207 & 208
AIRDATES
Original -- 1984
Showcase -- 1995; Apr 13/14, 2000
GUESTS
Wendy Strehlow (Sister Judy Loveday)
Lucky Grills (Johnno)

Emily Nicol (Chloe Jones)
Frank Gallagher (Reggie Russell)
John Gregg (Harry Gray)
Ian "PeeWee" Wilson (as himself)
The Delltones (as themselves)
BEST LINE/SCENE
This was one of those episodes that really tugs at your emotions. Frank Gallagher did a fantastic job of portraying the private torture of a comic. All of the scenes in which he appeared, especially those where he WASN'T performing his comedy routine, were well done.

From my point of view, the best humourous scenes were those between Ian Wilson and Judy Loveday -- a meeting of two like minds if ever there was one. Many of their best lines are either written verbatim in this ep's description or are paraphrased there. There really were too many to reproduce here without writing out the entire script.
EPISODE TRIVIA
Reggie's youngest child is son Bruce, who is 20; his daughter Sheila somewhat older than that. He'd been separated from his wife for 10 years and divorced for 5. He hasn't heard from his kids in over 8 months.
 
 

Plotlines, characters, dialogue quotes, hospital name, house image, show photos, & show-specific details JNP Productions. The wording and presentation of the information on this site and all of the ACP graphics 1998-2000 Kitty MacAlpine (unless otherwise noted).
"The Last Laugh"

Molly prepares to harvest her crop of potatoes. Brendan thinks she's taking it a little too seriously until she tells him that they pay $22 a bag. She figures she can get 125 bags out of her one acre field, which makes $2750. Her expenses are pretty low cost and she plans on doing all the harvesting herself until they figure out just how much she'd have to heft (each bag weighs about 60 kilos). Brendan picks some leaves from one of the plants and there are little spots on them. Molly's worried that it might be Irish Blight and decides to ring the Department of Agriculture. Simon and Vicky are at the Gilroys watching a rather silly comedy show (the Reggie Russell Show) on TV. Everyone but Vicky is enjoying the show. Vicky doesn't appreciate Reggie Russell's brand of comedy. Frank, is thrilled that Johnno has managed to bring him to Wandin Valley during his Australian tour. It's been around 20 years since the episode they are watching and Vicky wonders what he's like now. Molly rings Mr. O'Reilly, the district horticultural, to come look at her potatoes but he's busy watching Reggie Russell. He'll come over in the morning. He doesn't seem to think it's Irish Blight. Molly pores over a book on potato diseases and gets more and more worried when Brendan comes across an entry for Tiger Spot that looks familiar. Bob stops by and tells her that you only see Tiger Spot in the summer. He saves her sanity by smelling the leaves and asking if the leaves were near the fence (they were). He tells her it's creosote -- he painted the fence for them a few weeks ago and must have splattered some on the plants. Molly is excited. The next morning Simon, Terence, and Shirley discuss the impending visit of Reggie Russell. Terence admits that Reggie was his first idol. A tall stranger comes in looking for a doctor for his injured hand and Terence passes him off on Simon. Shirley thinks she recognizes the stranger.

Simon examines the man's hand. He was chopping wood for his Aunt Nell and the tomahawk slipped. He says his name is Ian Wilson. Simon says he'll have to go to hospital for treatment of the tendon injury. Brendan grows impatient at the brekkie table when Molly tells him to close his eyes and hold out his hand -- she excitedly puts a huge potato in his hand. He marvels at it but wonders if it's too big to be marketable, somewhat dashing Molly's hopes. Cookie and Bob wait at Johnno's hotel for Reggie Russell to arrive. Harry Grainger, Johnno's friend, finally arrives with Reggie Russell and introduces him to the three waiting men. Reggie stands very quietly but Harry makes excuses for him being a little out of it. They've organized a little get-together for Reggie down at the Club and Reggie quietly agrees. Johnno shows Harry and Reggie to their room as Bob remarks that Reggie looks older. Simon and Ian discuss MGs. Ian calls Simon's car a toy and Simon is forced to defend it. He describes it as "sleek, beautiful, very very feminine, and boy is she a goer." Judy, who is sitting at the desk, jokingly says they must be talking about her. She berates Ian for always eating and he says the cook must be in love with him. She sends him back to his room and tells Simon how mad the man is driving her. Brendan brings in Molly's potato to show to Simon and Judy and they are less than enthusiastic; in fact they are quite mocking. They ignore him to discuss Reggie Russell and then walk off. Harry checks in with Reggie to see how things are going. He's organized some more dates and the possibility of the TV show is still out there. Reggie longs to return to England to work. He thinks he needs new material, new writers and is a little lacking in confidence. Ian wanders into the Matron's office and makes himself at home at the desk. Judy lectures him on eating and threatens to strap him to the bed (he responds with "Whatever turns you on, kid. I'm easy." She sends him back to bed yet again and he tells her his friends call him PeeWee ("Pea brain, more like!"). He asks her if she's ever heard of the Delltones and when she says no, he wanders back down the hall, singing to himself.

Brendan yells at Doris when she won't eat potatoes. They've been overdosing on potato everything lately and Brendan is going mad. She's scared to harvest the potatoes to sell. She's worried no one will buy them and feels she's failed yet again at farming. Brendan assures her he'll help her get them out of the ground and flog them. Reggie has a touch of nerves and Johnno gets him a mineral water. Harry strides out and, seeing the glass in Reggie's hand sniffs it to make sure it's not alcoholic. They leave for the Club. The Club is filling up. Frank plans on getting Reggie's autograph. Even Terence has brought one of his Reggie Russell records. He asks Shirley to get the record signed, if she gets a chance, as he's a little embarrassed to do it himself. Shirley is highly amused. Bob teases Cookie about the tux he's wearing and Cookie retaliates by remarking on the smell coming off of Bob. They start to argue just as Reggie walks in. The Club quiets down and Johnno introduces him to the crowd. Reggie doesn't say much besides thank you and then leaves the stage. Frank invites him to sit at their table. Silence reigns supreme in the Club. Gradually everyone introduces themselves to him. ian is back at the Matron's desk, talking on the phone. He's telling someone that Reggie Russell is in town. Simon walks in and Ian hangs up. Judy forces him back to his room again. She'll have to work so she won't be going to the Reggie Russell gig. Simon gets roped into helping harvest Molly's potato crop.

Frank is reminiscing to Reggie about all the great skits he did but Reggie isn't very communicative. Cookie worries that he won't be funny tomorrow ("He's as funny as a dose of malaria."). Johnno wonders what Reggie is drinking and Cookie says tomato juice. He offers to take a new drink to Reggie but spikes it with vodka before leaving the bar area. Simon finally arrives and Vicky says under her breath that he'll be disappointed. Reggie sips the drink and notices the difference but doesn't say anything. He starts to come out of himself the more he drinks and becomes more chatty and funny. Even Vicky enjoys his jokes and stories. Harry is suspicious of Reggie's newfound perkiness. He takes Reggie's drink and realizes that it contains alcohol. He tells Johnno in no uncertain terms to never give Reggie alcohol again. Harry comes to the table to take Reggie back to the hotel and Reggie instantly becomes quiet and unassuming. Later that night, Reggie sneaks down into the hotel bar and helps himself to a swig or two of booze before taking the whole bottle back upstairs with him.

He returns to his room but is interrupted by a knock on the door. It's Harry. He thought he heard Reggie leave his room. He returns to his own, taking the key to Reggie's door with him. He shuts the door and locks it behind him. Reggie is left alone with his bottle of vodka, sitting in front of the full length mirror and reliving his glory days. He starts to cry and is quite the pathetic figure of a man. The next morning, Molly and friends begin harvesting her crop. Simon complains at every turn while Bob slogs away picking up the potatoes and Molly drives the tractor. Vicky stops by to see how things are going. Vicky tells her that she has number one grade A potatoes that fish and chip shops love. Molly is relieved. Reggie stops in to see Terence. He says he's having trouble sleeping at nights and Terence offers to write a prescription for a sleeping pill. They chat a little about cricket and Reggie's start in the comedy business. It took his work mates hours to get him drunk enough to get on stage for that first talent quest. He hasn't heard from his kids in months. Back at the hotel, Harry comes back to find Reggie nearly comatose from drink and pills and he flips out. He pulls Reggie by the hair over to the sink and douses his head under the water. Reggie cowers by the bed as Harry berates and verbally abuses him. At the gig later that night, Cookie introduces Reggie to great applause. Reggie stumbles onto the stage and is very subdued and largely incoherent. He's close to tears and falls off the stool. Cookie orders the lights killed and helps him off the stage.

The next morning Shirley and Frank discuss the previous night's events. Harry has excused Reggie's actions by saying he was ill. Shirley is sympathetic but Frank is very much the disappointed fan. Molly arrives with a box of potatoes for them. Frank remarks that growing potatoes is easy, anyone can do it. Simon is walking funny after his day of hard labour at the farm. He drops a pen but can't bend over to the pick it up, he's so stiff and sore. Judy is highly amused. Simon threatens to sue Brendan for a million dollars and kill Bob for dropping a bag on his foot. Johnno talks to Harry in the hotel bar. Reggie is sleeping off the previous night's effects. Terence will be coming over to check up on him later. Harry was able to get Reggie as a new client because everyone else had given up on him. Terence arrives and they go up to Reggie's room. Harry has to unlock the door to let them in and they find Reggie lying on the bed. He's taken pills prescribed by other doctors -- there is a veritable pharmacy of them in Reggie's bag.

Terence tries to get Reggie to wake up. The pills he has are all either uppers or downers. Terence wonders that Harry lets Reggie take them but Harry says doctors keep prescribing them and Harry isn't Reggie's mother. Harry asks if Reggie will be able to perform tonight and Terence says yes, if watched. They round up all the drugs in the room and Terence takes them all away. Judy talks to Brendan about the failed Reggie Russell gig. Judy thinks he's a has-been but Brendan defends him. Ian Wilson stops by. He needs to have his bandage changed because it got wet when he showered Judy recommends he put his hand in a plastic bag to keep it dry and he says "Along with my head, eh?". Ian defends Reggie, too. Simon is still walking funny and smells of horse liniment, prescribed by Vicky. He tells Shirley that Fatso bit Vicky on the ankle while she was massaging Simon last night (Fatso thought she was attacking him). Esme rushes in to gossip about Reggie's behaviour last night. When she gets a whiff of Simon, she remarks that he smells of horses. Simon tells her it's his new after shave, redolent of grassy plains and fresh mountain air. She replies that she thinks he's been standing in something and leaves. Johnno confronts Harry about the possibility of Reggie not going on tonight. Ian walks in and Harry recognizes him immediately ("Well look who's here. All the old acts wind up in Wandin Valley."). He wants to see Reggie and is told he can't have visitors. Ian asks Harry to pass on the message that Reggie doesn't have to go on if he doesn't want to, that him and the boys will fill in for him. Bob loads up one uteful of potatoes for Molly. She's determined to get $22 per bag for them. Reggie wakes up and paces the room restlessly for awhile before finally taking a swig of vodka.

Bob puts a poster up for the Delltones. Bob tells Esme he is impressed that they're stepping in for Reggie. Molly walks into the Club in high spirits. She says Bob was right, that Flanagan started off with an offer of $14. Bob is ready to go after him. She said they dickered back and forth and he finally took the lot at $22 a bag. She pays Bob what she owes him for helping out, lending out the ute, and gas for the ute plus she left a bag of spuds in the back for him and Cookie. She buys Bob and Esme a drink. Terence arrives at the hotel in time to see Reggie sucking back some vodka. He suggests that Harry get Reggie something to eat then go for a walk. While Terence listens, Harry tries to convince Reggie to go on tonight. He seems reasonable enough but the longer you hear it the more it sounds like emotional blackmail. Terence is a little disturbed when Harry quietly tells him that if that doesn't do it, nothing will.

Terence returns with a new shirt for Reggie. He's has a shower and seems better. Terence helps him to get dressed while Reggie complains good naturedly about the low quality of the hotel. Terence wonders why Reggie didn't stay at the modern hotel in town. Terence takes Reggie's old clothes with him to get cleaned. Johnno talks to Harry about being a manager. Harry has no respect for the people he manages. Brendan returns home to find Molly painting her nails. He's finally gotten his overtime pay. Molly tells him they'll just have to put it in the bank, as she flashes a huge wad of money in front of him. He's thrilled and proud. And Molly feels like a real farmer now. They reminisce about their first meeting, in that hospital when Molly broke her leg, and agree to stay married forever. At the Club, Johnno makes Reggie's excuses for him and introduces the replacement act -- the Delltones. They sing 50's songs. The crowd loves them. Terence finishes helping Reggie but as they are about to leave the hotel room, Reggie decides he can't do it. Comedy is a tough business. Terence tries to assure him that the people in Wandin Valley are on his side, that they want him to go out there. Reggie changes his mind and decides to go. They arrive at the Club and listen to the Delltones sing "The Hop". Ian introduces Reggie at the end of their set. Reggie is in much better form and his performance is met with a standing ovation. Brendan invites Reggie over to their place tomorrow for a celebratory picnic in honour of Molly's potato crop. They play a game of cricket with Reggie as the judge. Ian stops by the hospital to find Judy singing "The Hop". He's leaving town and stopped by to say goodbye. She gives him a little kiss on the cheek and teases him about the "old timer music". Reggie is enjoying the picnic. Molly tells him about her farming and he's impressed. She's decided to try soy beans next. Terence and Frank discuss how at home Reggie seems to be and Terence says he thinks that Reggie has been more or less selling his own life to the public all along, leaving what for himself. Simon worries that Harry doesn't have Reggie's interests at heart.

Johnno answers a knock at the door and opens it to admit Reggie and Terence. Reggie had such an enjoyable day, both at the Jones farm and at the Gilroys for dinner. He and Terence have made plans for golf but their plans seem squashed by the gig Reggie has planned in Orange. When Terence insists they should have time for 9 holes at least and Harry agrees. Terence talks to Harry about how Reggie never looked for a drink the entire day, he was enjoying himself so much. Terence wonders what it would take to bring Reggie's ex-wife Jackie to Australia but Harry says she's a bigger drunk than Reggie. Terence clearly isn't impressed by Harry's attitude toward Reggie. Upstairs, Reggie calls his mum in Glasgow. His Scottish accent has returned the minute he begins speaking to her. He's called to say hello and ask after his kids. He's told that Bruce is married. Sheila is in London (but she never saw him while she was there). He insists he's fine to his mum and asks if she has Jackie's phone number. She does and she gives it to him. He promises to be home for Christmas. He takes a swig of vodka to fortify himself before calling his ex-wife. She's in France (at phone number Toulons 548777). He speaks in heavily-English-accented French to whoever answers the phone and asks to speak to Jackie when the man of the house takes the phone. When she gets on the phone, he starts to speak to her then hangs up the phone. He takes to the bottle with a vengeance. Johnno tries to convince Harry to book Reggie back in. Terence and Simon arrive to pick Reggie up for their round of golf (Harry hasn't seen him all morning). They knock at the door to find Reggie lying on the floor beside the bed. He's dead. Simon finds another stash of prescription pills in one of Reggie's other cases and the empty vodka bottle on the bedside table.

Terence tells Frank that the particular combination of pills and alcohol are responsible for Reggie's "death by misadventure". At the hotel, Harry phones the Orange club manager, Pete, and tells him that they've "had a bit of drama" and Reggie won't be appearing, you know how unreliable he is. He nevers mentions that Reggie has died and tells Pete that he has another comic for him instead. Even Johnno thinks he's a little off. Molly waters Christopher's tree. She and Brendan talk about Reggie and the impact he had on the world.

Where to now?