The Ramsays are a fictional family from the Australian soap opera Neighbours. The family were one of three central families created by Reg Watson and introduced in the first episode of Neighbours in March 1985. Watson wanted the Ramsays to be humorous and rougher than the Robinson family. The cul-de-sac which is the central focus of the series is named after the family. In 2001, the last Ramsay, Madge (Anne Charleston), departed the series. Eight years later, a new generation of the Ramsay family was introduced.
Creation and development
The Ramsay family were one of three central families introduced to viewers when Neighbours began in 1985, created by the show's creator and executive producer Reg Watson. Unlike the Robinsons, Watson wanted "humour and likeable roughness" with the Ramsay family. Josephine Monroe, author of The Neighbours Programme Guide, wrote "The Ramsays are the royal family of Neighbours and their claim on Erinsborough goes back generations." The family originally consisted of Max Ramsay (Francis Bell), his wife Maria (Dasha Blahova), and their two sons Shane (Peter O'Brien) and Danny (David Clencie). The family lived at No.24 Ramsay Street, one of the original three houses on Neighbours.
The family were friendly with the Robinsons, but tension briefly developed between the two families when Jim Robinson (Alan Dale) began dating Maria's sister Anna Rossi (Roslyn Gentle). Maria was the first member of the family to leave the show, with Danny and Max following shortly after. The producers then decided to introduce some new Ramsays in the form of Max's sister Madge (Anne Charleston) and their brother Tom (Gary Files), who took over Max's storylines. Shane departure made way for Madge's children Charlene (Kylie Minogue) and Henry (Craig McLachlan), who arrived in 1986 and 1987 respectively. Charlene's romance with Scott Robinson (Jason Donovan) had become popular with Neighbours viewers, who dubbed them "TV's Romeo and Juliet" because they were from feuding families. Their wedding in "Episode 523" famously united the Ramsay and Robinson families. In 2001, Madge, the last remaining Ramsay on the street, died, after Charleston quit the show.
In February 2009, it was announced that a new generation of the Ramsay family would be introduced to the show. At the time, the Ramsays had not appeared in Neighbours for over a decade. Executive producer Susan Bower said the introduction of the new Ramsay family members was based on the American drama series Party of Five. Paul Robinson's (Stefan Dennis) daughter Elle (Pippa Black) discovered that Max had a secret daughter with Paul's mother Anne. The affair was kept a secret due to the feud between their families, and Anne moved away with her daughter Jill (Peri Cummings). As a result, Elle tracked down Jill and met her three children; Kate (Ashleigh Brewer), Harry (Will Moore) and Sophie (Kaiya Jones). When Jill was killed in a hit and run accident, Kate, Harry and Sophie move to Ramsay Street and eventually become close with their uncle Paul. They lived at No. 24, like the original Ramsays, until it was sold off and Kate and Sophie moved in with Paul. Since then, all three have departed the soap. Charlene and Scott's son, Daniel (Tim Phillipps) was introduced on 29 April 2014.
In her book, Neighbours: The First 10 Years, Josephine Monroe observed that the Ramsays were "a good foil to the better bred Robinsons". The Sydney Morning Herald's Robin Oliver branded the family "raucous".
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