Patrick Brennan takes a look at some Australian soap operas that were a hit with Irish audiences
Running from 1982 to 1987 for six seasons of 972 episodes, Sons and Daughters was one of Australia’s most popular series. Created by Reg Watson, who later created Crossroads and Neighbours, the series revolved around two families, the wealthy Hamiltons and the working class Palmers. The series was inspired less by the realistic soaps of the UK and more by the glossy and broadly drawn American series of the time like Dallas and Dynasty.
The first episode takes place in 1962 and sees the birth of twins, a girl and a boy, to an unmarried couple, David Palmer and Angela Hamilton. Angela, upset and confused, takes one of the twins, the girl who she names Patricia, and leaves David to rear the baby boy, who he names John.
The rest of the series takes place twenty years later, in the “present day”, when the babies are grown up and integrated into their respective families. John is played by Peter Phelps, and Angela by Ally Fowler.
The twins meet by accident and, unaware of their true parentage, fall in love when John is on the run for a murder he didn’t commit.
These early episodes involve the twins discovering their true heritage and the many dramatic twists and turns this leads to in both families.
It’s also revealed that John’s soon-to-be brother-in-law was the one who committed the murder John is blamed for.
Other early storylines include the pregnancy of John’s brother Kevin’s girlfriend, the break-up of David and Patricia’s respective marriages after the rekindling of their earlier affair following their reunion, the shady business dealings of Patricia’s husband, Gordon, and the shock revelation that David was not the father of the twins at all.