Philip Martin (Neighbours)

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Philip Martin
Philip Martin.jpg
Ian Rawlings as Philip Martin (1995)
Neighbours character
Portrayed byChristopher Milne (1985)
Ian Rawlings (1992–2005)
Duration1985, 1992–1999, 2005
First appearance21 June 1985 (1985-06-21)
Last appearance29 July 2005 (2005-07-29)
Introduced by
  • Reg Watson (1985)
  • Don Battye (1992)
  • Ric Pellizerri (2005)
Neighbours vs Time Travel (2017)
ClassificationPast; regular
Other namesPhilippa Martinez (pen name)
  • Pacific Bank manager
  • School janitor
  • Lassiter's Hotel manager
  • Newsagent
  • Barman
  • Novelist
  • Carpenter's Mechanics owner
First Philip Martin.jpg
Christopher Milne as Philip Martin (1985)

Philip Gordon Martin is a fictional character from the Australian soap opera Neighbours, played by Ian Rawlings. Originally played by Christopher Milne during the character's first appearance in 1985, Rawlings took over the role when the character returned to the show in 1992 and remained until 1999. He briefly returned in 2005 for several episodes, and later in 2017 for the web series Neighbours vs Time Travel.


In September 1999, Jason Herbison of Inside Soap reported that the Martin family had been written out of Neighbours and that they had already filmed their final scenes.[1] On 14 April 2005, Kris Green of Digital Spy announced Rawlings would be reprising his role of Philip and joining many ex-cast members in returning to Neighbours for special episodes celebrating the show's 20th anniversary.[2]

In 2017, Rawlings reprised his role for an appearance in the five-part web series Neighbours vs Time Travel.[3]


Philip is introduced to Jen Handley (Alyce Platt) and he becomes aware that she likes him.[4] Jen faces an uphill struggle to get Philip to go out with her because he cannot believe that a beautiful and younger woman is interested in him.[4] Philip thinks Jen simply feels sorry for him because he is a widower and single father. To show her he does not need sympathy, Philip decides to "play the field" and embarks on a series of random dates.[4] Eventually Jen persuades Philip to go out with her and they begin a "passionate" relationship.[4] Philip provides some much needed stability in Jen's life and is different from the other guys that she has been out with before.[4] Jen and Philip's relationship later breaks down and Jen leaves Erinsborough.[5]

Philip meets Ruth Wilkinson (Ailsa Piper) in 1996 when she comes to care for Helen Daniels (Anne Haddy).[6] Initially Philip and Ruth do not get on well, but when Ruth's ex-husband Bill Hails (Ian Stanley) appears, Philip becomes a "useful ally."[6] Philip becomes nervous about asking Ruth out and he is "egged on" by Helen who plays matchmaker.[7] The Daily Record said "the makers of Neighbours can stretch out this relationship for several episodes before we have a clear idea if it's actually going anywhere."[7] Philip and Ruth share a kiss and they begin a relationship.[6] Ruth and Philip later get engaged and they marry, while Ruth waits for results of tests for breast cancer.[8] Philip's son, Michael (Troy Beckwith), returns for the wedding and Ruth arrives at the ceremony on the back of a Harley Davidson motorbike.[8] Piper said that there is an atmosphere of madness, happiness and excitement to the day.[8] After Philip has a mid-life crisis, he decides to move the family to Darwin. Ruth initially considers commuting thousands of miles, but ultimately chooses to follow her husband when she gets a top job at a Darwin hospital.[9]


Philip is first seen when Julie Robinson (Vikki Blanche) bumps into him when she is in a hurry to get to work on time to meet with the new bank manager. It turns out that Philip is the new bank manager. They later become involved, but are met with a problem, Philip is married to Loretta (Lyn Semmler) and they have two children, Michael and Debbie. Loretta is a violent alcoholic, which puts a strain on the marriage. Philip decides he cannot take any more and decides to leave Loretta, but has a change of heart when Debbie tries to kill herself by overdosing on tablets. Julie tells Philip to stay with his family, but several months later, Philip and Loretta are involved in a car crash caused by Loretta's behavior. Loretta is killed in the crash while Philip is seriously injured and paralyzed permanently. Philip and Julie get together and get married. The Martins then leave Erinsborough for the countryside. Philip and Julie have a daughter, Hannah (Rebecca Ritters). Although Debbie warms to Julie, Michael hates her and blames her for Loretta's death.

The Martins return to Erinsborough for the funeral of Todd Landers (Kristian Schmid). They get lost on the back roads, and while circling the area they soon find Helen, who had been kidnapped by Todd's father Bob (Bruce Kilpatrick). The family intend to stay only for several weeks but settle into the area. Things are financially tight for the family. Philip has mysteriously regained the use of his legs in the previous seven years without explanation. Philip takes a job Janitor at Erinsborough High, much to the embarrassment of Julie. However, their fortunes change when Julie's brother Paul (Stefan Dennis) offers Philip a managerial position at Lassiters. They soon move across the street to Number 32, which they rent from Helen. When Michael returns from boarding school, he causes Philip and Julie a number of problems, including spiking Hannah's orange juice with vodka and poisoning Julie. Michael is arrested and placed in a detention centre. Philip, despite all this, is not prepared to write off his only son. Michael is released from the detention centre and changes his attitude and makes amends with Julie and Hannah.

Philip and Julie's marriage goes from bad to worse during 1994 and they decide to go away on a Murder Mystery weekend with several Neighbours. Things are still tense. The next day, neighbour Cheryl Stark (Caroline Gillmer) discovers Julie's body at the foot of the stairs. Julie lies comatose in hospital for several days and Philip keeps a bedside vigil. Julie dies and Philip is grief-stricken. He is subsequently arrested at Julie's cremation and charged with her murder. Debbie eventually reveals that she saw Julie fall from the top balcony of the hotel whilst drunk the night before her body was discovered. Philip is then exonerated and falls into a depression and begins drinking. After being arrested for drink-driving and learning that Hannah had an accident while he was drunk, Philip begins to pull himself together.

With Julie dead and Michael and Debbie gone, Philip relies on help from Helen to bring up Hannah. Philip begins a relationship with Jen Handley, which Hannah is ecstatic about. However, the relationship later ends. Shortly after Helen suffers a stroke and is hospitalised, Philip meets Ruth Wilkinson, the mother of Hannah's ex-boyfriend, Lance (Andrew Bibby) and they clash over Helen's care. Philip and Ruth kiss on Christmas Day 1996, which is witnessed by Lance who handles it badly. Eventually, all their respective children accept the couple. Philip and Ruth's relationship goes through several tests including Helen's death in 1997, Philip's proposal seconds before Ruth's other son, Ben Atkins (Brett Cousins) is injured in a racing car accident and Ruth's breast cancer scare. The couple marry, but Hannah finds it hard to adjust and she goes to stay in Paris for six months.

Philip gets a new job in Darwin, he and Ruth are keen to pack up and move, but Hannah is reluctant at first as she feels she will be leaving behind memories of various friends and family who have died in the years previous, but she agrees to leave and in 1999 they bid farewell to Erinsborough. The family settle in Darwin near the Willis family.

A few years later, in 2005, Philip and Doug Willis (Terence Donovan) return to Erinsborough to pay their old mate Lou Carpenter (Tom Oliver) a visit and to watch the screening of Annalise Hartman's (Kimberly Davies) documentary about Ramsay Street. At the Scarlet bar while conversing with former neighbour, Susan Kennedy (Jackie Woodburne), Philip bumps into his former brother-in-law, Paul, and immediately launches a verbal tirade at him for framing him for fraud twelve years earlier. Doug and Paul's sister, Lucy (Melissa Bell) quickly break up the fight. Despite this, Philip has a great time catching up with old friends then returns home to Ruth in Darwin after watching the documentary.


For his portrayal of Philip, Rawlings was nominated for "Best Supporting Actor" at the 1997 Inside Soap Awards.[10] The BBC said Philip's most notable moment was "Coping with Julie's death after she fell off a roof."[11] In 2010, to celebrate Neighbours' 25th anniversary Sky, a British satellite broadcasting company, profiled twenty-five characters of which they believed were the most memorable in the series history.[12] Phillip is in the list and describing him they state: "Nice? Yes. Down on his luck? Of course. Cuddly Phil was an upbeat family man, but unfortunately that family included his manipulative son Michael (when he wasn't in 'juvvie', of course), shrieking harpy of a wife Julie, and not-at-all-needy Debbie and Hannah. Life got better for everyone after Julie died, even when he had to contend with new wife Ruth. With his ability to smile through whatever scrunchie-based arguments his daughters seemed to get into on a daily basis, Phil embodied the gloriously happy-go-lucky period of Neighbours in the mid-nineties."[12]


  1. ^ Herbison, Jason (21 August – 3 September 1999). "Neighbours stars axed!". Inside Soap (134): 45.
  2. ^ Green, Kris (14 April 2005). "More Neighbours returns confirmed". Digital Spy. Hachette Filipacchi UK. Retrieved 26 May 2010.
  3. ^ Dainty, Sophie (31 October 2017). "Neighbours brings back Philip Martin and Stingray Timmins for Halloween time-travelling series". Digital Spy. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Jen makes her move!". Inside Soap (40): 12. November 1995.
  5. ^ Malins, Sue (14 August 1996). "Don't label me another Kylie". Daily Mirror. Trinity Mirror. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
  6. ^ a b c "Character: Ruth Wilkinson". BBC. 13 April 2005. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
  7. ^ a b Miller, John (14 August 1997). "Love is never black and white". Daily Record. Trinity Mirror. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
  8. ^ a b c "And so are we!". Inside Soap (112): 18–9. 17–20 October 1998.
  9. ^ Baker, Tina (November 1999). "The long kiss goodbye...". Soaplife (4): 40.
  10. ^ "The 1997 Inside Soap Awards". Inside Soap (76): 48, 49. 31 May – 13 June 1997.
  11. ^ "Character: Philip Martin". BBC. Archived from the original on 21 May 2004. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
  12. ^ a b "Neighbours: 25 Top Characters". Sky. 2010. Archived from the original on 23 March 2010. Retrieved 26 April 2010.

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