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Comment > Love Thy Neighbour: The Hancocks by Steve

We all know about the lousy way in which they left, after only a year on the show. We all know about them having virtually no storylines and we all know that the writers completely forgot, or ignored, their original link to the Kennedy family. However, in the year that they were residents of Ramsay Street, the Hancocks brought a lot to the show.

With the arrival of the Hancocks, the show had three complete families for the first time in a long while and it gave the writers scope to bring in more of the neighbourly stories that the show was famous for. Evan and Maggie were also a long way from the typical parent characters we had come to expect. Evan, particularly, was a fairly irritating man with strong opinions on most subjects, thus putting him at odds with most of the rest of the neighbourhood. Feuds between the parents of the Hancocks, Kennedys and Scullys soon followed, bringing back memories of the early feuds between the Ramsays and Robinsons.

Of course, the intention of the Hancocks was always to be a happy family unit. For most of their time on Neighbours, their problems were realistic ones - money worries, the parents not spending enough time with their children, bullying at school. These were all issues that could be quickly resolved. While other people were struggling through witness protection programmes and cancer, the Hancocks could be relied on for a small portion of normality. There was even a theme of domesticity running through these storylines, particularly as each of the younger members of the family seemed to run away or disappear on a regular basis.

The stepfamily situation had not been explored since the Wilkinsons moved in with the Martins, causing no end of problems as Hannah didn't want her mother to be replaced. With the Hancocks, the relationship between Maggie and her stepson Matt was more like close friends, giving a new spin to the myths about wicked stepmothers. Many fans even speculated that the closeness between Matt and Maggie may have led to an affair; although this never happened, it would certainly have been a brave and controversial step for Neighbours to take.

Which brings me on to my next point - if they hadn't been axed after less than a year, where would we have seen the Hancocks go next? The dramatic storylines leading up to their departure showed what the family was capable of and so it would only really have been up to the imaginations of the writers to see what they could withstand. Evan and Maggie's relationship was already on shaky ground, thanks to her affair with neighbour and colleague Toadfish Rebecchi. The closeness between Evan and his ex-wife Genevieve had also been skimmed over, but this could certainly have developed into more. There was an often-mentioned fourth son, Chris, who we never managed to meet, despite him regularly phoning and once even saying that he was planning to come and stay for the holidays. The ill-feeling between Evan and Chris was mentioned when the Hancocks first arrived, so it is inevitable that Chris would not have looked kindly upon his father's new wife - would we have had another Julie and Michael Martin on our hands here?

The exploits of Matt Hancock brought about most of the family's problems towards the end of their run, but yet, we never got to see him go to trial. Neighbours almost always avoids taking any situations as far as the courtroom, but this could have provided an interesting new take on that, given that many of the neighbours could have been involved. As for Leo and Emily, it would have been very interesting to watch some younger characters move into their teenaged years and then into adulthood. While we have seen this before with characters like Hannah and, to a lesser extent, Libby, it is all too rare an occurrence. However, their biggest plot was surely Maggie's affair with Toadie - something that was never fully resolved. With all the trauma about to hit Toadie's life, now would be a perfect time to bring back Maggie. There was always a feeling that Maggie and Evan's marriage would never quite be the same and that Toadie really did love Maggie, so it might prove to be a perfect tonic for him.

When I heard about the Hancock family, they sounded different from anything we'd had before and they quickly showed that they were. The family were quirky and brought a certain energy to the show that only a young family can. While their dramatic scenes towards the end were very impressive coming from this previously normal family, my favourite Hancock scenes involved them just getting on with their daily lives.

To read our interview with Stephen Hunt (Matt Hancock), click here

Hancock character profiles: Emily, Evan, Leo, Maggie, Matt