> Guest Character
Frances Nagel Judith Roberts
Frances Nagel 1999, 2001
Occupation: University Librarian
After receiving a heavy fine for an overdue library book – which turned out to be hidden in his neighbour Lou Carpenter’s bookcase – Harold Bishop was noticed by university librarian Frances Nagel, who took something of a shine to him. Although disappointed to hear that Harold was married, she perked up when she found out that his wife, Madge, was away visiting family in Queensland, and started regularly visiting him in The Coffee Shop to discuss their shared hobbies of gardening and bird-watching. The following week, the pair both auditioned for the University Choral Society and Harold found himself being teased by his foster son, Paul McClain about Frances’ crush on him. Afterwards, however, it became clear that Frances had simply been latching on to Harold for some company, as her husband had died five years earlier and her daughter lived interstate. Harold was sympathetic, but when Frances then suggested that she come back to his house and cook dinner for him, he had to let her down gently, saying that he was absolutely devoted to Madge.
A couple of years later, following Madge’s death from pancreatic cancer, Frances visited Harold with a home-made card and offered her sympathies. Harold was grateful for her friendship and asked her if she could look up a bird-watching book for him at the library. Frances was only too happy, and found the book, Warblers Of The West, before signing it out of the library in her own name, thus meaning that Harold would have to return it to her when he was finished with it. She also mentioned to him that the author of the book was giving a talk at the library, and Harold happily agreed to go along to it, but was annoyed when Lou noticed that Harold was smiling for the first time since Madge’s death.
Harold continued to see France socially, and together they attended a fundraiser for the endangered white-collared finch, but Paul became uncomfortable with the amount of time Harold was spending with this other woman, so soon after Madge’s death. When Harold helped Frances clean out her spare room, then brought her home to discuss another bird-watching excursion, it was the final straw for Paul and he told Harold of his concerns. Harold was left upset, insisting that he and Frances were only friends, but Paul said that the situation was weird and Harold decided that he should stop seeing Frances completely.
Notes: Judith Roberts previously played Mrs Cooper in 1985. Judith is the mother of Kate Gorman, who played Sue Parker from 1986 to 1987 and Charmaine Gorman, who played Josie Brown in 1985, Vicki Gibbons in 1986 and Rebecca Knotts in 1997. Judith's husband, Reg Gorman, played Wally Walters in 1985 and Jock Finch in 1999.
Biography by Steve