Alfred James "Alf" Stewart is a fictional character from the
Australian soap opera Home and Away, played by Ray Meagher. Alf was
created as one of the show's eighteen original characters. Meagher
originally auditioned for the role of Tom Fletcher, before being cast
as Alf. He made his first appearance during the pilot episode
broadcast on 17 January 1988. As of 2017, Meagher is the sole
remaining original cast member and he holds a Guinness World Record
for being the longest-serving actor in an Australian serial. For his
portrayal of Alf, Meagher won the Gold Logie Award for Most Popular
Personality on Australian Television in 2010.
4 In popular culture
7 External links
Meagher was cast in the role of Alf after appearing as a supporting
character in numerous roles. He was one of only eight older actors
that were cast in the serial's original line up. Upon receiving his
first regular role Meagher said "It's good for me to play someone like
that after all the other blokes." During an interview published on
the Channel 5 website, Meagher revealed that he did not audition for
Alf and the producers originally saw him for the role of Tom Fletcher
(eventually played by Roger Oakley).
Meagher holds a
Guinness World Record
Guinness World Record as the longest-serving actor in
an Australian serial for portraying Alf since 1988. As of 2011 he
is the only remaining original cast member still present. During
flashbacks to the character's past, Alf was portrayed by Max Buckley
and Robert Jago respectively.
In April 2010, it was announced Meagher was taking a break from Home
and Away, so he could travel to London to star in the West End
production of Priscilla Queen of the Desert. Meagher said "[Home and
Away] have very generously allowed me to do Priscilla in the West End
from 20 September roughly until early March." Meagher returned to
the West End in October 2011. However, the actor, whose contract was
up for renewal in 2012, said he was committed to staying in Home and
Away because he still enjoyed the role of Alf. Meagher is the only
cast member whose contract entitles him to extra holidays.
In February 2013, Meagher told a reporter from the AAP that he had
signed a five-year contract with Home and Away. But he is allowed to
leave providing he gives six months notice.
In his early years Alf was described as a "good-natured rogue with a
finger in every pie." Meagher said that although some people think
he is miserable, he sees him as an "upstanding member of the
community". He further added "He can be a bit grumpy and gets
stuck into people and you have to be quick to catch his apology if he
is wrong, but on the whole he is a big softie."
Alf has shown a keen interest in business. Whilst serving on the Surf
Club Committee, he also works as a bartender. He also owns a bait shop
and takes part in recreational fishing. Meagher often changes
dialogue to suit Alf's speech.
Alf's first on-screen relationship is with
Ailsa Hogan (Judy Nunn).
Writers decided that they pair would marry early on. When filming
began heavy rain disrupted filming for two weeks. Nunn almost missed
her own wedding due to the producers trying to get her film.
Meagher has stated that Alf's most memorable storyline is when he
develops a brain tumour. He had to film the scenes twice, once with
his co-star Nunn and the other without. Meagher said that it was an
Alf's relationship with sister
Morag Bellingham (Cornelia Frances) has
often been strained. There has been a lots of fights and
antagonsim between the pair. Morag later softens towards him after
they reach an understanding. Frances said: "underneath she will
always care for him and look after him." Frances felt it perhaps not
the best development because she enjoyed their "wonderful fights".
Alf's life changed when he was reunited with his teenage sweetheart
Viv Standish (Maggie Kirkpatrick), who told Alf that she had given
birth to their son, Owen, and put him up for adoption. Alf then
learned that Owen had died after being attacked by his son Eric "Ric"
Dalby (Mark Furze). Alf attends Owen's funeral and when he sees
his grandson, he is tempted to approach him, but he decided to take
Morag's advice and wait. Meagher stated, "Alf feels a
responsibility to this kid, especially since his dad was a ratbag.
Alf's also been a bit of a failure in the fatherhood department, so in
a way, Eric is a life raft – a way for him to make up for the
Alf grew up in Summer Bay and took an interest in business. His father
Gordon and Scottish grandfather Angus also lived in the Bay. By the
time he was thirty, he owned the Summer Bay Liquor Store, the Summer
Bay Caravan Park, a boat hire service and a yacht brokerage. Alf
married a local woman called Martha Baldivis and they moved into the
Summer Bay House at the Caravan Park. They had a daughter called Ruth.
In 1985, Martha drowned and Alf decided that he could no longer live
there and he let the Caravan Park decline, but looked after the house.
He met Ailsa and they began dating, despite Ruth's dislike of her. Alf
decides to sell the business and home to the Fletcher family.
Alf first appears in the pilot episode of the show, in which he sells
the Summer Bay Caravan Park to Tom and Pippa Fletcher, unable to cope
with living there following the death of his wife, Martha, three years
earlier. By now Alf is involved in a relationship with general store
owner Ailsa, who he marries in 1988, despite the disapproval of his
daughter Ruth (Roo) and the revelation that Ailsa was convicted of the
murder of her abusive father.
After briefly separating, Alf and Ailsa reunite in late 1988,
unexpectedly becoming parents to Duncan the following year. Alf later
discovers he has a daughter, Quinn Jackson, from a previous
relationship, but she rejects her father. In 2000, Ailsa reveals she
also has another child, conceived after she was raped by a prison
guard. This child turns out to be Shauna Bradley, who already lives in
In 2001 Ailsa collapses and dies suddenly as the result of an
undiscovered heart condition. Two years later a still distraught Alf
has a nervous breakdown and begins seeing visions of his dead wife.
It's later discovered he has a brain tumour.
In 2004 Alf discovers he has another long-lost child when he is
reunited with his terminally ill former girlfriend, Viv Standish. The
revelation leads Alf to realise local bad boy Eric Dalby, whom he
loathes, is his grandson. After a difficult start the two build a
relationship. The following year Alf is reunited with yet another
long-lost family member when Roo introduces him to Martha, the
daughter she gave up for adoption in 1988.
In 2008, Alf is left upset when his best friend
Sally Fletcher decides
to leave the Bay. Sally and her daughter return to the Bay five years
later, and she reveals that her daughter is dying and the only way to
save her is to go to America for treatment. Alf helps her raise the
money for the treatment.
In 2010, Alf and his friends were stalked by Penn Graham, the son of a
married woman Alf had an affair with in between his first wife dying
and meeting his second wife Alisa.
Alf decides to visit the Canberra war memorial with some students when
he realises they do not care about ANZAC Day. As he looks around the
memorial, he starts to suffer flashbacks to his time in Vietnam. Later
that night, the students and Alf sleep outdoors in trenches as part of
the war experience. Alf continues to suffer flashbacks and wanders off
by himself, before collapsing. He is taken to the hospital and
diagnosed with PTSD. He initially refuses to deal with it, but
eventually opens up to a therapist.
In popular culture
Facebook fan pages caused controversy in the Australian
media. One of the pages in question, "
Alf Stewart Rape Dungeon", led
to calls for the social networking site to be more closely
monitored. The pages also featured false
YouTube videos of Alf and
Meagher's voice threatening to rape other cast members. The page
gained 9500 users as fans. However, other sections of 'the media'
have pointed out that the 'pro-rape'
Facebook page is merely a joke,
and not promotional.
For his portrayal of Alf, Meagher was nominated for Most Popular Actor
at the 2008
Digital Spy Soap Awards. In 2010, Meagher won the Gold
Logie at the Logie Awards. He was also nominated for Most Popular
Actor. The episode featuring Alf's breakdown following the suicide
of an army mate, Jeff Marshall, who served with him in Vietnam, won
Australian Film Institute Award for Best Episode in a
Television Drama Serial and was presented to director Russell
Webb. The episode featuring Alf's late wife Ailsa showing him a
vision of Summer Bay without him won the 2003 Australian Writers'
Guild Award for Best Episode in a Television Serial. It was presented
to the episode's writer Coral Drouyn. Robin Oliver from The Sydney
Morning Herald said that Alf and Ailsa formed a "terrific
Rosemarie Milsome of the
Newcastle Herald was critical of Alf's
Chloe Richards breastfeeding her newborn daughter Olivia
in the diner, labelling him "The stereotypical ocker middle-aged male;
judgmental, laconic and a pain in the backside." She added: "I thought
Chloe should have decked Alf, but then I tend to fly off the handle
and, anyway, it would have been difficult for her to have a good swing
with a baby attached to her nipple."
Holy Soap have said that
Alf's most memorable moment is "The classic episode ripping off It's A
Wonderful Life, in which Alf, in the middle of a brain tumour
operation, is led through Summer Bay history as if he had never
existed." They also describe him as "the
Lou Carpenter of Summer
Bay, a miserable but lovable legend who will never leave."
Hampshire culture website Get
Hampshire branded Alf a "legendary
misery-guts". They also said he is commonly known for his use of
declining Australian slang with sayings such as "flamin' mongrel".
Yahoo!7 opined he had become "a TV icon" for using his catchphrases
such as "flamin'" and "strewth". In Catherine Deveny's book "It's
not my fault they print them" she joked that she was distressed after
watching three episodes of
Home and Away
Home and Away and not hearing Alf say
Virgin Media have also agreed he is "lover of
stereotypical Aussie slang", stating "Stone the flamin' crows!" has
been one of his typical lines. They added that their favourite was
"Yer flamin' great galah!" They also said "There's no doubt Alf is
loved, despite being a bit of a rogue with a finger in every pie."
They went on to describe him as the "godfather of Summer Bay" and
"Grumpy but kind and good natured." Geoff Mayer, Brian McFlarne
and Ina Bertrand said in their book "The Oxford companion to
Australian film" that Meagher's roles have epitomised the rough-hewn,
knockabout Australian character. They said he portrays the persona in
Alf and brands him a popular character.
Jaci Stephen of the Daily
Mail said that Alf is not the "adventurous type", so it was a shock to
hear his intentions of travelling. She also expressed doubt that Alf
could ever leave Summer Bay.
^ a b c d e f Oram, James (1989). Home and away: behind the scenes.
Angus & Robertson. pp. 106, 107, 108, 109, 110, 111.
Ray Meagher and Nick Hardcastle Q&A – Part 1". Channel 5.
Northern & Shell. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
^ Fife-Yeomans, Janet (19 December 2009). "Shadows fall on Home And
Away". Herald Sun. The Herald and Weekly Times. Retrieved 5 April
^ "Meagher nabs first flamin' Gold Logie". ABC News. (Australian
Broadcasting Corporation). 2 May 2010. Retrieved 5 April 2011.
^ Series Producer: Cameron Welsh; Director: Geoffrey Nottage; Writer:
Chelsea Cassio (30 June 2010). "Episode 5108". Home and Away. Seven
Network. Seven Network.
^ Series Producer: Cameron Welsh; Director: Jet Wilkinson; Writer:
Sarah Walker, Matt Anderson (16 September 2010). "Episode 5164". Home
and Away. Seven Network. Seven Network.
^ "Meagher taking
Home and Away
Home and Away break". RTÉ TEN. Radio Telefís
Éireann. 20 April 2010. Retrieved 5 April 2011.
^ Eames, Tom (12 October 2011). "'Home and Away's Ray Meagher: 'I have
no plans to retire'". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines UK. Retrieved 13
^ a b c "Ray Meagher, Home And Away". TV Choice. (Bauer Media Group).
16 November 2010. Retrieved 4 February 2013.
^ "Alf reckons he's 'yesterday's man'". The West Australian. Seven
West Media. 4 February 2013. Retrieved 4 February 2013.
^ a b c d Margrave, Lauren (24 December 2008). "Aussie soap star
crosses the globe for panto". Get Hampshire. (S&B Media). Archived
from the original on 9 August 2011. Retrieved 5 April 2011.
^ a b "Stone the flamin' crows!
Ray Meagher wins Gold Logie". Yahoo!7.
(Yahoo! Inc. and Seven Network). Archived from the original on 6 May
2010. Retrieved 5 April 2011.
^ a b c "Cornelia: Morag hasn't changed". Holy Soap. (Channel 5). 9
March 2011. Archived from the original on 12 March 2011. Retrieved 20
^ a b c d "Funeral for a stranger".
Inside Soap (23): 39. 11–17 June
^ Desmond, Kesta (1990).
Home and Away
Home and Away Annual. Grandreams. p. 10.
^ Vasek, Lanai (25 May 2010). "
Facebook fury over pro-rape page".
News.com.au. (News Limited). Retrieved 5 April 2011.
^ a b "
Facebook group promoting rape and smearing Ray Meagher
slammed". Herald Sun. (The Herald and Weekly Times). 24 May 2010.
Retrieved 5 April 2011.
^ Marx, Jack (25 May 2010). "'Rape joke' explained". News.com.au.
(News Limited). Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 5
^ Green, Kris (21 March 2008). "
Digital Spy Soap Awards
Digital Spy Soap Awards 2008: The
Winners". Digital Spy. Hachette Filipacchi UK. Retrieved 5 April
^ "2010 Logie Awards: Full List of Winners". Perth Now. News Limited.
2 May 2010. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
^ "AFI Award Winners Feature Categories 1958-2009". Australian Film
Institute. 2009. Archived from the original on 20 September 2009.
Retrieved 20 May 2012.
^ "Winners 1968-2006" (PDF). Australian Writers Guild. Retrieved 20
^ Oliver, Robin (4 February 1991). "
Home and Away
Home and Away on Seven at 6:30
PM". The Sydney Morning Herald. (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 4 February
^ Milsome, Rosemarie (13 June 1998). "Nursing mothers getting the
booby prize". The Newcastle Herald. Fairfax Media. p. 2.
Retrieved 9 December 2012.
^ a b "Alf Stewart". Holy Soap. (Channel 5). Archived from the
original on 21 March 2011. Retrieved 5 April 2011.
^ Deveny, Catherine (2007). It's not my fault they print them (1st
ed.). Schwartz Publishing. ISBN 1-86395-119-9.
^ a b c "Home And Away: Who's Who?". Virginmedia.com. (Virgin Media
Inc.). 25 January 2007. Retrieved 6 April 2011.
^ Bertrand, Ina; McFarlane, Brian (1999). The Oxford companion to
Australian film. Oxford University Press. p. 304.
^ Stephen, Jaci (25 February 2011). "Jaci Stephen: The ultimate
insight into this week's soaps". Daily Mail. (Associated Newspapers).
Retrieved 4 February 2013.
Alf Stewart at the Official AU
Home and Away
Home and Away website
Alf Stewart at the Official UK
Home and Away
Home and Away website
Alf Stewart at the Official IE
Home and Away
Home and Away website
Alf Stewart at Holy Soap
Home and Away
Home and Away characters
Olivia Fraser Richards
Characters by year