In November 1986, George Kapiniaris replaced Gil Tucker on 'The Flying Doctors'. He played Demetris Goanidis. "His name is really hard to pronounce so he just calls himself D.J.," George, of Greek background, told Stephen Cook. "It's like when you've got a name like mine, George Kapiniaris. I remember at school it was really embarrassing when the teacher came to trying to read your name out of the roll." 

Of D.J., "It's a totally different character to the one Gil Tucker played and it'll be good because I can put a lot of myself into him. It's a realist part. I don't want to make him a caricature." Of fame, "Sometimes people recognize me as Pepe or a Tibaldi Brother. I’m not George yet – and I’ll probably be 'D.J.'. I’ve made a decision to stop all my comedy work and do this. But it's a step in the right direction. In comedy you can work your guts out but you never get the exposure you do on TV. It's exciting to me and I know I’m going to devote all my time to this role." 

In November 1984, English-born Vikki Hammond stepped off stage to go on location for the first time to film 'The Flying Doctors'. Vikki told Barbara Hooks, "The spelling of my first name is one of Melbourne's better kept secrets." Vikki played American actress Lorna Patterson's mother who returned to outback Australia after 30 years living in the U.S. 

Shot on location in Broken Hills, Horsham and Mildurra, Vikki recounted, "In Mildura, we had to spend 4 hours in a car on a red dirt road to get to and from the homestead where we were filming – it wore a bit thin. Then on the last day, I don't know how many 'squillion' inches of rain they'd had the night before, but we Torvill and Deaned (ice skated), sideways, across no less than 16 cattle grids. We were wrecks when we got there, it was vile." 

Then 23 years old, Phillip Spencer Harris from Canberra had spent 4½ years in Goulburn working in a regional theater company before deciding to head north for Sydney. "I thought I could polish up my acting and try for NIDA or I could spend the same amount of time working on a stage," Phillip explained. "I think I made the right decision – to work with a live audience rather than study.

"It was a golden opportunity to receive personal direction and to play some great roles. There is no way I’d get that at a drama school. In Goulburn I spend most of my spare time mending fences and horse riding. And there aren’t many fences in Sydney!" In October 1986, after he signed with an agent, Phillip successfully auditioned for a role on 'Sons and Daughters'. He played Dr Michael Benson.

On reflection, Judy O’Connell told Sandra Hogan, "I really enjoy television and 'The Young Doctors' was great because of all that regular pay. I was having trouble with relationships, because you can't settle when you're a singer. You have to be always traveling to where the next job is. Then I discovered that I belong to the business. I can’t do without it. I’m really a cabaret, though. (In 1972) I was in a strange town (Sydney) with no work, so the first thing I did was to learn to sing correctly. That’s taken a long, long time. I have developed a mezzo-soprano voice." At age 37 in 1984, "I’m going to Los Angeles before I’m 40. I’m going to work in cabaret over there."

Of his character, Phillip Spencer Harris described, "He’s very easy-going and gets along with everyone. Honesty is his great strength. He’s wanted to be a doctor since he was a child and is currently doing an internship. Wayne doesn’t expect to see him again but naturally enough he does. And as we know it will get much more involved than that. Michael’s the sort of guy who helps people like Wayne through a crisis." 

Ian Rawlings played Wayne spent a month in 1986 studying at the Australian Film and Television School. Ian spoke to David Brown at the time, "My ambition is to become a producer but it’s a long way off. I’ve always wanted to learn about that side of the industry and the course made it quite clear it’s not a bed of roses. The work on the legal and financial side and the amount of effort which a producer has to put in are incredible. In the course we worked as if we were running our own independent production company. It was very beneficial to me. I love the idea of getting behind a production and having the control." 

In May 1986, the production company JNP scored a major coup when then Prime Minister Bob Hawke guest starred on 'A Country Practice' by attending the students' of Burrigan High School anti-nuclear rally and addressing about world peace. Bob Hawke reportedly paid $10 to join Actors' Equity (union) and donated his appearance fee to the Actors' Benevolent Fund. 

Bob Hawke spoke to Jenny Cooney, "It is a different sort of stress than the stress of politics. I want to get it right the first time. I appeared on some Crawford Productions thing quite a while back and of course I was inundated with offers but I decided politics was a lot more interesting." Brian Moll played Councillor Muldoon told Bob, "I’m the Ian Sinclair of Wandin Valley." Bob Hawke returned, "I know there has to be one everywhere!" 

On 'Sons and Daughters', Rowena Wallace played Patricia the Terrible. In July 1984, Rowena made the announcement she had chosen not to renew her contract to pursue other roles including as Dr Gloria McCrae, the head of in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) medical research team in the TV mini-series 'Glass Babies'. In February 1984, Queensland-born Lyndel Rowe returned to Australia after living and working in England since about 1964. In August 1984, Lyndel joined the cast of 'Sons and Daughters' playing Karen Fox, who was born into a working-class family in Sydney in 1947. 

In 1965, Karen found a job as Peter Fox's secretary and married him in 1967. However, "normally viewers don’t get to learn about Karen’s background in detail. It’s created to help motivate the actors when they have to do something extremely nasty – or nice." Lyndel recalled, "Karen's very devious – and sees Patricia as being exactly the same way. She doesn't trust her an inch. One of the nice things about playing Karen is that she's a chameleon-type character: she plays lots of different roles. She puts herself into people's lives, makes herself fit in so that she gets their trust, finds out what she wants, and then uses it and puts in the darts. Karen's very clever in that she does it well, and this is where she has been successful, she doesn't just go in fighting, she plays with people." 

Leila Hayes spoke to Garry Shelley in 1984, "I get so annoyed when people put down soap operas. When you consider what we have to do in the space of so little time, I think we’re damn clever." Rowena added, "I'd defy anyone to do one of those shows without a sense of humor. I'd be mad if I wasn’t happy. You’ve got to laugh. I love to laugh and I love people who can make me laugh, especially a good belly-laugh. I enjoy anecdotes and people who are really funny. But as a teller of jokes I’m hopeless. I can never remember the tags. I get them all screwed up." 

Born in Dimboola Victoria, Leila made the point, "You can't go off the planet while you're cleaning the loo. Doing my own things around my own house is very good therapy for me because over the past few months (back in 1984) I've noticed more and more how physically tiring, and emotionally and mentally draining the role of Beryl has been. I have to keep shaking her off, because in her own quiet way she's starting to take over. 

"She's a much-loved and respected character, which I’m very proud of, but I recently had to leave her for a while and take an island holiday in order to find me. Unfortunately, I’m still looking. It's almost like Leila and Beryl are becoming enemies at times, so I have to physically keep Beryl separate. I always call Beryl 'her'. She has her house. I have mine. She's like a relative, or better still, your other half. It's hard to describe, it's all rather weird to me. I'm enjoying 'Sons and Daughters' and I have a tremendous loyalty to it. You have to do things quickly, honestly and realistically."

Phillip Spencer Harris noted, "In a way it's ('Sons and Daughters') like a theater company, as everyone is very close and they see each other every day. They've been very helpful and I need that this early in the piece. At first I did have trouble learning lines, but you soon get into the swing of it. You learn it, film it and then you have to forget it and move on to the next script." 

'Sons and Daughters' ended 1982 with "one of the biggest shocks on Australian TV" when Patricia dropped the bombshell on viewers that David Palmer was not the father of twins John and Angela. By June 1983, viewers watched Barbara Armstrong married Gordon Hamilton. Cornelia Frances remarked, "Where other romances in 'Sons and Daughters' are built on passion, this one is based on friendship.

"They have known each other for a long time and respect each other. There’s a very deep affection, a great love, but it’s not a showy one. It’s there in the eyes and you can tell just by the way they are together. The big factor in their successful relationship is that they’re totally honest and open. They know exactly what the other has to offer and don’t expect any more or any less. They’re both so undevious and straight. The whole thing is based on total honesty and affection. That’s what I like about her. I think the total straight-down-the-line honesty of her and not being afraid to say what she thinks."

The TV wedding of Barbara Armstrong and Gordon Hamilton coincided with the real life divorce of American-born singer Marcia Hines to French-born Andre DeCarpentry. The breakdown of Marcia's 3rd marriage was contributed to distance. She spent much of her time working in Sydney (including a 6-month tour with 'Jesus Christ Superstar' musical) while he lived in Paris and worked in Borneo (Indonesia). Marcia's then manager Peter Rix spoke to Stephen Cook in 1985, "Marcia has always been something of a loner. It is always difficult for her because more than anything she is a worker. Anybody who marries Marcia Hines will have to marry her career as well – she does it and she doesn’t want to give it up. For her to have gone and lived in Borneo or Paris would have meant giving up a substantial part of that career and she wasn't prepared to do that."

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