As Home and Away’s final UK episode for 2023 airs on 5STAR, we take a look at what’s in store when we return to Summer Bay in January 2024.
Tonight sees the Home and Away UK season finale air as part of 5STAR’s “first look”, before airing on Channel 5 tomorrow. The dramatic episodes saw Justin (James Stewart) and Leah (Ada Nicodemou) left for dead in a warehouse after being tricked by Vita Nova into thinking they’d won a luxury getaway for two.
The pair face a fight to survive, and you’ll have to wait until next year to find out their fate… or, alternatively, keep reading and find out what’s in store on Home and Away in 2024, including whether Justin and Leah survive.
When does Home and Away return in 2024?
Channel 5 hasn’t yet announced when Home and Away will return to UK screens in 2024.
However, in 2023 the show returned to Channel 5 on Monday 2nd January, and the first look aired on 5STAR on Friday 30th December 2022.
So, if the channel keeps to the same schedule this time around, expect a return to Channel 5 on Monday 1st January, with the first look at the season return on 5STAR on Friday 29th December 2023.
While weekday afternoon episodes have been airing at 1pm for the past few weeks, Channel 5 has already confirmed that Home and Away will return to its usual 1:45pm timeslot next year.
What’s coming up on Home and Away in the UK in 2024?
With Australian broadcasts some seven weeks ahead of UK screenings, and the show set to continue down under for another few weeks, we already know what’s in store for the first two months when we return to Summer Bay early next year.
Do Leah and Justin survive?
Of course they do – what would Home and Away be without a life-threatening situation resolved within hours?
However, this time around, it actually takes a little longer than that. While Justin’s efforts to escape the warehouse failed when the metal structure he was climbing crashed down upon him, Leah has better luck as she makes a desperate attempt to free them.
She manages to climb what remains of the structure and find a way out of the remote warehouse.
However, she soon discovers that they’re in the middle of nowhere with nobody for miles. After collapsing and passing out, she sees a vision of Justin, who encourages her to keep fighting, and she eventually wakes.
Walking for miles, she finally comes across a passer-by, who raises the alarm.
Justin is rescued and rushed to Northern Districts Hospital – because where else? – where Bree (Juliet Godwin) – because who else? – takes charge.
Bree soon discovers that Justin has broken ribs and a punctured lung, and his condition is bad enough that surgery to repair the damage would be too risky.
When his condition deteriorates further, Bree has no choice but to operate anyway, but Justin is left suffering from cardiac failure.
With Justin’s condition refusing to improve, Bree tells Leah that she needs to prepare herself for the worst.
As Leah and Theo (Matt Evans) come to terms with Justin’s impending death, Justin – who is still in a coma – has a vision of his own funeral, with Leah sitting on a church pew as Theo plays music.
The vision is enough to wake him from his coma, and he’s finally through the worst of it… well, after one more attempt on his life from a Vita Nova member posing as a hotel orderly, who tries to smother him.
After that, he makes a remarkably quick recovery.
While Leah may have seemingly got off lightly physically, the ordeal takes its toll on her mentally. She becomes haunted by nightmares of Justin trapped in the factory and soon struggles to sleep, fearing more nightmares.
This takes its toll on her and Justin’s relationship. The pair rapidly set about planning their wedding after Leah’s proposal in the factory, but Leah eventually calls it off, telling Justin she needs to get through her issues before she can even think about getting married.
Will Leah, who previously swore off another wedding after three failed marriages, ever be ready to marry Justin?
Zara wants Mali back
New arrival Zara (Matilda Brown) has caused quite a stir since she arrived in Summer Bay last week.
She’s an ex-girlfriend of Mali’s (Kyle Shilling), but also happens to be his “promised wife,” with both her and Mali’s families hoping that they will one day reunite and marry.
While Mali was quick to reassure Xander (Luke Van Os) and Rose (Kirsty Marillier) that his family doesn’t actually follow the “promised wife” tradition, it soon becomes clear that Zara (Matilda Brown) feels differently.
She and Mali split up when she went to uni to study law, and she reveals that Mali promised her that they would get back together once she’d finished her studies – and she’s expecting him to stick to his word!
With Mali’s mum Victoria (Ursula Yovich) not best pleased when she discovered that Rose was a cop, it seems that she too is on the side of a Zara and Mali coupling.
However, Zara soon reveals that she has another reason for wanting to get back with Mali – she’s dropped out of uni and hasn’t yet told her parents. She’s hoping that by returning to Mantaray Bay with him in tow, her family will be overjoyed and quickly forget about her failed studies.
Will Mali choose Zara or Rose?
Keep reading for more spoilers, or subscribe to our newsletter below to be the first to know what else is in store…
Kirby vs Forrest as she re-joins Lyrik
Kirby’s (Angelina Thomson) indecisiveness proves costly when Home and Away returns, as she faces the consequences of her decision to end her fledgling solo career.
Less than two months ago, she made the big decision to abandon her lengthy stint as Lyrik’s keyboardist and chief songwriter after music producer Forrest Duke (Elijah Williams) offered to manage her – and only her.
Within days of receiving Forrest’s offer, she had quit the band and was off signing deals and writing songs of her own, much to the chagrin of friends and bandmates Remi (Adam Rowland) and Eden (Stephanie Panozzo). However, as she launched her solo career with a gig in the city, she realised that going it alone wasn’t for her.
When we return to Summer Bay next year, Kirby quickly discovers that she’s locked into a contract and Forrest makes it very clear that he won’t be letting her out of it – after all, the record label have invested thousands in her, and they want to see a return on their investment.
There’s also the small matter of Remi, who isn’t best pleased when Kirby announces she wants to re-join the band. While Eden and Theo are overjoyed, Remi doesn’t understand how Kirby changed her mind so quickly, and is scared that she’ll just abandon them again.
He eventually comes around, and decides to help Kirby fight against the ruthless music producer to get her out of her contract. Will they succeed?
Irene’s Court Appearance
Irene (Lynne McGranger) and Harper (Jessica Redmayne) are both awaiting trial for their part in hiding Dana Matheson (Ally Harris) from the authorities, but by the looks of things, Irene couldn’t care less.
Despite John’s (Shane Withington) best efforts, Irene has been putting off visiting her lawyer, Greta Hunt (Amanda McGregor), having instead given up and accepted that she’s going down.
It doesn’t matter that Dana had been set up by her ex-boyfriend Olly and corrupt city detective Will Madden (Jonny Pasvolsky). The fact that Irene has prior convictions means she’s convinced that she’s off for a lengthy stint behind bars.
Eventually, Irene is talked around and her day in court arrives. Greta informs her that the judge is a stickler for the rules, and it’s going to be a tough fight, especially as the prosecution are seeking the maximum sentence!
With the judge appearing to show little sympathy in Irene’s case, Greta is becoming concerned, and announces to the court that Irene would like to make a statement. But given Irene’s previous record, it’s a bit of a gamble as to whether it will help.
Though terrified, Irene speaks from the heart as she explains her reasoning in choosing to help Dana.
The next day, a tearful Irene returns to court ready to hear her verdict…
We’ve met a lot of Summer Bay relatives in recent times – Mali’s mum Vicky and sister Elandra (Rärriwuy Hick), Rose’s biological father Samuel (Bert LaBonté), as well as Peter Phelps’ appearances as Cash (Nicholas Cartwright) and Felicity’s (Jacqui Purvis) foster father Gary Morrow.
Now, we’re about to meet even more, as Remi and Bree head out of Summer Bay to celebrate Remi’s parents’ wedding anniversary.
Graham (Brian Meegan) and Nicola Carter (Kate Raison) are Remi’s very well-to-do parents, a pair of classical musicians who are quite well-known in one of the city orchestras.
Bree is slightly overwhelmed when she and Remi pull up at the Carters’ gigantic mansion, complete with a gated driveway and private chef.
Everything goes well, with Remi’s father commending him on his life choices and both parents enamoured by Bree, the first girl he’s ever brought back to meet them.
However, things take a turn for the worse when Graham and Nicola ask Bree and Remi how they met.
“Well obviously things were a little complicated, with me being with my husband,” Bree begins, and it soon becomes clear that Remi has never told his parents the complications that he and Bree experienced when they first got together.
Bree is taken aback that Remi has never told his parents about what she went through, and she wants an explanation…
Tane and Felicity’s marriage breakdown
When Tane (Ethan Browne) returned from New Zealand a few weeks back and started enthusing about all his baby cousins, it put Flick into a panic, thinking he was hoping to start his own family.
Tane soon revealed that he simply hoped to move back to his homeland one day, and suggested that they buy a plot of land on which they could later build a house. However, it soon became clear that it wasn’t enough to scratch his itch, when he later brought up the subject of kids.
Felicity had always insisted that she didn’t want children, and Tane had agreed that it wouldn’t be a dealbreaker in their relationship, but he now wondered whether she’d come round to it like she did with the idea of marriage.
While Flick recently told Tane that she would never change her mind, not wanting kids thanks to her own difficult upbringing, she soon saw how much her decision was hurting him. She relented and told him that she’d had a rethink and was now ready to start a family!
“I know how much you want to be a dad,” she told a stunned Tane. “So let’s have a family.”
Despite this rapid and unlikely change of heart, Tane doesn’t question it, and immediately starts putting plans in place for their new family – plus, of course, lots of bedroom liaisons with Flick to make it a reality.
“Felicity giving [Tane] the green light to start a family is everything he could have asked for,” Ethan told TV Week. “He’s just over the moon.”
Yet things aren’t that simply. Felicity only said yes to make her husband happy, but it hasn’t changed her real feelings, as she reminds Tane that they may not get pregnant for months, if at all. Then, we see her sneak into the back room at Salt, where she’s keeping a stash of contraceptive pills, which she’s still taking!
Eventually, Mackenzie (Emily Weir) discovers Felicity’s deceit, and gives her an ultimatum – either Flick tells Tane, or she will.
Yet there’s no need – Tane picks up on Mac and Flick’s suspicious behaviour and realises something’s up. When he orders Felicity to empty out the contents of her purse, she has no choice but to tell him the truth.
Can their marriage survive this latest bombshell?
John’s Surf Club job in jeopardy
When John’s “unlimited coffees” loyalty card expires in the new year, nobody would have predicted what happens next.
John won the card, which gives him free coffee at the Pier Diner and the Coffee Cart, at last year’s golf tournament. Valid for one year, Irene and Maz are delighted when it finally expires in upcoming episodes.
With John refusing to pay the diner’s extortionate prices after a year of drinking for free, he makes a decision – he’s giving up caffeine!
Sadly, there’s a surf lifesavers course to run, and John’s already old-school teaching methods are exacerbated by his lack of flat whites, as he takes his bad mood out on the students.
When a new recruit by the name of Banjo rocks up late, John is quick to berate him. “Man bun,” as John calls him, attempts to defend himself, but John is having none of it.
Later, John is shocked to learn that Banjo has put in a complaint about John’s abusive behaviour, and Alf (Ray Meagher) demands he apologise. John uncharacteristically gives in – after being treated to a coffee by Harper – and calls Banjo to smooth things over.
Yet that’s not the end of the story. It transpires that Banjo’s father just so happens to be the owner of Yabbie Creek Real Estate, one of the Surf Club’s major sponsors, and he wants John gone.
Despite Alf’s best efforts to defend the club manager to the committee, John is in deep trouble, and an emergency meeting will decide his fate…
Is this the end of John’s time at Summer Bay Surf Life Saving Club?
Mackenzie’s heart attack
As if Mackenzie hadn’t been through enough in the past few years, she has another major drama heading her way as she suffers a heart attack.
The attack comes right in the middle of a serve from Felicity, who’s angry at her letting Tane stay at the farmhouse after their breakup. Flick believes that Mac has chosen Tane over her, and when she learns that her estranged husband has already begun sleeping with other women, she puts the blame firmly on Mackenzie.
As Flick shouts abuse at her, Mackenzie puts her hand to her chest and claims she’s struggling to breathe. Felicity brushes it off as her way of getting out of the conversation, until Mac doubles over and collapses to the floor!
Thankfully Cash and Xander are on hand to help, grabbing the defibrillator and performing CPR until the ambulance arrives.
Will Mackenzie be okay?
The arrival of Dr Levi Fowler
Yet another Summer Bay sibling is on their way, as Dr Levi Fowler (Tristan Gorey) arrives. He’s introduced as the cardiothoracic surgeon (aka a heart specialist) shipped in to consult on Mackenzie’s case, but it’s soon revealed that he’s also Eden’s brother!
Little has been said about Eden’s family since her arrival on screen last year, with no mentions of siblings before now. In fact, when he arrives, even Eden’s boyfriend Cash is surprised to hear that he exists!
The story is simple: Eden and Levi’s father cheated on their mother, and Levi sided with the dad, while Eden went to live with her mum. She considered Levi’s actions to be a betrayal of their family and cut contact with him, with the pair having been estranged ever since.
While everyone else in Levi’s orbit seems to be enamoured by the new doctor, Eden refuses to see his good side. Can he win her over?
Keep checking Back to the Bay over the winter break as we continue to cover Australian broadcasts and bring you more on what’s in store in 2024. To be the first to know, subscribe to our newsletter, Like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter / X.
Home and Away returns to Channel 5 in 2024.
Tori Morgan is set to return to Summer Bay in 2024, as Penny McNamee is spotted on the set of Home and Away.