Andrew Simpson Peter Flanigan
Andrew Simpson 2008-2009
Occupation: Teacher/Principal at Erinsborough High School
After months of struggling to keep a princpial for any length of time, Erinsborough High School promoted teacher Andrew Simpson in September 2007, and the staff agreed that, as a stickler for the rules, he seemed like the ideal man for the job. Andrew soon implemented changes, including meetings in the more informal setting of the teachers' homes, and showed that he was willing to give second chances, when Ringo Brown stole an exam paper - though Andrew was close to expelling him, Ringo's older brother Frazer convinced him to reduce it to a one-week suspension, insisting that his punishment at home would more than make up for it.
In September 2008, Andrew was on the interview panel when Daniel Fitzgerald and Libby Kennedy both applied to become the new head of senior school. Dan gave a strong interview, but Libby got caught up in some family dramas and ended up arriving late and leaving her notes at home. When Dan was given the job, he realised that, if Libby hadn't put her family first, she'd have easily beaten him, so he stepped down and left it to Andrew to offer Libby the job instead. Some weeks later, Andrew was invited to Libby and Dan's engagement party, where he immediately spotted Elle Robinson in the crowd, and after learning from Kelly Katsis that Elle was a journalist, he realised that he recognised the name and complimented her on her column in the Erinsborough News. Realising that there was some tension between Elle and Lucas, Dan's brother who had once dated Libby, Andrew stepped in and offered Elle a lift home and soon they were sitting alone in the General Store, where they shared a kiss, though she pulled away, apologising for leading him on. He then left, with Elle still wearing his jacket, which he said would give him the perfect excuse to see her again.
When Elle's dad, and newspaper editor, Paul asked her to write a feature on Andrew Simpson, and tried to do some matchmaking by sending along Lucas as her photographer, it quickly descended into petty bickering between the three of them, but that was quickly overshadowed when pregnant Bridget Parker got into an argument with school bully Justin Hunter and pushed him over. Already unsettled by having a pregnant teenager in the school, Andrew used the incident as an opportunity to expel her, much to everyone's shock. The Parkers tried to take legal action, but Andrew claimed that it was a new school policy to have zero tolerance on violence, and ended up with a bin tipped over his head by Bridget's mum, school cleaner Miranda. When Bridget's story appeared, in a negative light, on the front of the Erinsborough News, Andrew managed to get a photo of Bridget's dad Steve attacking editor Paul. When Andrew asked for an article of his own, to get across his point-of-view, Libby's mum Susan was forced to write it, and when Libby mentioned that she suspected Andrew had made up the new policy, Susan printed it. Suspecting that the source of Susan's information was either Libby or Dan, Andrew suspended the pair of them.
Later in the week, a protest began outside the school over what many saw as Bridget's unfair exclusion, and the police were called. Inside, Andrew tried to sort things out as Rebecca, whose son Declan was the father of the baby, handcuffed herself to the bannisters, but ended up attached to the other end. As the night wore on and the pair were left alone, Andrew spoke of his work in the army reserve, and how important education was to him. Rebecca grew to reluctantly respect his opinions and by the end of the night, he'd agreed to speak to Bridget and sort the whole mess out, so she undid the handcuffs, flirtily telling him that she was going to keep them, as they might come in useful one day.
Things took an embarrassing turn when Andrew turned up at the bar, wearing his Army Reserves uniform, during Libby's hen's night and was mistaken for the stripper. As Rebecca started goading him, saying he was far too uptight to do anything like that, she jokily started to undo his shirt, and later, as Andrew left, she chased after him to thank him for being a good sport. She then suggested that perhaps if he had a free night coming up, she could give him a call, and he handed her his number. Later that week, he stopped by her house to talk about the anti-bullying programme, and they ended up arranging a date for that evening at the bar. As Rebecca worried about how Declan would take it if she started a relationship with the school principal, and her jealous ex, Paul, watched them, she decided to leave, until Andrew convinced her to stay with a kiss. Worried that she'd made a mistake, Rebecca headed home and confessed to Declan, just as Miranda, who'd given Rebecca a serve about her date with Andrew earlier that day, came by to apologise. As Declan reacted badly, Miranda reminded him that his mum had supported him when he found out about the baby, and she deserved to be happy too. Realising that Miranda was right, Rebecca called Andrew and arranged to meet at the General Store, where she agreed to give the relationship a chance and they shared another kiss.
The following week at school, Andrew banned any pranks as muck-up day came around, insisting that all lessons would continue as normal. But after being set up as the culprits behind the office being covered in toilet paper, Kyle, Zeke, Shane and Justin plotted a stunt of their own, and ran through the school wearing balaclavas, with cans of silly string and stink gas. Hearing the screams of students and seeing what looked like terrorists running through the school, Andrew contacted the police, but when the real culprits were revealed, Zeke took the blame for everything, and earned all four of them a suspension on the first week back at school. Meanwhile, Andrew's relationship with Rebecca was going well, despite a minor blip when she learnt about his relationship with Elle and became worried that he preferred younger women. As they made plans for a dinner date, Paul, Rebecca's ex, became jealous and started plotting to keep them apart, arranging a meeting with Andrew to offer newspaper sponsorship for the school's upcoming end-of-year rafting trip. As the meeting dragged on, Andrew finally made it to the bar to find that Rebecca had already gone home, whilst at her house, Paul arrived with food and wine, hoping to be the one to cheer her up.
The next morning, Andrew arrived with flowers to apologise, only to find Paul and Rebecca leaving her house. As it dawned on Andrew that he'd been set up by Paul with the meeting, Paul announced that he was pulling out of funding the trip, while Rebecca left in tears, furious that once again she'd been taken in by Paul's plotting. But, later that day, Rebecca caught up with Andrew at the gym and the pair sorted things out with a kiss, signalling that the relationship was back on. Later that week, Andrew was annoyed as Dan pulled out of the rafting trip, meaning he'd have to take his place. The trip then got off to a bad start when Declan and Kyle started fighting, and Andrew announced that, to settle their differences, there'd be a rafting race the next day. Unfortunately, his plan ended in disaster, as Kyle's raft plotted to win, and ended up causing an accident in which their raft capsized, leaving Zeke, Bridget and Libby missing in the water. Though Bridget and Libby were soon found, Zeke remained missing, and Paul took the opportunity to print an article blaming Andrew for the whole situation. Fortunately, Zeke's family didn't see things the same way, but Andrew still started to distance himself from Rebecca as he dealt with what had happened. Paul, meanwhile, continued in his quest to ruin Andrew, hopeful that it would get him out of Rebecca's life, and dug up an old story about a fellow soldier dying in an accident when Andrew was in the Army, shortly after he'd been made sergeant. As he recounted the story to Rebecca, he told her that he didn't want her to get caught in the crossfire and find herself hurt, but she told him that she would only be hurt if he continued to push her away. But Paul wasn't satisfied and blackmailed Rebecca, telling her that he wouldn't run the story if she ended things with Andrew, and she, more worried about Andrew's feelings than her own, agreed and went to tell him that the relationship was over.
A couple of weeks later as school returned, Andrew decided to revoke the suspensions of Justin and Kyle, in the wake of Zeke's tragic disappearance. But as Kyle arrived for his first class and Andrew gave the new year 12s a pep talk, the atmosphere was strained, and eventually Declan snapped and lashed out, threatening to hit Kyle, who simply stood and begged to be punched, as he struggled to cope with the guilt of causing the accident.
Some weeks later, Andrew came into contact with Rebecca again, at Libby and Daniel's wedding, and the old feelings came flooding back. When Cassandra Freedman got in touch with him later that week, he assumed it was to discuss her children, who were students at the school, but she was actually intent on talking him into speaking to Rebecca about giving their relationship another go. Unaware that Cass was simply trying to get Rebecca away from Paul, so she could have wealthy Mr Robinson to herself, Andrew went to Ramsay Street with a bunch of flowers, hoping to rekindle his old relationship. Though the pair shared a kiss, Rebecca was still confused about her feelings for Paul, and pulled away. Andrew later turned up at the bar Rebecca was now running and found her run off her feet, he stepped in to help, telling her that he wasn't about to give up on them. As Rebecca realised that Andrew wasn't about to let her down the way Paul had, she agreed to go out for dinner with him, ignoring Paul's desperate pleas for a second chance. After a romantic meal together, Rebecca was stunned when Andrew then got down on one knee and proposed. Though slightly taken aback at the speed of it all, she accepted, just as Paul came over to speak to her, leaving, devastated, as he noticed the engagement ring on her finger.
With their relationship seemingly going well, Andrew decided to ask Rebecca, with little warning, to move in with him. As she was reluctant to give him an answer, she admitted that it was just a surprise, but there was so much to do, including telling Declan. However, when Declan arrived home from a night out with his mates at the bar, Andrew reminded him of the importance of focusing on study in year 12, and an argument broke out, with Declan walking out before Rebecca could tell him her news. Meanwhile, a jealous Paul once again threatened to run the story about Andrew's army days, but changed his mind at the last minute, leaving Andrew annoyed at the manipulation of Rebecca's feelings.
When Andrew arrived at Charlie's and overheard Rebecca passionately defending Paul from Cass' accusations that he was stalking her, he became concerned for their relationship. And when Paul then arranged for a surprise performance by violinist Andre Rieu in the middle of Ramsay Street, Andrew realised that he was struggling to compete with the grand gestures, and when he noticed Rebecca's indifference to the fact that their moving in together would be delayed, he confronted her and asked whether she still loved Paul. Unable to deny her feelings any longer, Rebecca removed her engagement ring and handed it back to Andrew and he left, devastated, deciding to take a transfer to a different school rather than stay in Erinsborough.
• Peter Flanigan previously appeared in 2004 as Dr Philip Smith
• Though appointed as principal in September 2007, Andrew Simpson was only ever mentioned by other characters, and did not appear on screen until September 2008
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Biography by Steve