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Could Home and Away OG Kate Ritchie save Summer Bay with her rumoured return?

The soap has become unrecognisable in recent years.

There’s some strong intel that Home and Away‘s golden girl — none other than OG Kate Ritchie — could be returning to Summer Bay. And you know what? I think it’s what the show needs.

Kate Richie played Sally Fletcher on the Australian soap from 1988 until 2008 and her character absolutely went through it throughout her 20-year stint.

Her storylines included (but were not limited to) a dead husband, a long-lost brother and an imaginary friend. What a trooper!

Sally was an icon in Summer Bay and our television screens alike. There’s no doubt about it. And in my humble opinion, Home and Away has lost the plot in the years since she left the show.

That’s why I’m absolutely rooting for all these rumours about her returning to be true. But will it be enough, or is the show too far gone?

Will Kate Richie return to Home and Away?

Last year, Richie told her radio co-hosts on the Ryan ‘Fitzy’ Fitzgerald and Michael “Wippa” Wipfli that she’d definitely be back for a final episode of the show — not unlike Kylie Minogue returning from the final episode of Neighbours (or what we thought was the final episode).

“If Ray Meagher (Alf Stewart) asked me to come back, to change the sheets in the Caravan Park, I’d be there,” Richie told her cohosts in 2023.

More recently, the radio trio have been doubling down on her potential return, even claiming to have seen proof.

Last month Wippa asked Richie if she had caught up the the cast and crew from Home and Away, which she confirmed.

“I know you’re going back to the bay,” Wippa pushed. “I’ve seen your emails as I sit next to you in the office.”

“No you don’t, you have bad eyes,” Richie laughed back.

Wippa went on to say that he wanted to get “Home & Away fans warmed up” by “rolling out a couple of scenes here at Nova”. As he delved further into his plans, Kate asked:

“What is the point of this? Why are you trying to make me look silly, and you’re actually trying to blow an exclusive.”

Home and Away is “unrecognisable”

The rumours of Ritchie’s Home and Away return come after Meagher told TV Tonight that the longtime soap has lost its way.

When Ritchie started on the show, Home and Away was about a seaside community with the Fletcher family taking in foster children.

In recent times, however, the show became more focused on harder-hitting storylines, like crime, since the infamous “River Boys” (Lincoln Younes, Steve Peacocke and Dan Ewing) of 2011.

“I mean, that was just a great period. But was it Summer Bay? Hmmm …. in my humble opinion, not to that extent.”

But can any one person actually save Summer Bay?

While it seems like a return from Richie could help to get Home and Away bring back some lost viewers, there’d need to be more than just her reprised character to save the soap.

We’ve seen the return of other Home and Away OGs before like Roo Stewart (Georgie Parker) and Marilyn Chambers (Emily Symons), however, the show’s storylines and character mix were still different to its heyday.

Take Summer Bay High, for example. Not having the high school (we haven’t seen it since 2019) gaping hole in the current Home and Away format.

When a photo of ex-Summer Bay High students Casey Braxton (Younes), Sasha Bezmel (Demi Harman), Spencer Harrington (Andrew Morley) and Maddy Osborne (Kassandra Clementi) was posted to a popular Facebook group, fans were quick to get nostalgic.

“I wish they would use the school scenes again,” one fan wrote.

“I loved that it USED [to] encompass most age groups, if I am entirely honest I no longer get sad if I miss a[n] episode or two, or seven,” wrote another.

“Bring back those days. The present storylines are ridiculous.” 

Perhaps if Sally comes back and resumes her role as a teacher, and they bring back a whole bunch of teenagers that Australia’s youth can relate to, then Home and Away might be in with a fighting chance?

If they could bring back Kim Hyde (Chris Hemsworth) while they’re at it, that’d be great.