Ruth Wilson 1986
> Guest Character
Ruth Wilson Stephanie Daniel
Marital Status: Philip (Died)
Children: Simon and Diane
When flying home from a business trip, Jim Robinson was embarrassed to fall asleep on the shoulder of another passenger, English widow Ruth Wilson. When they got chatting, he realised that she was going to be staying in Erinsborough, and recommended Lassiter’s hotel to her. The next day, Ruth and Jim met up for drinks and he asked her to dinner. However, when Jim went to collect Ruth, he found out that she was unable to pay her bill, due to a failed bank transfer back in England, and her luggage had been impounded until she was able to pay for the room. It emerged that her accountant in London had stolen the money and done a runner, leaving Ruth penniless and unable to return to her two children in England. Although Jim was sympathetic, his son, Paul, the manager of Lassiter’s, put business first and refused to help with the situation, accusing his dad of being naďve. Jim, however, disagreed and arranged to pay Ruth’s bill and for her to stay with him and his family in Ramsay Street. Paul was convinced that his dad was being conned, but Ruth insisted that she’d have some money in a few days and would be able to pay Jim back.
Although Ruth quickly won over Jim’s young daughter, Lucy, and mother-in-law, Helen Daniels, she began to worry that she might outstay her welcome, as the money became difficult to get hold of. However, she quickly made herself indispensable by cooking dinner and doing the housework during the day. Having stayed for a week, and with no sign of any money coming, Ruth decided to sell an emerald ring from her jewellery box, in order to pay her way. However, when she spoke to Jim and Helen, he refused to accept any money. And when Ruth announced her plans to find a place of her own, Jim insisted that she could stay for as long as she wanted, as he’d only worry about her if she left. As time went on, it became clear that Helen was resenting having another woman around the house. When Lucy complained of feeling ill, Helen told her to pack her bag and go to school. Ruth, however, commented that Lucy’s glands seemed swollen and Jim agreed with Ruth, leaving Helen feeling slightly put out. As Ruth managed to coax Lucy into admitting that she wasn’t really that ill, Jim was impressed and told Ruth how difficult it was when a child only had one parent around. But the following week, Ruth allowed Lucy to go to the cinema with a friend, not realising that she already had a dental appointment. When Helen got home to collect Lucy, Ruth apologised, explaining that she hadn’t thought to ask what movie they were going to see. Although Helen then admitted that it was difficult having another woman in the house, she told Jim that she would move heaven and earth to see him happy again and would never stand in the way if Ruth made his life complete.
Over the weeks that followed, the Robinson house suddenly came under threat when Ramsay Street was targeted to build a supermarket access road. Lucy insisted that, if the family did have to move, Ruth should go with them, even suggesting that she married Jim so she would have to stay. Ruth, however, was busy organising a bank loan from the Robinsons’ neighbour, Des Clarke. Although Ruth asked Des to keep the matter to himself, she then bumped into Jim in the bank and lied to him that she was just signing some forms so that the money transfer from England could happen more quickly. However, when Ruth’s solicitor then unexpectedly sent the money to pay for the hotel bill, she was forced to admit that she’d actually had enough money at home to pay the bill for quite some time, but had been stalling, even going so far as to take out a bank loan, so that she wouldn’t have to leave the Robinson house. Fearing that Jim and Helen would never be able to trust her again, Ruth made plans to return to England, but Jim insisted that she stay. They had a long chat, during which she explained that she’d loved being part of a big family again and hadn’t wanted to lose it, before finally sharing a kiss.
Following the kiss, Ruth decided to move back into Lassiter’s, as, if she and Jim were going to have a romance, she didn’t want things to be forced or happen too quickly. Because of the terrible way the family had reacted when Jim had become involved with his previous girlfriend, Zoe Davis, he agreed, and invited her over to dinner to test the waters. The evening went well, and Jim and the children asked Ruth to move back in, on a trial basis, while Helen was visiting her daughter, Rosemary, in America. But being in such close proximity again seemed to stall Ruth and Jim’s relationship, and she was flattered to receive attention from Ted Gibbons, the uncle of the Robinsons’ neighbour, Clive. When Ted mentioned that he might be visiting England in the near future, Ruth suggested that they could meet up there, and Jim admitted that, although he cared deeply for Ruth, he didn’t love her and couldn’t expect her to put her life on hold while he organised his feelings. In the end, though, Ted cut his trip short after only a few days in Ramsay Street and he said his goodbyes to Ruth.
Talking about England with Ted had made Ruth’s thoughts turn to her home and children, and she admitted to Jim that she had decided that she’d like to return home in time for Christmas, but, the news didn’t go down too well with Lucy. The following week, Lucy complained of feeling unwell, so Jim and Ruth allowed her to stay home from school. Later that morning, Ruth had to go to the travel agent to collect her ticket and left Lucy’s older brother, Scott, to look after her. Since he was busy trying to study for exams, he became frustrated with his little sister and sent her out to buy some lunch, with Lucy complaining that she was going to run away to England as nobody wanted her. Whilst walking to the Coffee Shop, Lucy heard a kitten, trapped in a storm drain and, as she was trying to help it out, she fell in and banged her head. When her family finally found her, Lucy was suffering from hysterical blindness but relieved to have Ruth around and made her promise to stay. Ruth agreed to stick around until Lucy’s sight returned, but explained that she would then have to leave as it was her daughter, Diane’s birthday soon and she wanted to be there for it.
As Lucy was becoming more and more reliant on Ruth, Jim’s eldest son, Paul, was becoming unsettled by her continued presence. He finally told Ruth that he didn’t think it was fair of her to stick around when it was obvious that Jim would never completely reciprocate her feelings. He told her that, if she truly loved Jim, then she would leave. Later that day, Ruth broke the news to Jim and Lucy that she’d decided to go home the following morning. Lucy was devastated and reminded Ruth of her promise that she would stay until her eyesight had returned. Ruth agreed to keep the promise and delay her flight, but, later that evening, Lucy’s sight suddenly came back as she was eating a bowl of ice cream, but she decided to keep the news to herself and try to get Ruth to stay. The plan quickly came unstuck the following morning when Lucy told Scott, who was running late for his maths exam, where his calculator was, and he made Lucy feel guilty for wrongly keeping Ruth from her own children. She then told Ruth the truth, and Ruth admitted that she’d done something similar – lying about her financial situation so that she could continue to live with the family – so couldn’t be too angry. After phoning the airline, Ruth managed to get onto a flight to London. After giving Lucy a jewellery box and some jewels to go in it, Lucy gave Ruth her copy of The Little Prince, her favourite story, so that they would never forgive each other. Ruth then thanked Jim and assured him that her time with the Robinson family had been some of the happiest of her life. The following week, Ruth called Jim to let him know she was home safely and in time to celebrate Diane’s birthday, and that it looked like they would be having a white Christmas that year.
• Stephanie Daniel previously appeared in one episode in 1985 as Doctor Lockyer
• She returned in 2002, in the recurring role of hotel owner Chloe Lambert
To read our interview with Stephanie Daniel, click here...
Biography by Steve