|Portrayed by||Francis Bell|
|First appearance||18 March 1985|
|Last appearance||2 May 1986|
|Created by||Reg Watson|
|Introduced by||Reg Watson|
Max Ramsay is a fictional character from the Australian soap opera Neighbours played by Francis Bell. He made his first on-screen appearance in the show's pilot episode on 18 March 1985. Max was the patriarch of the Ramsay family and Ramsay Street is named after his grandfather. Max lived at number 24 with his wife, Maria (Dasha Bláhová) and their sons, Shane (Peter O'Brien) and Danny (David Clencie). Max departed on 2 May 1986 after Bell's contract was not renewed.
In 1985, Neighbours started out with three families created by Watson - the Ramsays, the Robinsons and the Clarkes. Watson said that he wanted to show three families living in a small street, who are friends. Francis Bell was cast in the role of patriarch Max Ramsay, head of the Ramsay family.
In 1986, Bell believed he was not being paid enough for his work and the demands of his character, so the decision was taken not to renew his contract. A back injury also influenced Bell's decision to leave the show. Bell said "I was considering resigning before my back problems flared up. Negotiations had been under way between my agent and Grundy's for some time and I had decided I didn't want to do the show any more".
Bell based the character of Max on a person who helped raise him in New Zealand. He said "Max is based on a man whom I loved, but who gave me a very hard time". The head of the Ramsay family, Max has been described as being "almost the father figure of Neighbours" in the early days. He was always proud that Ramsay Street was named after his grandfather. He was also described as being "essentially a nice guy" who can be hard-headed, unmoving and "domineering at times". Max survives by dominating situations and he approves of those who comply.
Max is a loud, uncouth plumber. He has a fractious family life and frequently argues with his wife Maria, and he is disappointed in his sensitive son Danny. Max has a better relationship with his older, more athletic son Shane. Max is a longtime rival of neighbour Jim Robinson.
Max's family life is plunged into turmoil when he learns he is not Danny's father. Danny was actually the product of Maria's extra marital affair. The marriage collapses and Max moves out of the family home, sharing a cramped flat with son Shane.
His wife Maria has an affair with Richard Morrison, an insurance investigator, in mid 1985. Maria bids Richard farewell when he is transferred to work in Hong Kong. At the last minute Maria leaves Erinsborough to travel to Hong Kong with him. Max returns to the family home after Maria's departure.
Max had other troubles when he loses his driver's licence for driving under the influence of alcohol. As a plumber he needs someone to drive him around to his jobs, something his new apprentice Terry Inglis takes over.
Max abruptly leaves Erinsborough in early 1986. It is explained that he traveled to Queensland to visit relatives. Later, after reportedly reconciling with estranged wife Maria, he sends word he will not be returning.
23 years after Max's departure, it was revealed that Max and Anne Robinson had had an affair and Anne gave birth to a daughter, Jill (Perri Cummings). Jill had 3 children; Kate (Ashleigh Brewer), Harry (Will Moore) and Sophie (Kaiya Jones).
British critics suggested that as a plumber, Max would not have been able to afford the lifestyle of Ramsay Street. In Australia, they were surprised that Max chose to live in the area when he could be living elsewhere. In the 1980s, plumbers in Australia earned similar wages to doctors and lawyers.
Ruth Deller of television website Lowculture gave Max a 3 out of 5 for his contribution to Neighbours, during a feature called "A guide to recognising your Ramsays and Robinsons". Deller said "The patriarch of the Ramsay family in the early days of Neighbours. He was married to Maria, although they had a tempestuous relationship, not least because Max was a pretty hot-headed sort. To prove that the Robinsons aren't the only family with illegitimate children, Maria had a son, Danny, with a man that wasn't Max, and he, of course, fathered Jill".
In her book "Soap opera", Dorothy Hobson describes Max and his family as "more working class than other characters", also stating: "They had working-class jobs but were not represented as cloth cap wearing or dowdy, they were bright and modern and representative of a vibrant and working population." Andrew Mercado in his book Super Aussie Soaps brands the Ramsay family as being the backbone of the serial during the early years.
- Oram, James, p.25
- Idato, Michael (14 July 2005). "An Institution Turns 20". The Age. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 27 May 2010.
- Oram, James, p.117-8
- Wallis, Neil and Hogan, Dave, p. 63-4
- Monroe, Josephine, p.27
- "Return of the Ramsays". Holy Soap. Channel Five. Retrieved 27 May 2010.
- Deller, Ruth (23 July 2009). "A guide to recognising your Ramsays and Robinsons". Lowculture. Retrieved 26 May 2010.
- Hobson, Dorothy, p.15
- Mercado, Andrew, p. 230
- Monroe, Josephine (1996). Neighbours: the first 10 years. Penguin Group. ISBN 0-7181-4212-8.
- Wallis, Neil and Hogan, Dave (1989). The Neighbours factfile. Angus & Robertson. ISBN 0-207-16382-0.
- Oram, James (1988). Neighbours: behind the scenes. Angus & Robertson. ISBN 0-207-16075-9.
- Hobson, Dorothy (2003). Soap opera. Blackwell Publishing Ltd. ISBN 0-7456-2655-6.
- Mercado, Andrew (2004). Super Aussie soaps: behind the scenes of Australia's best loved TV shows. Pluto Press. ISBN 1-86403-191-3.