SONS AND DAUGHTERS was an Australian Soap Opera which ran from 1981-1987 on the Seven Network in Australia.
The series focused on the lives of two Australian families, the Palmers of Melbourne; and the Hamiltons of Sydney. Much of the drama stems from the interactions and the shared history of the two families.
It began with two young people, David Palmer and Patricia Dunne, who came across a boarding house, owned by former madame and prostitute Fiona Thompson (Pat McDonald). In desperate need of a place to stay, Fiona opened her home to the young people. Patricia later gave birth to twins, a boy and a girl. The next morning, Pat bolted, taking the baby girl with her.
David had Fiona raise his son, named John, but went under the alias Scott Edwards. The daughter, Angela Hamilton, grew up with her mother, Patricia, who was infamously known as Pat the Rat, who had married wealthy Gordon Hamilton (Brian Blain). Meanwhile, David had married a warm-hearted and down to earth woman named Beryl Keegan (Leila Hayes) and had two other children, Susan and Kevin. Beryl later had another child by David, named Robert.
Gordon's son, from his first marriage, Wayne (Ian Rawlings) was a womanizing villain who married Susan Palmer (after she divorced her first husband) and proceeded to make her life miserable, until the final episode where Wayne strangled Susan, killing her and he turned himself in for her death.
Despite his evil nature, Wayne also proved that he could be a very loving person. A fine example of this was the fatherly bond he had forged with a little orphaned boy named Tick McCartney (Haydon Samuels) whom he thought was his son, supposedly from a former girlfriend, Moya Brinkley.
Even though he wasn't his son, Wayne thought of Tick as such and loved him very dearly (and Tick loved him too), and was truly brokenhearted when Tick was taken away. Tick was one of the few people that Wayne genuinely loved and he was truly heartbroken when he was taken. This only solidified his hatred towards Alison Carr (the new alias of his former stepmother and arch-enemy, Patricia), who had instigated the plot.
Scott (John) was on the run for a murder that he did not commit (his half-sister, Susan's first husband, Bill Todd, had been the one who killed the man) and, while on the run, ended up falling in love with Angela.
Before they fell too much in love, however, it was revealed that they were siblings who had been separated at birth. Fiona told John about Angela and Angela was told by her mother, Patricia. Upon discovering this, their relationship settled into a caring fraternal twin bond.
It was also later revealed that John and Angela were not David's children. Patricia had been pregnant when she had met David all those years ago, and it was shown that they were the children of another man named Martin Healy, but it did not matter to either the twins or to David, as John and Angela had considered David (and also Gordon Hamilton, the man who raised Angela) as their fathers, and because of her lies and constant manipulations, Patricia's relations with her children were often strained.
Eventually, both John and Angela moved on and left the series. Angela married her stepmother, Beryl's brother, Rob Keegan, and left the show. John also found love and left the show.
Pat and David often fought their attraction, which often imperiled David's marriage to Beryl, and they would often get angry and fight with one another, but their attraction was undeniable and indelible.
In the ending episode, David and Alison fell in love for real. Patricia's former husband, Gordon, had finally thrown her out many years earlier (he still considered Angela his daughter and opened his heart to her brother, John) and after a marriage to Barbara Armstrong (Cornelia Frances), had fallen in love with and married David Palmer's former wife, Beryl, and helped raise her child, Robert.
What made the show interesting was that the series ended in exactly the same way it had started.
A young married couple was in desperate need of shelter and they turned up at Fiona's mansion boarding house (replacing the old boarding house which had burned down) and was taken in, just as David and Patricia had been taken in all those years ago, and the wife giving birth to fraternal twins, a boy and a girl. The series had come full circle.
Many talented actors brought these characters to life. Among the more famous alumni of the show were Ilona Rodgers (who played Patricia's sister, Margaret Dunne); Mary Ward (who played evil Dee Morrell, who was more than capable of holding her own against the equally evil Patricia); Cornelia Frances (who played Pat the Rat's sister in-law, Barbara Morrell Armstrong Hamilton, and would later become better known as Judge Morag Stewart Bellingham on Home and Away, which premiered two years after Sons and Daughters went off the air); Rowena Wallace (who was the original Patricia and later played Alison Carr's sister, Pamela Hudson); Stephen Comey; Ian Rawlings; Belinda Giblin (the second Pat the Rat, who went by the alias Alison Carr), and the late Pat McDonald (who was best known for her role of the hilarious gossip Dorrie Evans on the famous or, depending on your point of view, infamous hybrid soap opera/comedy Number 96).