The Parata family is the first Mori whanau to appear on Home And Away, an Australian soap opera.
He has beaten the odds by surviving a heart attack, a brain tumour, and a stroke. Today, John Palmer of Home And Away is up against yet another huge obstacle.
but this plot is far from a medical condition,” says Shane Withington, the bombastic Summer Bay stalwart in his 12th year.
After his marriage to Marilyn, (Emily Symons), the immobiliary agent Susie MacAlister (Bridie Carter, McLeod’s Daughters & 800 Words, seemed to have hooked John to a con artist.
“One day, he’s just sitting outside the diner getting a bacon-and-egg sandwich when, boom, this woman comes up to him, clocks him, and sees he’s lonely,” the 62-year-old actor says of being pursued by Susie, who is, unbeknownst to him, defrauding his fellow Summer Bay residents in a series of schemes.
“It happens all the time,” says the narrator (in real life). The whole Susie storyline, in reality, coincidentally replicated a case of a woman defrauding people in Sydney. And we expected it. It was eerie.
Withington claims that his own research into love schemes – which included listening to a podcast about a New Zealand woman who was conned out of a fortune – emphasises the relevance of the plot.
“It’s important for people to see what’s going on out there because lives are being lost and hearts are being broken. I have to give the writers a thumbs up because the plot just keeps developing and morphing into another story that morphs into another story. They’ve done it so wonderfully, and it’s been a pleasure to play, as sad as it has been.”
Since they played husband-and-wife Shane and Molly Jones on A Country Practice, Withington has lived with his girlfriend, Anne Tenney (Back To The Rafters, Still Greener), in real life.
There have been plenty of other women for Withington, with a total of 12 screen wives. In Summer Bay, he married Gina Austin (Sonya Todd), the principal of Summer Bay High School, and Marilyn.
The pandemic delayed production so much that the pair had to work one Saturday to make up for missed time.
It’s a highlight of his 12-year stay in Summer Bay, which he describes as “amazing.”
I’m not the kind of guy you invite to dinner.
“I act out all of my shortcomings. We can all be a little selfish, and we can all be a little jealous, so playing all of that is such great therapy,” Withington says.
“Because I find Donald Duck as the character, the way John does things sometimes is really funny. Donald’s furious, greedy, and jealous, but he has a gorgeous heart. He’s imparable, too. The sad clown reminds me.
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