25 years later this show is still going strong, still pulling in audiences at 7pm weeknights for the Seven Network which produces it internally.
By any measure, it’s a remarkable achievement.
Home and Away was created by Alan Bateman as a 90 minute pilot, in the fictional town of Summer Bay (just a stone’s throw from Yabbie Creek). He later said it was inspired by some locals who were “up in arms” over the construction of a foster home for children from the city.
Roger Oakley and Vanessa Downing starred as Tom and Pippa Fletcher, who ran a caravan park with their five foster children Frank Morgan (Alex Papps), Carly Morris (Sharyn Hodgson), Steven Matheson (Adam Willits), Lynn Davenport (Helena Bozich) and very young Sally Fletcher (Kate Ritchie). Into the mix came Bobby (Nicole Dickson) and the rest is history.
Since that time characters including Alf Stewart, Sally Fletcher, Morag, Irene, Marilyn and Donald Fisher -and the legendary Summer Bay Diner- have practically become household names.
In its two-plus decades the show has enjoyed a cavalcade of actors who have gone on to greater glory: Heath Ledger, Isla Fisher, Melissa George, Julian McMahon, Dannii Minogue, Chris Hemsworth, Simon Baker, Guy Pearce, Ryan Kwanten, Naomi Watts, Todd Lasance, Craig McLachlan, and Justine Clarke to name but a few.
The show returns at 7pm Monday and this season sees new cast members: Kassandra Clementi, Charlie Clausen and Johnny Ruffo.
If you care to relive it all over again, I recommend the dedicated fan website Back to the Bay, which has plenty of info and photos on the characters, episodes, locations and more. It has been operating for nine years.
Seven also has an interactive timeline here with videos and flashbacks.