Character Profiles > Harold Bishop Ian Smith
Harold Wayne Bishop 1987-1991, 1996, 1997-2008, 2008-2009, 2011
Lived: 22, 24, 30, 32 Ramsay Street
Born: c. 1942
Parents: Frank Bishop and Mrs Bishop
Marital Status: Mavis (deceased), Madge Ramsay (1988-2001; died), Carolyn Johnstone (2011-)
Children: David and Kerry
Family Tree: Bishop
Occupation: Salvation Army Volunteer, Health Food Shop Manager, Daphne's Coffee Shop Manager/Owner, Columnist for Erinsborough News, The Coffee Shop Manager/Owner, Grease Monkeys Manager, The General Store Manager/Co-Owner/Employee
Born in Brisbane, Queensland, Harold Bishop was a church-going, vegetarian prude whose blustering ways had a certain charm, which attracted the more fiery no-nonsense Madge Ramsay to him. They met at high school and started dating, much to the delight of Madge's parents, Dan and Edna. But Harold had tough competition for the affections of Madge in the form of his high school rival, Lou Carpenter. Lou was the complete opposite to Harold - athletic, boisterous and popular with the girls, and he teased the rather portly Harold endlessly, nicknaming him 'Jelly Belly'. Both Harold and Lou both lost out on Madge, however, when she married Fred Mitchell and moved to Coff's Harbour, New South Wales.
Harold stayed in Brisbane, where he married Mavis, a young woman who was as prudish and shy as Harold. Harold became a successful stock and station agent, and Mavis gave birth to a son, David, and a daughter, Kerry. But tragedy struck when Mavis died, leaving Harold to cope with two teenage children. David was always the one Harold was most proud of. Good at school and exactly like his father in looks and mannerisms, David and Harold enjoyed a close relationship. Kerry, on the other hand, rebelled against her father's conservative way of life, and after she left school, she left to travel the world, living as a hippy, and losing touch with Harold along the way.
With Kerry gone, and David moving to Adelaide, Harold was lonely for a time in Queensland. Just before he departed for a business trip to Erinsborough, he got a phone call from a young girl, Charlene Mitchell, who explained she was the daughter of Madge, and invited Harold to visit her mother in Ramsay Street while he was in town. Harold jumped at the chance of seeing his childhood sweetheart after so many years, and agreed to the visit, surprising Madge by arriving out of the blue on her doorstep one night. It was instantly clear that, although they were like chalk and cheese, there was still a strong bond between Harold and Madge. Harold was keen to rekindle his romance with the now divorced Madge, but they remained good friends at first. Harold made plans to settle in the area, opening a health food shop, investing in Rob Lewis' garage and moving into No. 32 across the street from Madge to lodge with Mrs. Mangel, and her granddaughter Jane. Mrs. Mangel was a strict churchgoer just like Harold, and was always very formal and proper with him, referring to him at all times as 'Mr.Bishop'. However, Mrs. Mangel also secretly admired Harold, and could never understand what he saw in Madge, who Mrs. Mangel despised.
Harold eventually proposed to Madge over a romantic dinner in Lassiter's and the couple became engaged. But the path to the altar was to prove a rocky one. Firstly, Madge lost the diamond from her engagement ring, and searched high and low for it. Afraid to tell Harold she had lost it, Madge replaced it with a fake glass diamond until she could save enough money to replace it properly. But Harold was intent on getting the ring insured and Madge was forced to own up and tell him the truth. Harold was furious with Madge, admitting he was more upset that she wasn't truthful with him as soon as it happened. Harold was further outraged when Charlene announced her plans to move in with her boyfriend Scott Robinson. He couldn't comprehend how Madge could raise a daughter who would even consider living out of wedlock, and when he told Madge that, under the circumstances, he would have to reconsider their engagement, a furious Madge threw her engagement ring into Lassiter's Lake. Harold was horrified by Madge's actions, and instantly waddled into the lake, desperately searching for the ring. Madge thought Harold had gone barmy, searching for a glass ring, but when she found out that Harold had secretly replaced the glass in the ring with the original diamond after Charlene had found it in the trifle, she felt awful. Madge tried to apologise to Harold for losing her temper, but Harold was disgusted with her and was more concerned with reclaiming the $3000 ring. Madge's son, Henry, eventually found the ring, after days of searching with a special filtering pump Paul Robinson had hired to drain the lake. But Harold was so appalled by Madge's actions that he refused to get back together with her. They managed to remain friends, however, and the bond between the two was still evident when Harold consoled a tearful Madge at Charlene's wedding to Scott.
As the time for Daphne Clarke's baby to arrive drew near, Harold offered to take over the running of the Coffee Shop while Daphne went on maternity leave. Daphne was delighted by Harold's offer, but was forced to veto Harold's plans to make the shop completely vegetarian. Nonetheless, Harold loved working at the Coffee Shop. He enjoyed being in the thick of the community, chatting with friends and acquaintances throughout the day as they dropped in for tea and coffee. And after the tragic death of Daphne in a car crash a few months after she gave birth to baby Jamie, Harold agreed to stay on as manager permanently. Harold also enjoyed a brief stint writing the 'Dear Georgette' advice column for the Erinsborough News, and proved to be surprisingly skilled as an agony aunt. Mrs. Mangel, however, didn't agree with the idea when she found out he was the columnist, but proved to be quite the hypocrite by taking over the role of 'Georgette' herself after Harold gave up the column.
Harold was mortified when he rented a video called Hot Cargo one evening to watch with Mrs. Mangel and her good friend, Eileen Clarke, and it turned out to be a blue movie, instead of the documentary about life and love in the Amazon he mistook it to be. Mrs. Mangel decided to take advantage of Harold's mistake by telling Eileen - who had recently taken a fancy to Harold and thus, made Mrs. Mangel jealous - that she had seen in her tea leaves that Harold was actually a lady-killer deep down, with a voracious sexual appetite, pointing to the video rental as a prime example. Eileen always firmly believed in what Mrs. Mangel 'saw' in her tea leaves, and started to spread rumours around the neighbourhood about Harold's 'hidden personality'. When Harold realised what people were thinking about him, he was so embarrassed that he made immediate plans to leave Erinsborough. Such was his hurry to get out of town that Harold refused to listen to Charlene when she told him she hadn't fully finished the brakes on his car when he picked it up from Rob's garage. And as Harold was driving out of Erinsborough, he was forced to jam on his brakes as he approached a crossroads. The brakes failed, causing Harold to plough into crossing cars. He was rushed to Erinsborough Hospital, having broken both his arms - something Mrs. Mangel later claimed she had foreseen in her tea leaves. Incapacitated for several weeks, Harold was forced to temporarily move in with Des Clarke at No. 28 so that he could help him with daily routines that Mrs. Mangel would never have been able to help him with.
The accident had made Madge realise how much she still loved Harold, and the couple eventually resumed their engagement. But Harold feared he would have to call the wedding off after he lost all his money in a stock market crash. Madge, however, insisted that she wasn't interested in a big fancy wedding, and assured Harold that a small, low key ceremony would be just fine. The biggest obstacle for the couple to overcome before their nuptials, however, occurred when Lou Carpenter arrived in Erinsborough, having heard about Madge and Harold's impending marriage. Now a millionaire car salesman, Lou declared his love for Madge and tried to whisk her off her feet by showering her with expensive gifts and endless bouquets of flowers. Harold became so incensed with Lou's attempts at stealing Madge away from him that he came to blows with him, and knocked Lou out when he punched him in the middle of the Lassiter's complex. Madge, meanwhile, began to tire of the men's incessant squabbling over her, and when they both showed up in the Ramsay driveway with flowers for her, she poured a bucket of water from the balcony over both their heads. Madge eventually chose Harold as the man for her, and Lou returned to Queensland. A month later, Harold finally got the woman of his dreams when Reverend Sampson pronounced them man and wife.
Harold's skills as an outdoorsman were called into question when he accompanied Henry and young Todd Landers on a camping trip. Firstly, he insisted on Henry and Todd calling him 'Balloo', and then the trip turned into a disaster after they discovered Harold forgot to bring any food. The final straw came for the boys when Harold lost his car keys, and they feared being stuck out in the bush for days with him. Henry eventually found the keys, and they returned to Erinsborough earlier than expected. But Harold had been so impressed with the great outdoors that he soon volunteered his services as a leader at the local scout troop.
After an explosion at the Coffee Shop led to Harold saving the life of Des, who had been inside at the time, Harold was hailed as a hero around the neighbourhood. Des offered him a partnership in the newly refurbished Coffee Shop afterwards, and Harold accepted. But their business relationship was strained at times, and Harold eventually threatened to dissolve the partnership. It was only when the two men were stuck in a lift together that Harold and Des agreed to bury their differences. And when Des eventually left Erinsborough for a new life in Perth, Harold and Madge decided to buy Des out, finally owning the Coffee Shop for themselves.
When Kerry showed up in Erinsborough out of the blue, Harold was stunned to discover she had had a child out of wedlock. But Harold was forced to put his high morals aside for once after he was overwhelmed with delight at being granddad to his beautiful little granddaughter, Sky. Harold invited Kerry and Sky to move in with him and Madge at No. 24, and even though it was initially a struggle for father and daughter to compromise on their many different points of view, the arrangement worked out well. However, Harold was totally against Kerry's relationship with Mrs. Mangel's son Joe. Harold saw Joe as a larrikin and a rogue, and was vehemently opposed to the union. But when Joe rushed to console Kerry one afternoon when Sky was rushed to hospital after being bitten by a red backed spider, Harold realised how much Joe cared for his daughter, and gave them his blessing. They eventually married, and Harold grew very fond of Joe's son, Toby, from a previous marriage. Toby joined Harold's scout unit, and played pool with Harold, and Harold was thrilled when Toby started calling him 'Grandad'.
Harold was delighted to discover he shared similar interests such as church and working with the homeless and the elderly, with his walking partner, Robyn Taylor. But after Harold suffered a muscle spasm in his leg, Robyn gave him a leg rub, causing Harold to feel slightly uneasy. Harold started talking about Robyn to Madge, but she misunderstood him and thought Robyn was a man. When Madge couldn't go to a classical music concert with Harold, he asked Robyn to go with him instead and she accepted. When Robyn finally admitted she had feelings for Harold, he told her he was flattered, but could never contemplate betraying his beloved Madge. Harold told Madge about the relationship he had had with Robyn afterwards, but despite Harold's honesty, Madge was furious with him, especially since he had never made it clear all along that Robyn was actually a woman. They had a blazing row just before Harold left for a weekend in the bush with the scouts. Madge felt awful about the way she had reacted to Harold's confession, however, after his scout unit went missing during a bad thunderstorm. Luckily, the troop was found alive and well, and Harold had proved himself as a hero after saving the life of young Toby during the ordeal. Madge apologised to Harold when he got safely home, and they agreed to put the incident with Robyn Taylor behind them.
Harold feared for the future of the Coffee Shop when a possum that Henry's girlfriend, Bronwyn, was caring for got loose in the shop. The possum had been seen by a customer, and the incident was reported to the health department. Harold was further disgusted when Bronwyn told him she suspected nosey neighbour Hilary Robinson of being the one who reported them. Furious that a neighbour would jeopardise his livelihood in such a way, Harold started playing it cool with Hilary. But when Harold refused to serve a bemused Hilary the next time she came into the Coffee Shop, he was forced to apologise to her when the school principal, Kenneth Muir, revealed he had reported the shop to the health department.
The business was hit by further problems when Harold’s customers were almost driven away by a nine-year-old child. Cheeky Lochy McLachlan staged a protest outside the Coffee Shop when Harold sacked her older brother Ryan from his after school job for being late. Lochy had taken umbrage at Harold’s decision because Ryan had been late for work due to him saving her life when she nearly drowned, and she caught Harold by surprise by demonstrating outside the shop with a banner telling people Harold had sacked a hero. Harold started to panic when some customers refused to enter the premises and when the Erinsborough News showed up to write a story on the protest, he quickly reinstated Ryan to save any further embarrassment. What irked Harold most about the ordeal was that Lochy’s inspiration for the protest was Kerry, who a few months earlier, had staged a similar protest at the local playground when Paul Robinson had tried to build a night club on the site.
Some good fortune hit the Bishops when they won $60,000 in the lottery. They decided to give $5,000 to each of their four children and spent the rest on a trip around the world. In England, the couple met cheeky cockney Eddie Buckingham, who followed them back to Australia and lodged with them for a time.
Harold was delighted when he was asked to stand as councillor in the council elections, but Madge was furious when she discovered that if he was elected, Harold had no plans to fight to stop the demolition of the Jack Ramsay fountain at the council gardens, erected in honour of Madge's grandfather. So, Madge decided to stand in opposition to Harold, and war was declared in the Bishop household, and indeed throughout Ramsay Street, as the two competed for the votes of their family and friends. However, Harold pulled out of the campaign after discovering that his sponsors, the Erinsborough Business Council, were involved in a shady land deal. He went to the Erinsborough News with details of the scandal, and as a result, Madge was duly elected.
Tragedy struck the family, however, when Kerry was shot and killed by duck hunters, while protesting against off-season hunting. Harold was devastated by the death of his daughter, especially since they had become so much closer since she had moved to Erinsborough. Harold and Madge proved to be of enormous support to Joe and the kids in the wake of Kerry's death, and a stronger bond developed between Harold and his son-in-law as a result.
When Madge returned to Erinsborough after a visit to Queensland, Harold was furious when she announced she had invited Lou Carpenter down to stay to help him get over the recent breakdown of his marriage. Harold exploded in anger at Madge when she told him about Lou's impending visit, and after a bitter row, Madge stormed off. Harold had become so worked up over the thought of his old love rival returning, he suffered a heart attack in the kitchen of the Coffee Shop. Dorothy Burke found Harold lying on the kitchen floor after she walked into the unattended shop, and rushed him to hospital. A worried Madge blamed herself for causing the heart attack, and called Lou straight away to cancel the visit.
After Harold was given a clean bill of health, he and Madge decided to make the most of their life, and made plans to tour Australia for six months. They leased out the Coffee Shop and No. 24 to Brenda Riley, who unbeknown to Harold was Lou's younger sister, and after buying a camper van, they bid their friends in Ramsay Street farewell to begin their trip. Not long after they started their journey, Madge and Harold were walking along a rocky coastal path. While Madge stopped to talk to a local painter, Harold ventured closer to the edge. When Madge finished talking to the painter and went looking for Harold, he was nowhere to be seen. A massive search and rescue operation was undertaken, but it appeared that Harold had fallen off the rocks and been swept away to sea, although his body was never found. Madge knew her beloved Harold was gone, however, when she found his glasses at the edge of the cliff.
But although Harold had been swept out to sea, he wasn't killed. He had been picked up by a sea trawler and taken to Tasmania, where he was found to be suffering from amnesia. Harold could recall nothing of his life, even after months of intensive treatment and rehabilitation. Calling himself 'Ted', Harold was forced to start a new life for himself, and he started working for the Salvation Army after they had been a huge support to him during the initial months of his amnesia.
Five years passed, and in 1996, Harold was transferred to a Salvation Army shop in Erinsborough. Harold unknowingly found himself back in his old home one afternoon when he came to No. 24 to collect boxes of old clothes that Marlene Kratz - who had bought No. 24 from Madge following her decision to move back to Queensland - had donated to the Salvation Army. As Harold was leaving, he came face to face with Helen Daniels, his former friend and next door neighbour. There was a slight flicker of recognition on Harold's part, before he left the house and went back to the Salvation Army shop. Helen, meanwhile, was shocked at seeing Harold alive and well after so many years and immediately started trying to track him back down. But, Ramsay Street had changed in the years since Harold had last been there, and there was hardly anyone there who remembered Harold. Thus, her family and friends all thought that Helen's recent stroke had affected her mind, and refused to believe her insistences that the man from the Salvation Army was a deceased neighbour.
Helen's great-granddaughter, Debbie, humoured her gran, however, and drove Helen to the Salvation Army shop where she left a number for Harold to contact her if he wanted to talk. Harold called Helen a few days later, and arranged to come over to the Robinson house to meet with her. Still having no real recollection of her or any of the things she was telling him about his life, Harold became frustrated and left. But Lou Carpenter - who had been living in Ramsay Street since shortly after Harold's disappearance - saw him, and realised that Helen had been right all along. Helen called a stunned Madge to tell her her husband was alive, and Madge flew down to Erinsborough for a reunion with her beloved Harold.
Getting Harold to meet Madge was going to prove a difficult task, however. Marlene was to invite Harold to join her for lunch at Chez Chez, the Waterhole pub - now owned by Lou - where Madge was waiting with Helen and Lou. But they had all forgotten that Harold was teetotal and instead of the pub, Harold insisted on having lunch with Marlene at the Coffee Shop. Marlene then had to think up an elaborate excuse to get over to the pub for a few minutes and inform the others that Harold was in the Coffee Shop. Once she got across to tell them, Madge made her way over to the Coffee Shop, where she finally came face to face with Harold after so many years. Harold instantly 'knew' that he knew Madge, but had no idea she was his wife until she sat down with him and told him everything. Soon, Harold discovered that he had been married twice, had fathered two children, and even used to own the very coffee shop they were sitting in. Although terrified, Harold agreed to start counselling with Madge in an attempt to restore his memory. Marlene, who was now living at No. 22 with Lou, also let them move back into No. 24 together in a further bid to help Harold regain his memory. The familiar surroundings and intensive therapy helped Harold start piecing his life back together, and his memory finally started to return while he, Madge and Helen were at Lou's house for dinner one night. When Lou produced a jelly dish for desert, Harold suddenly recalled that Lou used to tease him at school and remembered Lou always calling him 'Jelly Belly'. Despite the memory being a painful one, everyone was thrilled that some of Harold's memory had returned, and slowly, he started to regain more and more memories as time passed.
Harold and Madge eventually renewed their wedding vows in a beautiful ceremony by Lassiter's Lake, and they returned to Queensland to start afresh together. Harold returned to Erinsborough a few months later to play the tuba in the Salvation Army band's concert, and he rented No. 24 from Marlene once again. However, when Madge arrived back down, it turned out she had been expecting Harold back in Brisbane ages ago, and Harold revealed he had prolonged his stay in Erinsborough because he felt so at home there. Madge tried to persuade him to return to Brisbane with her, but Harold told her he felt they should give Ramsay Street another go and leave the kids to live their own lives in Queensland. Madge eventually agreed, and they moved back into No. 24 permanently, subsequently buying the house back from Marlene. They also bought the lease of the Coffee Shop back, and installed Debbie as manager. When Debbie left Erinsborough, Harold and Madge took over full managing duties and Harold even juggled the Coffee Shop with working part-time as a receptionist for Dr. Karl Kennedy in the surgery next door for a time.
Harold befriended Paul McClain, a 15-year-old boy, who had recently lost his mother to cancer, when he got involved with the foster care programme through the Salvation Army. Paul was extremely quiet and shy, but Harold brought him out of his shell, and soon suggested fostering him to Madge. Madge, however, wasn't keen on the idea, having had a bad experience a few weeks before when the Bishops took in mischievous French exchange student, Claire Girard. But Harold talked her round, and Madge agreed to take Paul in. Paul was slow to settle into the Bishop household, but soon found his feet and when Madge bought him an electric guitar, he and Harold formed their own band - Tuba Electrica - although the sounds they produced only appealed to them.
Paul found himself a best friend when tearaway Tad Reeves moved in with his cousin, Toadie Rebecchi, across at No. 30. Harold was put in an awkward position when Tad was faced with returning to his parents in Tindara and Paul pleaded with Madge and Harold to take Tad in. While Madge was prepared to give Tad a chance, Harold was less keen, because he knew what a handful Tad could prove to be. But on the morning of Tad's planned departure, Harold had a change of heart, and rushed out to tell him he could stay. Although, Tad and Paul were to give Harold plenty of headaches in the ensuing years, they also gave him an enormous amount of love and he was proud to be guardian to the two boys. Tad, in particular, was indebted to Harold for the support he provided him with after he discovered he was adopted and set out in search of his real parents.
Harold and Madge planned to expand their mini business empire when the franchise of the local rival to the Coffee Shop - Grease Monkeys - was put up for sale. They decided to apply for a bank loan to take over the burger joint themselves, but were turned down by bank manager Dorothy Stevens. The Bishops eventually agreed to re-mortgage their house to finance the deal, and they excitedly made plans for the business. But the re-opening of Grease Monkeys proved problematic due to the interference of shady Rob McCreadie, the son of the chain's owner, who tried to blackmail Harold into paying him a 'consultancy fee' in return for a favourable report on how he was running the franchise. Harold saved himself from extortion by recording Rob's threats on tape and threatened to play it to his father. After just under a year, Madge and Harold decided to cut their losses and put Grease Monkeys up for sale and Lou recommended a broker to handle the sale for them. When the only offer the broker had received for Grease Monkeys turned out to be $5,000 less than they had originally paid for it, Madge and Harold were faced with having to give up the business at a significant loss. But Madge realised the broker had been lying to them about no other offers being made after Craig 'Pinhead' Pinders called into the Coffee Shop and mentioned his parents had been disappointed that their offer for Grease Monkeys had been rejected. Madge, Lou and Pinhead were forced to make a desperate dash across town to stop Harold from finalising the sale, managing to stop him just in time. Lou later discovered that the broker had been trying to get the business for a mate at a cheap price, and Harold and Madge were delighted to be able to sell Grease Monkeys to the Pinders' at a more appropriate price instead.
Harold's past came back to haunt him one evening while watching the television crime show, At Large, and saw a photofit picture of a man that looked like him, and that was wanted for an armed robbery that had taken place four years ago in Tasmania. Harold immediately began to worry about his remarkable resemblance to the man in the photo-fit picture and was furious when most people started cracking jokes about it. Even though everyone was laughing it off as a coincidence. Harold pointed out to Paul and Tad that when he was living in Tasmania, he was suffering from amnesia and with his memory of that period still unreliable, he could well have been the person in the picture. The whole issue began to cause him such stress that he decided to phone the police and see if he could help with their enquiries in any way. The police interviewed Harold, and even asked him to take part in a line-up, in which he was amazingly picked out as the robber. Harold was stunned when he was formally charged with the crime and extradited to Tasmania. After spending a terrifying night in a cell, the magistrate formally charged him with armed robbery the following morning and set bail at a staggering $10,000. Madge tried to find a way of raising the bail money, knowing that Harold couldn't face another night in custody and was overwhelmed when Lou put up the $10,000.
The ordeal continued when a shady woman called Wendy Baker showed up on the Bishops' doorstep calling Harold 'Alfie' and demanding her cut of the money from the armed robbery. They both tried to explain to her that Harold was not Alfie but she refused to listen, and Harold was only able to prove to her that he was not Alfie when he showed her he had no tattoo on his right shoulder, where Wendy had said Alfie had one. Harold pleaded with Wendy to come forward and clear him of his involvement in the crime, but she tried to extort $5,000 out of him in return for going to the police. Harold threatened to tell the police about her attempts at bribery, and Wendy finally agreed to tell the police. Harold's ordeal finally came to an end a few weeks later when the real Alfie Dougherty was caught and charged.
When Madge and Lou went into partnership together with a cookery website, OzeChef, Harold became jealous of the amount of time they were spending together. Harold tried to get in on the action by offering to provide some vegetarian recipes for the site, but Lou had already lined someone up to handle that side of things, causing Harold to feel even more left out. So he was delighted when Madge and Lou had dinner at Strictly Vegetarian, the restaurant owned by the chef who Lou had asked to cover the vegetarian section of Oze Chef, and they were hit by a bad bout of diarrhoea when they got home. Madge soon began to tire of her partnership with Lou anyway, especially since Lou was making all the decisions about the project, and they eventually sold it.
When Harold entered the 'Great Aussie Barbie' competition at Lassiter's, he was confident that his tofu burgers would win it for him since they would be a novel idea. However, when Lou and Madge also decided to enter, Harold feared that his limelight would be stolen with everyone entering. Madge initially agreed to withdraw from the competition so as not to upset Harold, but when he remarked that barbecuing was a typically male pasttime anyway, a furious Madge re-entered the competition and vowed to win. However, Joe Scully ended up winning the competition with his secret Vietnamese sauce - much to the frustration of both Harold and Madge.
Always on hand to help out a neighbour, Harold gave Drew Kirk singing lessons in preparation for his impending wedding to Libby Kennedy. Coming from a Scottish family, Drew was bound by tradition to serenade his new wife with Wild Mountain Thyme on their wedding day, and Harold spent weeks training Drew for the big moment. In the end, Drew was helped out by Harold and his Uncle Fergus, but he was enormously grateful to Harold for helping him to perfect his notes in time for the wedding. Harold went on to support Libby in singing Wild Mountain Thyme in tribute to Drew at his funeral the following year, after he had been tragically killed after a fall from a horse.
When a new agony aunt started writing for the Erinsborough News, Harold was less than impressed with the advice she was dishing out, and started up a petition to have the column removed from the newspaper. But when Harold found a scrapbook full of the weekly columns, he realised that it was, in fact, Madge who was the new agony aunt and he was furious with her for keeping her new role a secret from him. But Harold's anger soon turned to worry when Madge was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and given six months to live.
Although devastated at the prospect of losing his darling wife, Harold vowed to make the final six months of Madge's life something special. They made plans to take a trip to Paris, which was somewhere Madge always wanted to visit, but when Madge developed septicaemia, Karl Kennedy broke the news to Harold that Madge's condition had severely deteriorated, and she would only have a short time left. A heartbroken Harold brought Madge home to die, and nursed her lovingly throughout her last days, before she finally passed away peacefully in Harold's arms. Harold's faith in God was destroyed by Madge's death, and was only restored when he found a touching note from Madge in his bible, telling him to remember their good times together and reminding him that God had - and always would - look after him. At Madge's funeral, Harold delivered a heartbreaking eulogy in which he broke down as he paid tribute to his beloved wife. After the funeral, Paul and Tad surprised Harold when they told him they had organised for him and Paul to go on the trip to Paris, and despite initial reluctance, Harold agreed to go, since Madge's final request had been for him to go.
Upon his return to Erinsborough, Harold shocked his friends and neighbours by announcing that he was putting No. 24 up for sale and leaving Ramsay Street. Everyone instantly expressed their sadness at the prospect of losing Harold, but he insisted that he needed to move on since the Ramsay house was full of too many painful memories of Madge. Harold even became resentful of everyone's interference, and so, when an offer was made on the house, he accepted it straight away. Paul, Tad and Lou hatched a plan to make Harold realise he was making a mistake by selling the house. Harold was intrigued when Lou told him he had found the perfect house for him and blindfolded him as he, Paul and Tad drove him to view it. Harold was shocked when they removed his blindfold to discover that they had driven him back to Ramsay Street where all the residents had gathered for a street barbecue to persuade him not to leave. Harold was overwhelmed with the love and support extended to him by all his friends and neighbours, and everyone breathed a huge sigh of relief when Harold announced he would stay in Ramsay Street after all.
Harold slowly began to put his life back together, as he occupied his time sorting out the boys' problems and mediating between them when they had a massive falling out over a girl. He also still found time for his years-old habit of bickering with Lou, although he proved to be of enormous support to Lou when he lost custody of his daughter, Louise, to her natural father, John Allen. But the pain of losing Madge would always be evident in Harold, and not a day passed where he didn't think about her. And when the first anniversary of Madge's death occurred, Lou arranged for Harold to visit David for a few days in order to keep himself busy.
The Bishop household started to empty, meanwhile, as Paul left home to embark on a career as a professional football player with the Adelaide Crows, and Tad later left to tour the United States as a DJ. Harold wouldn't be lonely at No. 24 for long, however, because Lou moved in with him after both men were injured and needed to look after each other. Lou had done his back in, while Harold had temporarily lost his sight and broke a kneecap after being accidentally run over by Matt Hancock. Deep down, however, the two friends just needed company more than anything else, and even after both Lou and Harold were fit and healthy again, they carried on living together.
But their domestic bliss wasn't to last for very long. Reverend Rosie Hoyland arrived in Erinsborough and immediately re-ignited the old love rivalry between Harold and Lou as both men fell in love with her. As both men made various attempts to win Rosie's affections, she was forced to choose between the two, and Rosie broke Harold's heart by telling him she only wanted friendship from him. Harold put on a brave face, and threw himself into a fight to hold onto the Coffee Shop, after Karl's son, Malcolm Kennedy returned to the area and attempted to take over the lease on behalf of the coffee chain Cuppa Diem. Harold stood firm against Mal, and refused to give up his shop without a fight, until Mal eventually realised he was putting money before the personal happiness of an old family friend and resigned from Cuppa Diem.
Harold found himself having to reject the advances of the Scullys' overbearing aunt, Valda Sheergold, when she arrived in Erinsborough for the disastrous wedding of Stephanie Scully and Marc Lambert. With the Scullys busy comforting Steph in the wake of the discovery that Marc had been seeing her sister, Flick, Valda was forced to stay with the Kennedys at No. 28, until they kicked her out, and it fell to Harold to offer her a room at his house. Valda made her feelings towards Harold abundantly clear from the word go, and made various attempts to win his affections, including sneaking into his bedroom in the middle of the night. Convinced that Harold was simply playing hard to get, Valda pressed ahead with her pursuit of him. Harold was delighted when Rosie offered to have a word with Valda for him but when Rosie told Valda that she wasn't the type of person that Harold would normally go for, Valda misunderstood Rosie and thought she meant Harold was gay. And as she started thinking about the set-up at No. 24, Valda figured that Harold and Lou were a couple. Harold's relief that Valda had finally got the message turned to panic when he realised she thought he was gay, and in an attempt to prove he wasn't, Harold kissed Valda, but quickly regretted it when he realised he had complicated matters even further. Valda then bought tickets for a world cruise and invited Harold to join her, but he told Valda that as much as he liked her, he simply wasn't interested in committing to a relationship just yet, before Valda accepted Harold's decision and left Erinsborough.
Harold's feelings for Rosie only grew stronger as time passed, and Harold was horrified when the church planned to transfer Rosie to Byron Bay. Desperate not to lose Rosie, Harold started organising a petition to keep her in Erinsborough, and was thrilled when the success of it led the Bishop to reconsider his decision. But Harold's friendship with Lou suffered as a result, when Lou angrily accused Harold of only starting the campaign to save Rosie because he was in love with her. As tension escalated between the two, Lou moved out, and their feuding was only worsened when Lou admitted to Harold that he had never stopped loving Madge, right up until he had told her so on her deathbed. The two stopped speaking, much to the regret of Rosie, who blamed herself for Harold and Lou's feud.
Just as Rosie was starting to realise that perhaps she did want more than friendship from Harold, Harold joined a dating agency in an attempt to get over Rosie and prove to Lou that he wasn't trying to steal her from him. Although his first date with Dorothy Stevens turned into a disaster after she wrongly mistook him to be into sado machochism, Harold was thrilled with his second date, Ruby Dwyer, who he found he had a lot in common with. They started dating, and Harold was happy for the first time in a long time, even though he failed to realise that Rosie had finally started to see him as more than a friend.
But throughout Harold's new found happiness with Ruby, he was completely unaware that she was a gambling addict and was using him for his money. It started out with Harold lending Ruby some money to help her son, Derek, out of some financial strife, followed by help with Ruby's rent and Ruby even stole some money from Rosie's handbag. Rosie began to suspect that all was not as it appeared with Harold's new lady friend, but whenever she tried to raise her concerns with Harold, he refused to listen and asked Rosie to show some respect for his new partner.
In the midst of all this, Harold proved his unconditional generosity yet again when he donated a kidney to a seriously ill Lou. The gesture brought to an end the lengthy feud between the two men, and they re-affirmed their friendship whilst recovering in hospital together. Unbeknown to Harold, while he was in hospital, Ruby - who he had left in charge of the Coffee Shop and No. 24 - had arranged for his house to be robbed so that she could get her hands on more cash to feed her gambling addiction. Harold was devastated to arrive home from hospital and find his home in a horrific state, with furniture strewn everywhere and all his electrical belongings gone. Further upset was caused when he realised his beloved tuba was gone too, although he managed to get it back a few weeks later when Rosie noticed it for sale in the window of a local bric a brac shop. By this point, Rosie had become certain that Ruby had arranged the burglary and she enlisted Lou - who had also become sceptical of Ruby after she talked her way into getting free board at No. 24 - to help her persuade Harold.
Rosie's suspicions about Ruby were finally confirmed when Ruby confessed to Rosie - in her capacity as a minister - that she was a gambling addict and had stolen from Harold. Although Rosie was unable to tell Harold what Ruby had told her, she still worked at warning him off her, but a heated argument erupted which culminated in Rosie telling Harold everything. Although broken hearted to learn that Ruby had betrayed his generosity and trust, Harold was equally as horrified at Rosie for breaking her vows to the church and telling him what Ruby had told her. As the argument continued, Ruby walked in, and as soon as she realised Harold knew everything, she ran off in tears. She called back later that evening, and apologised to Harold for all the trouble and hurt she had caused him. But Harold was so hurt and betrayed, he told her to leave. Lou offered Harold his support afterwards, and Harold started to get an understanding of how desperate Ruby had become when Lou related her experiences to his painkiller addiction. So when Ruby called on Harold a second time, offering to turn herself into the police for her part in the burglary, Harold offered her his help in combating the addiction once and for all, much to the delight of Ruby. Sadly, Ruby still failed to beat the gambling bug, and slipped off to bet on the horses when she was supposed to be attending her first gamblers' anonymous meeting. And she disappointed Harold further by disappearing with her winnings, leaving him a note claiming she had gone to see her kids. At the same time, Harold struggled to come to terms with the way Rosie had acted, and it seemed his friendship with her had been irrevocably damaged. Ruby, however, returned to Harold's one final time, admitting she had fled in panic after her failure to attend gamblers
anonymous. Realising the only way she could help herself overcome her gambling addiction was to leave Erinsborough, Harold helped Ruby call her son for help. After a lot of soul searching with him on the phone, it was arranged for Ruby to go to his farm and stay with him, in a final attempt at overcoming her addiction. On the eve of her departure, Harold tried to tell Ruby how much she had meant to him, and she told him she felt the same way, before vowing to return as soon as she sorted herself out.
Harold's mind was taken off his problems with Ruby and Rosie as he threw himself into the production of his own play, Mission: Erinsborough. The play had originally been intended to trace the feuding Ramsay and Robinson families in early 1900s Erinsborough, but after Lori Lee read over it and suggested it needed some spicing up, the play became more focused on the
romance between Clarissa, a young girl from Erinsborough, and a new character, time traveller Raif. Harold cast Nina Tucker and Jack Scully in the lead roles, and was delighted by the chemistry between the two. Of course, unbeknown to Harold, the pair were secretly having an affair with each other and little acting was required. Harold loved being involved in
the play, and he was fiercely proud of the production, and oblivious to the fact that most of the community thought it was terrible. His excitement peaked when he managed to get top theatre critic, Jasper Truffaud, to attend the play's debut performance. However, Truffaud was less than complimentary about the play in his column a few days later, and Lou and Connor O'Neill
embarked on a desperate scramble to prevent Harold from seeing any copies of the Erinsborough News so as to save him from upset. Their plan initially worked, and Lou had a fake, glowing review of the play printed up and framed instead. Harold was delighted upon getting the seal of approval from Truffaud, but he discovered the truth after seeing the real version in Joe Scully's copy of the newspaper. Although he appreciated the lengths Lou had
gone to to spare his feelings, Harold couldn't hide his devastation that the play had received such a damning review. However, Rosie made Harold realise the true importance of Mission: Erinsborough when she pointed out how good it had been for the community, uniting everyone and the whole neighbourhood pulling together to make something work. And it wasn't long before Harold started putting together a scrap book of the play for customers at the Coffee Shop to read so as to ensure Erinsborough wouldn't forget his masterpiece.
Just as Harold and Rosie had gotten past their problems over Ruby, Rosie announced her decision to move to Papua New Guinea to help with an aid effort in the wake of a cyclone. Harold was sad to see Rosie go, and they shared a moment alone together before she left, in which Rosie wished Harold her best in his relationship with Ruby and they vowed to stay in contact.
Ruby arrived back on the scene soon after - this time determined to make amends to both Harold and Lou for all the hurt she had caused last time round. But while Harold was delighted with her return and even invited her to move into No.24 with him, Lou was still suspicious of her and refused to forgive and forget. Harold’s pleas with the community to give Ruby a second chance were hindered by the fact that Ruby was a prime suspect in two robberies that occurred shortly after her return. The first took place at Lou’s pub, when the nights takings were stolen as a distracted Lou demonstrated some toy cars he was trying to flog to the punters. And the
second robbery had taken place at the Kennedy house, with Ruby being implicated after Connor O’Neill saw her coming from the Kennedys at the time of the theft. Harold stood by Ruby throughout, however, and when it was discovered that Darcy Tyler had been behind both crimes, Harold saw to it that Lou and the other local sceptics apologised to Ruby. Although this obstacle had been overcome, Harold and Ruby’s relationship was not to last. Ruby gradually came to realise that Harold was being too protective towards her and she could never fully combat her gambling problem as long as he was watching over her. And so Ruby decided to move back to her son’s farm, and bid a disappointed Harold farewell.
Harold’s mind was taken off Ruby’s departure when Connor and Lori Lee came with an advertising campaign for the Coffee Shop featuring Harold donning an afro wig with his face splashed across t-shirts and mugs. The campaign culminated in a late night TV advert, which earned Harold cult status amongst university students, and he was even asked to perform his Afro Harold routine at Eden Hills Uni. But when Harold decided to try and use his fame to warn students of the evils of alcohol and other such vices, they all felt he had become too preachy and his five minutes of fame came to an end.
It came as a huge surprise to Harold when granddaughter Sky returned to Erinsborough, now a rebellious teenager. Gone were Sky’s curly blonde locks and instead, she had dyed her hair various shades of black and blue. And her attire and attitude to the world mirrored that of her late mother’s, a factor which made her return all the more poignant. Indeed, Harold at first started to treat Sky in the same way he had treated Kerry at that age, and he almost lost out on the chance to get to know Sky again when she threatened to leave rather than put up with his over protectiveness and wrongful accusations of drug use. However, Harold prevented Sky from leaving just in time, and after she admitted that she had never learnt much about her mother from Joe, Harold offered to tell her more about Kerry. Harold also called upon young Boyd Hoyland, Rosie’s grandson, to show Sky around town - although he soon began to regret this idea when Sky and Boyd started to fall for each other and he feared they were getting up to no good together.
The return of Sky coincided with a desire in Harold to offer his services as a foster parent again, but in order to do so, he needed to spend less time at the Coffee Shop. The moment Izzy Hoyland, the scheming daughter of Rosie, arrived in Erinsborough, she picked up on Harold’s desire to open up No.24 as a foster home, and talked him into taking her on at the Coffee Shop as manager. Izzy even went so far as to convince Harold to sell twenty per cent of the business to her, and although Harold was initially reluctant, the merits of having Izzy on board were soon evident thanks to her sensational cooking and chirpy, friendly manner with the customers.
Harold had mixed feelings when his son David called out of the blue to announce he and his family were moving to Eden Hills and wanted to stay with him while they waited on their dream home in the more upmarket neighbourhood to be built. Both Sky and Izzy picked up on Harold’s unease about his son’s imminent arrival, and Harold admitted to Izzy that his relationship with David had become strained in the years since his disappearance. Harold was further dismayed when a flashy BMW was delivered to No.24 for David, and he became embarrassed by his son’s extravagant spending. Then, when David arrived a few hours earlier than expected on the day of his arrival, Harold was flustered at being caught off guard, especially since one of the first things David mentioned was how the house didn’t appear to be as pristine as he remembered it. Harold was further put out by daughter-in-law Liljana taking over the running of the kitchen, and granddaughter Serena bickering with Sky. By the time the family’s first meal got underway, Harold felt completely overwhelmed by the new arrivals and it fell to Lou to urge him to take full advantage of having this second chance with his family.
The tension between the Harold and David eventually came to a head when Harold called down to see David at his new suite of offices and was virtually ignored by David for the whole time he was there. David was busy making important phone calls, and Harold eventually gave up and returned home. When David arrived home that night and suggested Harold make an appointment with him next time so as to avoid a similar occurrence, Harold finally let his feelings about David’s attitude be known. David - and Liljana and Serena - were shocked as Harold revealed he was appalled by David’s flash behaviour, Liljana taking over the kitchen at No.24 and the way Serena was spoilt rotten. David retorted by telling Harold he felt left out after several years of Harold excluding him from every major event in his life, pointing out he had only called to tell him Madge had died after the funeral had taken place. With the relationship between father and son near breaking point, David moved the family into Lassiters Hotel until the house in Eden Hills was ready.
Liljana was instrumental in repairing the rift between Harold and David, and after she managed to get the two to apologise to each other, Harold invited the family to move back into No.24 with him and Sky. And after David discovered that he had been conned out of his life savings by his new partner, the Bishops were forced to make No.24 their permanent home and forget about their grand plans to live in Eden Hills. Although sorry for his son's misfortune, Harold was rather pleased to have such a full house again after it had been so empty without Madge and the boys.
But tragedy struck when Harold, best man to Lou at his wedding to Nina's mum Trixie Tucker, suffered a stroke and collapsed in Lassiter's car park. His family and friends kept a bedside vigil as Harold lay unconscious in hospital, and when he came round, although everyone was hugely relieved, it transpired that the stroke had caused Harold's personality to be adversely affected. In place of Harold's Christian, moral and good-natured self was a rude, bad tempered and selfish new Harold. He offended family and friends, including Lou who he accused of stealing one of his kidneys, turned his back on vegetarianism, resigned from the Salvation Army and even took to propping up the bar at Lou's Place to savour the taste of beer. In the weeks and months that followed, the old Harold gradually began to resurface, but Karl did warn him that the imbalance in his brain caused by the stroke may not fully recover.
The past came back to haunt Harold when Sky bumped into John Swan, the duckhunter who had shot Kerry, in the Coffee Shop one afternoon. Sky was so infuriated that he was evidently still shooting, she insisted on following him to the wetlands to confront him. But Harold was horrified by her plans, and fearful that Sky would befall a fate similar to Kerry's, he refused to let her go. However, David secretly took Sky down to the wetlands where she confronted her mother's killer. Harold and Liljana had discovered their plans and followed them, arriving just as Sky was attacking John. Sky was forced to reevaluate her feelings towards her mother when John made the point that Kerry had put saving ducks ahead of her young daughter, leading to Sky dramtically changing her image and turning her back on Kerry's memory. It was only when she found an old journal of Kerry's in which she wrote of her deep love and hope for Sky that she realised Kerry had acted only out of her intense desire to make the world a better place - an admirable quality. And it wasn't long before, in true Kerry fashion, Sky discussed with Harold a protest over the science teacher at school who was using his classes to mistreat chicks.
When Madge’s birthday came round once again and Harold was down in the dumps, Lou invited him to the pub for a dinner on him. But due to a large booking, Lou asked Harold if he would mind sharing with another diner, June Merret, who was on her own. Harold agreed, and was delighted to share a nice meal and good conversation with June, especially when he realised they shared a love of gardening and June was widowed too. But when Harold saw Lou at the bar looking over with a grin on his face, Harold started to suspect that Lou had set him up on some sort of blind date, and he stormed out of the pub leaving a puzzled June behind. When Lou explained to Harold that he hadn’t set anything up, Harold felt ashamed of the way he had treated June and began to think that he might never find love again.
However, the return of Liljana’s mother Svetlanka to Erinsborough changed all that. Svetlanka made no secret of the fact that she liked Harold and within days of her reappearance in town, she was having dinner with Harold. But Svetlanka was also desperate to enlist Harold’s help in healing the rift between her and Liljana following the revelations last time she had been in town that Svetlanka had secretly had Liljana’s baby adopted. Although Harold strongly disapproved of Svetlanka’s devious act all those years before, he could see that the woman was dearly trying to make amends for her behaviour and he pleaded with Lil to forgive her mother. Liljana eventually came to give Svetlanka a second chance – indeed, it looked like she would have no choice as the relationship between Harold and Svetlanka continued to grow stronger. Harold even had Karl prescribe him with some ‘Function Rite’ pills to help him with his first intimate relations with a woman since Madge.
Just as things were starting to settle down, the Bishop family were thrown into turmoil when Liljana was hospitalised with a failing liver. A desperate race to find a suitable donor began, but none of the family were compatible and Liljana faded fast. But Svetlanka succeeded in persuading a young boy the family knew from Perth, Luka Dokich, to have a compatibility test and when he proved to be a match, Liljana was saved. However, it came as a huge blow to all when it was revealed that Luka was actually the son that Svetlanka had taken away from Liljana all those years before and adopted. Liljana refused to have anything else to do with her mother after this cruel betrayal, but Harold still maintained that despite all her treacherous acts, Svetlanka only ever acted in what she thought were the best interests of her family. This opinion was reinforced when Harold witnessed Svetlanka befriend a little boy in the Coffee Shop who had run away from home. Svetlanka showed a soft side as she talked the boy round to giving her his address and she reunited him with his worried mother.
When Svetlanka decided to return to Perth, she asked Harold to come with her. Harold decided to go with her for an initial period of a few weeks and see if he wanted to make a permanent life for himself with Svetlanka there. But when Liljana and David caught wind of Harold’s plans, David threatened to end his relationship with Harold if he left to be with his treacherous mother-in-law and Liljana confronted Svetlanka about trying to take Harold away from his family. She eventually managed to persuade her mother to return home without Harold and just as they were preparing to leave for the airport, Svetlanka told Harold not to come with her because his place was in Ramsay Street with his family. And although Harold had fallen in love with Svetlanka and didn’t want to see her leave, he knew that she was right and he stayed put.
Harold soon found something to keep himself busy with when he and Lou found a human bone buried in the back garden of No.22. Although Lou was reluctant to inform the police about the discovery for fear of somehow being implicated, Harold revelled in the gruesome find and donned his sleuthing hat to try and investigate the supposed murder. But unbeknownst to Harold, the bone had been put there by medical school students in the 70s as a prank, and the locals took great amusement in observing Harold’s investigations into the mystery. When the police finally told Harold the truth, Harold was considerably annoyed that nobody had bothered to tell him about the prank, especially after Toadie had even led him to believe there were more bones buried in his back yard.
Harold was devastated when a ferocious fire swept through the Lassiters Complex at Christmas 2004 burning the pub, surgery and his beloved Coffee Shop to the ground. Harold was so down about the tragedy that at one point he felt like giving up on ever rebuilding the business, especially when he thought of how much it would have hurt Madge to see the damage that had been done. But the unexpected return of Paul Robinson to the neighbourhood breathed new life and enthusiasm into the demoralised tenants of Lassiter’s. After a few years in jail for fraud, Paul wanted to rebuild the community that he was once such a pivotal part of, and he started by helping Harold set up a temporary Coffee Shop at the Community Hall. Harold was delighted by the idea, and was soon back dishing out cups of coffees and words of wisdom to the residents of Erinsborough while also making plans for an altogether new venture on the site of the old Coffee Shop.
Harold wanted to emphasise the whole notion of community spirit by resurrecting the Coffee Shop as a General Store where on top of dropping in for a cup of coffee and a chat, locals could have their dry cleaning done, read the newspaper, or post their letters. Izzy, on the other hand, envisioned a much more trendy replacement for the Coffee Shop. She wanted to serve cocktails and quality wines, which led to Carmella Cammeniti coming up with a novel solution to the problem. She proposed that Izzy take over Lou's half of the pub and launch her cocktail bar venture there, and Lou could go into partnership with Harold at the Coffee Shop instead. Of course, right from the start, it was never going to be plain sailing for the bickering friends. Lou was keen on selling alcohol at the new store, but Harold was adamant that no liquor would be sold on the premises. Harold was outraged when he discovered that Lou was trying to save a few dollars by doing the customers' dry cleaning himself at home instead of having it professionally done as they advertised. And when Lou started to spend a lot of time away from the premises after making secretive phone calls and often working at his laptop into the small hours of the night, Harold was convinced something fishy was going on. Although when he finally followed Lou to the school, he rather surprisingly found him dressed as a wizard – it transpired that Lou had taken to online gaming and having built up a famous online persona for himself, he was plotting to sell it to the highest bidder.
Harold was stunned when a ghost from the past quite literally walked in the door of the General Store in the form of Gabrielle Walker, a prospective employee, who was the spitting image of Kerry. Despite being taken aback by the uncanny resemblance, and against Lou's advice, Harold gave Gabby a job at the store. Harold and Gabby quickly became good friends and confided in each other, and Harold helped Gabby come to terms with her mum's recent death and her determination to save up to visit her estranged father in Darwin. Gabby, of course, was initially clueless to the fact that she looked like Harold's late daughter, and when he accidentally called her 'Kerry', he explained the resemblance to her, but failed to mention that Kerry was dead. It was only when a shocked Paul Robinson came face to face with Gabby for the first time that she discovered Kerry was deceased, and this realisation left Gabby feeling a little uneasy. And when David met her for the first time and reacted furiously towards Harold for befriending someone who looked so much like Kerry, Gabby decided to resign. But Harold tracked her down a few days later and persuaded her that her resemblance to Kerry wasn't an issue for him. However, he was taken aback when Gabby kissed him, making the situation even more confusing and awkward for Harold. But when Harold returned with a photograph of Kerry to show Gabby exactly how alike she was to her, Gabby realised how difficult and awkward her presence must have been in the lives of Harold and his family. With the air cleared, Harold and Gabby started afresh as friends, and Gabby proved to be of enormous support to Harold as he had to watch the marriage of David and Liljana break up after David was framed for fraud. But the relationship reached the end of its life when Sky met Gabby, and began to look on her as Kerry. Gabby, in turn, seemed to be almost adapting herself to the role and Harold persuaded her that it would be best for her if she turned her attention to mending the rift with her father. Gabby agreed, and left for Darwin.
Further drama occurred in the Bishop family when David and Liljana's marriage broke up after the discovery that Lil had been having an affair with Paul Robinson. Although Harold was always the type of person to see both sides of a break-up, he couldn't help but feel let down by both Lil and Paul for betraying his son in such a way. To add to Harold's problems, a shocking report landed on the local council's desk informing them that a rapidly rising water level in Erinsborough West meant that within ten years, the entire area would be under water. Although many of the residents accepted the terrible findings, Harold simply would not accept that the end was nigh for Erinsborough and insisted a second investigation be done. He hired an independent environmental scientist to do some tests on the area, but Paul – who was secretly behind the original report in an effort to secure the purchase of a large bulk of Erinsborough for the US corporate giant Affirmacon - dug up some dirt on the scientist's past and blackmailed him into supporting the findings of the original report. With both reports therefore predicting a grim future for the suburb, the council granted approval for compulsory purchases of the properties belonging to the people of Erinsborough – and Harold was faced with the devastating prospect of losing his home. But Sky was convinced there was a lot more that could be done to prevent the take-over of their community by Affirmacon, and after getting into the company's offices with her new boyfriend Dylan Timmins – thanks to the now remorseful Paul giving them a key to get in and telling them where to look – Sky obtained proof that Affirmacon were corrupt. This news prompted Harold to commission a third investigation into the water levels and there was relief all round when environmental scientist Peg Verity concluded that there was no danger at all facing Erinsborough.
Lou persuaded Harold to re-join the Salvation Army after he witnessed Harold inviting homeless people into the General Store one evening for a big feed. And Harold was thrilled when David also joined up in the hope that he could follow in his father's footsteps in helping the less fortunate. Meanwhile, David had a lot more to smile about when he and Liljana got back together, and Harold was delighted with a big family reunion at No.24 – topped off with the return of Joe to Erinsborough. Indeed, Joe's return coincided with a real celebratory period in the area – Annalise Hartman had also returned, as well as other old friends and neighbours such as Helen's daughter Rosemary Daniels, Philip Martin, Lucy Robinson and Doug Willis, to screen a special documentary Annalise had made about Erinsborough. There was a real sense of nostalgia in the air which delighted Harold, and he loved catching up with old friends, especially those who filmed video clips on the documentary. After the screening, Harold paid tribute to Annalise for putting together such a lovely tribute to Erinsborough and he toasted all the neighbours who had inhabited Ramsay Street over the years.
No sooner where the celebrations over than Harold was faced with the prospect of Joe making himself very much at home at No.24. Joe's years in the bush had led to him leading a very relaxed lifestyle – so relaxed, in fact, that he thought nothing of sleeping on Harold's sofa stark naked or using Harold's petunias as a urinal. Tension arose between Harold and Joe, however, when Joe encouraged Sky to ignore a one-month ban that Harold had imposed on Sky from seeing Dylan. Harold was also opposed to Joe's plans to settle permanently at No.24, as the house was already full to the brim. But after the two men spoke of how much Sky had grown to be like Kerry, Harold realised that Joe was a part of his family and agreed to clear out the spare room for him.
But tragedy was to cruelly strike Harold's life once again when he lost David, Liljana and Serena in a plane crash. Harold had received tickets for a joy flight to Tasmania organised by Paul to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Lassiter's Hotel, but had given them to David, Lil and Serena instead. Unbeknownst to all on board – including Sky and several other Ramsay Street residents – a bomb had been planted under the plane, and after it caused one of the plane's engines to blow up over the Bass Straits, the plane crashed. While Sky and all the other passengers survived the crash relatively unharmed, David, Liljana and Serena all failed to turn up in the days that followed. Harold reacted with a vacancy and complete sense of denial about the deaths that had occurred, and consistently spoke about how they'd all be home soon. The harsh truth hit home when David's body was found and Harold refused to identify it. The grim task instead fell to Joe, who positively identified David and broke the heartbreaking news to Harold. Unable to accept that he had now lost his son too, Harold lashed out in rage and punched Joe. It was only when Sky, equally as devastated by the loss of half her family, confronted Harold about how she much she needed him in her hour of need that he snapped out of his denial and dealt with his grief. A memorial service was held, where Harold touchingly delivered a tribute to his beloved son, much-loved daughter-in-law and precious granddaughter, and, dressed in full Salvation Army garb, played a stirring piece of music for David on his tuba.
As a way of dealing with his grief in the aftermath of the crash, Harold took Connor O'Neill, Serena's boyfriend, under his wing. Connor had also been on board the plane when it crashed and had lived rough for a few weeks before Harold came across him on a soup run and persuaded him to return to Ramsay Street. Connor agreed, but rather than moving back in with his laddish housemates at No.30, he opted to move in with Harold at No.24. Before long, Harold had enlisted Connor's help with his Salvation Army duties and helping out at the General Store, but Sky and Lou – who had moved into No.24 having been evicted from No.22 by new owner Paul - grew increasingly uncomfortable at the relationship that had developed between the two. It was evident that Harold had started to look on Connor as a surrogate son in the wake of David's death, and it was only when Connor started wearing some of David's clothes and was accidentally called 'David' by Harold that he woke up to what was happening and moved out. But for Harold, the problem of dealing with his loss was only beginning.
When clearing out some of David's things at Christmas, Harold came across a letter David had written shortly before his death in which he blamed Paul Robinson for ruining his life and expressed a hope that someone would put an end to his evil some day. Something inside Harold snapped on reading this, and when he saw Paul enjoying a happy Christmas with daughter Elle and new love Izzy, he knew he had to seek vengeance. On Boxing Day, Harold crept into No.22 where Paul stood with his back to him on the telephone to his son, Cameron. With a rope wrapped around his hands, Harold strangled Paul from behind before calmly walking out and leaving him for dead on the floor. Izzy raised the alarm shortly afterwards and even as Harold watched the ambulance come for Paul, he felt he had done God's will, quoting "an eye for an eye" to himself. Paul didn't die, however, and Harold was on hand to comfort him with casserole and a nice neighbourly presence when he was released from hospital. He then went on to put Paul through a period of physcological torture, quoting aggressive religious verse at him in a disguised voice down the phone and generally terrorising Paul to such an extent that Paul was left completely housebound and had an extensive CCTV system installed at his home.
Things finally got too much for Harold when Izzy became suspicious and accused him of being the one who had tried to kill Paul. In an angry confrontation at the store, Harold broke down in tears and smashed a mirror in rage. However, his reaction actually threw Izzy off the scent as she felt terrible for even thinking that a decent human being such as Harold could ever be so cold and calculating. With the pressure getting to him, Harold took off to Tasmania to pull himself together, leaving Connor and Toadie running the store since Lou was also away. But when Lou returned to town, he was immediately concerned by Harold's sudden disappearance, a concern shared by Sky. Everything became clear when Lou found Harold's bible, with a page marked by David's letter, with references to putting to death anyone who kills a man, and a note in Harold's handwriting claiming God's will had been done.
When Harold finally returned from Tasmania, he admitted what he had done straight away to Lou and Sky and revealed that the time away had given him a chance to sort himself out mentally. Harold conceded that he had sunk to the lowest human emotion by trying to kill Paul but resolved to sort everything out and started by confessing all to Paul. Paul initially couldn't believe that the pillar of the community that was Harold, who he had known for so many years, could ever be capable of such a thing. But his shock quickly turned to rage and he threatened Harold with the police, much to the delight of Izzy, who felt vindicated for accusing Harold in the first place. However, Paul began to have second thoughts when he realised that a man like Harold wouldn't try to kill someone for no reason, and he began to look at himself as the real reason behind Harold's behaviour. Paul concluded that it was his actions and his dodgy dealings that had caused the plane to be blown up and for Harold to lose his family. Having decided not to press charges, Paul forgave Harold for what had happened and they agreed to put the whole sorry mess behind them.
But just as Harold had regained a sense of normality and got back to work at the General Store, Paul threw a spanner in the works by opening up a rival café, Lucinda's, run by Elle and, much to Sky's disgust, Dylan, over at Lassiter's. It seemed that Paul wasn't as up for forgiveness as Harold had thought, although Izzy was a driving factor in his decision to quash Harold and Lou's business. As the café war got underway, things turned nasty when Paul stole Harold and Lou's butcher and, much to Harold's dismay, Lou retaliated by obtaining an events licence so they could sell alcohol to uni students during orientation week. A low point in the feud for Harold came when Paul beat him to donating prizes and catering for the hospital fundraiser, and a furious Harold confronted Paul about his treacherous ways, even pointing out how disgusted Helen would be by his behaviour if she were alive. But overall, Harold and Lou couldn't compete with Lucinda's for long as Paul kept undercutting them at every opportunity and eventually, they found themselves unable to pay their rent. As landlord, Paul had the power to evict them from the premises and gleefully took the store over himself, installing Elle and Dylan there to run that business too. While Lou vowed to fight to the end to get the store back, Harold approached the ordeal in a different manner and actually embraced the idea of retiring. He relished the prospect of spending more time in the garden, at the golf course and working for the Salvo's. And after a chat with Susan about how he hadn't yet seen Svetlanka since the death of Liljana, Harold decided to take advantage of having so much spare time and went to Perth to visit her for a few weeks.
Upon his return, Harold found that Lou had managed to win back the store from Paul by getting one of his old contacts at the council to con Paul into thinking the premises would have to be demolished – leading Paul to quickly sell the lease back to Lou. The brain behind the operation was Mishka Schneiderova, a Russian exile who Lou had fallen in love with over the internet and invited to live with him in Australia, and Harold welcomed her into his home as he could see how happy she made Lou feel. However, friction developed when Mishka started illegally distilling her own vodka, 'Old 997' and used both the store and No.24 to sell her wares. When Harold first caught wind of the racket, Lou and Mishka told him it was actually industrial cleaner and after a quick demonstration on a stained piece of clothing, Harold was sold on the idea. But after he saw Mishka drinking some of the 'cleaner', Harold thought she had a serious drinking problem and told Lou that she should seek help immediately. This forced the duo to own up and tell Harold the truth, which led to Harold telling them they had betrayed his trust and he wanted them to move out by the time he got back from touring with the Salvation Army band.
But when Harold got back and found Lou and Mishka still present, Sky was quick to leap to their defence and insist he let them stay. Puzzled by Sky's protestations, all became clear when Sky revealed to Harold that she had discovered she was pregnant while he was out of town and she was thankful to Lou and Mishka for their comfort and support while he was away. Stunned by his granddaughter's revelation, Harold initially reacted by berating Sky for being so stupid and for throwing her chances of a decent university education down the drain. But when he reflected on the news, Harold apologised to Sky for the way he had treated her, especially due to the past mistakes he had made with Kerry. Harold told Sky that he didn't want her to be afraid to come to him at this special time of her life in the way Kerry had when she was pregnant and after Susan pointed out that the addition of a great-grandchild to his family could be just what Harold needs after all the tragedy he had been through, Harold excitedly embraced the news. He even took to accompanying Sky to the hospital for her check-ups, although on one occasion, he was mortified when a fellow mum-to-be mistakenly thought Harold was the father of Sky's baby.
Meanwhile, Harold agreed to let Lou and Mishka stay on at No.24 after realising how much they had done for Sky during his absence. And he even managed to convince Mishka to part with the money she had made from Old 997 by donating it to charity. But Lou and Mishka's happiness was to be short lived when her husband sent some of his goons to Australia to bring her back to Russia and Lou fell into a deep despair as he had to deal with the love of his life being snatched away from him. But as always, Harold was on hand to help his friend in his hour of need and he supported Lou through some of the dark days that followed.
Harold found some romance of his own when Loris Timmins, the more refined and elegant grandmother to the bogan Timmins brood, arrived in Erinsborough. They first hit it off when they bumped into each other at the Scarlet Bar where they discovered a fondness for "Tazzles" raspberry cordial. Harold was also supportive of Loris through her ups and downs with daughter-in-law Janelle, with whom she had always had a prickly relationship and he helped Loris re-enter the family's life after she bought No.26 from Lyn Scully for them to live in. And, of course, Harold and Loris were about to share the joy of becoming great-grandparents for the first time through Sky and Dylan's baby.
Harold's relationship with Loris wasn't to last, however. Harold was horrified when he witnessed Loris misreading the signals with hunky young Ned Parker at Lassiter's one afternoon and kissing him. But after admitting how foolish she had been and explaining that the news from her husband that he wanted a divorce had been behind the silly move, Harold made amends with Loris and they started afresh. But the biggest hurdle Harold had to face was when it emerged that Loris held a deep secret which had massive implications on her grandchildren. After Bree, the youngest of the Timmins' clan, found out that she had been mixed up at birth and wasn't the biological daughter of Janelle and Kim, Loris admitted to Harold that the switch hadn't been an accident – rather, she herself had switched the babies in a fit of spite against Janelle. Although Loris deeply regretted what she had done and had agonised over it for 14 years, Harold initially couldn't bring himself to accept it. But having seen how much Loris wanted to atone for her sins, he managed to forgive her just before she left Erinsborough on a mission to hunt down the real Timmins grandchild and Bree's natural parents, the Baxters.
Despite the short-lived romance with Loris, Harold still had the joy of becoming a great-grandfather to embrace. Sky had been through a difficult pregnancy, due to the ongoing confusion over whether Dylan or his brother Stingray, with whom Sky had had a one night stand, was the father of her baby, and it finally ended with her spending the final weeks of the pregnancy in hospital suffering from stress. To add to the trauma, Sky had been unwittingly put in a room with Teresa Cammeniti, a deranged young girl who had had to live through her baby being sold by her cousin Carmella and then endure the child's cot death. On the night Sky went into labour, Teresa set the hospital on fire and just as Sky gave birth to a baby girl, who she immediately called Kerry after her late mum, everybody had to be evacuated to the other wing of the hospital. But during the evacuation, Baby Kerry went missing and for days, Harold and Sky thought she was gone forever until finally, she was left on the doorstep of the Bishop house. It quickly emerged that Dylan had kidnapped the child and hid out in a nearby hotel, desperate to cling onto his belief that Kerry was his daughter, despite the tests previously indicating Stingray was the father. Dylan's actions were forgiven by all when Karl revealed there had been a mix-up with dates and confirmed that Dylan was indeed Kerry's father.
Harold was delighted to have the traumatic episode behind him and threw himself into his new role as great-grandfather to Kerry. However, Sky and Dylan both became concerned that Harold was involving himself too much in the child's upbringing, especially when he started enrolling her at top schools and chastised Sky and Dylan at regular intervals for mucking around and not taking their parental duties seriously enough. Harold’s over-protectiveness towards his great-granddaughter put Baby Kerry in danger, though, when his bad back caused her to let go of her pram one afternoon, sending it hurtling towards a busy road. Luckily, young Ringo Brown saved the day and Harold made him promise not to tell anyone. However, there was further trouble a week later when Harold's car was robbed outside Grease Monkeys – with Kerry still in her baby seat inside it. Paul later found the car abandoned with Kerry still inside at Lassiter's, but Harold – fearing that Sky and Dylan would no longer let him care for the child – made up a story about being car-jacked and they all felt sympathetic towards him. But Paul had witnessed the car being stolen and knew Harold had actually left the keys in the ignition rather than being car-jacked, and confronted him about it. Harold explained to Paul that he was worried the kids wouldn’t let him be involved in Kerry's upbringing anymore if they knew the truth, and Paul, recognising how much better it was for Kerry to have Harold in her life, agreed to keep Harold’s secret.
But Harold's guilty conscience got the better of him when he was taken down to the police station to identify the suspects in a line-up and couldn't bring himself to see someone who had stolen his car also be charged with assault. After revealing the truth to the police and Sky, Harold was relieved that they all understood why he did what he did and Sky assured Harold that she would never want to not have him involved in Kerry’s upbringing. Besides, there was a far greater crisis on the horizon – Harold had begun to notice Kerry was underweight and grisly, and when Sky took her to the hospitals for tests, the Bishops were devastated to be told the shocking news that Kerry had leukaemia.
As all of Kerry’s relatives took tests to determine if they were compatible for bone marrow transplants, it emerged that only Stingray was a match. Luckily, Stingray went ahead with the operation to save Kerry, and after Harold and Sky kept a bedside vigil, there was relief all round when the child made a full recovery. However, tragedy struck when Stingray suffered an aneurysm days after the operation and died. Sky was rocked to the core by this latest death in her young life, and Harold was on hand to comfort her. In the weeks that followed, Sky was inconsolable, and found it even tougher when a grief-stricken Dylan left to get his head together in Port Douglas with his dad. Sky eventually found comfort in the unlikely form of Terrence Chesterton, who claimed to be able to communicate with the spirits of the dead. Unbeknownst to Sky, Terrence was actually a con artist who was in cahoots with his lover Charlotte Stone, who was herself masquerading as the new local GP and thus able to provide him with all sorts of confidential information on the lives of the locals, including details of their deceased loved ones. Harold had poured scorn on the idea of Sky having anything to do with Terrence from the outset, when he initiated contact with her by sending her a sympathy card in the wake of Stingray’s death. But Sky pressed ahead with her plans to meet with Terrence and ignored Harold’s pleas, dismissing him for being too sceptical. Lou tried to reason with Harold that even if the spiritualist wasn’t kosher, at least Sky was finally starting to deal with her grief, but Harold remained cynical.
In the hope of allaying Harold’s concerns, Sky brought him along to her next meeting with Terrence and Harold was defiant with him through most of the meeting. But things took a twist when Terrence, while ‘channelling’ Stingray’s spirit, announced that Stingray had made a new friend in the afterlife – Madge. Harold was disgusted by this, believing Terrence to be blatantly exploiting him and simply using information that Sky had already provided him with. But Harold slowly started to trust Terrence himself and surprised those around him by backing Sky in her meetings with Terrence. And after a further meeting with Terrence convinced Harold that Kerry was also communicating with him from the afterlife, Harold got sucked into the tempting position of being able to communicate with his deceased family again.
However, Harold worried that Sky was getting in too deep when she was told by Terrence that she, too, had the gift to communicate with spirits. Terrence began training Sky as a spiritualist, taking money from her in the process, but when Harold caught them, he demanded they stop. Terrence surprised Harold by agreeing with him, suggesting that Sky see the new doctor instead and perhaps be referred on to a grief counsellor. But Charlotte, who was working with Terrence, assured Sky that what she was doing with Terrence was fine and was way better for her than any grief counsellor – leading Sky to carry on with her training sessions. As she arrived at the store to tell Harold how it had gone, Harold was troubled by what he felt was a presence in the store. He had come in the door to hear a noise in the kitchen and when he went to investigate, he found Madge’s recipe book on the floor. Sky agreed with him that it had to be a sign that Madge was trying to communicate with him, and Harold was delighted that she had been looking after him all these years. Their belief was affirmed further when the door to the store seemed to open and close behind them, but in reality all the strange incidents at the store had been caused by Ringo Brown, who was hiding out there having run away from home.
With Harold and Sky both totally immersed in a world of spirits and communication with their deceased loved ones, Lou and the rest of their friends and neighbours began to worry about them. And when Janelle found out that Sky was planning to spread Stingray’s ashes on the skate ramp because he had ‘told’ her to through Terrence, she was furious. Sky decided she needed to convince everyone that she and Harold hadn’t gone crazy and arranged for a session with Terrence at the General Store. The cynical audience that greeted Terrence were shocked as throughout the course of the meeting, he was able to give Toadie, Susan, Janelle and even Lou messages from all of their deceased relatives and loved ones. With some of the locals persuaded, Harold was then faced with choosing between continuing his involvement with Terrence and the Salvation Army when Lindsay Hall called on him and pointed out it was conflicting with their Christian views. Harold quickly decided that communicating with Madge, Kerry and David was more important to him and packed up his Salvation Army uniform and returned it to Lindsay. However, Terrence was revealed soon after as a fraud when Toadie produced evidence of previous scams he had operated under different names in different neighbourhoods and Harold berated himself for being so foolish and for allowing himself to be sucked into such a scam.
When Sky realised Terrence was a fraud, she reacted in a far less calm way to her grandfather and lashed out violently at the man who had used her love for Stingray in such a cruel way. In fact, Terrence had even persuaded Sky to sleep with him during one session, telling her that Stingray wanted to feel close to her again so when Sky discovered he was a fake during a session at the store where he got some facts wrong, she was so infuriated and enraged, she hit him over the head with a sugar shaker – leaving him for dead on the floor of the General Store. Harold realised Sky was withdrawn and preoccupied when she got home, and when she finally admitted what she had done, Harold, Lou and Sky rushed down to the Lassiter’s complex where they found Terrence’s body.
Sky was arrested for the murder of Terrence and sent to the Goodwood Women’s Prison, were Harold took to visiting her with Kerry everyday. Harold threw himself into the role of caring for Kerry and at times when he found it hard to cope, Lou and the Timmins clan were all on hand to help. But when Sky decided to apply to have Kerry brought into the prison too, were they could live in the mother’s wing, Harold had grave reservations about the idea of the child being brought up in the dangerous environment of a prison. Sky wouldn’t listen to his objections, however, and when she was supported in her decision by Janelle and the rest of the Timmins’ family, Harold decided to take matters into his own hands and apply for legal guardianship of Kerry. However, he was denied guardianship and was forced to accept that he would have to go along with Sky’s wishes. The Timmins girls failed to realise this, though, and hatched a plan to prise Kerry away from Harold. Bree distracted Harold by chatting to him over the fence about gardening while Janelle snatched Kerry from her pram and brought her down to the jail. When Bree realised that Harold had resolved to bring the baby to Sky that day anyway, she felt terrible and Janelle later apologised to Harold for depriving him of the chance to say goodbye to Kerry. But he wasn’t to be separated from her for long because when Pepper Steiger overheard Harold and Janelle talking about how Sky’s cellmate was Mary Casey – the deranged mother of Pepper’s ex-boyfriend who had recently held Pepper hostage after becoming obsessed over the grandchild Pepper had miscarried years earlier - they raced down to the prison to warn Sky not to leave Kerry anywhere near Mary. But when Sky came out to see Harold and Janelle and confirmed their fears by saying she had left Kerry with Mary, everyone panicked when a riot broke out in the prison and a lockdown was initiated. Sky, Harold and Janelle feared for the child’s safety but it turned out they had been wrong to suspect Mary of putting Kerry in danger and she had actually shielded her from harm while the riot was going on. Luckily, Sky and Kerry didn’t have to endure the harsh environs of Goodwood Prison for much longer as Charlotte Stone was revealed to be the real murderer, having delivered a second blow to Terrence’s head after Sky had hit him with the sugar shaker, and Sky was released.
Harold and Janelle were quickly turning their attentions to more trivial matters when Janelle insisted on entering Kerry in Gino’s beautiful baby pageant at Lassiter’s. Harold was disgusted to find Janelle taking photos of Kerry sitting in a flower pot with flowers all around her and dismissed the idea of baby contests as nothing more than dog shows. But when the day of the competition arrived, Harold took all by surprise when he accused Gino of fixing the contest after Kerry failed to win. His protestations got so out of hand, Gino was even forced to call security, although Janelle and Toadie managed to drag him away in time.
Soon afterwards, the Timmins brood packed up and left Ramsay Street for a new life up north in Cairns. But before they left, Harold agonised over whether or not he should continue to keep quiet about Loris’ involvement in the swapping of Bree and the real youngest Timmins child, Anne, at birth. When he confided in Sky about the secret, she urged him to confess all to Janelle and after sharing a moment with her on one of her final days in Erinsborough were they reminisced on their first meeting in which Janelle threatened to sue Harold at the Coffee Shop for only serving her half a muffin, Harold resolved to do the right thing. But when he called over to No.26 to tell her, Bree and Janae got to him first and dragged him outside. Harold was surprised when the girls told him they knew Loris was responsible for swapping Bree and Anne at birth and they pleaded with him not to tell Janelle because she had finally found some happiness in her life and didn’t need any more drama. Harold could see the girls’ motives were honourable and agreed to keep the secret.
Harold hadn’t had Sky and Kerry back home for long, though, when Sky announced that she too was thinking about moving up north to be near Dylan and the rest of the Timmins’ family. While he couldn’t argue with the value of Kerry being closer to her father, Harold was devastated at the prospect of losing the last two family members he had. Sky assured Harold that she had to make the move for Kerry’s sake because it wasn’t fair on her not to have both her parents around, and Harold told Sky he would feel terrible if she stayed around solely on his account. By way of assuring Sky that she had his blessing, Harold enlisted Miranda Parker – who had just moved into the Timmins’ house with her husband Steve, brother of Ned – to organise a leaving party for Sky at Lassiter’s. Sky was deeply touched by the gesture, and Harold paid tribute to how much she had grown into a caring young woman since she had turned up on his doorstep as a teenager, before he was joined by the rest of the neighbourhood in waving them goodbye. And Harold’s pain at saying goodbye to Sky and Kerry was eased slightly when Sky invited him to come and spend some time with them in Cairns a few weeks after they had settled in.
Without any family around, Harold threw himself into his work at the General Store. Although he still had Lou to bicker with, and had returned to the Salvation Army, he gradually began to get a little disillusioned and tired with life in Erinsborough and eventually decided to pack up and travel around Australia, continuing a journey he and Madge had first tried to do all those years before. When he broke the news to Lou, Harold was met with resistance as Lou criticised him and found fault with every aspect of his plans. And when Lou learnt that Harold was considering selling No.24 to Marco Silvani and Carmella Cammeniti, he got the hump and insisted on moving out, claiming he was in the way. As the tension between the old friends continued to grow, things came to a head in the store one evening when Harold charged that the friendship had always been a one way street and Lou got into a flap and threw him out. But after having second thoughts, Harold returned to the shop a while later, and was horrified to find Lou had collapsed. Suspecting a heart attack, Harold immediately began to feel awful about his last convesation with Lou and was desparete for him to pull through. At the hospital, Karl confirmed that Lou hadn't suffered a heart attack but rather he seemed to be anxious and was possibly even suffering from a broken heart – a diagnosis Harold took to mean that he shouldn't go travelling after all. But as Lou recuperated, he finally gave Harold his blessing and pushed on with his plans. However, he hesitated when he witnessed Lou clutching at his chest one day and angered Marco by pulling out of the house sale. But after a heart-to-heart with Lou, Harold realised he had come to terms with his decision and while not selling No.24, he did agree to lease it to Marco and Carmella, at a reduced rate and fully furnished.
Harold's travel plans took a further twist when he invited Lou to join him on the road and Lou accepted. They excitedly began making plans but Lou started to regret his decision when he noticed how upset the news had made young Mickey Gannon, who had come to look on Lou as a grandfather since he moved in with the Parkers next door on Ramsay Street. After realising Lou didnt want to go and was happy with Mickey, the store, and his life in Erinsborough, Harold got Lou to admit that he didn't want to go and Lou conceded that the invitation was more important than actually going. Harold then began to make arrangements for Lou to stay behind, although he angered Lou by asking Carmella and Marco if they would let him stay on with them at No.24. Instead, the Parkers kindly invited Lou to move in with them, much to the delight of young Mickey – and Lou who could play 'Pop' with him even more.
As the day of Harold's departure grew near, Valda asked if she could come along with him for the first leg of his journey along the coast and he readily agreed to drop her off in her hometown of Shelly Bay. Friends and neighbours began to mark Harold's impending departure by giving him gifts and mementos, with Toadie delighting Harold with a sat nav system and Harold making a touching gesture by giving Toadie, on the verge of marrying Steph Scully, with the cufflinks he had worn at his wedding to Madge. And despite his protestations that he didn't want a farwell party, everyone organsied a bash for Harold at the store where Mickey and Libby's son Ben showed him a special map they had made to hang on the wall of the store to follow his travels. The following morning, Harold and Lou enjoyed a cup of tea outside Harold's newly purchased camper van and Lou gave Harold a letter. Unable to say goodbye to his friend, Lou - in an echo of the way he had expressed his feelings to Madge just before her death – had put pen to paper to write Harold a heartfelt letter expressing how much he meant to him. Harold was touched and was overwhelmed as the whole of Ramsay Street emerged to wave him and Valda off, with Lou leading the way.
Harold made a new friend on his travels in the form of Kate Newton, who he met while in New South Wales. Kate was a twice divorced fellow 'grey nomad' and although Harold felt an immediate connection to her, he felt the need to exagerate his life story in order to impress her. And so, Harold used a number of facts from Lou's life to beef up his character and told Kate that he was a used car salesman and a car enthusiast. Feeling guilty about his lies, Harold decided to return home to Erinsborough for a few weeks but immediately arroused the suspicions of Lou when he began ignoring phone calls and text messages on his mobile phone. Lou finally got Harold to admit what he had been up to, much to his amusement. His mischeviousness continued when he got hold of Harold's phone and sent Kate a text inviting her to join Harold in Erinsborough. Harold was horrified when she showed up and was forced to continue with his lies. However, Kate confided in Susan that she hadn't the slightest interest in cars and had only pretended to be an enthusiast in order to impress Harold. It was only when Lou arranged for the pair to go to a car festival in a truck that Kate and Harold finally revealed the truth to each other and they happily ditched Lou's car festival – and truck – to stroll off together.
As they got closer, Harold plucked up the courage to invite Kate to accompany him on the rest of his travels and he was delighted when she accepted. But he quickly began to regret his invitation when Kate started planning a detailed itinerary for their journey up the Gold Coast and when Harold expressed his discomfort to Kate, she got upset and ran off. Harold regretfully prepared to head off on the next leg of his journey alone, but Kate arrived on Ramsay Street at the last minute to patch things up with him and Harold delightuflly set off with Kate in tow.
Harold returned home to Ramsay Street for Christmas, but was shocked when he received some bad news about his health. Having persuaded Lou, who was having trouble shaking off a bad cough, to get a full medical from Karl and agreeing to get one himself as a way of showing moral support to Lou, the last thing Harold expected was to be told by Karl that instead of Lou being ill, it was his own heath that was a cause for concern. Harold's tests had shown that he had prostate cancer and would need to be treated urgently in order to beat it. But Harold didn't take the news very well and resisted attempts by Karl to see an oncologist. As he struggled to come to terms with the news, the last thing he needed was a party, which was exactly what his friends and neighbours organised to welcome him home. As the babecue got into full swing on Ramsay Street, Harold's mind wandered and Karl desperately tried throughout the day to persuade him to attend the appointments he had set up for him.Karl made a last ditch attempt at making Harold see how important it was for him to fight the cancer by delivering a touching speech to all at the barbecue welcoming Harold home and talking of how poorer the neighbourhood was without him.Overwhelmed with emotion, Harold sought solace by visiting Madge's grave and spoke to her of how frightened he was of what was ahead. Just as he pleaded with Madge to show him some sort of sign that things would be ok, Karl appeared at the graveside and pledged to fight the illness with Harold. Harold finally accepted Karl's support and agreed to seek treatment.
After his biopsy tests came back and confirmed the cancer, Karl began a treatment programme for Harold and tried to convince him to tell the rest of Ramsay Street about his diagnosis. But Harold was determined not to be a burden to everyone and instead focused on putting everyone else ahead of him and being particularly supportive to Carmella, who had recently lost Marco in a bushfire and was now considering packing up and joining her old flame Oliver in Portugal. As Karl heaped pressure on Harold to tell Lou about the cancer, Harold refused point blank to ruin his friend's Christmas. Susan found out though when Zeke noticed Karl had been looking at websites about prostate cancer and suspected that Karl had contracted the disease and it fell to Harold to admit that he was the one who was ill. Lou finally found out the truth when he walked in on Susan and Karl discussing Harold's treatment options, and Lou berated his old friend for not telling him. Harold stressed that he didn't want to worry him and Lou assured him that he would be fine and that he had a lot of life left in him yet. Harold agreed to begin his treatment once Christmas was out of the way and he went on to enjoy the traditional turning on of the Christmas lights on the Ramsay Street houses. When everyone had settled down for the night, though, Harold packed his things and drove out of Ramsay Street in his camper van. Initially, everyone thought he had just taken a day or two away from the area to get his head together but Lou soon began to worry when he contacted Sky and Kate and they all had heard nothing from him either.
Harold, meanwhile, was busily hiding away volunteeting at a Salvation Army homeless shelter in a seaside town under his old alias of 'Ted'. But his cover was blown when the Parkers' teenage daughter Bridget, who had also run away from Erinsborough having discovered she was pregnant, turned up at the shelter. She was shocked to discover Harold had cancer and when he doubled over in pain, Bridget agreed to return home to Ramsay Street if he would return with her and begin his treatment. Harold returned to Erinsborough just as Carmella was saying goodbye to everyone at her farewell party at the store and he was touched to walk in on proceedings just as Carmella announced she was proposing the store be renamed 'Harold's' to reflect the contribution he had made to the community in the store through the years. That evening, Harold checked himself into hospital for his surgery and was paid a final visit by Carmella, who presented him with a pair of rosary beads from her time as Sister Mary Catherine. Harold invited her to pray with him before he fell asleep and when he woke up, it was morning time and he was taken to the operating theatre. En route, Bridget arrived at the hospital to tell Harold that he had been there for her in her hour of need and now she was going to be there, waiting for him when he got back.
The operation determined that the cancer wouldn't require radiotherapy but Harold would need to undergo chemotherapy. Lou was keen to kick things off straight away but Harold said he wanted time to think about it. Although Lou was frustrated by his friend's willingness to wait around, Karl acknowledged that it was Harold's choice and he should be left to decide what he wanted to do. Harold quickly came to a decision and asked for Toadie to come to see him in his capacity as his lawyer. Susan was shocked when she walked in on Harold discussing his will with Toadie and asked for a moment alone with Harold where she tried to talk him out of being so defeatist. Harold insisted he had made the decision not to undergo the treatment because it is often worse than the actual disease and asked Susan to respect his wishes. It fell to Steph to talk some sense into Harold and she did just that by calling into the hospital to tell him about how she had lived in constant fear of her cancer returning and now realised it was time for her to start living the precious life she had been allowed to continue living. Challenging Harold to do the same, Steph gave Harold the strength to finally face up to the fight he had ahead of him and he opted to start chemo. He was out of hospital in time for Christmas Day and after everyone fussed over him around the street by inviting him for various breakfasts, lunches and dinners, a tired Harold was then faced with the official unveiling of the renamed 'Harold's Store'. Lou paid tribute to him with a glowing speech about what a special place the store – and Harold – had in the community. Afterwards, though, Harold snapped that it was customary to hold off on eulogies and tributes until after the person had died and stormed off. But Bridget went after him to explain to him that people just wanted him around forever and wanted him to know how much he meant to them. Harold realised he had behaved unreasonably and proved he was back to his old self by joining the Parkers for a game of cricket in the park that afternoon.
While short staffed at the store one afternoon, Harold found himself under pressure trying to cope on his own. When he started talking to Donna Freedman about his days as Afro Harold and she asked him to demonstrate his rap for her, he over exerted himself and began suffering chest pains. Harold was rushed to hospital where it emerged he had had a massive heart attack. As Karl tended to him and Harold took a further turn, Karl opted to ignore Harold's wishes not to be resusicated as noted by Nurse Jodie Smith in his file and he managed to bring his friend back from the brink. All Harold's neighbours and friends kept a vigil at the hospital through the night, willing him to pull through and everyone breathed a sigh of relief when he regained consciousness. However, Harold had seen visions of Madge and experienced overwhelming joy at seeing her again as his heart had stopped and was furious at Karl for bringing him back. He rejected the love and support shown by his friends but eventually came to realise how important he was in all their lives.
Upon his release from hospital, Harold decided to return to Queensland to be with Sky in the latter stages of her pregnancy. He was buoyed up by the news that his cancer was in remission and assured all his worried neighbours that he was feeling fit and well enough to make the journey up north. Harold, meanwhile, decided to permanently part with the home he had lived in for so many years by gifting it to the Salvation Army, who would put it to good use housing people in need – the first to benefit being the flighty Cassandra Freedman, mother of Donna, although later the orphaned Ramsay kids – descendants of Madge - fittingly made it their home. However, when Susan witnessed Harold taking photographs of himself in front of No.24 on the eve of his departure, the realisation hit her that Harold wasn't planning on coming back to Erinsborough this time. In an emotional moment in the middle of Ramsay Street, Harold all but confirmed Susan's fears by not correcting her when she put it to him that he wasn't coming back and thanking her for always being there for him in the last few diffcult years. They hugged and Harold admitted to her that he would miss her the most.
The next morning, Harold awoke to the sound of 'Morning Has Broken' performed by the Salvation Army Band in the middle of Ramsay Street and he was overcome at the sight of a farewell breakfast that had been arranged in his honour. As he said final goodbyes to his closest neighbours and friends, Harold realised that Lou was missing and Steph explained that it had all become too much for him. After a final goodbye to the residents of his beloved Ramsay Street, old and new, Harold set off out of the cul de sac in his camper van for the final time. One last surprise awaited Harold, however, as he stopped for a cup of coffee on the way up the coast. Lou emerged from the back of the camper van to surprise 'Jelly Belly' and keep him company on the trip up north. Although Harold initially feigned outrage at his friend's latest shenanigans, he quickly expressed his delight at the prospect of the pair of them travelling to Queensland together but within moments of them setting off on their journey, the bickering started – just like it always did between the two special friends.
Back on Ramsay Street, as the residents began to adjust to life without Harold, Susan produced a box of keepsakes he had left behind with her, including his prized tuba which he left for Libby and his Afro Harold wig for Donna. But above all else, the most treasured item that Harold left behind was a special book he had been working on – a history of Ramsay Street, which detailed the years he had spent on the street, from his initial visit to see Madge for the first time since high school through to their wedding, his drowning accident, helping to raise Sky and many more moments, happy and sad. Harold left a note for Toadie, asking him to continue the story of Ramsay Street, having anointed him the keeper of the Ramsay Street spirit just before his departure. Toadie was touched by the gesture and honoured to have been left such a legacy by one of the street's most treasured residents.
It was Toadie who caused Harold to return to Erinsborough two years later when he called his old friend and mentor for help. Toadie’s relationship with Sonya Mitchell had fallen apart after the revelation that she was the biological mother of his adopted son Callum and Toadie, unable to cope with the trauma of being deceived by the woman he loved, phoned Harold for advice. Harold went one step further and drove through the night from Byron Bay to get to Toadie and once back on Ramsay Street, was quickly catching up with his old friends. After talking to the Kennedys about Toadie and Sonya’s situation, Harold decided to meet Sonya himself and get her perspective on things. And as Sonya was staying in Harold’s old house – which was now primarily occupied by Kate and Sophie Ramsay, ancestors of Madge, it also provided Harold with an opportunity to see his old home. Sonya recognised Harold from photographs as soon as he turned up on the doorstep and was delighted to finally meet the legendary Ramsay Street resident. The two got on like a house on fire and when Harold later told Toadie that he had spoken with Sonya, Toadie was initially unimpressed until Harold stressed he was trying to see both sides. When Toadie refused to accept the notion of still having feelings for Sonya, Harold advised Toadie not to let his past heartbreak with the likes of Dee and Steph cloud his thinking and urged him not to lose his chance of happiness.
Of course, Harold had found happiness of his own since he was last in Erinsborough. While visiting Byron Bay in his camper van, Harold had had fallen in love with the Earthly Essence Teas in a café and when he enquired as to who was behind the brand, he was introduced to Carolyn Johnstone, a corporate lawyer who gave the legal world up to found the tea company. Harold and Carolyn had instantly become smitten with each other with Harold attracted to Carolyn’s free spirit. Carolyn was also somewhat reminiscent of Madge in that she didn’t suffer fools gladly and had plenty of fire in her belly. The pair had become engaged but Harold called her from Erinsborough once he realised Toadie would need him around a bit longer than initially planned. However, Carolyn decided to travel down to Melbourne herself to meet Harold’s many friends on his beloved Ramsay Street and Harold was delighted to introduce her to everyone.
Meanwhile, things got a whole lot more complicated for Toadie when Callum’s real father – and Sonya’s ex-boyfriend – Troy Miller turned up in town. Toadie was determined to block Callum from seeing the man who had walked out on his son but Harold urged him to allow Callum make the choice for himself. But no sooner had Callum begun spending time with Troy than Harold spotted Sonya and Troy in an embrace down by Lassiter’s Lake. Harold agonised over whether or not to tell Toadie but instead opted to talk to Sonya. When she reacted badly to his interference, Harold and Carolyn went one step further when they saw Troy in Charlie’s bar and Harold asked him what his intentions were with Sonya. A furious Troy told Harold it was none of his business but Carolyn made matters worse when he asked Troy how much money it would take to get him to leave town – a move which horrified Harold and only served to irk Troy even further. The couple admitted what they had done to Toadie who lashed out at them for making things worse. However, Carolyn had a go at Toadie for taking Harold for granted and reminded him that it was he who asked Harold to drop everything and come back to Erinsborough to help him. Toadie apologised to Harold for his behaviour and they agreed to put it behind them.
Seeing how at home Harold felt in Ramsay Street, Carolyn suggested they bring their wedding forward and get married in Erinsborough while they were in town. Harold was initially taken aback by the spontaneity of Carolyn’s suggestion before realising his old community was exactly where he wanted to get married. They began making plans with help from Susan and Toadie but one other person threw himself into the mix as soon as he arrived back in town from a spell in Sydney – Lou. Harold was thrilled to be reunited with his old friend but Carolyn was less than impressed with her fiancé’s best friend – and best man at their upcoming wedding. Lou tried to turn on the old ‘Carpenter charm’ with her but it failed miserably and Harold was a little worried at how the two seemed to have nothing but disdain for each other. And when Lou started making all sorts of wild plans for a bucks party, Carolyn objected on the grounds that such concepts were sexist and outdated. Lou insisted on one last night of fun for Harold before he was married again and Carolyn agreed to compromise and allow a small, quiet drinks party in Charlie’s Bar.
However, the arrival of Troy at the party annoyed Harold who approached him at the bar and told him not to upset Toadie. Troy stunned Harold by grabbing a pressure point in his shoulder and warning him to stay out of his business. Harold was distracted for the rest of his party and eventually plucked up the courage to confront Troy about his threatening behaviour. But due to Callum’s presence, Harold was reluctant to upset the youngster and kept quiet. However, the next morning he revealed all to Lou and Toadie, who were furious at Troy’s actions. The incident only served to increase Toadie’s unease about the developing relationship between Callum and Troy.
Harold caused concern amongst his friends when, on the morning of the wedding, he went missing. Toadie and Lou agonised over whether or not to tell Carolyn, but Lou eventually couldn’t resist telling her that Harold had done a runner. Carolyn brushed off their panic, insisting that Harold would turn up at the altar as planned because what they had was true love and she knew they would be getting married. It turned out that Harold had actually gone to the cemetery to visit Madge’s grave and tell her that he was getting married again. As he sat on a deckchair beside the grave, Harold explained to Madge how he never expected to love anyone else again after losing her but he now felt loved again and knew that Madge would approve of – and even like – Carolyn. Harold finally told Madge that he would always love her before making his way to Lassiter’s Lake to be wed. In a beautiful ceremony by the water, Harold and Carolyn expressed their love for each other with their own vows and were married. As the celebrations began afterwards, Lucas Fitzgerald took advantage of the theme of second chances to make a short speech about how lucky Harold was to get this second chance at happiness – but everyone knew he was really directing his words at Toadie and Sonya. And as the wedding party retired to Charlie’s Bar, Toadie and Sonya lingered at the lake and kissed, agreeing to make a fresh start of things.
After a few days honeymoon in Daylesford, Harold and Carolyn returned to Erinsborough for a final couple of days ahead of starting their life together as husband and wife in Byron Bay. But Harold began to worry about Lou’s health as he witnessed his old friend working himself far too hard at his recently re-purchased car yard. Harold fretted about the physical pressure Lou was putting himself under and told Carolyn and Kate of his concerns. They told Harold that Lou would be fine but they agreed to have a chat with him nonetheless. However, Lou reacted angrily when he was confronted by Harold, Carolyn, Kate and Toadie at the coffee shop and insisted he was fine. But it turned out Harold’s fears were well founded when Lou collapsed at the car yard later that day. He was rushed to Erinsborough Hospital where Harold kept a close watch and was furious with himself for not persuading Lou to slow down. Luckily, Lou pulled through and Karl explained to Harold that he was suffering from an electrolyte imbalance and simply needed to keep his stress levels down. Harold urged Karl to make Lou slow down but Karl assured him he had already had that talk with him but it hadn’t worked. Harold then spoke to Lou directly about taking things easier only for Lou to reveal the real reason he was working so hard – he was practically broke. Harold told Lou that his only real option would be to sell the car yard and let it go but Lou was determined to hold onto the business. Luckily, he came up with a solution by agreeing to sell the stock from the car yard and leasing the property to Kyle Canning for his handyman business in which Lou would take a financial stake. Although Harold remained skeptical about just how less stressful being involved in Kyle’s handyman venture would be for Lou, he realised that Lou would never retire completely and accepted his decision.
On his last day in Erinsborough, Harold found himself being called upon for one final task – persuading Sonya and Toadie to move back in together. Harold was reluctant to get involved at first but Callum pleaded with him to help and so, Harold agreed to speak to Toadie while Carolyn worked on Sonya. However, neither had any luck and the couple told Callum they were sorry they couldn’t help any further. But just as Harold and Carolyn were packing up the camper van to head off, Toadie and Sonya came storming towards them causing Harold to fear he was in trouble again for interfering. But it turned out the chats that Harold and Carolyn had had with the pair had worked and Sonya was moving back into No.30 to be a real family with Toadie and Callum. Toadie thanked Harold for everything he had done for him during his visit and Harold thanked Toadie in turn for making him feel so needed. As Harold and Carolyn were driving out of the cul-de-sac in the camper van, Toadie asked Harold if they would see him again – to which Harold replied - “Never say never.”
• Ian Smith worked as a writer/producer at Grundy for most of the 1980s on Prisoner alongside Neighbours producer Marie Trevor. While appearing on Neighbours during his original stint, he regularly wrote scripts for the show, though only episodes in which Harold did not appear
• Harold had a schoolboy crush on Doris Day
• Harold is a teetotal vegetarian, with the exception of a short-while after he had a stroke in late 2003
• He's allergic to pet hair, with the expection of poodle hair
• Harold has a strong fascination with women's lingerie. Whether this is a sexual fetish or a genuine interest in fashion remains unclear
• He is distantly related to Scottish aristocracy
• Harold enjoys power walking and birdwatching
• Harold didn't begin playing the tuba until he moved to Tasmania
415-1520, 2733-5420, 5482-5510, 5583-5635, 6156-6183
415: Harold's Arrival
Episode 724: Harold and Madge's Wedding
Episode 2798: Harold and Madge Renew Their Vows
Episode 4396: Harold's Stroke
Episode 4854: The Bishops' Memorial
Episode 4875: The 2005 Season Finale
Episode 5420: Harold and Valda's Departure
Episode 5482: Harold's Return
Episode 5635: Harold's Departure