Australian Home and Away viewers have just seen the 2022 Season Finale, the show’s final episode of the year. With over a month until we return to Summer Bay, we explore everything we know that’s coming up in 2023.
This year’s final episode saw Tane (Ethan Browne) and Felicity’s (Jacqui Purvis) wedding day finally arrive, but things took a shock turn when someone sabotaged the brakes of the ute which Cash (Nicholas Cartwright) and Justin (James Stewart) have spent weeks restoring.
When Felicity and Eden (Stephanie Panozzo) start the drive to the remote farm, they had no idea that they were unable to brake as they travelled at speed through the country roads.
The show now takes its annual summer break, returning to Australian screens next year.
When the show returns in January 2023, Justin and Leah (Ada Nicodemou) are in the path of Eden and Felicity’s speeding ute, and their own car flips as they try to avoid a crash. Eden and Flick have no choice but to carry on driving, before crashing into a petrol station.
We now take a look at what’s in store next year. Most of the spoilers have come from fans watching filming at Sydney’s Palm Beach, the real-life home of Summer Bay’s beach, as well as actors’ social media accounts and photos in the press.
While we think everything is accurate, very little has been officially confirmed by the show.
When is Home and Away back in 2023?
Home and Away will return to both UK and Australian screens in January 2023.
It will return to Channel 5 in the UK on Monday 2nd January 2023.
In Australia, Home and Away will return on Monday 9th January, just one week before the show’s 35th anniversary on Tuesday 17th January.
Dean and Ziggy leave?
This hasn’t been confirmed, and likely won’t be made official until the scenes air in 2023, but filming in November has suggested that Dean (Patrick O’Connor) and Ziggy (Sophie Dillman) have left Summer Bay with their newborn baby.
Fans saw the pair filming a goodbye from Summer Bay, driving off in Ziggy’s distinctive car with their boot packed full of their possessions.
While some have speculated that the new parents are simply heading off to visit family, the car was stacked full of their possessions, including their prized front cover of the Coastal News from when they won last year’s surf competition.
With such a packed car, and with many past characters having left the show shortly after having a baby, it seems safe to assume that we’ll be saying goodbye to Ziggy and Dean in 2023.
Shortly after filming the “goodbye” scenes, Patrick O’Connor and Sophie Dillman returned to Palm Beach to film something with the whole cast – likely a celebration for the 35th anniversary.
The pair – who are dating in real life – then jetted off on a trip to the middle east. Patrick O’Connor posted a photo of a new haircut soon after, showing him with bleach-blonde hair.
While a new hairstyle doesn’t definitely prove that Dean will be saying goodbye, and it’s always possible for a dramatic new look to be incorporated into a storyline, actors have been known to go for a radical change after leaving their roles.
Dean’s mum Karen Thompson returns
Before they leave, we can expect the return of Dean’s mum Karen, played by Georgia Adamson.
Karen was last seen in March when Dean introduced her to his son Jai (River Jarvis). Now she’s about to meet her newest grandchild, with Ziggy expected to give birth early in the new year.
A photo from the set shows Georgia Adamson posing alongside Patrick O’Connor, Sophie Dillman, Lynne McGranger and Emily Symons, with a pram clearly visible at the bottom of the picture.
A formal event in Sydney
Whenever the cast don formal attire and head away from Summer Bay for some on-location filming, things don’t tend to end well.
In recent months, we’ve had Iandra Castle and Heather’s (Sofia Nolan) posh brunch, which saw her take Marilyn (Emily Symons) and friends hostage. Then, of course, there was Tane and Felicity’s disastrous wedding.
Hopefully next year’s formal event has a happier ending – though the fact that Cash is once again there in police attire doesn’t bode well.
Last time it was on Cash to rescue Alf (Ray Meagher), Irene (Lynne McGranger), Leah and Roo (Georgie Parker) from Heather’s clutches – will he be called upon to rescue his friends next year?
In early November, a number of the cast headed to central Sydney, filming scenes at a beautiful location with views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge.
In attendance were Ada Nicodemou (Leah), James Stewart (Justin), Matt Evans (Theo), Nicholas Cartwright (Cash) and Georgie Parker (Roo).
It’s also possible that there were other cast members who didn’t make it into any of the photos the cast shared on social media.
With everyone in formal attire, and Justin and Theo suited and booted, could the shoot be a wedding, a celebration, a presentation, or the location of yet another emergency?
The possibilities are endless, and only time will tell…
Bella Nixon is also rumoured to be returning for a short stint in 2023.
Courtney Miller bowed out of the role earlier this year after 3 1/2 years on the show, with her final episode airing in Australia in early June.
Her character Bella left for New York to help photographer Emmett Ellison (JR Reyne) on a 3-month project.
While she intended on returning to Summer Bay, Nikau (Kawakawa Fox-Reo) broke up with her for her own safety after the Paratas became embroiled in gang drama, and she opted to remain in New York.
Now, photos taken by a fan at Palm Beach – the real-life home of Summer Bay – appear to show that Bella is set to return.
Actress Courtney Miller was seen alongside Lynne McGranger (Irene) at the Coffee Cart.
There was no sign of Nikau actor Kawakawa Fox-Reo, but we imagine there’ll be a reunion between Bella and Nik – but just how positive it will be, remains to be seen.
That leads us on to the next potentially huge spoiler…
Just like when Emmett’s return led to Bella’s exit, it seems that Bella returning may spell the end for Nikau Parata’s time in Summer Bay.
Shortly after Courtney Miller was spotted on set, Kawakawa Fox-Reo headed to LA, before taking to Instagram to post a dramatic hair transformation.
Just like Patrick O’Connor, he’s dyed his hair bleach blonde!
Assuming we can’t expect a flurry of bleach-blonde male characters on Home and Away next year, Kawa’s trip to LA and radical transformation suggests that he may also be departing next year.
It’s also approaching three years since Nikau made his debut appearance on 28th January 2020, and it’s not uncommon to see an actor exit after three years in their role.
Could Bella’s Summer Bay return be the catalyst for Nikau’s exit?
Justin’s daughter Ava Gilbert was last seen in 2020, when Justin had surgery to remove his spinal tumour. At that point she was played by Alice Roberts, having originally been played by Grace Thomas when she first arrived back in 2016.
Now, Ava is set to be recast a second time, with the character set to return in 2023.
A video from CelebTime, the organisers of the Home and Away Tour, shows Justin and an older Ava chatting as they order coffee at the Coffee Cart, before Ava walks away.
The video also shows Kirby (Angelina Thomson) and Theo (Matt Evans) walk past hand in hand, suggesting that the couple last well into the new year despite Theo’s recent worries over their future.
There’s also a potential new love interest for Ava.
Fans attending the Home and Away Tour in early October watched scenes in which an unknown new character ran off the beach, a surfboard under his arm, before putting the surfboard down and joining Ava, who was in the back of a light blue camper van.
There’s no news yet on who the new male character is, or whether they’re a guest or a permanent character, but we should expect to see these scenes on screen in the first few months of the year.
Does Felicity survive?
The return episode will see Felicity’s ute go up in flames with her inside it, after a mystery figure tampers with the brakes, causing it to crash.
Tane, Rose and Gary are powerless to help as the petrol ignites and the car is engulfed in flames, with Felicity still inside.
While the Seven Upfronts promised us “tragedy,” Jacqui Purvis has been seen at Palm Beach in recent months.
With Home and Away filmed many months in advance of episodes airing in Australia, it suggests she will survive the burning car and get to experience married life with Tane.
However, with the most likely hypothesis being that the brakes were tampered with by a member of the Death Adders motorcycle club, the bikie gang seeking revenge on the Parata family, it looks like our Summer Bay favourites will face further gang drama as the show returns in 2023.
Leah ends up injured
Leah seems set for some serious recovery when the show returns. The 2023 return episode will see her and Justin veer off the road as they try to avoid Felicity and Eden, causing their car to fly through the air before crashing to the ground.
In August, a number of the Home and Away cast headed to Blayney, a town in Central West NSW, around 240km west of Sydney, to film the dramatic scenes.
Photos taken from the shoot showed Leah’s crashed car resting underneath a tree, surrounded by crew members.
Another photo taken by a fan shows actress Ada Nicodemou with fake blood on her dress, suggesting that she gets seriously injured in the dramatic crash.
Thankfully she’s been spotted filming in recent weeks, so Leah’s not going anywhere either.
What happens to Bree?
The final week saw Bree’s abusive husband Jacob (Alex Williams) return to Summer Bay to find Bree (Juliet Godwin) and Remi (Adam Rowland) kissing, having celebrated their first official date together.
Jacob later forced his way into Bree’s motel room and made her pack a bag. When Remi found them, Jacob tied him to a chair before smashing his hand with a hammer, potentially ruining Remi’s career as a musician.
The last we saw of Bree, she was being taken away by her abusive husband, and while the police are trying to track them down, their whereabouts are currently unknown.
A new press release from Seven teases that there’s potentially tragedy in store when we return:
The fate of Dr Bree Cameron remains unknown after she was kidnapped and taken away from the Bay by her abusive husband, Jacob.
In Home and Away’s season return week, a distraught Remi searches for the woman he loves. With no sign of her whereabouts or any leads, Remi begins to fear the worst. Will this blossoming romance end in tragedy?
Thankfully, brand new filming watched by attendees of CelebTime’s Home and Away Tour shows that Juliet Godwin is still filming, and that Bree and Remi are still together.
A video from their ‘Filming Very Likely’ tour on Tuesday 29th November shows Bree and Remi smiling while walking hand in hand, suggesting Bree has escaped Jacob’s clutches once and for all. With scenes typically filmed 4-6 months in advance of airing, this means we can expect the couple to be together well into 2023.
That still leaves the question of how Jacob gets caught, and whether he survives. We’ll have to wait until 2023 to find out.
Romance for Mackenzie with a newcomer?
In October, fan Esther Mackenzie saw scenes being filmed at Palm Beach, in which Mackenzie (Emily Weir) got close to a new character.
The pair cosied up, with the male putting his hands on Mac’s face before they embraced. Mackenzie has had nothing but bad luck in love since she moved to Summer Bay; will the newcomer finally bring her happiness, or is there more heartbreak in store?
These scenes were filmed in early October, meaning we’ll likely see them on screen in 3-4 months’ time.
Actor Kyle Shilling joins Home and Away
There’s another new character on the way, played by Kyle Shilling, who has been filming on the show since August. Nothing about his character has yet been revealed, but he has been spotted filming alongside Kirsty Marillier, who plays Rose.
Could he be a new love interest for Constable Delaney when he makes his debut early next year?
A new character named Jordan
Dylan Hare is set to make another appearance on Home and Away. The actor was previously seen playing Kurt Bentley, Ziggy Astoni’s strict boss when she began her internship as a mechanic for a race team back in 2019.
He’s now set to play a character named Jordan, according to a recent update to his CV.
He most recently starred as Nash Malouf in Underbelly: Vanishing Act, based on the story of Melissa Caddick, a high-rolling Australian woman who vanished in November 2020.
We’ll update this article with any new spoilers as soon as we get them. Sign up to our newsletter below to be the first to know.
Home and Away returns to Australian screens Monday 9th January 2023.
UK Soap Spoilers for next week