25 years for Home and Away

By David Knox on January 17, 2013 / Filed Under News, Top Stories 24

2013-01-16_1739Flamin’ hell. It was January 17 1988 when Home and Away first hit Australian television screens.

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.


  1. Bruce Banner January 19, 2013 at 9:19 am -

    Watched it up until 1998 when the original premise of the show (the goings on of a quiet beachside town based around a family including foster children) was ditched for drug use, ridiculous crimes, endless natural disasters, abortions and 12 year old boys & girls having pash sessions.

  2. deedeedragons January 18, 2013 at 7:28 pm -

    How do we think Melissa George is celebrating?

  3. IloveReality January 18, 2013 at 2:42 pm -

    I was such a fan back when this show started, as I was just entering high school and had a few Home & Away posters on my walls. I even spent most weekends in 89 & 90 making my very own “home and away scrapbook” with clippings out of TV week magazine.
    I’ve still got it somewhere and even though I haven’t watched the show in years it still reminds me of ‘the good old days’ !

  4. David Knox January 18, 2013 at 1:49 pm -

    In terms of employment, revenue, ratings, sales, Home and Away has 25 years of contribution. Some shows are lucky to reach 2.

  5. nik c January 18, 2013 at 1:43 pm -

    @NN01 “Cancel the show” or “trashy show”

    Are considered by most to be unnecessary comments. Fair enough you don’t like the show. It is currently “in the spotlight” due to its success.

    The fact that you state “HAA has contributed very little in retrospect to other Australian shows”. This state ment needs qualifying, as the huge number of actors/actresses who appeared on the show have demonstrated excellent work ethic overseas and most acknowledge the contribution the show has to their career and the Australian viewing public.

  6. Kylie January 18, 2013 at 12:47 pm -

    @nno1 – So what if it has ‘contributed very little’ – what is wrong with getting home from work and watching a bit of fluff tv??

    Why does every show have to contribute anything – surely it’s ok to have some light entertainment to wind down of an evening and forget the days stresses??!

    I get what you are saying, but then again, someones trash is another ones treasure! Lets agree to disagree :)

  7. NN01 January 18, 2013 at 11:55 am -

    @Kylie and @Jason. HAA is a soap opera, Yes its made 25 yrs (its been done before by Neighbours 3 yrs ago) and yet we constantly throw this trashy show into the spotlight. I’m sorry, but HAA has contributed very little in retrospect to other Australian shows.

  8. catherine January 17, 2013 at 6:03 pm -

    Well im still a fan. Its interesting to see over the years all the different storylines they have done and the different actors that have come through.

    I for one am looking forward to it returning on monday. Its great that an Aussie tv show is still going all these years.

  9. Erik1981 January 17, 2013 at 5:20 pm -

    verry good read i’ll be sending this to my fiancee she’s hardcore fan thanks

  10. justsaying January 17, 2013 at 2:51 pm -

    I grew up to watching H&A and still watch it when I get the oppurtunity. Indeed a great show that I am sure everybody has related to in someway or another over the years. Great to still see some original cast members still there- would be great to see some more come back on our screens…

  11. David Knox January 17, 2013 at 1:48 pm -

    Monday 28th January at 9am.

  12. brenton January 17, 2013 at 1:39 pm -

    David do you know when Home And Away The Early Years is returning to 7TWO?

  13. Jas January 17, 2013 at 12:44 pm -

    I remember saving my pocket money to join the fan club in 1988 and the first poster I got had pride of place on my wall. Never got much else out of my hard earned though. Haven’t watched for many years but used to absolutely love it.

  14. BigVic January 17, 2013 at 12:40 pm -

    Yawn. Australia’s EastEnders. Don’t care

  15. Jason January 17, 2013 at 12:14 pm -

    @NN01 – And replace it with, um, an hour-long Today Tonight?
    This show will go forever. It’s watched by many millions around the world, from the UK to the Cook Islands and everywhere in between.
    Don’t like it? Don’t watch it. There are 15 other FTA channels.

  16. Kylie January 17, 2013 at 12:05 pm -

    @NN01 – Why??! Just because you don’t like it?

    How many other shows can you name that have been around for 25 years? They must be doing something right!

    I’ve seen most episodes over the last 25 years and I’m not afraid to admit it.

    What a boring world it would be if we all liked the same things……..

  17. deedeedragons January 17, 2013 at 11:53 am -

    LOL! David! Nine wishes it had something as stable as H&A.

  18. The Other Adam January 17, 2013 at 11:39 am -

    I’ve not really watched it either but well done, that’s a great achievement.

  19. David Knox January 17, 2013 at 11:37 am -

    Probably. Pease collect from Nine management.

  20. PJs Ronin January 17, 2013 at 11:27 am -

    I am proud to say that in all of those 25 years, I have never watched a single episode of home and away, or part of an episode. Do I get an award?

  21. NN01 January 17, 2013 at 10:41 am -

    Cancel this show already!

  22. stevie g January 17, 2013 at 10:35 am -

    I remember the start day well. My family and I had just spent the day in Rye ( an outer Melb beach side town), at rellies holiday house and came home to see the series 90 min opener on a Sunday night.

  23. tvf January 17, 2013 at 9:54 am -

    Been watching home and away for a long time. More on then off. I probably have least enjoyed the last couple of years with the focus on the river boys because it feels like the program has gone away from its true roots being relationships. I probably would’ve given it up if it wasn’t for plus7. Hopefully things will improve this year and there won’t be such a focus on them.

  24. nik c January 17, 2013 at 8:40 am -

    It is a great achievement. Whether people like the show or not, it appears great training for many actors who have achieved success both locally and internationally.
    It remains relevant to contemporary issues and keeps a consistent audience glued to the screen.
    Congrats to all involved!

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