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Character Profiles > Max Ramsay Francis Bell

Max Ramsay 1985-1986
Lived: 24 Ramsay Street
Born: c. 1940
Parents: Dan and Edna Ramsay
Marital Status: Maria Rossi

: Tom and Madge
Children: Shane and Jill (biological); Danny (adoptive)
Family Tree: Ramsay
Occupation: Plumber

Fiery and short tempered, Max Ramsay was born and raised in Ramsay Street. Ramsay Street had been named after his late grandfather, Jack Ramsay, a local councillor and twice mayor of Erinsborough. Max went to school with Jim Robinson and the two became good mates. However, when Max's father Dan was made redundant, the Ramsays moved to Brisbane in Queensland where Dan had secured another job. Max left school and became a labourer working with an Italian tiler Franco Rossi. It was through Franco that Max met and fell in love with Maria Rossi, Franco's daughter. They soon married and the couple moved back to the family home of No. 24 Ramsay Street which was owned equally by Max and his younger brother and sister, Tom and Madge. Max set up a plumbing business and Maria soon gave birth to a son, Shane. Max and Maria's marriage was a volatile one with plenty of ups and downs. Max was set in his ways and a busybody and considered himself the pillar of Ramsay Street often referring to it as 'his' street. His stubborn nature and brashness often led to rows with Maria.

On their wedding anniversary in 1967, Max came home from work with a few drinks on him having gone to the pub after work. Maria had planned a romantic evening, with neighbour Helen Daniels looking after little Shane. But Max made hurtful remarks about the dress Maria was wearing, a row erupted and Max went back to the pub. Maria followed him and was shocked to find him with another woman. Leaving Shane with Helen, Maria fled to a country guesthouse where she met Tim Duncan. They had a one-night stand and parted - never to meet again. Maria decided to stick with her marriage for Shane's sake but she was shocked to discover she was pregnant with Tim Duncan's child. Max was pleased with the pregnancy and so, Maria decided not to tell him the child wasn't his.

As the boys grew, Max - having lost out at the chance to swim professionally himself due to a pulled tendon - concentrated on training Shane for an Olympic career in diving. Danny was always left out and Max never had much time for him. Max always seemed more interested in Shane and was less than impressed when he started seeing a stripper, Daphne Lawrence. Max was put out further when Daphne moved into Ramsay Street lodging with Des Clarke at No. 28. He didn't want Daphne lowering the tone of 'his' street and ultimately came into constant conflict with Daphne.

When Maria eventually admitted to Max that Danny was not his son, he left for a bedsit. A further blow came for Max when Shane's Olympic hopes were ruined following a car accident. Maria eventually left Max when she ran away to Hong Kong with Richard Morrison. Max moved back into No. 24 with Shane and Danny and was soon joined by his sister, Madge. Both very much alike, the two siblings clashed and argued constantly but deep down Max was glad of the company. He tried to get on with his life without Maria and had a brief romance with Helen's sister, Laura Dennison. But deep down, Max was still in love with Maria and pined for her every day.

Although Max had always been harder on Danny than Shane, he did genuinely love Danny and considered him to be his son. But Max could never open up to anyone about his feelings for Danny. When the opportunity finally came and he told Danny's French teacher, Kate Drew, who he had been briefly dating, Danny overheard the conversation and was shocked. He was finally able to understand why Max always treated him differently to his brother but was equally surprised when Max, for the first time in his life, opened up to Danny and told him he loved him as his son regardless.

Max's attentions were temporarily taken away from his family problems when zany Clive Gibbons moved in next door to him and began running a gorillagram agency from his house. Max was adamant that Clive move because he didn't want Ramsay Street becoming a street infested with people dressed as gorillas and chickens. And when Danny got a job as a gorilla, Max was even more infuriated and ashamed.

When Danny developed a full-proof betting system for the horses, Max was keen to earn a fast buck. He was overjoyed when the horse he backed won the race, but just as he was starting to think of how best to spend his winnings, Danny revealed that he had last minute doubts about the system and hadn’t put the bet on. Max worked himself up into such a state that he suffered heart-attack like symptoms. Luckily, Clive was around at the time and he revealed to the residents of Ramsay Street for the first time that he used to be a doctor when he treated Max.

The brush with death, as Max called it, made Madge and the boys worry for his health and they started trying to get Max to change his lifestyle. But Max loved a good fry-up too much, and he simply couldn’t give up his beloved beer so he rejected Madge’s attempts at changing his diet. However, when young Bradley Townsend moved into Ramsay Street and accused Max of hitting him, a vicious row erupted between Max and Bradley’s mother Andrea. The ordeal led to Max suffering further chest pains and he finally agreed to go see his doctor. Convinced he was going to be told that his days were numbered; Max braced himself for the worst (he had already given Shane his war medals and Danny his prized photographs) – only to be told he was suffering from chronic indigestion.

But rather than ease the minds of his family and friends, Max decided to take advantage of the situation and lead them all to believe the doctor had given him a rather bleak prognosis. As a result, Max was lavished with attention by the neighbourhood, with Jim giving Max an old watch and Daphne and Zoe Davis treating him to a slap-up meal at a posh restaurant. Max even managed to persuade Madge to sign her half of the house over to him, as a final gesture before he met his maker. However, his scam was rumbled when Helen spoke of how sad Max’s situation was with the doctor, only to be told by him that there was absolutely nothing wrong with Max’s heart and he certainly wasn’t on the verge of death. After Helen broke the news that Max had conned everyone to Madge and the boys, an emergency meeting was called for all the furious neighbours at the Robinson house where they hatched a plan to teach Max a lesson. It was decided that everyone should start treating Max as a nuisance and suddenly, Max found himself going from being the centre of everyone’s attention to barely getting a look in. Madge even manufactured conversations with Helen, Shane and Danny in which they discussed sending Max to a home for his final days – a prospect which filled Max with terror. Eventually, Des told Max that everyone was having a lend of him after finding out he had lied to them about his heart condition, and Max was furious. Despite the fact that the whole thing had been started by him lying in the first place, Max was incredulous that his family and friends could deceive him in such a way, and took a vow of silence, insisting he would speak only with his ‘best mate’ Des in the future. But Max softened by the time his birthday came round and was chuffed when Maria phoned to send her congratulations.

Always fiercely competitive with Madge, Max was determined to beat his sister at the pancake making competition at the Coffee Shop. But the only problem was he didn't know the first thing about making pancakes. He enlisted the help of Helen to teach him how to make them but caused a row between Helen and Madge when his sister complained that using Helen for help was cheating. But before Max could beat Madge he had to turn his attention to a more serious matter. Maria called Max suddenly asking him for a reconciliation having left her new man and returned to Queensland. Max jumped at the chance and quickly returned to Brisbane where they made up and gave their marriage a second chance.

Trivia Notes
• Max Ramsay was the first character to appear on Neighbours
• He was also the first character to swear, yelling 'what are you going to do about those bloody neighbours of yours?' at Jim Robinson in episode one
• Francis Bell died in 1994 after falling from a building


Biography by Moe