8th February 1986
It’s farewell to a popular A Country Practice character … in circumstances that will give him cold comfort
DR SIMON BOWEN spends several of his final hours in Wandin Valley on ice in the local morgue.
Now while this might come as a bit of a shock to the many fans of the good doctor, it is — as viewers will see in coming episodes of A Country Practice — true.
The episodes of the Seven Network series are the last to feature TV WEEK Logie Award-winning actor Grant Dodwell in the role which made him famous.
Since the start of the top-rating series five years ago, Grant and his TV character have won not only awards but a huge following.
When he and his former on-screen wife, played by Penny Cook, announced last year that they were quitting the series it came as quite a shock to their army of fans.
Many could not believe their favorite stars were leaving Wandin Valley and letters begging them to stay with the show flooded into JNP Productions, producers of A Country Practice.
Nevertheless, Penny left late last year in storylines which saw her character Vicky fly to the U.S. with the new-born Bowen twins in tow.
Simon stayed on for a while and is now set to join his wife — but whether he actually gets there is another matter!
After all, Simon certainly is not feeling the best at the moment.
Already a new locum, the doddery Dr Wood (Ben Gabriel), has been found to take Dr Bowen’s place and when Simon arrives at the surgery he is not exactly welcomed in style.
Shirley (Lorrae Desmond) virtually ignores him and Dr Eliott (Shane Porteous) has had the temerity to move into Simon’s old consulting room!
Feeling dejected and redundant, Simon has a heart-to-heart with his “confidante”, Fatso the over-weight wombat — and ends up feeling even sorrier for himself.
He convinces himself that the whole town doesn’t care and isn’t even going to miss him.
However, his spirits are lifted slightly by Brendan (Shane Withington), who, as organiser of Simon’s farewell party, needs some help with loading the food and drink into the fridge.
The only problem is that the fridge is on the blink and they have to find somewhere else to store the food and grog.
At first they hit on the idea of using the hospital fridge as their storage area.
But, with an inspection by Councillor Muldoon and some matrons from other hospitals on the cards, Matron Sloane (Joan Sydney) will not have drink and food in her fridge!
Which is how Simon ends up in the morgue.
He and Brendan come to the conclusion that that is about the only place big enough and cold enough to hold the party supplies.
So they start loading things in.
But just as they are sitting down to have a well-earned drink, after all their hard work, somebody locks them in.
By Stephen Cook
Original content copyright TV Week.