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upset the applecart

Gail Robinson

Gail Robinson (née Lewis) is a fictional character on Australian soap opera Neighbours, first appearing in 1987, portrayed by Fiona Corke.

1961–1987

Adopted by mechanic Rob Lewis and his wife Brenda, Gail Lewis grew up an ambitious and bright young woman who opted for a career as an air stewardess. It was here that Gail met and fell for Paul Robinson, who was training to be an air steward at the time. A brief romance developed between the two, but it fizzled out after and Paul went on to marry Terry Inglis, a marriage that lasted only months and ended badly, after which Paul quit the airline and started managing the Daniels Corporation. Gail, meanwhile, went on to marry racing car driver Jeremy Lord. The marriage was a disaster and after the death of her mother, Gail divorced Jeremy and left the airline.

Enter Gail

She re-entered Paul's life when she applied for the job as his Number Two at the Daniels Corporation and moved with Rob to No. 22 Ramsay Street - two doors up from Paul and his family. Recognising Gail's keen head for business, Paul took her on at the Daniels Corporation, and as they started working together again, the feelings they had for each other began to resurface. But due to the failures of both their marriages, Gail and Paul were reluctant to get involved with each other.

Jeremy Lord upset the applecart by turning up in Erinsborough and causing Paul to feel intense jealousy. Jeremy began to wine and dine Gail, and as the old spark between them began to re-ignite, Jeremy proposed again. Just as Gail was beginning to fall in love with Jeremy all over again, he was killed in a racing car accident. Paul was on hand to comfort Gail as she came to terms with her grief and the shock discovery that Jeremy had actually been married. Gail and Paul ended up kissing spontaneously after signing a lucrative business deal, but Paul quickly pulled away and apologised for what had happened.

When Paul realised the only way to clinch a property deal with influential Japanese businessman Mr Udugawawas to get married - Udugawa preferred dealing with a family man - Gail was quick to accept Paul's suggestion that they enter into a marriage of convenience. They fooled family, friends and associates with their marriage but the game was nearly up when cousin Hilary Robinson stayed at No. 22 for the wedding of Paul's brother Scott Robinson to Charlene Mitchell and found Paul and Gail sleeping in separate rooms. Luckily, they persuaded Hilary that they had simply had a row the night before and got away with their deception. Slowly, the couple began to fall in love with each other, and Gail loved being part of the Robinson family, becoming particularly close to Paul's gran, Helen Daniels. But because of the rules of their "hands off" nuptials, neither could bring themselves to express their true feelings.

When Paul unveiled plans to pull down the landmark Waterhole pub at Lassiter’s and replace it with something more modern and luxurious, Gail felt quite strongly that the pub was an integral part of the complex and should be preserved. Having worked hard preparing a report on why it should be saved from demolition, Gail was both surprised and delighted when Paul and his aunt Rosemary Daniels, the overall owner of the complex, agreed with her and she was charged with the task of filming a promotional video to showcase what Lassiter’s Hotel had to offer for the American tourist market. Having enlisted Mike Young as camera man, Gail asked Jane Harris, Paul’s secretary, to be the on-camera presenter. But Jane balked at the idea, leading Paul to suggest Gail present the piece herself. Gail agreed to give it a shot and had everything meticulously prepared as the day of filming arrived. However, the one thing Gail hadn’t counted on was the interfering presence of local busybody Eileen Clarke. Eileen worked at the Coffee Shop and was due to film her own piece at the end of the day, but she involved herself in the filming from the outset, giving the various Lassiter’s staff who were appearing on the video tips on how best to present themselves on camera and accidentally wandering into the backgrounds of all the shots. Gail quickly had enough of Eileen’s appearances and asked her to stop, but Eileen argued that she was adding authenticity to the film and making the place look busy. Relegated to the Coffee Shop, Eileen was forced to wait for her turn to appear but she was disgusted when Gail had the audacity to suggest she run through her lines before they film her piece and reminded Gail of all the live audiences she had effortlessly performed to as part of the Erinsborough Musical Society. However, it seemed Eileen wasn’t the pro she thought she was for when the camera started rolling, Eileen was unable to speak and was frozen with stage fright.

Both the Lassiter's video and plans for the upgrade of The Waterhole had impressed Rosemary so much that she asked Gail to write her a full and frank report on the entire Lassiter’s operation, much to the dismay of Paul, who felt Gail could potentially do him damage in the eyes of Rosemary if she criticised the running of the hotel in any way. In fact, Paul was so uncomfortable with the situation that he became paranoid about what exactly Gail was putting in the report and she caught him trying to take a peek at it when she left it on her desk at the office. Angry at Paul’s mistrust in her, Gail angrily assured him that there was nothing but praise for him in the report and accused him of acting as though she and Rosemary had been out to get him. Paul apologised for his behaviour and managed to diffuse the tension just as Gail was beginning to think about quitting.

When Glen Matheson, an old friend from her air stewarding days, called Gail out of the blue when he was in town for a few days and invited her to lunch, Gail jumped at the chance to reacquaint herself with him. There had been a flicker of romance between Gail and Glen when they worked together, but before anything happened, she had met and fallen in love with Jeremy. Although Gail invited Paul along to the lunch with Glen, he excused himself by claiming he had too much work on at the office, but what Gail failed to realise was that he was eaten up with jealousy. Throughout the dinner, meanwhile, Gail was preoccupied and could only talk about Paul, leading Glen to concede to her that he had been wasting his time thinking there might be a chance of anything happening between them because she was clearly in love with her husband.

But the next time Glen was in town, Gail jumped at the chance of spending time with him, including agreeing to spend the day horse riding at his friend’s country retreat. Gail had fallen out with Paul after he clashed with Rob over a contract he had to service the hotel guests’ cars, and she relished the opportunity to get back at him by seeing Glen. Such was Gail’s anger towards Paul that she ended up confessing all to Glen about the marriage of convenience and their day of horse-riding subsequently ended in a kiss. Gail retracted straight away and explained to Glen that she had just been using him to distract herself from her true feelings for Paul. Glen understood where she was coming from and after dropping her home, he innocently kissed her goodbye. However, that kiss was witnessed by Helen, who, having had an inkling that all was not right between Gail and Paul for some time, confronted Gail about her feelings for both Glen and Paul. When pressed whether or not she truly did love Paul, Gail admitted that she did, and much more than he realised, a comment overheard by Paul. When Paul called Gail on what he had heard her tell Helen, Gail brushed it off, pointing out that she couldn’t very well tell Helen that they were actually only married for business reasons. Paul then went a step further and pressed Gail on her feelings for Glen, which she told him were none of his business, reminding him they were only married on paper.

Gail, meanwhile, had piqued Rosemary’s interest so much with her recent spate of top notch work for the corporation, that she invited her to spend a few weeks with her at the New York branch of the Daniels Corporation. As Gail had been finding it increasingly difficult to hide her love for Paul, she happily agreed to go, hoping the time away would help her sort out her head once and for all. When she returned a few weeks later, Paul had resolved to confess his love for her and had gone all out to welcome her home with a romantic dinner at No.22. But Gail had decided while she was away that there was no future for her and Paul and she dropped a bombshell on him when she got home by announcing she wanted a divorce. Paul reacted bitterly to her decision by pretending he couldn’t care less and made plans to move into Lassiter’s. But before he left, he gave Gail the marriage blessing Mr Udugawa had given them which prompted Gail to plead with Paul to show his feelings once and for all. But still scared to expose himself fully to her, Paul told Gail he was just being sensible and went ahead with moving out. Ramsay Street’s resident gossip Mrs Nell Mangel spotted Paul packing his bags into his car and was quick to spread word around the neighbourhood that the Robinson’s marriage was on the rocks.

Although they had separated, Gail and Paul agreed they made a good team at the Daniels Corporation and vowed to carry on working together. But the tension between them quickly became unbearable and Gail resigned. Glen tried to make Gail see sense when he found out she had given up on both Paul and her job, but Gail had convinced herself that leaving Paul was the best thing she had done since she married him. And a convenient escape plan presented itself when Rosemary, unwilling to lose Gail from the corporation, offered her a job as her executive assistant in New York, and Gail accepted.

But just as Gail was about to leave Paul behind, Scott intervened and tried desperately to persuade both her and Paul that they were made for each other and it was evident to everyone how crazy they were about each other. As Scott drove Gail to the airport, he made a quick detour to Lassiter’s where the locals had gathered for a Christmas knees-up at the Waterhole. Just as Gail had said her goodbyes to everyone and was about to leave for the airport, Paul stopped her and told her he loved her. Gail was thrilled, and agreed to stay in Erinsborough. After relocating to the same bedroom, Paul and Gail affirmed their love and commitment for each other properly by renewing their wedding vows at the wedding of Paul's father Jim Robinson to Beverly Marshall on St. Valentine's Day 1988.

Gail and Paul were anxious to start a family, but Gail was devastated to discover she was infertile. Paul was fiercely supportive of Gail's predicament, and began making plans to begin having IVF treatment. But after the discovery that Paul had fathered a child, Amy, with Nina Williams, an old flame from his airline days, Gail feared Paul would no longer want to have children with her. However, she was proved wrong, and the couple embarked on a rigorous and expensive IVF programme. They were thrilled when the treatment paid off and Gail discovered that she was finally pregnant - with triplets!

Gail was less than pleased, meanwhile, when Rob introduced her to the larger than life widow Gloria Gardner and announced he was getting married to her. Gail found Gloria unsuitable for her father due to Gloria's garish dress sense and loud mouth. But she soon realised that Rob and Gloria were devoted to each other and Gloria was good for her father. After giving her blessing to the couple, they were married and Gail and Gloria ended up becoming good friends.

The prospect of becoming a mother led Gail to embark on a quest to track down her real parents, much to the disappointment of Rob. Although she discovered her real mother had died, Gail was pleased to find her biological father, Ian Chadwick. They met and shared an emotional reunion, but Rob was so unhappy about the meeting that he cornered Ian and pleaded with him to leave Gail alone. However, after Gail assured Rob that he would always be her real father, Rob apologised for his reaction and gave Gail his blessing to keep in touch with Ian.

Meanwhile, the pregnancy proved to be a difficult one for Gail and Paul. The expense of the IVF programme meant that Paul needed to work extremely hard to ensure he could maintain the affluent lifestyle he and Gail had become accustomed to, as well as preparing for the daunting prospect of having three children on the way. The pregnancy also started making Gail forgetful and absent-minded, prompting Paul to tell her to stay at home for some rest. But soon tired of being cooped up at home, Gail opted to spend an afternoon at the mall one day and bumped into neighbour Madge Bishop there who joined her for some shopping. But when Gail saw an expensive gold pen and thought Paul might like it as a present, she ended up putting it in her handbag without realising. Then as she and Madge were leaving the mall, Gail was shocked to be stopped by a security guard. After being charged with shoplifting, Madge brought a shaken Gail back to the Coffee Shop, where Madge’s husband Harold made her some tea to calm her nerves. Gail admitted she was more worried about what the incident would do to Paul since he had been so stressed lately, and she begged Madge and Harold not to tell him what had happened. But unable to keep it all bottled up, Gail decided to tell Paul. However, just as she prepared to tell Paul at the Coffee Shop, an incident developed whereby Harold caught a customer leaving without paying. After Harold agreed to take the customer's word that he had genuinely forgotten, Paul told Harold that all shoplifters should be locked up - leading Gail to change her mind about telling Paul. However, Gail's secret was finally revealed to Paul when a police officer arrived at No. 22 with a summons for Gail. Paul was shocked to learn of Gail's shoplifting charge, but after digesting the information, told her he understood her reasons for not telling him. However, after Paul told Gail she was incapable of running a business because of her recent forgetfulness, Gail hit the roof and a blazing row ensued, before Paul apologised and they made up.

Tragedy struck as Gail reached the end of her pregnancy when Rob was involved in a fatal car crash and died. What made the loss of her father most hard to bear for Gail was the fact that Paul had - as she saw it - caused Rob's death. The two had been engaged in a vicious argument where Paul accused Rob of dealing in stolen car parts, and Rob had stormed off in a rage, culminating in the car accident. Thus, Gail held Paul responsible for her father's death, and coupled with Paul's continuing devotion to his business empire, the future of their marriage looked decidedly shaky.

After Rob's funeral, a wake was held at the Robinson house, during which Paul left early to catch up on some work at the office. This was the final straw for Gail, and after bidding Gloria, Jim, Beverly and Helen goodbye, she went back to No. 22 to pack her bags. Leaving a note for Paul in which she told him she could no longer stay married to him because she feared their marriage would revert back to a business arrangement once again, a heavily pregnant Gail left for Tasmania, where Ian lived. Soon after arriving there, she gave birth to Robert, Cameron and Lucinda. Paul flew out to see his children and attempt a reconciliation with Gail, but she was determined the marriage was over. The couple did make their peace, however, and agreed to remain friends. Gail subsequently found love again in Tasmania, and Paul signed over full rights to the triplets to him after he and Gail married - although Gail assured Paul that he could visit the triplets as often as he liked.

It was to be almost two decades before Gail would return to Erinsborough again. In the intervening years, a lot had changed. Paul had remarried, divorced, absconded to Brazil after committing fraud, and served a number of years in prison before resettling in Ramsay Street. Meanwhile in Tasmania, Gail’s marriage proved to be short-lived and she brought up the triplets alone. While Cameron and Lucinda, or Elle as she came to be known as she got older, adjusted fine to the absence of a father figure in their lives, Robert never forgave his father for what he considered to be a complete abandonment of the family and as a result, was always more different and withdrawn from his siblings. Gail also removed herself from the high powered world of big business and started her own nursery, a career path that proved to be much more rewarding and less pressurised. Elle was the first of the triplets to fly the coop, tracking Paul down in Erinsborough when she was 18 and moving in with him at No.22. Cameron was next to leave when he also followed Elle to Erinsborough and Robert left for a trip overseas at around the same time.

But Gail was stunned when she received the horrifying news that Robert had never gone away at all and had actually been put in a coma by Cameron – after an elaborate set of events that had been put in motion by a psychologically disturbed Robert some months earlier. Robert had actually put Cameron in a coma at St. Luke’s Hospice in the countryside before assuming his identity and joining Elle and Paul in Erinsborough. While tricking all around him, Robert plotted to destroy his father and everyone who meant anything to him – even planting a bomb in Elle’s car and trying to poison Paul. Events came to a head when Cameron awoke from his coma, but Robert was the only person to discover this at first. After a struggle with Cameron at the hospice, Robert was knocked out – and Cameron fled. When he woke up, Robert took Cameron’s place in the hospital bed to pretend he had been the one in the coma all along. Meanwhile, the Robinsons began to realise that ‘Cameron’ had been trying to kill them all for months and had him arrested when he showed up on Ramsay Street – not realising that the real Cameron who was now upon them had been the one who was truly in a coma for months.

It was into this set of complex events that Gail returned to Erinsborough, coming face to face with Paul for the first time in over ten years at the bedside of Robert. Straight away the old feelings between the pair resurfaced – with Gail angrily accusing Paul of ruining their children's’ lives by putting the almighty dollar first as always before calming down afterwards and having a coffee with him. Unable to turn her back on Cameron, Gail then headed to the police station to speak to her son, and afterwards, was sure something was amiss. Paul insisted on Gail staying at her old home, No.22, although she came into conflict straight away with Paul’s new love, Izzy Hoyland, who accused Gail of being a bad mother for producing such an evil son. Paul managed to assure Gail that he didn’t see it that way and the pair caught up on old times when they were finally left alone at No.22.

Once Robert was released from hospital, the Robinsons were all reunited under one roof, with the exception of Cameron who was languishing in police custody for crimes he didn’t commit. Robert was disgusted that Gail and Paul were getting on so well, and told Gail that he was only there for her. But Gail urged Robert to mend some fences with his father and get to know him better. Meanwhile, Gail was getting to know Paul better all over again. After telling Paul she wanted to visit the graves of the now deceased Helen and Jim while she was in town, Paul took Gail by surprise when he expressed a desire to visit Rob’s grave too with her and apologised for walking out on her father’s funeral to go back to the office all those years ago. Touched by the sentiment, Gail got caught up in the moment and kissed Paul, although the re-igniting of their old chemistry was short-lived as Robert saw the embrace and interrupted them. However, Gail was thrilled when Robert suggested he and Paul go away on a camping trip together for a few days.

Something continued to nag at Gail as Robert and Paul prepared to leave for their trip. Before going camping, Gail and Robert visited Cameron in prison who went crazy when Robert mentioned he was going away with Paul and warned Gail that Paul’s life would be in danger. Gail’s unease increased when Robert cryptically told her as he left for the trip that anything he had ever done was for her. The final proof that Robert was actually the maniac in the family came when Katya Kinski, who had been dating ‘Cameron’ arrived at No.22 insisting that it had actually been Robert she had been involved with because she had just bumped into him at the pub and had a flashback to a previous brush with him. Fearing for Paul’s safety, Gail phoned Robert and her worst fears were realised when Robert was distant as he spoke to her and told her Paul was too busy to come to the phone. This prompted Gail, Elle and Izzy to follow them to the bush in pursuit of Paul. But Robert had already drugged Paul and trapped him in an old mineshaft, before exposing himself as the mastermind behind all the recent crimes when Paul woke up. Robert then left Paul in the shaft and collapsed the entrance, leaving his father behind to be buried alive.

When Gail, Izzy and Elle came across Robert at the camping site and questioned him about Paul’s whereabouts, he became agitated, threw a shovel at them and fled – leaving the women with no idea where Paul was. As emergency services were brought in to help search the area, Gail came across an old photo of her and Paul lying on the ground which Robert had thrown at Paul before leaving him in the shaft. Paul had managed to poke the picture through a tiny hole in the shaft and when Gail found it, she cried out for Paul and was relieved to hear him calling back at her from underground. Once Paul was finally rescued, he was brought back to Erinsborough Hospital where a delighted Gail showed signs of becoming increasingly close to him. Izzy warned her off Paul, but Gail was harbouring such strong feelings for him that she couldn’t help herself and when she told Paul about Izzy’s warning, Paul told Gail that they would always share something special and he wasn’t prepared to throw it all away due to a tantrum from Izzy. Izzy became so irked by the couple’s bond that she made a catty, throwaway suggestion that they get married again – an idea that Paul seized on as it would be just the thing to bring Robert out of hiding.

Before long, plans were afoot for what would be Gail and Paul’s third wedding ceremony, even though this one was purely designed as a ruse to catch Robert. A newspaper article was written about the nuptials which was seen by Robert and he made his way back to Erinsborough on the day to disrupt proceedings. Meanwhile, Gail and Paul put so much effort into the wedding that it looked and felt so real they were quickly caught up in the emotion of it all. Gail was particularly touched when Paul broke away from the prepared vows and spoke from the heart about how blessed he was to have found her again. The ceremony was interrupted, however, when an impatient Paul began calling out for Robert to show himself – an act which finally prompted Robert to shoot at his father from the bushes he had been hiding in. However, the police had predicted such a move and Paul had been wearing a bullet proof vest. Robert was arrested, and Gail faced one of the most difficult moments of her life when her “Robbie” called out for her support and she turned her back on him.

With Robert in prison, Cameron released and the drama of recent times behind them, the Robinsons tried to start again as a family, but Paul was behaving in a strange way and almost seemed to enjoy the battle for his affections that was raging between Gail and Izzy, not to mention his personal assistant Lyn Scully. Events came to a head when the family went for dinner and Cameron hit it off with the beautiful Lilly DeRouge. After dinner, Paul excused himself to attend a business meeting but Gail and Izzy became suspicious when Lyn called over to No.22 knowing nothing about any such meeting. Gail and Izzy went down to Lassiter’s were they were shocked to find Paul in bed with Lilly and Gail decided that whatever she thought she and Paul could have together, there was no chance of reconciliation after all. The next day, Gail returned to Tasmania, leaving Elle and Cameron behind to continue getting to know their father better and urging Paul to seek some professional help before it was too late.

Gail’s world was shattered soon after when Cameron was knocked down and killed by Max Hoyland, who had mistaken him for Robert and had thought he was chasing after Katya when, in fact, he was only running after her with her handbag. Paul and Elle brought Cameron’s body home to Tasmania for burial, where the relationship between Gail and Paul hit an all-time-low as Gail blamed Paul for effectively costing her her two boys and she vowed never to speak to him again.

But the following year, when Paul had to undergo life saving surgery to remove a tumour that had been growing on his brain for a number of years and woke up unable to recall anything that had happened to him since the late 1980s, Gail returned to Erinsborough upon receiving a confused call from Paul declaring his love for her. It transpired that Elle hadn’t told Paul the full story about the type of person he had become and he knew nothing of the things that had happened between him and Gail. Gail was initially highly sceptical of Paul’s memory loss, believing it to be a convenient way for him to crawl back into people’s good books and she rejected Elle’s pleas to keep the truth from him. However, as soon as Gail came face to face with Paul again, she was shocked by how much he had reverted back to the man she had first fallen in love with and realised that the brain tumour must have been what caused his bad behaviour in recent years. Unable to bring herself to hurt him, Gail agreed to go along with Elle’s plan and spare Paul from knowing the truth about his past.

But their plans changed when Paul overheard Gail and Elle discussing all the pain he had caused people, particularly in the months leading up to his operation where he had become more embittered and hard hearted than ever before. On the eve of his discharge from the hospital, Gail told Paul everything and he was stunned as he realised all the things that he had done to his family and friends, and by extension, what Robert had done. Upon returning to Ramsay Street, Paul broke down at a party Elle had organised to celebrate his homecoming and he begged the forgiveness of his neighbours and friends for the hurt he had caused them.

Gail was forced to act as a peace broker between Paul and Elle after Elle overheard Paul complaining about how, given he couldn’t remember her or any of his other children, he had no feelings for her. Having stormed off to Lassiter’s, Gail followed her daughter and tried to persuade her to return to Tasmania. But Elle tried to make out that she was too focused on her career at Lassiter’s to think about leaving Erinsborough, leading Gail to conclude that there must be something other than work and her father keeping Elle in town. After managing to persuade Paul to come down to Lassiter’s to patch things up with Elle, Gail realised that there must be something going on between Elle and Oliver Barnes, the new co-owner of Lassiter's, when he emerged from a suite with Elle just as Gail and Paul arrived. While Paul and Elle agreed to give their father/daughter relationship a chance, Gail cornered Oliver in the hotel lobby and warned him not to mess with her daughter’s feelings, particularly since he was already seeing Carmella Cammeniti. Oliver assured Gail that she had nothing to worry about, but Gail reminded him that she knew all about men like him as she had married one.

As Paul settled back into some sort of normality on Ramsay Street, Gail found herself being drawn to him all over again. After spending a night in front of a movie at No.22 with Elle, Paul pleaded with Gail to give their marriage another shot. At first reluctant, Gail succumbed and she and Paul slept together. The next day, Paul whisked Gail and Elle off to the countryside for a family picnic but Gail gradually realised that they couldn’t simply wash away the past twenty years and live as if nothing had happened for any of them in between. Although still in love with Paul, Gail explained to him that she couldn’t bring herself to fully reunite with him as his wife and left Paul devastated by returning to Tasmania, although this time promising to stay in touch.

References

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