to see her suffer like that?
Whatever the reason, we’re sure that Marilyn’s world is about to be shaken up, and it surely can’t be long before the person behind (or in) the photo shows their face in Summer Bay…
Home and Away returns to Australia on Monday 8th August, 7pm on Seven.