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|Home and Away character|
|Portrayed by||Roger Oakley|
|First appearance||17 January 1988|
|Last appearance||18 February 2008|
|Introduced by||Alan Bateman|
Caravan Park owner
Navvy for roads work
Thomas Edward Fletcheris a fictional character from the Australian soap opera Home and Away , played by actor Roger Oakley. He made his first screen appearance in the pilot episode broadcast on 17 January 1988. The character departed on 30 April 1990, but reappeared briefly in 2008 as a ghost in Sally Fletcher's near-death experience following her second stabbing.
The character of Tom was conceived by the creator and then executive producer of Home and Away Alan Bateman.New Zealand actor Roger Oakley was cast in the role and Bateman commented "He is so good on the screen, when people see him they will be asking where he has been all their lives." Oakley had appeared in various dramas, including The Sullivans , and a few films, but appearing in Home and Away was the longest he had worked "in one stretch". He considered it to be his breakout role, saying "It shows that it can happen to anyone. I feel also that, in a sense, it's my turn. I've served my time."
Tom originally lived in the city with his wife, Pippa (Vanessa Downing; Debra Lawrence). As Pippa had rheumatic fever as a child her heart had been weakened, and had been warned that if she fell pregnant there was a good chance the strain would kill her. Tom had a vasectomy to stop her from falling pregnant, but the two were desperate to become parents and decided to start fostering. They receive their first charge in 1978 in the form of an eight-year-old tearaway named Frank Morgan (Alex Papps), whose parents Les (Mario Kery) and Helena (Lee Sanderson) are a criminal and an alcoholic, respectively. Mr. Jarvis (John Stone) of the Department of Child Services warns Frank is difficult but the Fletchers are able to provide a stable home for him. Ten years later, Frank is still living with the Fletchers and they have since taken on four more children; Carly Morris (Sharyn Hodgson); Steven Matheson (Adam Willits); Lynn Davenport (Helena Bozich); and Sally Keating (Kate Ritchie). Following Tom's 40th birthday, his boss informs him he has been retrenched. Jarvis worries about the children's welfare but the Fletchers are determined not to lose them so they sell the house, pack up and move to the coastal town of Summer Bay.
Shortly after the Fletchers arrive, Tom and Pippa purchase Summer Bay House and the Caravan Park from Alf Stewart (Ray Meagher), who had lived there with his late wife, Martha (Alison Mulvaney), and their daughter, Roo (Justine Clarke). They quickly make friends in the community including park tenants Floss (Sheila Kennelly) and Neville McPhee (Frank Lloyd) and local shopkeeper Ailsa Hogan (Judy Nunn). Tom makes an enemy of neighbour Donald Fisher (Norman Coburn) after he and Pippa foster local tearaway Bobby Simpson (Nicolle Dickson). Fisher sets about making life difficult for Tom, who struggles find to work. Tom has a small stroke of luck when Mervin Baldivis (Peter Boswell) is able to put a good work in for him working on the road gang for Sam Barlow (Jeff Truman). Tom and Barlow butt heads when Barlow makes an off-hand remark about Carly's recent rape trauma leading to a fight at work and Tom quits after. However, Tom is promoted to foreman and Barlow is demoted to waste detail.
After Carly's embarrassment over Tom's job, he feels hurt. However the Macklin family open the Sands Resort and Tom takes a job there. Further good news arrives when Pippa learns she is pregnant despite Tom's vasectomy. The couple worry Pippa may die during childbirth but decide to take risk. Pippa is healthy and they celebrate the birth of their newborn son, Christopher (Ashleigh Bell-Weir). Work soon begins to take its toll on Tom and he collapses following a stroke and is hospitalised for a number of weeks. Following his recovery, Tom and Pippa's marriage faces a testing time in the next year when Zac Burgess (Mark Conroy) a shark hunter makes a play for Pippa and rumours of an affair are spread around. However, Zac is driven out of town after his behaviour is exposed and Tom and Pippa reconcile. While driving back from a football game with Bobby, Steven and Sophie Simpson (Rebekah Elmaloglou), Tom suffers a second stroke and crashes the car. Paramedics try to revive him but Tom dies, leaving the family devastated.
18 years later, Tom reappears as a vision to Sally when she suffers a near-death experience after a second stabbing at the hands of Johnny Cooper (Callan Mulvey). He shows Sally a vision of the Bay if she dies and an alternate reality where her long-lost twin brother Miles Copeland (Josh Quong Tart) is murdered by Johnny instead. Tom also shows Sally a glimpse into future which reveals Cassie Turner (Sharni Vinson) has contracted HIV and tells if she does return someone else will die. This is prophetic as Sally's friend Dan Baker (Tim Campbell) dies shortly after. When Sally recovers, she tells Pippa about the vision and she is sceptical, but she still somewhat believes her. Alf also believes her, as he had been through a similar experience when he saw visions of Ailsa after her death during a brain tumour he was suffering from.
Robin Oliver of The Sydney Morning Herald thought Oakley and Downing played Tom and Pippa with "honest-to-goodness down-home charm".Oliver's colleague Morris Gleitzman observed that Tom and Pippa were "the sort of parents we'd all like to be" and thought the family were warm and cheerful. He called Tom "a remarkable bloke" for facing his 40th birthday, retrenchment and relocation to Summer Bay with confidence and only minor issues. Ruth Deller of television website Lowculture said "One of the nicest dad characters in soap, ever, has to be Tom Fletcher from Home and Away". The Soap Show called Tom the "first patriarch of Home and Away."
Sally Louise Fletcher is a fictional character from the Australian soap opera Home and Away, played by Kate Ritchie. She made her first screen appearance during the serial's pilot episode, which was broadcast on 17 January 1988. Sally became the longest running original female cast member. She departed on 3 April 2008. Ritchie earned various awards and nominations for her portrayal of Sally. In February 2013, it was announced that Ritchie would be reprising her role. Sally returned during the episode broadcast on 15 July 2013 with her daughter. They departed on 5 September 2013.
Alfred James "Alf" Stewart is a fictional character from the Australian soap opera Home and Away, played by Ray Meagher. Alf was created as one of the show's eighteen original characters. Meagher originally auditioned for the role of Tom Fletcher, before being cast as Alf. He made his first appearance during the pilot episode broadcast on 17 January 1988. As of 2017, Meagher is the sole remaining original cast member and he holds a Guinness World Record for being the longest-serving actor in an Australian serial. For his portrayal of Alf, Meagher won the Gold Logie Award for Most Popular Personality on Australian Television in 2010.
Vanessa Downing is an Australian actress and singer, voice artist and lawyer
Ailsa Stewart is a fictional character from the Australian television soap opera Home and Away, played by Judy Nunn. She made her first appearance during the episode broadcast on 17 January 1988. Ailsa was married to Alf Stewart and had a son Duncan. When Nunn decided to leave to devote more time with her novels, she was one of only four original cast members. The role of Ailsa was briefly played by theatre star Nancye Hayes whilst Nunn was taking leave due to illness in 2000.
Lance Smart is a fictional character from the Australian Channel Seven soap opera Home and Away, played by Peter Vroom. Vroom appeared from the pilot episode as one of the serial's original characters. Lance is characterised a "slow witted" larrikin and those around him see him as a "joke". Lance forms an on-screen partnership with Martin Dibble and their characters were subsequently used as the serial's comedy characters. Both Vroom and Thomson said that their characters did not provide a realistic representation of young people as the production team often censored their dialogue. Lance also has an over-protective mother Colleen Smart with whom he had to contend with. His main romantic relationship is with Marilyn Chambers and the pair became engaged. Their romance was short-lived as Lance decided against marrying her. Lance and Martin were named as the "thickest characters ever to grace soapland" in the Daily Record.
Donald Fisher is a fictional character in the Australian television soap opera Home and Away played by actor Norman Coburn as a regular character, from the soap's inception in 1988 to 2003. He acts as the main antagonist in the show's pilot episode, willing to go to any lengths to ensure local teen Bobby Simpson is locked up, however his character soon softens. He spends almost his entire tenure on the show as the Principal of Summer Bay, where he is stern but fair to all the students. Although departing as a main character in 2003, Coburn has since returned for brief appearances in 2004, 2005 and 2007. Coburn's long-running portrayal of Fisher earned him a place in the 2002 Guinness World Records alongside castmates Ray Meagher and Kate Ritchie. as the longest serving cast member of an Australian soap opera.
Ruth "Roo" Stewart is a fictional character from the Australian soap opera Home and Away, played by Justine Clarke from 1988 to 1989. The character made her first screen appearance during the episode broadcast on 20 January 1988. Clarke quit the role in 1989 and the character was written out. In August 2010, it was announced that Roo would return to Home and Away with Georgie Parker in the role. The character returned on 29 October 2010.
Sophie Dean is a fictional character from the Australian Channel Seven soap opera Home and Away, played by Rebekah Elmaloglou. She debuted on-screen during the episode airing on 23 January 1990 and appeared as a regular until 1993. Elmaloglou returned to filming when Sophie made subsequent guest appearances in 2002, 2003 and 2005.
Steven Matheson is a fictional character from the Australian Channel Seven soap opera Home and Away, played by Adam Willits. Steven was created by Alan Bateman as one of the serial's original characters and he first appeared in the pilot episode. Willits received the role after being one of over three hundred actors to audition for the roles of the serial's foster children. He was a regular cast member from 1988 to 1991 and again between 1995 and 1996. He has continued to make guest appearances in from 1997 until 2008.
Carly Lucini is a fictional character from the Australian soap opera Home and Away, played by actress Sharyn Hodgson. She was one of the soap's original female protagonists, appearing as one of the Fletchers' foster children in the pilot episode on 17 January 1988. The soap's primary focus was placed upon the Fletchers and their gang of foster children, moving as outsiders to a caravan park in the seaside town of Summer Bay. Carly remained in the serial as a regular character until 1991, covering issues such as rape, alcoholism and child abuse, as well as a problematic marriage to soldier Ben Lucini, played by actor Julian McMahon. Hodgson has made numerous guest appearances since her exit.
Philippa "Pippa" Ross is a fictional character from the Australian television soap opera Home and Away. Actress Vanessa Downing originated the role and made her debut during the pilot episode broadcast on 17 January 1988. Downing quit the role in 1990, and Debra Lawrance was then cast. Pippa departed on 18 March 1998, but Lawrance has reprised the role for numerous returns between 2000 and 2009.
Floss McPhee is a fictional character from the Australian television soap opera Home and Away, played by Sheila Kennelly. The character made her first screen appearance on 17 January 1988, which was the show's pilot episode. She departed in 1989, when she was written out of the series along with Frank Lloyd who played her on-screen husband Neville McPhee. However she has made sporadic returns first in 2000, for Sally Fletcher's wedding storyline and again in 2002, 2004 and 2008, for various story arcs.
Bobby Marshall is a fictional character from the Australian Channel Seven soap opera Home and Away, played by Nicolle Dickson. She was introduced in the pilot episode by executive producer Alan Bateman. Nearly four hundred actresses auditioned to play Bobby, with Dickson taking the role. Bobby is described as a trouble-making teen who is rebellious and a loner. Bobby became a popular character because of her confronting attitude. Bobby's story lines have focused on finding her biological parents, her feud with Roo Stewart, adoption and her marriage to foster brother Frank Morgan. Bobby's marriage to Frank was only implemented when script writers were sure viewers approved of it. At certain points in Bobby's duration, Dickson disapproved of her actions, for instance she became frustrated with her because she decided to find her biological parents without thinking about her foster parents' feelings. Dickson decided to leave the serial in 1993, and the character was killed off in a boat accident. In 1995 Dickson made a cameo appearance when Ailsa Stewart has hallucinations of Bobby in her fridge door. Dickson has received a Logie Award for her portrayal of Bobby and she has been referred to as a "Summer Bay icon".
Celia Stewart is a fictional character from the Australian soap opera Home and Away played by Fiona Spence. She made her first screen appearance during the episode broadcast on 26 January 1988. The character is portrayed as a gossiping busybody and spinster who occupies her time with the Presbyterian church. In her early appearances, she formed an alliance with Donald Fisher and, though she has conservative views, she is not malicious. After one year as Celia, Spence hoped that she would find romance and change her attire. Producers decided to implement change and added smart outfits to the character's wardrobe. Spence decided to leave the series in 1990 and Celia departed the same year. She has since reprised the role on four occasions. After carrying out missionary work in Africa she returned to Summer Bay in 2000, 2002 and 2005. In 2012, it was announced that Spence had agreed to return once again. Originally heralded as the chance for Celia to reconnect with her on-screen brother, Alf Stewart, it was later revealed that she was hiding a shameful secret.
Martin Dibble is a fictional character from the Australian Channel Seven soap opera Home and Away, played by Craig Thomson. He made his first on-screen appearance on 17 January 1988, the show's pilot episode. The character was axed from the series in 1989 after producer Andrew Howie decided to focus on new characters. He left the show on 3 April 1990, but returned for guest stints in 2000 and 2002.
Miles "Milco" Copeland is a fictional character from the Australian Channel Seven soap opera Home and Away, played by Josh Quong Tart. He debuted on-screen during the episode airing on 30 November 2007. Ryley Mickle and Jackson Edwards played Miles in flashback sequences, showing him at ages three and eight years old respectively. During the early years of Home and Away, Sally Fletcher often spoke of an imaginary friend she called "Milco". When Ritchie announced her departure from the soap, producers decided to introduce the real Milco, as regular character Miles Copeland. The development was described by the media as a "legacy storyline." Quong Tart announced his departure from Home and Away in October 2011. Miles departed on 23 November 2011.
Frank Jonathan Morgan is a fictional character from the Australian Channel Seven soap opera Home and Away, played by Alex Papps. Frank debuted on-screen in the serial's pilot episode and was the first character to appear. Frank is one of the five foster children of Pippa and Tom Fletcher who move to Summer Bay to begin a new life. The serial's creator Alan Bateman thought of the idea while observing the locals of a rural town in New South Wales opposing the idea of foster children living in the area. Papps was cast into the role and immediately began receiving fan mail. Frank has been played by actors Bradley Pilato and Michael Scilusa during flashback sequences.