Year by Year > 1996: Episodes 2531-2770
Network Ten airdates:
BBC 1 airdates:
UK Gold airdates:
Number of episodes:
Daniels, Lou Carpenter,
Martin (second casting),
Kennedy, Joanna Hartman, Toadfish
Rebecchi, Marlene Kratz,
Darren Stark (second casting),
Judy Bergman, Rob Evans, Rupert Sprod, Shona Munro,
Cody's death and Clive James! This year arguably led up to
a new golden age for Neighbours, but along the way
we lost some old and familiar characters but also regained
two thought previously lost forever...
season return saw Sam dealing with the surprise of catching
his girlfriend and mate in bed together; he gets violent with
Stonefish and virtually ignores Annalise. She moves out and
Sam gets destructive with a new friend.
get a half-decent proposal from his ex-wife Linda; it turns
out that the two will only benefit from a relative's will
if they are married! Also in the Stark household, Brett embarks
on a Graduate-esque affair with Cheryl's golfing partner
Judy and Danni refuses to repeat Year 12. Brett becomes so
exasperated with Cheryl's over-mothering that he moves out
to a tepee in the back yard. Cheryl puts a gentle end to his
relationship with Judy.
the beginning of the season we also see Jen packing her things
and leaving No. 26.
sense of loss is compounded when she suspects that
is planning on moving to a retirement village, but instead
she decides to become a mature student, the same year that
and Stonie are due to start! Stonefish studies performing
arts and quickly impresses with a dance routine that Jo helped
with. His delusions of grandeur allow him to stand up to Angie
he wants more charismatic Coffee Shop uniforms! About this
time, the most ridiculous cameo in the history of the show
[until 2001, see the Wiggles] takes place. Clive James shuffles
around the street playing a mute postman and then leaves again.
the Kennedy household the first signs of unfaithfulness rear
their head as
becomes distrustful of the nature of
relationship with Kate, his terminally ill patient whom he
treated during Susan's trip to Africa. In fact, relationships
in the household seem doomed as
and Sonny drift further apart while
reads Melissa's diary and learns about a lovers' tryst at
summer camp. Mal gets sick of Danni's henpecking and Karl's
alleged affair threatens to split the family apart as the
children turn against their father too.
and Lou embark on an interesting career in radio together,
they can't stand each other but find themselves rostered onto
the same show. Elsewhere, Sam has very definitely moved on
when his matey relationship with Cody develops into more.
Jo and Cody have trouble getting by in the same house, Jo
decides a career in aerobics instruction is the way forward
after the collapse of AnnaJo Enterprises. Luke starts dating
a policewoman but finds it hard to trust her after his last
relationship with the conwoman Nadia failed.
eventually finishes with Sonny as does Mal with Danni, and
soon both Danni and Brett are facing new relationships; Danni
with Libby's ex Rupert and Brett with Libby.
IQ test reveals that he's a closet genius, but this does not
mean he's making a fresh start as an academic! Instead he
has to prove his innocence as a graffiti artist that has been
terrorising Erinsborough High. Sonny and Mal club together
to buy a second-hand car which they intend on fixing up. Stonie
meets a new girl at university, one Catherine O'Brien, who
seems pretty resilient to his charms. Much to his dismay,
she seems far more interested in Mal! Luke's new love interest
leads him to think that a career in the force might be a good
move for him. The first round of police tests seem to agree
with him. Meanwhile his sister calls it a day in Erinsborough,
Jen makes a fresh start for herself in Arnhem Land.
tries to fill the void by enrolling in an Emergency Care program,
providing foster support for needy youngsters. He is sent
Georgia Brown, who immediately gets off to a bad start with
Hannah, the two becoming bitter rivals. They soon settle into
a routine of tolerance and George gets friendly with Billy,
Toadie and Melissa.
and Cody's relationship gets deeper by the day, and she even
persuades him at Marlene's request to enter the Grandchild
of the Year competition, something which he rules out completely
until he realises the prize - $10,000! He doesn't win, but
it seems modelling is his talent he gets snapped up by an
agency who want him to be the new face of 'Stefano Gold'.
After an advert featuring a tastefully nude Sam Kratz is circulated,
Sam has second thoughts, but still continues. Hannah gets
herself 15 minutes of fame by cheating on a test to find Erinsborough
High's Brainarama for a television show. She also is
tempted into shoplifting by Zoe and gets caught. Brett decides
he needs to escape his mother's ways and decides to sail around
the world for a year, while his sister gets a great opportunity
to enter the world of fashion, she flies to Sydney to pursue
turns out that Mal and Sonny's car has a big stash of drugs
in it it was used as a drop-off point by dealers outside
Sonny's surf shop. The police stake-out the street in an attempt
to catch the villains and they do. But the arrest goes terribly
wrong when one of the criminals pulls out a gun and a shot
is fired. At first it seems like everything is okay, but Cody
disagrees the bullet has gone through No. 30's window and
she lies bleeding to death! She undergoes emergency surgery
Willis returns from the Northern Territory to oversee
her recovery. Cody does well, even getting out of intensive
care, but all goes terribly wrong though when she suffers
a pulmonary embolism, a blood clot in her lungs. She is rushed
to theatre, but a massive heart attack kills her. The shock
sends ripples throughout the street. Marlene, imprisoned for
failure to pay parking fines, is unable to attend the memorial
service. Billy is shocked as the fragility of life is revealed
to him properly for the first time and Hannah feels like she
has lost a big sister. Sam is crushed and turns to the bottle,
in a drunken hallucination he sees Cody again and she tells
him that everything will be all right. When she disappears
her ring is left in his hand. Stonie uses the emotions awakened
within him to give her a fitting eulogy in front of his performance
arts class. Pam upsets the rest of the community by insisting
that the funeral proper be in Darwin with the family. At the
memorial service, however, Karl eulogises her, followed by
Sam and then Stonefish.
Alessi sends a telegram, as does Jen Handley read by
Hannah as Pam is too emotional to continue.
returns from Sydney shortly after the memorial, with a man
in tow Ben, her fiancé! Cheryl and Lou are concerned,
though, that Danni is just using Ben for his fashion influence
and his money. Another prodigal daughter returns in the form
Martin, she calls Phil late one night refusing to comment
further upon her sudden return. Debbie immediately makes an
enemy of Georgia when room sharing becomes an issue and Debbie's
distance from Phil tests his patience. It is later revealed
that she had an affair with her aunt
and Susan head off to the country, foolishly leaving their
kids alone in the house for a few days. One thing they don't
let on, though, is that they've arranged a surprised house
guest in their absence, Grampa Tom! Tom threatens to throw
a damper on the kids' planned house party, but he allows it
to go ahead. During this time, strains are going on in Billy
and Melissa's relationship. She has proved deeply homophobic
towards Andrew Watson, Billy's teacher and aide in his dyslexia
teaching. And their relationship is becoming more and more
awkward. It comes to a head the night of the party when a
broken-hearted Georgia is crying after a fight with Debbie,
and Billy consoles her. And kisses her. Topless. Of course,
Melissa walks in and is heartbroken and betrayed. When Billy
has a near death experience in a footie game, he decides to
end things with Melissa. Billy also loses Toadie as a friend
Toadie had taken a shine to George and had to be repeatedly
assured that Billy was not interested. The rift between the
two continues, they have a fistfight and Billy knocks out
some of Toadie's teeth. Toadie kisses Melissa in a moment
of insecurity and complicates the gang further. Billy is wracked
by jealousy and reconsiders his relationship with Mel as a
result. Sadly the car, source of so much despair in Ramsay
Street, is stolen on a trip to Luna Park. Father and son relationships
are damaged too when Grampa Tom reveals a dark secret to Karl
he's not his real father. Tom was infertile and allowed
another man to impregnate Karl's late mother. Karl struggles
to come to terms with this, but eventually accepts the news
and decides not to pursue his potential new father.
shows up on the Martins' doorstep and throws everything into
turmoil. At the same time, Luke realises that his police medical
may have further-reaching implications than his career he
is diagnosed with cancer. Thrown into a panic, Luke decides
to conceal the diagnosis from those he loves, shaving his
head to hide the effects of chemotherapy. He has to lie a
lot too about his sudden disinterest in the police force,
and is furious when Debbie reads too much in his file at the
Lassiter's Medical Centre, where she now works as Karl's receptionist.
She endeavours to help him, despite a strict telling off from
Karl about patient confidentiality. She calls it a day with
Joel and sends him back to America. Meanwhile, Danni is competing
with one of Ben's top designers, Suki D, for the opportunity
to showcase her work at the Italian Chic Young Designer Special.
When she goes mad on the designs and ends up ruining them,
Ben cannot control his anger and scares Danni into hiding.
She later decides to confront him and finish things, much
to Cheryl's happiness.
has a new career he's become a romantic fiction novelist
under the pen-name of Phillipa Martinez! Having trouble with
his latest work, however, he turns to the young lovers of
Erinsborough for inspiration. However, secretly observing
them makes Mal think he's just a dirty old man and Phillipa's
secret identity is nearly revealed. When Phillipa wins an
award, Phil has to ask Helen to attend in his place. Jo's
work has taken off, and an old client of hers from her time
at the gym, Rob Evans, asks her to become her personal trainer.
She accepts, but Sam is suspicious of his motives. Sam has
become a centrefold model for a teen girls' magazine and is
labouring under the new moniker of Sami K. He is horrified
to discover that they are running a competition to win a date
with him. Meanwhile, Catherine is back from her holidays,
much to Stonie's delight, but when Sam learns that she is
the winner of the magazine competition, he's very relieved
and quite pleased with himself.
Watson, Billy's teacher, suffers a homophobic attack and the
perpetrator is revealed to be none other than Rupert Sprod
who was unhappy with his perceived victimisation in class
by the teacher. Libby later sees photos from a footie party
in which Rupert is intimate with other girls, and Andrew learns
that official complaints have been made against him at the
school. Billy rekindles his romance with Melissa after receiving
a touching present from her a framed photo of them together.
But when Billy realises that her parents have been making
the official complaints to the school, he is forced to rethink.
They prevent her from attending school while Andrew still
teaches there, and she is driven to Phil's care. When Andrew
decides to quit, Billy and Melissa are driven to act, standing
up to her parents along the way.
is beginning to fall in love with Rob and he proposes, and
Luke's secret is finally discovered when Danni finds a pamphlet
about cancer in No. 30. Stonie, meanwhile, is still in love
with Catherine. He dresses as a charity collecting wild koala
to spend more time with her and pretends to be into environmental
issues and a committed vegetarian
look tough for Lou when he gets a phone call from Max Geppart
in Columbia Brett's in trouble for drug trafficking! Cheryl
flies out immediately, but gets kidnapped in Ecuador. Danni
and Lou take it badly, Lou uses his broadcasting connections
as well as his mayoral contacts to appeal for help in finding
her. Libby writes an article about it for the local paper
and hugely angers the Starks. Frustrated with the non-action
by Colombian and Australian governments, Lou decides to go
to Colombia, leaving Marlene terrified of being alone. He
manages to find her and bring her back to Ramsay Street, but
she is distant cold towards her family. She finally confesses
that she had an affair with a man called Charlie while in
Ecuador, and Lou is shocked to the core. They decide to go
to marriage guidance since they cannot discuss their problems
without fighting, but even this is not enough to save them.
They split, but custody of
is a contentious issue since they were never married. Lou
decides that he doesn't have a chance of getting custody and
leaves Ramsay Street.
meanwhile, has moved much closer to Danni as Debbie's pre-occupation
with his health becomes increasingly stifling. He decides
to discontinue chemotherapy, much to their dismay. Billy manages
to persuade him that a combination of natural and medical
treatments can help him overcome his illness, as he did with
his asthma. Mal has dropped out of uni and is helping Sam
continuing Handy Sam's. They carry out work at Rob's house
before the wedding, but after Sam receives an unexpected call
from Annalise, he's determined to meet her in London. Meanwhile
preparations for Jo's wedding to Rob are well underway, despite
Danni's design for the wedding dress being rejected. Toadie
and Billy get in on the preparations and accidentally destroy
the wedding arch, over which Mal is furious. But the news
is overshadowed by some good news; Tarquin, Jo's father, is
being flown in especially for the wedding! The two have a
fairytale wedding, complete with horse and cart, and Tarquin
gives Jo away.
the success of George as an emergency care child, Phil receives
another in the shape of moody teen Casper. Hannah is desperate
to get through to him, and in an attempt to get more familiar
with him and his interests, she accidentally smashes his beloved
skateboard. She saves up and buys him a replacement, but he's
unimpressed. The two become closer, but Hannah is frustrated
that they always get so close to kissing but then get interrupted.
is shaken when he receives news that his natural father, Ron
Davis, is dying. He decides to try and find him for peace
of mind, and finally gets a call from Ron's wife. He later
gets a call from his father, who agrees to meet with him.
a new Stark makes his presence known again, Darren, newly
released. He is tempted almost immediately to rejoin his life
of crime, but stays on the straight and narrow despite the
residents' suspicions. He soon hits it off with Libby and
Karl's alarm bells start ringing. Karl is dead against the
two of them spending time together and bans her from seeing
him. Sam wants to sell Handy Sam's, essentially leaving Mal
without a job. Darren steps in to buy the business and Mal
keeps his job, but the growing animosity between the Starks
and Kennedys continues. Debbie, meanwhile, has become a telephone
psychic from home, but Jo and Hannah are convinced that she
has real talent for seeing. Darren resigns himself to the
fact that no-one will allow him a fresh start. After a disastrous
meal with Libby and Karl, Lassiter's is rocked by a huge explosion
as the Surgery goes up in smoke. Darren is the immediate suspect,
but protests his innocence and is eventually cleared. He is
soon back behind bars, though, for breach of parole, and Libby
finds the strain on their relationship too much. Karl gets
suspicious of her whereabouts and is convinced she is visiting
and Toadie meanwhile are friends again and are entrusted with
baby Lolly for an evening. Their lack of expertise leads to
her going missing, and a distraught Cheryl is furious with
both of them. She is finally found safe and sound but this
provides Lou with new ammunition in his bid for custody. Cheryl's
troubles with her offspring are not over she receives an
ominous figure who tells her how high her son's debts are
mounting; She is worried for Brett. Meanwhile Toadie and Billy
embark on their latest project: illegal pirate radio. Toadie
spies Melissa kissing another boy, but she begs him not to
takes a nasty fall after suffering a stroke and while recovering
decides that she no longer has anything to live for anymore.
She says that if she cannot paint or live independently, what's
the point? Karl helps her to see reason and she begins her
long rehabilitation. Luke also pledges to use his example
of a return to health as motive enough for Helen's recuperation.
Phil employs a physiotherapist to help her out in the form
of Ruth Wilkinson.
moves to America with Rob and Mal gets a new girlfriend
Shona. Danni and Debbie become bitter rivals for Luke's affections
and Angie receives some big news: the family are all going
to live in Tasmania back with
Kev again! Toadie is devastated but, with Hannah's help,
manages to arrange to live with 'Doc K' and the rest of the
meets Mick, the Rebecchis' possum catcher; he takes a shine
to her and, feeling insecure and lonely not having Big Kev
around, she accepts when Mick asks her to go on a picnic.
While out, hey both agree that they are very alike; Angie
trips and falls into his arms, and the pair nearly kiss. Later
at Number 32, Mick tells Angie what a special women she is,
and gives her a present, a puppet possum and some perfume.
Angie says it's too much and can't accept it. Their friendship
grows stronger and Toadie thinks his mother is playing around
behind Big Kev's back and confronts his mum about it. She
tells him that there is no romance going on. After walking
Angie home from the Coffee Shop, Mick tells her he's in love
and they kiss outside Number 32, which Hannah Martin witnesses.
Angie tells Mick they should stop seeing each other, but Mick
asks Angie to go the country with him.
next day, Hannah tells Toadie what she has seen and he's furious.
Toadie heads off to find Mick, telling him what a low-life
he is. Mick is affronted and lets slip that Angie is going
away with him. When Angie finds out about the confrontation
she tells Toadie she wanted to know that someone could still
love her and his Dad has a funny way of showing his love.
She asks Mick to come over to tell him that she can't go away
with him and she is going up to Port Keats to be with her
husband. Stonie and Angie bid a farewell to the street.
strikes and Ramsay Street sees its second death of the year
when Cheryl is run over just outside her house. She's just
about to set things right with her family before tragedy strikes.
Karl is on hand to administer treatment, but Cheryl's existing
presciption reacts badly with the morphine Karl provides,
and she dies. Everyone is shocked, but the sorrow manifests
itself as anger in Darren. Karl's guilt is incredible and
he cannot believe that he has been found responsible for her
death. He confides his guilt in Marlene, who turns on him
in anger at losing her daughter. Brett returns, oblivious,
on the day of the funeral. Lou also returns to the knowledge
that Cheryl made him sole benefactor in her will, which leaves
her children outraged. Darren and Brett have an uneasy relationship;
Darren does not want to know about his younger brother, while
Brett wants to renew their acquaintance. Karl decides to give
Number 30 has a new resident, Sarah Beaumont, who is running
from a jilted fiancé back in England. She's being chased
by British journalists about the high-profile break-up with
Lord Steven Harrow and needs somewhere to hide out.
and Debbie are now bitter rivals; Debbie resents Danni's success
in fashion and Danni hates Debbie. When Danni's clothes shop
gets broken into and vandalised, Debbie is all too keen to
help clear up and eventually she is forced to admit that she
was the one who did it. Brett and Danni later leave Erinsborough,
both to travel. Brett returns to the ocean wave, while Danni
leaves for fashion work in Malaysia.
attraction to Ruth leads him into a compromising situation,
and eventually he sacks her as he cannot handle her being
around all the time. Helen is furious when she finds out and
demands that Ruth be reinstated. Ruth introduces us to her
son Lance, who quickly befriends Hannah. Ruth has some trouble
with her ex-husband, who seems in need of money. Before long,
Ruth and Lance move into Number 32, the old Martin house.
Jo returns from Europe, but is reluctant to spill about her
time with Rob. It turns out they were not as compatible as
first thought, and they split while away.
finds himself out of a job because of Darren's loathing of
the Kennedy family. Mal attempts to launch his own business,
but it seems that Erinsborough is not big enough for two handymen.
When Libby breaks up with Darren, he quickly returns to his
old tricks, even tampering with the brakes in Libby's car.
However, he's hurt when Lou awards the renovation of Chez
Chez to Mal over him. After discovering Melissa's cheating,
Billy breaks up with her for good. Toadie's romantic allegiances
lie elsewhere, with the Brit beauty Sarah.
dramatic twist befalls Erinsborough when it seems that Harold
Bishop is in fact alive and well, having been washed out to
sea on holiday with Madge some years previously. Harold is
a recovering amnesiac and remembers nothing of his former
life. Helen meets with him and soon becomes so convinced of
his true identity that she calls Madge and they are reunited
for the first time in years. At first, Harold is reluctant
to accept his true past, but soon Lou vows to help him remember
events, although they are not always has Harold remembers.
Lou paints a wonderful picture of chums for life, leaving
out that Harold was the butt of many of Lou's jokes. Soon
the key phrase 'jelly belly' brings it all flooding back to
Harold, and he sets about restarting his life with Madge.
is offered the Chez Chez contract, but only if he agrees to
share the work with Mal in an attempt by Lou to bring the
two closer. At the same time he agrees to move into Number
22 with Lou, Marlene and Lolly. The Wilkinson household sees
a new arrival as Ruth's daughter Anne turns up to make Erinsborough
her new home. Meanwhile, Mal and Catherine get closer, both
denying their true feelings. The path is also clear for Libby
and Darren, who try camping with disastrous consequences.
and Lou's rivalry is up to scratch in no time, they fight
over who would be a better Santa Claus. Meanwhile attraction
is growing between the Wilkinson ladies and different members
of the street; Ruth and Phil are still denying their true
feelings while Billy and Anne are getting much closer, although
the course of true love never did run smooth... Meanwhile
just before Christmas Luke gets a call from Danni she has
contracted malaria in Malaysia and needs him to care for her.
Deciding he has nothing left in Ramsay Street, he leaves to
be by her side.
season finale comes when renovating the pub, a nasty accident
leaves Mal fighting for his life. The responsibility falls
to Karl to save his life; does he have enough self-confidence
since Cheryl's death to react quickly in an emergency?
1996 Episode Summaries | 1996 Magic Moments | 1996 Opening Titles
• Libby and Sonny story at the beginning of the year was reportedly
originally planned to be a rape storyline, but was ultimately
deemed too controversial.
• Segments of the Ecuador kidnap storyline involving a con-artist, Esmerelda,
were cut for UK broadcast. A similar real life case was happening
around the same time it was airing on the BBC.
Review by Jamie
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