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Tears Flow as 'Super-Bitch' Quits Series

Farewells were said in private this week as Rowena Wallace taped her last episode of Sons and Daughters.

It was the actress' 540th program of playing super-bitch Patricia Hamilton - a role originally planned to be no bigger than any other in Channel 7's now-three-year-old soapie.

But, as Sons and Daughters steadily grew in popularity, the character of Pat the Rat saw Miss Wallace become the undisputed series star.

And not just in Australia, but in Britain and Holland where the show commands huge audiences.

One would have thought, then, that a fittingly large party would have been thrown to mark the actress' departure.

Channel 7 said it was only too happy to have turned on the works, but Miss Wallace didn't want a fuss.

She asked for no media hype, just the weekly S&D drinks and chat that have been held in a recording studio at Channel 7 since the series started in 1981.

They're always on a Wednesday night and it was on Wednesday of this week that Rowena Wallace said goodbye to Pat the Rat.

A spokesman for Channel 7 said it was a teary affair.

The day started with a deluge of champagne and flowers from friends and fans who knew the last episode was being taped.

The spokeswoman said Miss Wallace's dressing room was like something out of a movie, with couriers trying to find spaces for the every-mounting number of floral tributes.

Once program 540 was out of the way, it was to the recording studio where the champagne was uncorked and a presentation made.

No problem with the going away gift. The cast and crew had put in for a gold chain with, not inappropriately, a rat on the end.

The spokeswoman would not release details of the farewell speeches, but said Miss Wallace was regarded as a great workmate by all the Sons and Daughters crew and words spoken in her honor that night left not a dry eye.

The night held another sadness, too. John Holmes, producer of the series, announced he was leaving to take charge of Channel 7's new soapie, Living Together, which will got to air early next year.

Despite all these happenings, it wasn't a late night.

Miss Wallace has been ill lately and she and most of the crew were off the next day to Queensland to prepare for this weekend's wedding of fellow Sons and Daughters actor Ian Rawlings.

Information on how Pat the Rat leaves Sons and Daughters is strictly classified.

All the spokeswoman would say was that it is the series' best cliffhanger. It will go to air next March or April.

Three weeks later, a new super-bitch will enter Sons and Daughters.

Abigail, the actress who bared all in Number 96, will make her entrance as Caroline, the first wife of Pat the Rat's former husband, Stephen.

When the Abigail announcement was made this week, Channel 7 said the character would prove even more ruthless than Miss Wallace's role.

Thousands of Pat the Rat fans will find that hard to believe.

And, whether you are a soapie follower or not, few people who have seen Rowena Wallace perform could say she was an easy act to follow.

The elegant multi-Logie winner has the indefinable on-screen talent that makes for star quality.

Off-screen, she's one of the most charming women you're ever likely to meet. Not a rat at all.


By: Pam Corkery
Source: Sunday Telegraph (Australia)
Date: 30 September 1984


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