Main Pages

Actors & Crew
Year by Year
Magic Moments

Message Board

Comment > Golden Couples: Paul and Gail by David

On the 17th of June 1987, they married for business rather than love, and, although romance soon blossomed, the marriage only lasted a couple of years. But Paul and Gail were undoubtedly a touchstone of Neighbours golden era and one of the 80s’ greatest TV couples.

Although Gail Lewis didn't arrive onscreen until March 1987, her history with Paul Robinson dated back to 1985. The two of them had met and had a brief romance while they were working as cabin crew for an airline. But they both moved on, with Paul managing the Daniels Corporation and having a nightmarish marriage to Terry Inglis, while Gail wed racing car driver Jeremy Lord. Both unions ended in divorce. Gail walked back into Paul's life when she applied for a job working at the Daniels Corporation. She was hired on the strength of her business mind, but once they started working together again, Paul and Gail began sparking romantically. However, the couple had both been burnt by their failed marriages, so were too timid to embark on anything other than a professional relationship. However, that began to change when traditional Japanese business man, Mr Udagawa assumed they were a couple and indicated that he was much happier to give his money to a family business. Not wanting to disappoint the prospective investor, Paul and Gail played along to the extent of staging a wedding in order to seal the deal.

Perhaps it's easy to read too much into the storyline when looking at it with twenty years hindsight, but you can't help feeling that Paul and Gail's love story epitomised the 1980s. Although not as iconic as Scott and Charlene (perhaps because they lacked the teen appeal), Paul and Gail were actually far more distinctively 80s in their persona and ethos. The politics of the time stated that "greed is good"; the 60s and 70s philosophy of "peace and love" had been set aside to concentrate on the quest for the almighty dollar. As such, business minded Paul Robinson and Gail Lewis, marrying for the sake of a lucrative deal, tapped into the zeitgeist of their era in a way that no other Neighbours couple has since. The relationship was a sham, but a classic "will they or won't they" frisson developed over several months. The brilliant performances of Stefan Dennis and Fiona Corke sold what could've been seen as a rather unfeasible story, and the chemistry between them was palpable. The 1987 season finale focused on the couple as Gail had decided to leave the street since neither her or Paul could admit their true feelings for each other. After a lot of pushing from Scott, Paul finally found the courage to stop Gail from walking away and they declared their love for each other.

Gail was warmly welcomed into the arms of the Robinson family. She fitted in perfectly; Scott and Lucy were the younger brother and sister she never had, and she became particularly close to Helen. So it was apt that Paul and Gail chose to renew their vows at Jim and Beverley's wedding in the Robinson family home on Saint Valentine's Day 1988. Any thoughts of business deals were a million miles away:
PAUL: I promise to respect you and to love you, to treasure your independence and your uniqueness as a human being, to be there when you need me and to keep the faith. To be your husband.
GAIL: I promise to share with you the good times and the bad, to respect the times you need to be alone and to share the joys of being together. To care for you and to be cared for, to comfort you and to look to you for comfort, to love you and to be loved. To be your wife.

It wasn't long before the couple thought to start a family of their own, but sadly Gail was infertile. They decided to choose the difficult process of IVF treatment. Although I was only ten years old when I saw this storyline, I remember it vividly, and felt terribly for them as they hit setbacks along the way. Fiona Corke's acting at this time was especially moving as she played out Gail's longing to become a mother. But through their shared strength and determination they eventually succeeded and Gail became pregnant with triplets. Unfortunately, Paul became very focused on his newly formed Robinson Corporation during the pregnancy. This was partly to pay for the fertility treatment Gail received, but also to cover her place at work as the pregnancy had made her slightly absentminded. This began to put strain on the relationship, but a row between Paul and Gail's father Rob Lewis set the wheels in motion for the end of the marriage. Rob stormed away from the argument and was involved in a fatal car accident. Gail blamed Paul for her father's death and when Paul decided to go to the office after Rob's funeral, Gail knew that the marriage was over. At eight months pregnant, she packed her bags and left Erinsborough for a new life in Tasmania.

Gail had two sons, Robert and Cameron, and a daughter, Lucinda. Paul agreed to stay friends and was allowed to see the children whenever he wanted, but Gail soon remarried and Paul's dedication to his business meant he neglected his duties as a father. He also remarried, had another child and left the country.

Paul and Gail were reunited in 2006 under sad circumstances. Robert had attempted to take vengeance on his father for his negligence as a parent, and had framed his comatose brother Cameron for his crimes. Although Paul was involved in a relationship with Izzy Hoyland at the time, he couldn't resist going over old ground with Gail. Several kisses were exchanged, but Gail always held back from going further. In an elaborate trick to ensnare Robert, the couple staged a fake wedding. Gail's prepared vows went as follows:
“Few people have the chance even once in their lives to find the happiness you and I had together, but we made mistakes and we let that happiness slip away. To have the chance to find it again, I feel blessed. I'll never let you go, I promise.”
Paul also had a script to follow but changed his mind at the last minute and instead gave his own words:
“Gail, I felt blessed the first time we were together and this time it's simply a miracle. Nothing in the world is going to let me risk losing you again. This time it's forever.”

Despite all the changes to Paul's character since his return in 2004, many long-term fans couldn't help but fall under the spell of the moment and hope that he and Gail could reunite once more. The ploy to catch Robert worked, but Gail couldn't be won over and recognised that Paul wasn't the man he once was. Once again she packed her bags and left for Tasmania. It was a sad end for the classic couple and I can't help feeling there still remains unfinished business between them. If Paul Robinson ever becomes capable of settling down with one woman for the rest of his days, I sincerely hope it's with Gail.