> Top Ten Neighbours Dads By
In honour of Father’s Day, we take a walk down memory lane with some of Erinsborough’s most popular patriarchs.
Ramsay Street’s original ‘Mr Dad’, Jim not only raised four kids of his own (a fifth would arrive later), but was a father figure to several nieces, nephews and graffiti artists too. He lost his beloved wife Anne in childbirth; something that would make many men go to pieces. Not Jim. With the help of his devoted mother-in-law Helen, Jim not only survived but thrived. Sometimes he was strict with his kids, and he didn’t always agree with their decisions – Paul choosing not to follow him into engineering, Scott marrying at 17 – but in the end he always respected them. What troubled teen in the eighties didn’t wish at some point they had a dad like Mr Robinson?
He took Jim’s place at No.26, and Phillip Martin obviously learnt a thing or two about parenthood from his father-in-law. His kids all had their problems, particularly son Michael, but Phil remained patient and understanding even when pushed to the limit. (It’s not every dad who could forgive his son for trying to kill his stepmother…) Yes, Phil indulged his younger daughter Hannah – his beloved ‘Button’ – but after losing two wives, who can blame him for trying to hold on to her childhood? And Phil wasn’t just a good dad to his own kids; he achieved just the right balance of parent and friend with his third wife Ruth’s children.
Dear old Doug deserves a special place in the Neighbours patriarchy as the show’s first ‘fun Dad’. While youngest child Cody created her fair share of teen traumas, Doug’s older kids were already grown up when they arrived in Ramsay Street, meaning he could be a friend as well as a father to them. A natural joker, Doug made sure that even in tough times, there was always laughter and love in the Willis household. Doug also had a unique way of helping his kids out – just ask son Adam. While Doug wanted Adam to follow him into the building trade, when he actually gave up medicine to do it, selfless Doug saw Adam’s heart wasn’t in it, and worked his son like a dog to put him off!
4. KarlWhen he first arrived in Erinsborough, strict dad Karl often clashed with his kids – especially with daughter Libby when it came to the thorny subject of boyfriends. For years Karl’s long-suffering wife Susan was forced to play peacemaker as he struggled to cope with his children growing up. However, Karl’s overbearing attitude was borne out of love, and in more recent years he’s been more tolerant of his children’s mistakes – probably because he’s made several of his own recently! While the Kennedy kids are off-screen these days, it’s obvious Karl is as close to them as ever.
A man as kind-hearted as Harold might seem like the ideal dad, but it wasn’t always so. In fact, he managed to fall out with both his children at points. Conservative Harold disapproved of daughter Kerry’s hippy lifestyle, and while son David was once the apple of his eye, the two differed over David’s love for money. However, Harold and his kids both learnt to accept their differences, and Kerry and David would both find a home with their father when in need. It’s tragic that a father as good as Harold has lost not one but two children.
Perhaps a controversial choice for this list, some would say Lou has been a better dad to other people’s kids than his own. He over-indulged daughter Lauren, and drove son Guy away by putting pressure on him to succeed at sport. By contrast, Lou was a great stepdad to the Stark kids, and the youngsters of Ramsay Street, particularly Toadie, have always been able to rely on him as a surrogate father figure. In a cruel twist, the child Lou bonded most closely with – his younger ‘daughter’ Lolly – turned out not be his daughter at all.
While no-nonsense Joe might not be everyone’s idea of the perfect dad, we can’t help feeling sorry for Pa Scully. With son Jack in England, Joe was truly outnumbered by women in his house, and coping with all those hormones can’t have been easy. Sometimes Joe acted first and thought second, and frequently put his foot in his mouth, particularly where boyfriends were concerned. But in the end he learnt to accept his daughters were growing up, and reached a greater understanding with them all. His relationship with Steph in particular was a delight to behold.
Benito was sometimes hard on his sons – he was disappointed when Marco drifted in dead-end jobs, while Rick’s behaviour and lack of attention to his schoolwork made him despair. But while Benito was the first to tell his kids where they were going wrong, woe betide anyone else who criticised them. Julie Martin found out just how loyal he could be when she dared to suggest Rick was leading Debbie astray. But perhaps Benito’s most memorable moment as a dad was when he got to meet Lindsay, the daughter he thought he’d lost forever.
Okay, we know Max abandoned his children and went off to work on the oil rigs when his wife died. Not every dad can be Jim Robinson! What counts is that Max came home to make up for his mistakes, and has been there for his kids every since. The hot-headed Mr Hoyland does have a tendency to be fly off the handle, particularly at son Boyd, but we know he cares. Let’s just hope Steph’s health improves; otherwise Max could be back drilling for oil…
An all-round Mr Nice like Drew seemed born to be a dad – so much so that fiancée Libby called off their wedding when she thought she couldn’t give him a child. However, miracle baby Ben eventually arrived, and for a while Drew was the happiest man in Erinsborough.. But it was a few short months before tragedy struck; a fall from a horse robbed Drew of his life and Ben of his dad.