Title: Janelle's Christmas Ham
> Christmas 2006
by Drew Tingwell, Directed
by Tony Osicka
Sky and Dylan share an impulsive kiss. Zeke complains that he lost his dad last Christmas and now he’s losing Katya, but Karl tells him that he thinks of his as part of his own family now. Chris breaks the news to Pepper and Steiger that she’s been in a relationship for a year… with another woman.
Pepper suddenly starts laughing, thinking it’s all just a big joke and reminds her mum that they’re celebrating Christmas, not April Fool’s Day. However, as neither of her parents seem to be laughing, it gradually dawns on Pepper that her mum really is gay and she runs out of the room.
At number 26, Janae and Bree are shocked the Dylan and Sky aren’t getting back together, but he says that, although he still loves her, the spark between them just doesn’t exist anymore. Janelle is listening in from the lounge room and says that when a couple loses that special bond – she then points out that it’s better to have some closure than constantly wondering. As she says this, she notices the looks on her kids’ faces and asks what’s going on. Bree then hands her the letter that arrived earlier, from Kim.
At number 30, Chris is trying to phone Pepper but can’t get through, so leaves her a message, begging with her to come home and talk. Steiger suspects that Pepper will just need some time to get used to this, and wonders why she didn’t just tell him a year ago. She admits that she wanted to, but her sister reacted badly to the news and she got scared of losing him and Pepper too. Steiger says that Chris’ sister was always an ‘old prune’ anyway, and Chris realises that she should have said something sooner. Steiger says that it can’t have been easy for her, having to make such a big change to her life and she says that he’s a wonderful man. He stops her and says that he’s fine and doesn’t need to be patronised – but they need to find Pepper.
At number 28, Karl is telling Zeke about how great it’ll be to have Christmas dinner in Shepparton with the rest of the family, but Zeke is more concerned about Katya and leaving her on her own. Karl reminds him that Katya might not even get bail and, even then, she might not want to go to Shepparton. Zeke thinks that Susan will talk her into it and, at that moment, Susan walks in with Katya. Zeke is thrilled to see her and gives his sister a big hug.
At number 24, Dylan arrives to speak to Sky and she admits that she wanted to see him anyway. They sit down together and awkwardly try to work out who should speak first, until Harold, who is standing in the kitchen with Lou, listening in, tells them just to get on with it. Sky asks Dylan what’s wrong and why he’s staring at her – he says that nothing’s wrong, but he looks at her and feels nothing. She smiles and, with relief, says that she feels the same, as Harold looks completely confused. Sky admits that she was worried that she would hurt his feelings, but they hug, before looking at each other and agreeing that there’s definitely nothing there.
At the legal practice, Rosie is on the phone when Pepper suddenly storms in and announces that her mum is gay. Following some quizzical looks from Rosie, Pepper goes on to explain about her dad’s proposal and her mum’s announcement, but thinks that it might just be a phase. She then starts to wonder if her mum has always been gay and her whole childhood was a lie. Pepper then turns her phone off as her mum tries to call again, but Rosie isn’t impressed and thinks that this can’t have been easy for Chris either. Pepper asks Rosie to talk to her mum and, when she refuses to get involved, Pepper accuses her friend of being too lawyer-y and sitting on the fence. Rosie refuses to listen to this, and Pepper starts accusing her of sitting alone in her office, trying to find ways to get Paul. Rosie points out that Paul’s a married man now, but Pepper then informs her about the events of the wedding day. Rosie is stunned and starts to wonder if it’s all her fault…
At the bar, Boyd gives Steiger a free beer to cheer him up, having realised that he must be having a bad day as he’s taking it out on the dart board. Janelle then comes in and asks Steiger if she can join him, though he warns her about his bad mood, she says that she’s hardly ‘a bucket of giggles’ herself. She explains that she got a letter from Kim and he’s ditched the family, and she’s beginning to wonder if he ever really loved her. Steiger admits that he’s feeling the same way about Janelle and he agrees to buy her a drink. She says that she’ll join him if he promises not to quiz her about the postmark on Kim’s letter, so he agrees that their conversation that evening is strictly off the record.
At number 28, Susan is explaining to Karl that Katya won’t stay with them, as she’s worried for their safety, but Karl says that Zeke won’t accept Katya moving out at Christmas. Just then, Katya and Zeke emerge from the bedrooms, before turning their backs when they realise that Karl and Susan are wrapping presents. Katya explains that she just wanted to tell them how nice it is to be home for Christmas, and Karl invites her along to Shepparton with them. She thanks him, but says that she has some plans with some nursing friends. Susan and Zeke both try to talk Katya into joining them and she finally admits that she’s worried that Guy will follow them and put everyone in danger. Karl reminds her that, if Guy is still around, it’s safer for her to be out in the country in Shepparton rather than in Ramsay Street and she finally agrees to go. As the kids leave, Susan says that Zeke is thrilled and she wonders how Karl is going to top that with his gifts. A worried Karl looks at Susan and says that he thought she was buying Zeke’s gift, as he’s got something for Rachel.
At the bar, the night is coming to a close and both Steiger and Janelle feel stupid. She admits that it’s hardly Steiger’s fault that his wife turned gay and it’s certainly not because he was a lousy husband. Steiger wonders how he failed to see it coming, and admits that they were childhood sweethearts, as, she reveals, were Janelle and Kim. She says that it’s probably the reason why she found it so difficult to let go and get with anyone else. Steiger wonders if his whole marriage was just a sham and how he can ever trust his own judgement again.
At number 24, there’s an air of awkwardness as Sky answers the door to Susan, who is looking for Harold. She explains that they forgot to get Zeke a present and were hoping that Harold might have some Adelaide Crows merchandise signed by Paul. Sky explains that Harold’s gone to bed and that he doesn’t really have anything lying around. Susan then suggests getting something couriered up from Adelaide, but they’re not sure that couriers work on Christmas. Sky isn’t very sympathetic, but suggests that Harold could arrange a meeting between Zeke and Paul, and perhaps some training. Harold then comes into the room and is surprised to see Susan there but offers her a cup of tea. Sky makes a quick getaway but, as she goes, Susan wishes her a Merry Christmas. Sky reciprocates and Harold smiles at the breakthrough in their friendship.
At number 30, Rosie is busy working on her laptop on Christmas morning and Pepper comes in, throwing insults at her friend about her throwing herself into work to try and avoid thinking about Paul. Rosie quickly realises that Pepper is trying to pick a fight and tells her to take it elsewhere. Pepper then accuses Rosie of ruining Lyn’s life, but Chris then arrives and Rosie brings her in, much to Pepper’s horror. Chris tries to explain to Pepper that she was just trying to spare her feelings and she’s the most important person to her, but Pepper thinks her mum is just lying again. She decides that she doesn’t know her mum anymore and tells her not to come and visit again – she’s got nothing more to say to her.
At number 28, Karl and Susan give Katya an envelope with some money to pay for a deposit on a flat. She’s extremely grateful considering they already paid her bail, then Zeke wonders where his present is. Just as Karl and Susan are explaining that it was a bit difficult to wrap, the phone rings. Zeke answers, but doesn’t believe that it’s really Paul McClain, the football star. As he talks on the phone, Susan gives Karl his gift – a new guitar – and he’s delighted. And Karl’s present to her is equally exciting; tickets to London to visit Mal. Zeke then runs over and leaps on top of Karl and Susan, thanking them for his gift.
Boyd and Janae are walking by the garage in matching red tracksuits when they see Chris outside working on a car. Janae asks why she’s working at Christmas and she explains that she could have gone with Carol to see her family, but it would have felt disloyal to Pepper and Steiger. Janae doesn’t want Chris to be alone, and doesn’t think her family would want that either, so invites her back to Ramsay Street. Chris thanks her, but admits that she doesn’t want to run into Pepper, though Janae thinks that it might be good if she did. As Janae and Boyd leave, Chris smiles as she notices the writing on the back of their jackets – ‘I’m Janae’s’ and ‘Boyd’s Mine’.
At number 30, Rosie is on the phone to Carmella, and says that she won’t be going to the family dinner and she still isn’t talking to their mum. She then hangs up and Pepper apologises to Rosie for her behaviour earlier. Rosie realises that Pepper didn’t mean what she was saying, but Pepper says that she did – she can’t understand why Rosie is so attracted to Paul. Rosie admits that people can’t always help who they fall for… just ask Chris. Pepper warns Rosie not to mention her mum again if she wants to stay friends, and the girls exchange gifts. Pepper has got Rosie a book by Sarah Mayberry, her favourite author, with an inscription that wishes her luck with her plan to ‘get experienced’. Rosie is shocked that Pepper told her and admits that she only kissed Paul in the cellar. She then gives Pepper her gift – tickets to a Robbie Williams concert. Pepper is delighted and decides that she’s going to go backstage, meet him and they’ll fall in love and get married.
On Ramsay Street, various residents are playing cricket as a big barbecue gets underway. Zeke thanks Bree for the gloves she got him for Christmas and he runs off to get her gift. Steiger says hello to Janelle, who thanks for him coming as he goes to join the cricket match. Janae notices their brief exchange and tells her mum to go and get him – they’re both free agents now. Janelle, although annoyed that her daughter didn’t tell her Chris’ secret, listens when Janae says that there are going to be plenty of other women who’ll be interested in a cop on the rebound. Janelle goes over to speak to Steiger and asks him if he’d like to go out some time, and says that, if she catches the ball first, she’ll pay. Steiger is grateful but admits that he’s not quite ready for dating yet, and doesn’t think she is either. Janelle looks over to Janae and the pair of them look upset.
Boyd and Janae pull up outside the garage and Janae gets out and gives Chris some spare food from the street party. She reminds her that she’s not on her own and that everything’s going to work out – and Pepper will come to her senses soon. Chris is touched and wishes Janae a merry Christmas. Back in the car, Janae asks Boyd why he’s staring at her and he says that he’s just thinking about what a lucky guy he is. Janae agrees, and they share a kiss.
Back on Ramsay Street a little while later, Lou approaches Janelle to see if she needs any help. She thanks him but says that everything’s under control, and he tells her that she’s a good sort – she says that not everyone on the street would agree with that at the moment. Lou thanks her for being there for him and for allowing him to be with Mishka and she admits that she’s just a hopeless romantic. He tells her to keep trying with Steiger – she just needs to wear him down. Zeke then brings Bree her gift – a kitten named Willow. She tries to be happy but as Zeke goes to show the kitten to Katya, Bree confirms to Stingray that she hates cats. Janelle then grabs everyone’s attention in order to make a speech, thanking them for coming along and admitting that she hasn’t always seen eye to eye with some… ok, all of them. She then mentions those who’ve hurt them (“like Paul Robinson, who shall remain nameless”) she hopes that the new year will see them get what they deserve. She makes a toast to absent friends, adding “here’s to you, Lynnie” on the end. As everyone raises their glasses, a car stops at the end of the street – it’s Guy, who’s watching Katya through binoculars. His phone rings and he tells the caller that he’s watching her and the right time will soon present itself. He then takes a gun from the glove box and continues to watch Katya…
Notes: The author Sarah Mayberry, whose book Rosie receives as a gift from Pepper, is named after the Neighbours scriptwriter.