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Hey Dad..! is an Australian sitcom produced by Gary Reilly Productions, originally airing from 1987 to 1994 on the Seven Network.


Hey Dad..! is set in the Sydneymarker suburb of Chatswoodmarker, where Martin Kelly is left to singlehandedly raise his children Simon, Debbie and Jenny after the death of his wife Margaret three years prior.

Martin runs his own architectural business from home, and employs Betty Wilson -- a ditsy but good-natured cousin of the Kellys from the country town of Walgettmarker -- as his secretary.

Many episodes deal with the daily stresses Martin faces as the family patriarch, such as settling squabbles amongst his children, being forced to endure Betty's elaborate excuses for tardiness, and his frustration with her delayed productivity at work. Another source of agitation for Martin is the ever-present uninvited visits from Simon's best friend Nudge, a neighbour who constantly helps himself to whatever food he can find in the Kellys' kitchen.

In early episodes, the show touches briefly upon how the characters are struggling to deal with the absence of Margaret from their lives. Martin also breaks the fourth wall several times to deliver sarcastic one-liners to camera, but this trait is quickly dropped after the first 12 episodes.

Character replacements

As the series progresses, the original characters move out of the house one by one. New characters are then introduced, in order to keep the balance of the show's cast intact. The roles of two of the family's children - Simon and Jenny - were also recast during the show's run after the original actors left the series.

In season 5, Debbie moves to Dunk Islandmarker to work as a waitress, and is replaced with new character Samantha Kelly (Sam), a niece of Martin's from Hong Kongmarker, who promptly moves in with the Kellys. After Nudge vanishes without explanation between seasons 5 and 6, a schoolboy named Arthur MacArthur becomes the new neighbour to regularly visit the Kellys. At the end of season 6, Simon moves out, leaving his friend Ben to move into Simon's room. At the end of season 12, Martin leaves for a $300,000-per-year contract to design and build a deep water port and mini-city in Saudi Arabiamarker, leaving his house and business in the care of friend Greg Russell. Sam moves to Adelaide soon after, opening the door for Greg's daughter Tracy to move in.

Final episode

By the time the final episode takes place, Betty and Jenny are the only characters to remain from the pilot episode, and Jenny is portrayed by a different actress by this stage. Betty's portrayer Julie McGregor is the only original cast member to remain throughout the entire series.

In the series finale, the entire family is confined to the house with a fugitive bank robber holding the characters hostage. The robber places a bomb in the family's VCR, as leverage with the police. The bomb presumably detonates, at which point the cast break the fourth wall to thank the studio audience.


Main characters

Recurring characters

  • Stan Hickey – Bill Young (episodes 17, 33, 48, 55, 73, 91, 92, 93, 130, 143, 164, 188, 189, 200)
  • Lyn Parker – Mary Lou Stewart (episodes 233, 239, 241, 244, 246, 248, 251, 253, 255, 264)
  • Grandma Lois Kelly – Moya O'Sullivan (episodes 3, 21, 40, 71, 86, 134, 167)
  • Jeanette Taylor – Joanne Samuel (episodes 67, 87, 93, 100, 114, 121, 134)
  • Det. Sgt. Anne Burke – Tina Bursill (episodes 10, 11, 15, 22, 28, 34)
  • Shelley – Beth Champion (episodes 214, 221, 224, 229)
  • Elaine – Beth Buchanan (episodes 88, 98, 116)
  • Katie – Kate Morris (episodes 102, 110, 120)
  • Karen – Rebecca Cross (episodes 176, 186, 187)
  • Belinda – Naomi Watts (episodes 148, 153)
  • Mr. Blunt – Doug Scroope (episodes 149, 220)
  • Tessa MacArthur – Tayce Krok (episodes 184, 276)
  • Jolanda LeClerk – Nikki Coghill (episodes 193, 203)
  • Bruno – Rod Zuanic (episodes 197, 213)
  • Glenda the Bag Lady – Julie Haseler (episodes 262, 282)


The Hey Dad..! pilot was recorded in September 1985, but it sat around for several months, as network television executives were initially reluctant to take on the show. Twelve episodes were then recorded in mid-1986. The series was very close to being cancelled before it was even aired, but, ultimately, the Seven Network decided to give it a chance and bought the series, airing the first episode on 11 February 1987.

One episode was taped per week. Rehearsals generally started on a Tuesday, and were held each day until Saturday, when taping would take place before a studio audience at ATN Channel 7 Studiosmarker in Eppingmarker, New South Walesmarker. The same episode was recorded twice on the same night in front of two different audiences. The taping with the better overall performance and more enthusiastic audience response was usually selected as the one to be aired, although sometimes, the best takes from both tapings would be combined in post-production.

Production took a temporary break in mid-1991, as another Gary Reilly sitcom featuring Betty Wilson, Hampton Court, was produced. Hey Dad..! production resumed afterwards, and Seven decided not to renew Hampton Court for a second season.
The exterior of the Kelly house
Hey Dad..! often used the same studio as another Seven Network series Home and Away. The night before Hey Dad..! was to be recorded in front of an audience, the crew would work overnight to take down the Home and Away set, replacing it with the Hey Dad..! set. After the Hey Dad..! tapings concluded on Saturday night, the Hey Dad..! set would be dismantled and replaced with the Home and Away set once again. This was a regular occurrence for the entire run of the series.

The exterior shots of the Kelly house were filmed using a miniature model constructed by British artist and designer Mike Worrall. Recording of the exteriors took place in-studio over the course of a two-day period, undergoing a range of lighting situations to re-create various weather conditions and times of day. Producers often found themselves taking phone calls from people wanting to know the address of the house, with the hope of purchasing it and moving in.

After the series ended, the model was stored by the producers, as no museums were able to take it at the time. However, the model eventually disintegrated while in storage, and is no longer in existence.


International versions

The series was sold to over 20 countries worldwide. Having been translated and dubbed into several different languages, the show was highly popular in Francemarker, Spainmarker, and throughout Asia in the 1990s. However, a significant portion of its international fanbase comes from Germanymarker, with critical praise often being given to German voice over artist Arne Elsholtz for his work as translator, while also voicing Martin in the German version of episodes 1 to 149.


A spoof by Peter Broelman titled Hey Dud! appeared in issue 291 of MAD Magazine's Australian edition, featuring characters such as Barfin' Killjoy, Petty, Simple, Dunny, Junky and Bludge. Coincidentally, 291 would also become the eventual number of episodes aired in the series.

In September 2006, satirical comedy 'current affairs' show Real Stories aired a fictional story about an up-and-coming director attempting to make a feature film of Hey Dad..! The film was to be titled "Hey Dad..! The Movie" and was to star Stephen Curry (who made a cameo appearance in the Real Stories episode) as Hey Dad..! character Nudge.


Book/CD/DVD releases

  • The Betty Wilson Secretarial Companion (Paperback) - Written by Gary Reilly & John Flanagan; Published by Penguin Books Australia Ltd. (August 2 1990)
  • Martin vs Betty - The Best of Hey Dad - A CD compilation of audio clips from the show, released by Rich River Records (1991).
  • The Best of Hey Dad..! Volume 1 - A collection of 13 episodes released through Shock DVD (March 18 2007).
  • The Best of Hey Dad..! Volume 2 - A second set of 13 episodes released through Shock DVD (February 18 2008).
  • Hey Dad..! Season 1 - A 5 disc set, released in Germany by Polyband (October 24 2008).
  • Hey Dad..! Season 2 - German release by Polyband (March 27 2009).
  • Hey Dad..! Season 3 - German release by Polyband (September 25 2009).

See also


External links

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