22nd May 1982
A sentimental look back at the tears and tragedy and a little joy of TV’s favourite father.
An era has ended.
The man who stood at the head of TV’s best-known family has stepped down.
It’s six years since he moved into a weatherboard Camberwell cottage as Dave Sullivan, and now actor Paul Cronin is to walk out the door for the last time.
His departure from the one-time closely-knit unit, as showcased on the show’s opening credits, will leave only two original cast members – Kitty (Susan Hannaford) and Tom (Steven Tandy).
And while Cronin looks ahead to new fields, his long-time army of fans can look back over his years of service to The Sullivans with many memories.
Like any father, Dave had his share of joys and tragedies.
During the war days he had to watch three of his sons leave for the battlefields. One of them, the first born, John, was never to return.
Dave’s farewell to Grace, off to London to bring home a wounded John, was the last Dave was to see of his beloved wife. A London air raid saw to that.
The war year continued to leave scars – physically to son Tom, who returned home badly wounded, and mentally to son, Terry, who never was able to come to terms to life without war.
And if it wasn’t war taking Dave Sullivan’s children away from him, it was something else.
His adopted son, Geoff, dedicated as a youngster to following in his bothers’ footsteps and going to war, missed his opportunity.
Then he found another chance to be his own man – a career in cinematography in London.
Even Dave’s little “Kitten”, his daughter Kitty was not untouched by the tragedies of war.
Her husband, Robbie, became one of the many unable to cope with war’s legacies. He committed suicide, leaving her with their daughter, Gracie, to care for.
There were many joys along the way, too, but it was times of tragedy Dave shone, and in times of torment he stood as the tower of strength to his family.
He will be missed.
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