As of 2009, Ray Meagher (Alf) is the longest-serving cast member, as well as remains the only original cast member still on the show since it's premiere in 1988 Kate Richie (Sally) left the show in the early part of the 2008 season, and Norman Coburn (Fisher) left in 2003. Other long serving cast members include Lynne McGranger (since 1992) and Ada Nicodemou (since 2000). Lynn Collingwood was also a recurring cast member (appearing during the 1988-1989 seasons) howevershe left the show for a number of years before returning briefly in 1997, and again in 1999 as permanent cast member.
Of all the homes, shop, clubs and other locations that have featured in the show since its inception, as of the 2008 season the Summer Bay Caravan Park residence remains the only set that still remains and maintains more or less the same appearance from when the show premiered in 1988. The only other locations that have also been used throughout the series are the Summer Bay Surf Club and Summer Bay High School however they have undergone extensive ser redesigns over the years. The Summer Bay Diner was introduced in the show's 2nd season and had also been a mainstay of the show but has had three separate incarnations following a fire (2000) and land subsidence (2008) respectively.
The reason Tasha only spoke pig Latin was that Isabel Lucas who played Tasha had been spotted on a street and, lacking acting experience, was slowly introduced into the action by not having to say much.
Of the seventeen original cast members (one still remains today), all but five have reprised their roles on the show since their initial departures. All have reappeared at least twice, except for three (Ailsa, Bobby and Tom) who came back as "ghosts" when their characters were killed off. The original characters who have not returned are Neville McPhee, Lynn Davenport and Roo Stewart as well as Vanessa Downing who played Pippa (the role was recast after her departure, and her successor has reappeared as the character, following her own departure, since). Neville McPhee was killed-off off-screen.
Sheila Kennelly and Frank Lloyd who played original characters Floss and Neville McPhee were let go from the show when their contracts expired at the end of the first year because producers felt more time needed to be focused on the younger cast members. The producers did not tell them until the last minute, but both had already found out by reading about their character's departures in a TV soap magazine. The executive producer at the time said he hoped they could be brought back in future episodes as special guests, but Frank was particularly upset by their behavious and refused to return in 2000 for Sally Fletcher's wedding story. The decision was made to kill his character off in response. The same thing happened to original cast member Helena Bozich, who after just four months was let go because the producers wanted to focus more time on the other younger cast members.
When the recurring character of Alan Fisher (Simon Kay) was killed-off, the producers later regretted their decision due to a fan back-lash. Several ideas were penned where the actor could make a believable return, including one where a movie was made on Alan's novel, "The Crest of a Wave" (although the novel wasn't launched until 2001 in the show), and Simon would show up as another character "with a moustache" to audition for the lead, stunning other cast members with his resemblance to the dead Alan.
Hayley's (Bec Cartwright) pregnancy was written for the show before Bec Cartwright found out she really was pregnant. She was replaced by Ella Scott Lynch who played the part for the remainder of the year.
Jamie Dunn and Ross Higgins auditioned for the role of Alf Stewart.
Summer Bay resident Mrs. Peters, played by Gwen Plumb, only appeared in the pilot episode. By the time the green light was given for a full series the actress had elected instead to become a founding member of Ten's "Richmond Hill"(1988) cast, as Mum Foote; the series ran a year. Mrs. Peters was reworked into the much-younger Celia Stewart.
In July 2009 the mayor of Sydney's Pittwater Council presented the cast and crew with the keys to Palm Beach in recognition of the series' 21st anniversary (the beach being a major shooting location). At the Cargo Bar celebration Ray Meagher declared, tongue-in-cheek: "Home and Away is the most financially successful product in the history of the Seven Network. Artistically, some people might argue."
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