Paul Robinson (Neighbours)
|Portrayed by||Stefan Dennis|
|First appearance||18 March 1985|
|Created by||Reg Watson|
|Introduced by||Reg Watson (1985)
Alan Coleman (1993)
Ric Pellizzeri (2004)
|Neighbours vs Zombies (2014)|
Manager of The Daniels Corporation
Manager and owner of Lassiter's Hotel
Newspaper editor and owner
Co-owner of The Waterhole
Paul Stewart Robinson is a fictional character from the Australian television soap opera Neighbours, a long-running serial drama about social life in the fictional Melbourne suburb of Erinsborough. He is played by Stefan Dennis. Paul was created by producer Reg Watson as one of Neighbours' original characters. He debuted in the first episode of the show broadcast on 18 March 1985 and is currently the sole remaining original cast member. Paul appeared on a regular basis until 1992 when Dennis quit Neighbours to pursue work elsewhere. He agreed to reprise the role for a guest appearance in 1993. Dennis returned to the show full-time in 2004 and has since remained in the role. Dennis views his decision to leave Neighbours as a mistake.
Early character development during 1980s episodes changed Paul into a powerful, arrogant and sometimes villainous business man. Paul has an evil persona which has long been admired by Dennis for the entertainment value it creates. But in 2007 Paul's evil ways were mellowed through a brain tumour story which brought the character inline with producer's vision of reinventing the show. The character has been used to play various stories ranging from money laundering, a leg amputation to being held hostage and incarceration for crimes. He is often portrayed concocting scams against fellow characters. As a prominent character Neighbours writers designed their 6000th episode around Paul. The story was dubbed "Who Pushed P.R.?" and Paul was pushed from a mezzanine by an unseen assailant. The character's attack created a long-running whodunit mystery. Paul has had five marriages and countless affairs, which has gained him notoriety as a womaniser. Paul's evil character and womanising have been well received by critics of the genre who were entertained. The actor has garnered various award nominations for his portrayal of Paul.
In 1984, Stefan Dennis received a phone call from his agent who told him about an audition for a new soap called Neighbours. Dennis said "I wasn't that keen because I was more interested in a feature film I had auditioned for and felt sure I was going to get". Dennis originally auditioned for the roles of Shane Ramsay and Des Clarke (the roles were later given to Peter O'Brien and Paul Keane respectively), but was cast as Paul Robinson instead. Neighbours was cancelled by Seven Network seven months after its debut. However, it was revived by Network Ten and Dennis reprised his role as Paul from January 1986 onwards. He is the only current cast member who appeared in the first episode on 18 March 1985.
In 1992, Dennis quit the role because he no longer felt challenged as an actor, he stated: "I was literally walking through it, I thought 'this is not good for acting, this doesn't keep me fresh at all, time to move on'." Dennis has said that one of his favourite moments was being asked to come back and celebrate Neighbours' 2000th episode.
Paul was originally the quiet member of his family and had worked as an air steward. Paul's failed marriage to Terry Inglis (Maxine Klibingaitis) altered his personality and he became self-centred. Network Ten publicity assessed that it turned him "bitter and cynical". He worked to become a powerful businessman managing the Lassisters complex and developed many overpowering traits which left him viewed by others as a money-grabbing control freak. But the character was not left without kindness and shared his more generous moments with his grandmother Helen Daniels (Anne Haddy). He has been described as having the ability to notice talent in others, employing those who shared his ambition and nous.
Portrayed for most of his tenure as a deceiving villain, Paul can often be viewed participating in unpredictable stories. This arbitrary nature lead Dennis to proclaim "he's a character you never get bored with. Even during times when storylines aren't centred on my character, the writers still come up with little twists for him all the time." Network Ten branded Paul a high flying business man who enjoyed womanising until he met Gail Lewis (Fiona Corke). Other labels the character has are "lothario" and "serial cheat" because of his ill-treatment of the opposite sex. Upon his 2004 return he was portrayed stuck in his old ways. The writer added Paul was committing dodgy deals and deceiving his neighbours in a bid for revenge. The character despises pity, has a damaged personality and can never be faithful to a romantic partner. Dennis branded Paul as "Mr. Evil" because of Paul's harsh treatment of women, observing that his character treated them like toys, throwing them away when he was bored.
When producers realised that Paul's behaviour had gone too far, they considered killing him off. Dennis commented "As an actor, I had the best time because this character just got more evil and more sneaky, more of a cad and a womaniser and it just escalated where it got to the point where it just got silly. It was ridiculous for the supposed reality of the show." The actor also said that he accepted the producers decision to kill his character off when they explained that they did not know where to take him. However, the show's then executive producer Ric Pellizzeri decided to save the character and redeem him by giving him a brain tumour. Following the removal of the brain tumour, Paul mellowed in his evil ways. Of Paul's dramatic change to his personality, post brain tumour, Dennis compared the differences stating: "He's changed back to where he was 18 odd years ago. What he has become is the same Paul he was back then when he was a very ambitious young entrepreneur with Lassiters and Robinson Corporation. But the difference now is that he is older and wiser and therefore a lot more shrewd and a lot more careful. Post brain tumor, he is no longer evil, more ruthless than evil. Ruthless with a conscience and emotion."
Although Paul changed his ways to an extent, he still shows signs of being evil. Dennis has stated that he and fellow cast member, Alan Fletcher (Karl Kennedy) purposely portray hints of his former self. Of this Dennis stated: "I like to keep that boiling under the surface so that the audience will always think 'what is he up to next?'. You never quite know if he will burst out into Mr. Evil or stay as the character he is at the moment. Alan Fletcher keeps it alive as well, by always looking out the corner of his eye and thinking 'I just don't trust you!'" Dennis later defended his character to the Birmingham Post after he was branded an evil character, describing him in his early years: "Paul started out as a university student, which people have forgotten, he was studying engineering then, much to his father's disgust, left to join an airline and became a trolley dolly. He later became a bit of a cad but I wouldn't call him a villain. I'd describe him as a bad boy with a conscience". Dennis has also stated that he loves playing Paul as a "baddie", because in his opinion he is so colourful, not just an average bad guy, adding: "He's not just a black and white bad guy, he's a sneaky bastard. He's the smiling baddie".
Paul enjoyed a relationship with Terri, he believed he really loved her. She tried to defraud him and later kill him. These events have a knock on effect which plagues his relationship with Gail raising many trust issues. He has been described as "unlucky in love" during his early years in the serial.
During an interview with entertainment website Digital Spy Dennis discussed Paul's later relationships in depth. Paul's relationship with Lyn Scully (Janet Andrewartha) was short lived, he mistreated her but ultimately in a twist for the character, he did the right thing. Dennis describes this as: "The Lyn story was quite sincere, but he had the good sense on the day of the wedding to tell her that he was no good. So he obviously cared about Lyn, but then she came back and haunted him." His relationship with Rebecca Napier (Jane Hall) at times can be fiery, of this Dennis said: "I want to see Paul and Rebecca be like Angie and Dirty Den. I think Rebecca is capable of that. She plays a fiery character and is a very strong. Paul needs somebody who is absolutely there for him and adores him, but will take no shit from him and stand up and fight as hard as she does."
Paul's relationship with his children is often non-conventional, however he has a close bond with his daughter Elle Robinson (Pippa Black), Dennis describes this, adding: "(She's 'a chip off the old block') and even though Elle annoys Paul sometimes, they are always there for each other. Paul adores his daughter and I think it works both ways."
Following an eleven year hiatus producers asked Dennis to return to Neighbours for the 20th anniversary episodes. But their talks resulted in Dennis agreeing to return full-time. Alan Dale who played his on-screen father, Jim Robinson helped Dennis to make the decision to return. Dennis has since admitted that he made a mistake quitting Neighbours in 1992. He explained "I was stupid. I thought I was going to go to Hollywood and conquer the world, and I didn't." Dennis' return made Paul the only original character still appearing on Neighbours. The actor continued to publicise his commitment to staying on the show long-term.
The character was reintroduced during the 2004 series finale. The episode focused on a fire at the Lassiter's complex which destroys the local pub, hotel, doctor's surgery and coffee shop. Paul's arrival coincidences with the fire which makes him a suspect. His return forms the end of season cliff-hanger and Australian viewers had to wait months before Paul's return continued on-screen. Dennis told Jason Herbison from Inside Soap that "judging from his first appearance he certainly does look guilty." He teased that Paul is "very enigmatic" and his motives for committing the crime remain unclear. Dennis professed his love for his character's mysterious agenda but noted that Paul had "grown and matured" during his absence. Producer Peter Dodds believed that Paul's return gave his writers numerous stories. He detailed that it allowed the return of other past characters and "kick-started a whole new web of deceit and lies" within the show. He concluded that it made Neighbours more dramatic ever since.
The character was paired with fellow resident Izzy Hoyland (Natalie Bassingthwaighte) who shared a deceptive personality with him. This created many stories for both characters as they plotted against their neighbours. Dennis stated "the Paul and Izzy relationship was fantastic, it was very popular. Izzy was an interesting character because she was very emotional and insecure. That's what drove her evil ways. She had a bit of a soulmate in Paul." Dennis believed that the pair could not have worked long-term because they would have destroyed each other.
Izzy was in a relationship with Karl when writers began working on material for the new duo. Karl had been played as the arch-enemy of Paul, as they previously feuded. Izzy faces a problems in her relationship and turns to Paul for romance. Karl spends time away from Izzy leaving her free to conduct her affair. He returns to fight for his partner but nearly catches Izzy in bed with Paul. He leaves an expensive watch behind which Karl finds. Izzy pretends that she has purchased it for Karl and he lauds the accessory over Paul. Fletcher told Herbison (Inside Soap) that Karl is jealous of Paul and relishes the opportunity to show off his gift and boast about Izzy. He was keen for his character to discover Izzy's infidelity so Karl and Paul could have a confrontation. Izzy goes into business with Paul and Karl tries to warn her that Paul is untrustworthy. He is unsuspecting and does not believe Izzy would be attracted to Paul. The story provides insight to Izzy who needs stability from Karl and excitement which Paul provides her.
One of Paul's main storylines culminated in him having his leg amputated after an accident. The storyline has received some criticism as Paul was shown on different occasions not limping with his false leg. Dennis explained during an interview how the production team helped ensure to make his limp appear more effectively, stating "They made me a splint which actually makes me sort of limp, but keeps my foot rigid so it looks like I actually do have a non-moving piece. One time I did change my leg, as in I swapped it over and limped on the other one to see if anyone noticed." Dennis revealed in May 2011, that he wears a brace on his leg as remembering which leg to limp on was becoming a "little distracting."
Robert's revenge campaign
Paul had been uninvolved in the upbringing of all his children. This provided producers with scope to introduce estranged family members. In 2006, writers devised a long-running storyline in-which Paul's son Robert (Adam Hunter) plans a revenge campaign against his father. Robert's motives for his vendetta stem from Paul not being around while he grew up. Paul was happy that he had triplet children Elle, Robert and Cameron Robinson (also played by Hunter) back in his life. He tries to make amends with Robert and attempts to bond with him unaware that he is being plotted against. Writers decided to mark the show's 5000th episode with the story and Robert takes Paul hostage down a mineshaft. Dennis filmed the scenes in a filthy studio set surrounded by cameras, lighting and crew. He told Herbison (Inside Soap) that he found it difficult to pretend he was trapped underground.
Dennis explained that his character is oblivious to Robert's intentions and believes Robert is taking him on a family camping holiday. When Robert has Paul alone he drugs him and take him to the mineshaft. Robert admits to causing the plane crash which killed the Bishop family, intending Paul, Elle and Izzy to die. Dennis explained that Robert "really goes to town telling Paul what a terrible father he's been and how he's going to pay for it now." Robert gloats about his successful scheming and seals the entrance to the mine leaving Paul for dead. But Katya Kinski (Dichen Lachman) begins to suspect that Robert is mentally ill and it is up to her to convince other residents and save Paul from death. Paul escapes but Katya is next to be kidnapped by Robert because he is infatuated with her. She decides to humour Robert in the hope he will return her to Erinsborough. But Robert discovers that Paul plans to marry his mother Gail. He is unaware that it is a ruse set-up by authorities to arrest him. Katya convinces Robert that they should not leave together because he has a final chance to kill Paul at the wedding.
The sham wedding was originally suggested by Izzy in jest and she is shocked that Paul and Gail organise the nuptials. Dennis explained that Robert's "ultimate goal is to destroy Paul". By giving him a time and place to target Paul they plan to trap him. The pair exchange wedding vows which are not binding. But Robert does not surface which angers Paul. He begins to shout and orders Robert to show up and confront him. Robert is entised by Paul's goading and he approaches his father. Dennis said that the pair have a "massive showdown" and the psychotic character pulls a gun and shoots Paul. Following his latest crimes Robert surrenders and is arrested. The fake wedding provided Paul writers with the chance to explore Paul and Gail's relationship which had served their characters during 1980s episodes of Neighbours. Dennis said that the chemistry that existed in 1987 was still present between the pair. On-screen his relationship with Izzy begins to suffer but the wedding makes Paul remember his past shared with Gail. The actor recalled filming the wedding made him question whether Paul and Gail were still in love. In the episode various character's notice their feelings which angers Izzy. The story ends in tragedy and loss for Paul. Katya accepts a lift from Cameron and their neighbour Max Hoyland (Stephen Lovatt) spots Katya in the car. Max mistakes Cameron for Robert and believes Katya is in danger. In an attempt to rescue her Max knocks Cameron over and kills him. Lachman warned that it was the start of a new story in which Paul wants revenge on Max and issues him with a "chilling threat".
Who Pushed P.R.?
In July 2010, it was revealed that Paul would be central to the serial's 6000th episode. Executive producer Susan Bower had hinted previously that the milestone would involve Paul and Alan Fletcher teased audiences with the revelation that something horrible would happen to an iconic character. Of Paul's involvement and the reasoning behind it Bower explained: "As Stefan Dennis – Paul Robinson – was in the first episode 25 years ago, it was decided that his character play a most important role in this very special event [...] Paul Robinson, or P.R as we like to call him, has been up to his usual tricks over the past few weeks and everyone on Ramsay Street is becoming really sick of him. What will they do about it?" It was then announced the plot would be a whodunnit style arc, in which Paul is left fighting for his life after being pushed from the mezzanine level of Lassiter's Hotel.
The episodes were structured with a five episode build up prior to the 6000th episode, a new suspect being revealed in each. UK broadcaster Channel 5 posted an official statement: "With so many enemies, it will be hard to narrow down who had the motive to harm him. Who pushed P.R?". Jane Badler who plays Diana Marshall in the serial compared the storyline to that of the Who shot J.R.? storyline from American soap opera Dallas. On-screen the storyline progresses as new character Mark Brennan (Scott McGregor), tries to solve the mystery.
Paul is the oldest child of Jim Robinson (Alan Dale) and his wife Anne. His half sister Julie (Vikki Blanche; Julie Mullins) was born the year afterward followed by brother Scott (Darius Perkins; Jason Donovan), half brother Glen (Richard Huggett) and finally his youngest sister Lucy (Kylie Flinker; Sasha Close; Melissa Bell). Anne died giving birth to Lucy, when Paul was only twelve and Paul's grandmother, Helen moved into the Robinson house to help Jim with the children. Paul was her self-confessed favourite.
Paul marries Terry Inglis after a whirlwind relationship. However, Terry shoots Paul when he finds out she killed her ex-boyfriend and she goes on the run. Terry is eventually arrested and later commits suicide in prison. Paul meets Gail Lewis for the second time, having worked with her previously, when she applies for a job at the Daniels Corporation. They both agree to enter into a marriage of convenience in order to secure a business agreement, but soon develop genuine feelings for each other and they renew their vows. That same year Paul learns that he has fathered a child, Amy (Nicolette Minster; Sheridan Compagnino), with Nina Williams (Leigh Morgan).
Gail becomes convinced that Paul will lose interest in IVF treatment or adoption, but Paul becomes more committed to having children with her. After IVF treatment, Gail becomes pregnant with triplets, however, Paul starts working hard and becomes detached from Gail. After the death of her father Rob Lewis (Ernie Bourne), Gail decides to leave him and immigrate to Tasmania where she gives birth to Elle (Pippa Black), Robert and Cameron. The couple later divorce. Paul faces financial troubles when Hilary Robinson (Anne Scott-Pendlebury) withdraws her funding of the Daniels Corporation.
Paul leases his house to twin sisters Christina (Gayle Blakeney) and Caroline Alessi (Gillian Blakeney). Christina falls in love with Paul and after a short romance and a quick engagement, the couple marry. Shortly after, Christina becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son, Andrew (Shannon Holmes). Paul suffers a nervous breakdown and cheats on Christina with Caroline. The couple eventually reunite and they leave to manage a branch of Lassiter's in Hawaii. Paul later returns to the street where he gets his brother-in-law, Philip Martin (Ian Rawlings), involved in a fraud scandal. Paul then flees to Brazil and asks Christina to join him. He returns for Helen's birthday, but the celebration is ruined when he is forced to flee the country on fraud charges. Paul returns to Australia after the death of Helen and is sentenced to seven years' imprisonment, of which he serves three.
Paul returns to Erinsborough and sets fire to the Lassiter's complex. He also kills Gus Cleary (Ben Barrack), when Gus catches him. Paul helps rebuild the complex and reclaims Lassiter's for himself. Paul has affairs with both Izzy Hoyland (Natalie Bassingthwaighte) and Liljana Bishop (Marcella Russo). He later frames Liljana's husband, David (Kevin Harrington) for fraud. Paul strikes a deal with Affirmacon to build on Ramsay Street and he gets his protégé Dylan Timmins (Damien Bodie) to pollute the local wetlands. When Paul wants to pull out of the deal, he is taken to the bush and beaten up. Paul escapes and falls down a cliff, badly breaking his leg. While Paul recovers in hospital, his leg becomes infected and is amputated. Paul's sister, Lucy, encourages him to make a proper home for himself in Erinsborough and he moves into Number 22. Paul begins a relationship with Izzy and his estranged daughter Elle moves in. To celebrate the Lassiter's Hotel 20th anniversary, Paul and several of his neighbours go on a joy flight to Tasmania. During the flight, a bomb explodes causing the plane to crash into the sea. Paul, Izzy and Elle survive.
Paul's son, Robert, arrives in the guise of his twin, Cameron. Robert alienates Paul from everyone, before drugging and trapping him in an old mineshaft. Robert confesses to planting the bomb on the plane and sending a poisoned letter to Paul. Robert collapses the entrance to the mine and leaves Paul to die. Paul is eventually rescued and he is grows closer to Gail when she returns to town. Paul and Gail hold a fake wedding to lure Robert out of hiding and he shoots Paul, who survives due to a bullet proof vest. Paul goes on a downward spiral and flirts with several women, attempts to blackmail Carmella Cammeniti (Natalie Blair) and betrays Lyn Scully (Janet Andrewartha). When Max accidentally kills Cameron, Paul decides to shoot Max in revenge, but he is talked out of it. Paul begins a relationship with Lyn and they become engaged. However, after kissing Rosetta Cammeniti (Natalie Saleeba) in the lead up to the wedding, Paul admits to Lyn that he cannot be faithful to her just minutes after they marry. Having sold half of Lassiter's, keeping a 49% share for himself, Paul decides to regain full control. Knowing Oliver Barnes (David Hoflin) owns shares in Lassiter's, Paul tries to break up with relationship with Carmella and get him to date Elle.
Elle manages to convince Paul to sign over his share of Lassiter's to her and she leaves him with nothing. Paul has a brain tumour removed and he loses his memory. He later apologises to his neighbours for all the bad things he did. Paul begins a relationship with Oliver's mother, Rebecca Napier, and she and her youngest son, Declan (James Sorensen), move in with him. Remembering that he murdered Gus, Paul confesses all to the police and Gus's sister Laura (Jodi Flockhart). The police inform Paul that they will not be pursuing the case, while Laura and her boyfriend Nick Thompson (Marty Grimwood) try to blackmail Paul by kidnapping Declan. Paul has an affair with Kirsten Gannon (Nikola Dubois) and Rebecca ends their relationship. Paul regains his assets from Elle and he buys the Erinsborough News. Paul briefly dates Cassandra Freedman (Tottie Goldsmith), but he and Rebecca soon reconcile. Paul is initially blamed for his half-sister Jill Ramsay's (Perri Cummings) death. He goes on the run, but his name is cleared by Jill's daughter Sophie (Kaiya Jones). When Paul and Rebecca get engaged, Lyn interrupts their wedding to announce she and Paul are still married. After divorcing Lyn, Paul marries Rebecca.
Paul's youngest son, Andrew (now played by Jordan Smith), comes to stay with his father. Paul suffers financial difficulties and embezzles money from Lassiter's. He also frames Declan for an accident at a building site, that he himself caused. Diana Marshall (Jane Badler) comes to Erinsborough to find evidence of Paul's embezzlement. Paul asks her to take over Lassiter's with him and they have sex. Rebecca gives Paul an ultimatum; leave Lassiter's or leave the family. He then hands over management of the hotel to Declan for six months. Paul discovers Diana is working with Declan to remove him from the company and he contacts Rosemary Daniels (Joy Chambers), who fires Diana. Meanwhile, Paul threatens Declan. When Rebecca finds out about Paul's affair and threats towards Declan, she pushes him from the Lassiter's mezzanine. Paul survives and blackmails Rebecca into staying with him, causing their marriage to deteriorate. Rebecca later convinces Paul to sign an affidavit, which states that his fall was an accident, and she leaves him and the country. Paul falls out with local councillor Ajay Kapoor (Sachin Joab) and plots to ruin Ajay's career, after the local police station is closed down and merged with another.
Paul makes sure a house party in Ramsay Street is gatecrashed and then writes an article about how the police were late to the scene because of the merger. Susan Kennedy (Jackie Woodburne) learns Paul sent the gatecrashers to the party and tells the press. Paul is forced to step down as editor. He then hires public relations consultant Zoe Alexander (Simmone Jade Mackinnon) to improve his image. Paul and Zoe briefly date and Paul unsuccessfully tries to get the editor's job back from Susan. Paul's nieces Sophie and Kate (Ashleigh Brewer) move in with him. Paul and Andrew purchase Charlie's bar together and Paul beings an affair with Ajay's wife, Priya (Menik Gooneratne). After Andrew collapses, he tells Paul that he has epilepsy. Paul tries to take Charlie's away from him, but soon relents. Priya ends the affair and Ajay finds out about it. Paul sells the Erinsborough News to fund his plan of turning the top two floors of Lassiter's into apartments. Paul grieves for Priya when she dies after an explosion at a wedding reception on Lassiter's grounds. Ajay files a civil action against Paul and a preliminary police report indicates negligence on Paul's part, but a gas bottle is found to have come from faulty stock.
Paul uses Rhiannon Bates (Teressa Liane) to help him bribe councillor Allan Hewitt (Mick Preston) and Rhiannon reports them to the police. Lucy tells Paul that she has been promoted to head of Lassiter's Worldwide and gets his apartment plans approved. She also hires Terese Willis (Rebekah Elmaloglou) as the new manager of Lassiter's Hotel. Paul is accused of sexual harassment by Caroline Perkins (Alinta Chidzey), but Terese manages to get Caroline to drop the lawsuit by giving her a settlement. Mason Turner (Taylor Glockner) asks for Paul's help when Robbo Slade (Aaron Jakubenko) starts blackmailing him. Paul hires Marty Kranic (Darius Perkins) to take care of Robbo, who is later hit by a car. Paul pays Marty off for services rendered. Jack Lassiter (Alan Hopgood) returns to Erinsborough and warns Paul about putting business before family. Jack confesses to Paul that he is giving his fortune away because he is dying. Paul and Mason believe Marty killed Robbo, but he denies it and then threatens to implicate Paul.
Paul offers to manage Georgia Brooks' (Saskia Hampele) singing career and gets her to sign over the rights to her song. Paul then gives the song to Amali Ward, but she decides against recording it. Paul attempts to sue Georgia, but drops the case when he learns Jack has died. He then asks for his fraud conviction to be removed from his criminal record, so he can run for mayor. Karl unsuccessfully runs against him. Paul seeks to separate the hotel from the Lassiter's chain to enable him to sack Terese. However, Terese quits her job and Paul threatens to sue her. Lucy persuades Paul to re-hire Terese and he keeps the hotel within the Lassiter's chain. Paul learns Rebecca works for a civic project called Twin Cities and forges Karl's signature on a cover letter to get Rebecca to return. Paul tells Rebecca that he became mayor for her because he still loves her. Paul asks Rebecca to move back to Erinsborough, but she refuses. Paul disapproves when Kate gets back together with Mark Brennan. They reconcile just before she is fatally shot. Paul blames Mark for Kate's death.
Paul's nephew, Daniel (Tim Phillipps), arrives in town and agrees to stay with him. Paul re-opens Charlie's and announces that it has been renamed The Waterhole, a name chosen by Kate before she died. After purchasing a painting from Naomi Canning (Morgana O'Reilly), Paul learns from the police that its ownership is disputed. He asks Naomi for his money back, but she tells him she has spent it. Paul then asks Naomi to have sex with him, in exchange for him not pressing charges against her. Naomi blackmails Paul into dropping the charges. Paul and Mark join forces to find Kate's killer. Matt Turner (Josef Brown) informs Paul that Victor Cleary (Richard Sutherland), Gus's younger brother, has become a suspect in Kate's murder. Paul realises that he may be responsible for Kate's death. He buys a gun and meets with Victor who taunts Paul about killing Kate, before Matt and Mark arrive. Mark tackles Paul and Matt arrests Victor. Paul develops depression, knowing that his actions were responsible for Kate's death, and Terese tries to help him. After a public meltdown, Paul is suspended as mayor. He begins volunteering at Sonya's (Eve Morey) garden nursery, while Lucy also helps him overcome his grief.
Sheila Canning (Colette Mann) encourages Paul to start dating again, and he has a number of casual relationships using a dating app. He falls out with Daniel when he puts his romance with Amber Turner (Jenna Rosenow) before work. After they argue, Daniel and Amber go out into a tornado that hits Erinsborough. Paul goes after them and his car is hit by a dislodged skip. Daniel and Amber rescue him. He suffers broken ribs and a cracked prosthetic. Paul decides he is ready to be mayor again and organises a media gathering at Sonya's Nursery, but it has to be postponed when the nursery is vandalised. Paul discovers Jayden Warley (Khan Oxenham) was behind the vandalism, and he blackmails Jayden's mother Sue Parker (Kate Gorman) into stepping down as interim mayor. Dakota Davies (Sheree Murphy), a fling from Paul's time in Brazil, arrives in Erinsborough and tells Paul that he abandoned her without explanation to return to Australia in 2004. Paul's memories of this are unclear due to his brain tumour, but he agrees to help her set up a bar. Paul falls in love with Dakota, but he soon learn that she is involved in diamond smuggling. She leaves after asking him for money.
When Terese goes through a rough patch in her marriage to Brad (Kip Gamblin), Paul arranges her former boss, Ezra Hanley (Steve Nation), to come to Erinsborough, with the intention of breaking up the Willis' marriage. However, Ezra tries to force himself on Terese and is fired from Lassiter's. When he tries to sue Paul and Terese, Paul pays Gary Canning (Damien Richardson) to attack Ezra. When Gary confesses to the police, Paul gives him more money to keep quiet about their arrangement. Paul hires Naomi to organise the Erinsborough Festival, two weeks of events celebrating the suburb. Hilary Robinson returns and convinces Paul to reinstate some of the community services. Paul tries to stop Daniel and Amber's wedding by sending Amber away on a photography trip and planning for her flight to be cancelled, so she will not make the wedding. He also asks Des Clarke (Paul Keane) to talk to Daniel about the dangers of marrying the wrong person. Imogen Willis (Ariel Kaplan) forces Paul to bring Amber back, but he realises Imogen loves Daniel and tells Amber. Daniel fails to appear for the wedding after he goes looking for Imogen. Paul realises Nina Tucker (Delta Goodrem) is in town and with help from Lou and Karl, he convinces her to sing at the festival's closing concert.
Nick Petrides (Damien Fotiou) informs Paul that he has leukaemia and he starts him on a course of chemotherapy. Paul hires Naomi as his assistant and she helps to keep his diagnosis a secret. When Paul collapses, he calls Karl for help and tells him about his diagnosis. Nick tells Paul that his body has stopped responding to the chemotherapy. Paul wants Karl to succeed him as mayor and he asks Naomi to find his daughter Amy. While Naomi is encouraging Paul to be more positive, she kisses him. She apologises, but they both develop feelings for each other. Paul asks Naomi to shave his head when his hair starts falling out, and he sells Lassiter's to the Quill Group. Paul collapses from pneumonia and is hospitalised. Nick tells Paul that his cancer is in remission, but Georgia claims that Paul never had cancer and Nick is found to have doctored Paul's patient files. He is arrested soon after. Paul tries to forget about his feelings for Naomi, by pushing her and Brennan back together. However, Naomi discovers their plan and breaks up with Brennan. The Quill Group sell Lassiter's back to Paul and he and Naomi kiss. Amy (Zoe Cramond) turns up at the penthouse and is angered when Paul does not immediately recognise her, she later leaves town.
Daniel persuades Amy to return and she introduces Paul to her son Jimmy (Darcy Tadich). Paul and Jimmy bond, but when he buys Jimmy expensive presents, Amy returns them. Paul fires Kyle from the council's beautification project after he fails to reprimand a handyman for sexually harassing Amy. She convinces him to give Kyle his job back. Paul learns that Sheila had a crush on him, after Jimmy blackmails her. They later clear the air. Paul gives Amy a job as his executive assistant, but she quits after making a mistake which costs Lassiter's money. Paul proposes to Naomi and she accepts, but she soon has doubts. After an argument, she has a one-night stand with Josh Willis (Harley Bonner). Paul forgives Naomi and they agree to call off their engagement. He then decides to get revenge on Josh by getting his good behaviour bond revoked by paying someone to plant illegal peptides in his bag. Naomi breaks up with Paul and leaves for a job overseas. Paul pays Jimmy's father to leave town, resulting in Jimmy not wanting to spend time with him. Paul plans to close Erinsborough High and sell the land to Eden Hills Grammar, so he can push through a luxury housing development. Paul is blackmailed and his personal emails are sent to the media, resulting in him receiving death threats. He hires Aaron Brennan (Matt Wilson) to be his bodyguard. Amy finds a petition to save the school in Paul's penthouse and he confesses to stealing it from Susan's office on the day of the fire. He is later fired as mayor and the bank calls in his loans, leaving him in financial difficulty.
Paul receives a dead rat sent in a box, which he later learns was intended for Aaron. Paul asks Aaron to help him with his scheme to gaslight Stephanie Scully (Carla Bonner). He explains that he wants her to leave Erinsborough as he does not want her near Jimmy. Paul swaps Steph's medication for psychotropic drugs, which triggers a relapse. He offers to drive her to her doctor in Bendigo, but he swerves to avoid another car and crashes into a tree. When Paul regains consciousness, he sees that Steph has found the drugs in his pocket and forces him to tell her his plan. She later blackmails him into giving her a job and money in exchange for not reporting him to the police. Paul is forced to liquidate his assets to pay off his debts. The bank sells Lassiter's to the Quill Group and Paul is escorted from the penthouse by the police. Paul lives in the Men's Shed until Terese invites him to live at her house. Paul plans to start a new business, making gazebos, in partnership with Amy. He needs to borrow money to get started and Dimato offers to lend to him, but after learning about Paul's scheme to gaslight Steph, Amy refuses to go ahead with the gazebo project with Paul. Dimato tells Paul he is considering buying a rundown motel and renovating it, and offers to make Paul the manager. However Paul later discovers Dimato is attempting to frame Paige Smith (Olympia Valance) for burglary, and blackmails Dimato into leaving town. Terese kisses Paul and invites him to her bedroom, but does not take things further and tells Paul that she just wants to be friends. Paul remains interested in the rundown motel and tries to convince Steph and Doug Willis (Terence Donovan) to become investors, so he can buy the business. He organises a Citizen of the Year event at the motel, but it is stolen by Lassiter's after Steph accidentally costs the motel their liquor licence. Paul asks Cecilia Saint (Candice Alley) to sabotage the event, but is horrified when the hotel boiler explodes, injuring Daniel and killing Josh and Doug. While supporting a grieving Terese, admitting to her that he loves her, Paul secretly worries that Cecilia caused the explosion. Paul persuades Nene to lie to the police to support his false alibi. Paul is arrested after he is found to have deleted CCTV footage of him in the boiler room. Steph visits Paul in prison, where he maintains his innocence. They put up the motel for Paul's bail and he is released. Terese is angry when he comes to Josh's funeral and later says she hates him. Paul investigates alternative suspects, but Mark tells him to stop. After Julie Quill (Gail Easdale) accuses Paul of harassment, his bail conditions are reviewed and he is required to wear an ankle monitor. Aaron becomes Paul's PR adviser. Paul does an interview with Piper which is put online. Paul's position becomes worse when Cecilia tells the police that Paul confessed. Aaron then advises Paul to take part in a voluntary clean-up, which is criticised by Nate. Paul is hit by a car and taken to hospital. After being discharged, Paul decides to run away and he steals $3000 from the motel. Paul meets Jacka in the bush and seeks his help in getting a passport. He then calls Steph asking her to bring him money, but she refuses. After hearing a conversation between Steph and Amy, Jimmy finds Paul in the bush. Jimmy has an allergic reaction to a bee sting and Paul takes him to hospital, resulting in him being arrested and remanded in custody. Toadie agrees to represent Paul, but only if he pleads guilty. Paul pleads not guilty and Steph persuades Toadie to defend him. At the end of the trial Terese admits to having bribed Cecilia to commit perjury. Despite this, Paul is found guilty and sentenced to eighteen years jail with a non-parole period of fourteen years. Paul decides not to appeal and urges Steph, Amy and Jimmy not to visit him in jail. Another prisoner warns Paul that he is in danger of being assaulted in jail. Paul asks Gary Canning to protect him, however Gary is then granted parole. Paul is assaulted and taken to hospital. He is later released from prison after Julie Quill confesses to blowing up the hotel.
Dennis has earned various award nominations for his role as Paul. At the 2007 Inside Soap Awards, Dennis was nominated for Best Actor and Best Bad Boy. The following year, Dennis was again nominated for Best Actor and Best Bad Boy. 2009 saw Dennis nominated for Best Actor and Best Bad Boy once again. In 2010, Dennis was nominated for the very first Best Daytime Star award. He received a nomination in the same category in 2015. At the first Digital Spy Soap Awards ceremony, Dennis was nominated for Villain of the Year.
A reporter from Virgin Media branded the character a "retro soap hunk." They branded him a "bad boy" who is "motivated by greed and lust, Paul manipulated his way into business and into the ladies' beds (even with a dodgy earring). Watch out ladies..." Virgin Media also ran a feature profiling their twenty-five most memorable television comebacks, amongst them was Paul's 2004 return and they said "ruthless 'workaholic' businessman Paul Robinson fled Australia in 1993 to escape fraud charges only to return more sinister than ever in 2005 to burn down the Lassiter's hotel complex."
Ruth Deller of entertainment website Lowculture commented on Paul stating: "He's always been a bit of a ladies' man and has had an eye for a business deal and has always struggled with whether to be good Paul or bad Paul. Ramsay Street's most prolific marry-er and father-er." She also criticises the fact Paul's false leg is never shown on-screen adding: "Paul has a wooden leg, which sometimes causes him to limp, when he remembers about it." Holy Soap have said that Paul starting the Lassiter's fire and killing Gus during his 2004 return, was one of soap opera's greatest comebacks. They also branded him a "legendary figure" of Neighbours. Josephine Monroe in her book Neighbours: The first 10 years, names Paul one of soap opera's most enduring characters. An Inside Soap writer opined that "slimy seducer" Paul remained the same "eighties smooth operator", observing "he's certainly not short of a slick chat-up line or two. He's as skilled a lothario now as he always was."
In 2010, to celebrate Neighbours' 25th anniversary, British satellite broadcasting company, Sky, profiled twenty-five characters of which they believed were the most memorable in the series history. Paul is in the list and joke about his many wives stating: "How many of Paul's five wives can you name? No points for current wife Rebecca, ten for naming Lynn, Gail, or Christina Alessi, and 1,400 points for remembering first wife, plumber Terry [...] Yes, Paul's been around the block." They also branded him as the reason Neighbours, in their opinion was good viewing in the 2000s adding: "It's his cackling soap villain role that we love to hate him for: his return in 2004, torching Lassiter's and befriending Dylan, marked the start of Neighbours getting awesome in the mid-noughties. Although it's probably safe to say that period was over by the time he suffered amnesia of everything after 1989." He has also been branded as a "legend character". Entertainment reporting website Last Broadcast praised Paul's development, stating: "As the kind of shady character who'd do anything to make a fast buck, he even planned to bulldoze Ramsay Street to make way for a new supermarket development. And that's not all: fraud, blackmail, murder; there is no level to which Paul wouldn't have sunk. Yet, the infamous bad boy of Erinsborough, has, thankfully, turned over a new leaf."
In her 2007 book, It's Not My Fault They Print Them, Catherine Deveny slates Paul and Dennis' acting ability stating: "Stefan Dennis as the mustache-twirling panto villain Paul Robinson, is a genius. I just wanted to yell out 'He's behind you, he's behind you!' It takes sheer brilliance to be able to act that badly". Andrew Mercado, author of Super Aussie Soaps, describes Paul as being very similar to fictional character J. R. Ewing. Paul is referred to in Emily Barr's fictitious novel "Out of My Depth", in which character Amanda is watching Neighbours, with scenes featuring Paul and Gail receiving disapproval from Harold, Amanda opines that she believes the couple are in love. Jaci Stephen writing for the Daily Mail commented on Paul's obsession with Rebecca stating: "You can't help feeling that nothing short of a stake through the heart is going to keep Paul out of Rebecca's life." Stephen later said "Taking advice from Paul is like asking Charlie Sheen to be your spirit guide." Paul Kalina of The Age said Dennis as Paul lightens things up and he prances about like "a pantomime villain minus the moustache and cape." Kalina added "Erinsborough just would not be the same without him." A TVTimes columnist stated "He's no Brad Pitt and he's a devious beggar at the best of times, but Paul Robinson doesn't half get the ladies."
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