John Palmer (Home and Away)
|Home and Away character|
|Portrayed by||Shane Withington|
|First appearance||27 March 2009|
|Introduced by||Cameron Welsh|
Bus driver/tour guide
|Home||33 Saxon Avenue|
Withington had previously guest starred in Home and Away as helicopter pilot Colin Page. He began playing John Palmer, a recurring guest role in 2009. He was initially only signed to the show for twelve weeks. The character was said to be a "strict father to his stepson" Trey Palmer (Luke Bracey), and a member of the surf lifesaving club.
In February 2012 Withington signed a three year contract with the serial. He later Holly Richards from The West Australian that he was content in remaining part of the cast because he had the chance to work on a daily basis.
"John Palmer is a loveable larrikin, he likes to think he is a capable handyman, but an electrician he is not, which was highlighted when he blew up the fuse box on Indi and Romeo’s opening night of the Gym. However he has tried his hand at a few things, running for council, managing the Juice Bar and working as a Surf Life Saver. He can be very competitive [...and] his past relationships were complicated."
A writer for Channel 5 described John as having "his hand in a number of the town's prized pies: a member of the surf lifesaving club, he was first elected to the local council and then bought the gym." Withington told a reporter from Home and Away Official Collector's Edition that John was initially an angry dad. He thought that "an angry guy isn't going to last" in the show and decided to make John "funny and very human". He described John as being vain, egotistical and insecure. Art director Marianne Evans has revealed that she enjoys working Withington because he brings a "natural style" to the role.
In May 2011, Michael Idato writing for The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Grant Dodwell had been cast as Gary O'Connor, the boss of the Mangrove River surf club. Gary arrives to take on John at the surf carnival. Withington and Dodwell had previously worked together on A Country Practice and Dodwell told Idato that working with Withington on the storyline was "just like old times".
John was married to Gina Austin (Sonia Todd) and Withington credits the mutual respect between himself and Todd as creating a successful dynamic between the two characters. Todd added that Withington acts as her "bridge" to get her into the right place for the drama. In 2012, John and Gina takes Jett James (Will McDonald) into her care. However he later moves in with his biological father Richard Bozic (Radek Jonak) and this causes problems in John's marriage. The predicament becomes more difficult when John lies to Gina about spending an evening spent drinking with Marilyn Chambers (Emily Symons). Withington told The West Australian's Richards that "He has got a lot of love in his heart for Jett, he genuinely does love him but there's friction there all the way." He also described the situation a "very tough" for John and Gina and revealed that there would be "some hard drama" ahead. Withington told Erin Miller from TV Week that Gina thinks that Marilyn is after John, despite his protests that she is wrong. He added that "their marriage has lost its sparkle; John has been feeling a bit rejected and a bit left out and he sees Marilyn as someone he can be friends with." John is "lonely" and his marriage does not appear to be working out. Marilyn is just there being "cute and available". Withington explained that "John tries it on rather foolishly and then hates himself for what he has done". He also noted that they were keen to not portray Marilyn as a "home wrecker", but she does like John. He also teased that the storyline would continue with more "high drama" for the three characters. Withington found the storyline challenging because he had to play to storyline so John would not be seen as betraying Gina.
After the death of Gina in March 2013 John begins a relationship with Marilyn. She finds it awkward when John suggests they move in together. But they agree it is too soon but acknowledge that their relationship is working. Though Susan Hill of the Daily Star warned that the duo would begin arguing. A spokesperson told Hill that "Marilyn can often misread the signals. There’s lots coming up with these two over the summer but sadly a lot of it is them struggling in their relationship." Erin Van Der Meer reported that the couple would marry in a lavish beach ceremony. The publication released numerous onset photographs of the occasion. The storyline was filmed on 6 May 2014 at Palm Beach. The wedding announcement came one year after Gina's final scenes were broadcast. Home and Away publicity told a reporter from Inside Soap that "while it's true that Gina's sad passing wasn't all that long ago, John's been given a second chance at love - so he's going to grab it with both hands."
John married Jenena (Anna Lisa Phillips) and he became stepfather to Trey. When Trey is institutionalised after suffering a breakdown, John and Jenena's marriage breaks down and they both leave town. John returns and he is elected to the local council and he buys the gym. When John insults Romeo Smith (Luke Mitchell) one day, Mink Carpenter (Matylda Buczko) punches him. A few weeks later Romeo's mother, Jill Carpenter (Josephine Mitchell), arrives in town and she and John have a brief relationship. John begins a relationship with Gina Austin (Sonia Todd), which makes her son, Xavier (David Jones-Roberts) unhappy. Things between John and Xavier become tense, but they eventually start to get on. John proposes to Gina, but, to his shock, he is rejected. Shandi Ayres (Samantha Tolj) comes to the Bay and tells John that she is his daughter. When Bianca Scott (Lisa Gormley) runs out of her wedding to Vittorio Seca (Richard Brancatisano), Gina whispers in John's ear to say there will be a wedding between John and herself. They marry and John runs out of the chapel with Gina in his arms. John later discovers Shandi is actually a con woman called Daria Hennesy. His real daughter, Shandi Palmer (Elizabeth Blackmore), turns up and they meet.
John organises the surf carnival and becomes competitive against the Mangrove River team. However the event ends in his competitor's captain, Gary collapsing from a heart attack. John supports Gina through her many problems with Xavier when he wants attend festivals and moves to the countryside. John is present during a fight which erupts in the surf club involving the River Boys. He is punched to the ground and kicked in the face. While recovering at home a storm crosses Summer Bay. John is left home alone when his spleen ruptures as a result of the attack. He tries to call for help but passes out. Sasha Bezmel (Demi Harman) enters the Austin house for shelter, finding John unconscious on the floor. She calls him an ambulance and after surgery he is sent home to recover. John begins a feud with Harvey Ryan (Marcus Graham) when they both enter the local election. John is angry when Harvey tries to get him fired from his bus driving job. Harvey wins the election. John invests money in the resort for Dennis Harling (Daniel Roberts). Harvey later ruins the plans for the resort. John asks for his money from Dennis, but he flees without paying him back. Gina is angry that John did not feel he could tell her about the investment.
John and Gina begin arguing and John briefly moves in with Alf Stewart (Ray Meagher). Marilyn Chambers and Roo Stewart (Georgie Parker) get annoyed with his laziness and they convince Gina to take him back. John encounters Jett James when he steals from people on the beach. Jett later steals from Marilyn and John reports him to the police. Gina invites Jett to stay when his mother dies and he starts to bond with the family. Xavier decides to move away to be closer to the police academy. John then takes Jett under his wing and he and Gina decide to foster him. Jett meets his father, Richard Bozic, who initially rejects him. John starts to train Jett for the swim carnival, leading Gina to think that he is trying to take Jett's mind off his father. Gina tricks John and Jett into talking to school counsellor, Natalie Davison (Catherine Mack-Hancock). John becomes annoyed with Gina, but they eventually reconcile. John and Gina plan to adopt Jett, but Richard gets in touch and states that he wants his son. Gina and John say goodbye to Jett, but a couple of weeks later, Richard allows him to return. John thinks that Gina and Jett are leaving him out of their celebrations. He confides in Marilyn and they get drunk. He lies to Gina and says that he got drunk in a meeting, but Marilyn accidentally reveals the truth. Gina confronts John over being dishonest and she later accuses Marilyn of having an affair with John. He moves out but Gina asks him to return when he injures himself doing maintenance on the house.
Gina and John decide to adopt Jett. Richard flies in and tells them that he does not want to give up on his son. This angers Jett and he accuses Richard of not wanting anyone else to have him. Richard relents and the adoption goes ahead. However, on the drive to the court to finalize the adoption, Gina begins suffering from a headache and hallucinations of herself. Gina suddenly stops the car, falls unconscious and dies from an aneurysm. John thinks he cannot look after Jett any longer but Marilyn decides to look after them while they grieve. John becomes dependent on her and Alf and Roo warn Marilyn to distance herself from him. John becomes upset with Marilyn for thinking he could move on from Gina so soon. The pair later reconcile but Jett disapproves of them spending time together, especially when they begin a bus touring business. They later begin a relationship and Jett gives his approval. John and Marilyn get engaged and finally marry in front of their friends and family. At the reception, Jett asks them to adopt him and the adoption is finalised a couple of weeks later.
A columnist for the Western Mail was left unimpressed when John's attitude towards April Scott's (Rhiannon Fish) recycling plans. They stated: "Just when we had started to put all our doubts about John Palmer to one side and were beginning to believe that he'd turned over a new leaf he goes and shows us where his selfish priorities really lie." Joe Brett from Holy Soap opined that John was a "wicked stepfather" to Trey. Erin Van Der Meer (Daily Mail) said that John and Marilyn's wedding was "set to be one of the most highly anticipated TV moments of the year." An Inside Soap writer branded them a popular pairing.
- Andrea, Black, ed. (5 November 2012). "John Palmer - Shane Withington". Home and Away Official Collector’s Edition (Pacific Magazines): 54.
- Schipp, Debbie (5 April 2009). "Surfing role for Shane". The Daily Telegraph (News Limited). Retrieved 28 November 2010.
- Richards, Holly (13 September 2012). "Summer of discontent". The West Australian. (Seven West Media). Retrieved 14 September 2012.
- "John Palmer". Yahoo!7. (Yahoo! and Network Seven). Retrieved 27 May 2014.
- "John Palmer". Channel 5. (Northern & Shell). Retrieved 1 September 2012.
- Andrea, Black, ed. (5 November 2012). "Backstage on the set". Home and Away Official Collector’s Edition (Pacific Magazines): 77.
- Idato, Michael (8 May 2011). "Ten says yes, sir, we will have Moar". The Sydney Morning Herald. (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 1 September 2012.
- Andrea, Black, ed. (5 November 2012). "Gina Austin-Palmer - Sonia Todd". Home and Away Official Collector’s Edition (Pacific Magazines): 55.
- Miller, Erin (29 September – 5 October 2012). "Three's a crowd!". TV Week (ACP Magazines) (39): 6.
- Hill, Susan (27 April 2014). "Home and Away: Things get serious between Marilyn and John". Daily Star. (Northern & Shell). Retrieved 28 May 2014.
- Van Der Meer, Erin (6 May 2014). "Spoiler alert: A special day in Summer Bay as Home And Away cast film scenes for Marilyn and John's wedding". Daily Mail. (DMG Media). Retrieved 28 May 2014.
- "Marilyn's married!". Inside Soap (Hearst Magazines UK) (20): 24–25. 24–30 May 2014.
- "Soaps; All eyes will be on those 'good Neighbours' as Paul is pushed off Lassiters' balcony. What a way to celebrate the series' 6,000th episode". Western Mail. (Trinity Mirror). Retrieved 1 September 2012.
- Brett, Joe (3 September 2009). "Holy Soapbox: New weekly soap blog!". Holy Soap. (Northern & Shell). Archived from the original on 5 September 2009. Retrieved 17 February 2013.
- Character profile at the Official AU Home and Away website
- Character profile at the Official UK Home and Away website
- Cast profile at the Official NZ Home and Away website
- Character profile at the Internet Movie Database