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Comment > Golden Couples: Philip and Julie by Billy

Philip and Julie Martin's marriage was anything but a 'holy' matrimony. Their constant arguments kept viewers gripped during the early 90s, and their different personalities and viewpoints only created more and more havoc. Their relationship was riddled with problems from the day they met, but their love for each other never once faltered. It was this which made them one of the best couples in the show's history.

Way back in 1985, Julie Robinson worked at the bank with fellow neighbour Des Clarke. It was whilst working here that Julie fell for her boss, Philip Martin. There was one major snag though - Philip was married, and had two children. Julie's family tried to talk her out of seeing him, but it appeared as though Julie had fallen deeply in love with the man. They embarked on an affair, but after Philip's alcoholic wife Loretta attacked Julie with a knife, and Philip's eldest child Debbie tried to kill herself, she decided to step back and try and let the family work out their problems. A few months later, Julie heard that Phil had been paralysed in a car accident. Loretta had died in the car crash, and Julie left Erinsborough to care for Philip and his children.

The couple returned to their old neighbourhood several years later after they were suffering some financial problems. Julie's father Jim had allowed them to stay in his house until they found their feet. Since leaving, Julie and Philip had had a daughter together, Hannah, and Phil's son Michael had taken his mother's death hard, and gone off the rails.

Julie found work as a secretary and Phil worked as a janitor at Erinsborough High. This mortified Julie, who thought he could do much better - and after speaking to her brother Paul, Phil was offered the chance to manage the Australian division of Lassiter's. It was at this period where Julie and Phil were at their happiest. Philip was working at a decent job, bringing in enough money so the family could move out of Number 26 and over the road to Number 32, and with Julie working by his side as his secretary, things couldn't be better.

Of course, this meant that trouble was just around the corner for them. When Philip's son Michael returned to Erinsborough for the holidays, he attempted to kill Julie because he blamed her for his mother's death. After he was caught out, he fled to Sydney. Phil went after him, and their marriage suffered because Phil was torn between siding with his son, or his wife. Julie was concerned for Hannah's welfare, as she was terrified of Michael, and she would do anything to protect her. When Philip found Michael, he told him he could always come home whenever he wanted - but Julie would later undermine that.

Michael returned to Number 32 in dire need of help - he was suffering from pneumonia. However, Julie was unaware of this and wouldn't let him in the house. When Phil arrived home from work, he was horrified to find his son unconscious on his doorstep. Phil could not believe Julie's actions, and he was even more mortified when Julie wouldn't allow Michael back home to recover. Hannah told the police where Michael was, and when he was due for sentencing at the courts for all the havoc he had caused. When the judge asked Julie if she would have Michael home, she said no, as she felt he needed professional help. Phil could not believe that she refused to support his son, and the rift in their marriage subsequently grew ever more larger.

Julie and Phil's marriage met its ultimate test when Julie announced she wanted a divorce. She had previously discovered she wasn't Jim's daughter, and was in actual fact, the product of her mother's rape. This devastating news caused Julie's entire world to collapse around her - her entire life had been a complete lie. Philip noticed how differently she was acting, and when he tried to talk to her about what was bothering her, she only distanced herself from him further. The pair separated, and Julie would soon begin a divorce. However, they had a meal together for old time's sake, and ended up spending the night together. The girls were overjoyed to see their father in the house the next morning, and Phil was happy that the separation had come to an end. However, Julie soon put an end to this. She explained that it was a one off, and kicked him out of the house again. Phil was so enraged with this, that he began to legally fight for custody of Hannah, claiming Julie was an unfit mother after she overdosed on tablets.

After a brief fling with Beth, Phil realised that no other woman could compare to Julie, and as being around her was so painful, he decided to resign from Lassiter's and leave for Perth with his son.

PHIL: I've gotta get away. I can't cope seeing Julie all the time.
MICHAEL: You must really love her. I don't know why.
PHIL: You only ever looked for the worst.
MICHAEL: That's all I could ever see.
PHIL: Then there's a lot you missed out on. Julie can be very tender and loving.
MICHAEL: But she's always sticking her nose in everybody else's business, and she always thinks she's right.
PHIL: I know. She genuinally cares for people. She's only trying to stop them from doing what she sees as the wrong thing. She's bossy and moralistic, and a lot of other things. But she's very loving, and she's very supportive.
MICHAEL: She was never supportive to me.
PHIL: She tried to be. She tried hard but you wouldn't give her a fair go. And after the way you treated her, do you blame her that she turned against you?
MICHAEL: Probably not. But if you love her so much, then why are you leaving?
PHIL: Doesn't matter how much you love someone if they don't love you anymore. It only becomes painful for the both of you to be around one another. I don't know where it all started falling apart. Somewhere along the line she just stopped letting me in. If she doesn't trust me enough to tell me what's wrong there's nothing I can do.
MICHAEL: Hey look, it'll be okay when Debbie and I move to Perth. It'd just be like old times. Before Julie.
PHIL: ... yeah.

When Julie heard that Phil was leaving, she realised what a mistake she made and tried to stop him. She caught him just in time and the pair went back to their house to talk. Julie told Phil everything about what she discovered about her father, and Phil assured her that her past or upbringing wasn't important. He still loved her, and always will. They got back together and Phil got his job back at Lassiter's, and it seemed as though the rift in their marriage had healed. Or so it would seem.

Phil and Julie decided to swap their roles around the house soon after. What started as a friendly and healthy battle of the sexes soon escalated into the couple nearly divorcing again! Phil was a natural at cooking and cleaning and laundry, but Julie found it difficult doing the man's work around the house. And Phil tried to put a stop to it when Julie was electrocuted when she tried to fix the toaster. When their car broke down, they began arguing again, and when Julie attempted to push start the car, she was humiliated when Phil said that there's no way on earth to push start an automatic! She stormed off into the night, leaving Hannah and Phil behind worried for her safety.

When Julie returned home safely, she realised she had to try other methods to keep Phil in line - this included using sex as a manipulative weapon. Phil cottoned onto this and wouldn't let Julie boss him around anymore. Julie couldn't stand to not be in charge of her husband, and sabotaged his worm farm in a bitter act of revenge. As Julie's behaviour became more and more irrational, the family began to worry for her sanity.

Phil, in his usual relaxed nature, tried to get Julie to go to a Murder Mystery party with him, saying that a break would do them good. Julie refused to go, so Philip took Debbie instead. Helen asked Julie to go after Phil, and when he refused to talk to her when she arrived, she stormed off. The argued in another room, and Julie said that Phil wouldn't even care if she was dead.

The next morning neighbour Cheryl Stark found Julie's body at the foot of the hotel's tower. Did she jump? Did she fall? Or was she... pushed? Suspicious fingers were pointed at Philip, but Debbie later revealed that Julie did actually lose her footing and slip from the tower's roof. Philip was devastated when Julie died, and became very reserved and subdued, and he was forever angry with himself, as he made her last days alive a misery, and never stopped to tell her, through all the arguing, that he loved her.

As you can see, Phil and Julie's marriage wasn't a happy one, but it was this which made them so gripping to the audience. Few couples have managed to pull off a convincing partnership, but their constant rows and bickering made them the most realistic couple the show has ever produced. Phil had Jen and Ruth after Julie, but he never seemed to have the vibrancy and energy he had when he was with Julie. When Phil lost Julie, he lost a part of himself.