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Character Profiles > Lance [Hails] Wilkinson Andrew Bibby

Lance Wilkinson (né Hails) 1995, 1996-2001, 2005
Lived: 26, 30, 32 Ramsay Street
Born: 1981
Parents: Bill Hails and Ruth Wilkinson
Siblings: Ben and Anne
Family Tree: Wilkinson
Occupation: Student, Landscape Gardener, Sci-fi Convention Organiser

Lying somewhere between cool and nerdy, Lance Hails was a student at Erinsborough High on whom Hannah Martin had a huge crush. Much to the upset of Hannah’s friend, Zoe, they started going out with each other and Lance presented Hannah with several expensive gifts. It was later revealed, to Lance’s embarrassment, that the jewellery actually belonged to Lance’s mother and he’d been taking it behind her back to try and impress Hannah. Lance left the school soon after to attend one on the other side of town.

The following year, after Helen Daniels had suffered her second stroke, Lance reappeared when his mother, Ruth, began working as Helen’s physiotherapist. At first, Hannah was shocked to meet up with him again, but they soon patched up their differences when they went rollerblading together and got trapped in a rough part of town. They agreed to put the past behind them and be friends. Lance also rejoined Erinsborough High and Ruth started renting out number 32 for the two of them, as things in her divorce from Bill were starting to get awkward. Lance later came across an injured stray dog and took it home. She was named Bonnie, and the family was almost complete.

When Lance scored a job, working late at a plant nursery, he didn’t want Ruth to find out, so he began pretending that he was actually seeing Hannah. In actual fact, he had been trying to raise enough money to pay for a trip for his parents, in the vain hope that they might still reconcile. Meanwhile, the Wilkinson house was complete when Lance’s sister Anne decided to move in, after having spent recent weeks living with their father. As twins, Lance and Anne had an extremely close relationship, but from the beginning, it was obvious that Anne was the more levelheaded of the two. Lance’s job at the nursery continued, but when he accidentally scratched Karl Kennedy’s car, he was forced to pay for the damage. However, when Lance found out that his supervisor, Ned Goodman, had been shifting plants for some extra cash, he blackmailed Lance into being part of it. Luckily, Anne found out and talked some sense into her brother before things got out of hand.

The Wilkinson family’s first Christmas in Ramsay Street turned out to be quite an eventful one. Lance joined Toadie in setting up Billy and Anne, hoping the pair would finally get it together. They left presents under the trees, one for Billy ‘from Anne’ and one for Anne ‘from Billy’. Unfortunately, they were sprung when Anne and Billy worked out what was going on. Lance was in for a surprise of his own when he caught his mum kissing Philip Martin. Lance had always secretly hoped his parents would get back together, and this simply confirmed that they wouldn’t. At first, the whole thing horrified him, but gradually he came round to the idea.

When Billy decided that he didn’t want to be known as Toadie’s ‘straight man’ any longer, Lance found himself filling the role and becoming involved in all of Toadie’s schemes. Together they set up a school comic, using Lance’s drawings of the teachers and broke Susan’s vase inherited from her aunt, while playing indoor cricket, amongst other things. However, all the light-heartedness came to an end when Ben Atkins arrived in town and revealed himself to be Ruth’s long-lost son. At first wary, Lance was soon thrilled to have his big brother around. When he found Ben and Darren practising with a punch-bag in the garage one day, he begged to be taught to box and it sparked off an interest that everyone tried to warn him off. Even being punched in the face accidentally couldn’t put Lance off, until he entered the ring for the first time. Lance ended up being beaten black and blue, and soon realised that maybe he wasn’t cut out for the life of a boxer.

When the Wilkinsons and the Martins went camping together, they had a fairly awful time, but things got worse when they returned home with an extra passenger - a venomous snake. The snake was soon lurking around number 32 and when Anne stumbled upon it one day, Lance bravely, but stupidly, leapt in to save her. He ended up being beaten and requiring hospital treatment, but Anne was very grateful to him. Soon after, Lance was amazed when Amy Greenwood, the most popular girl in school, agreed to go on a date with him. At first, he found it very difficult to fit in with her and her cool friends, especially as they seemed to share every detail of their lives with each other.

After a while, it seemed like Amy’s friends were becoming a huge problem in the relationship, as they plotted to get Anne in trouble at school and one of Amy’s friends, Mitch, put his fist through the wall during a party at number 32. Lance began to wonder if it was all worth the hassle. When Jacinta played a nasty prank on Lance, printing the school newsletter with a cruel cartoon of Susan inside (drawn by Lance), Amy realised that something had to be done about her friends. While Lance was suspended, Amy hatched a plan where they would pretend to have broken up, staging a huge fight outside the coffee shop. Amy’s friends fell for it and she started hanging around with them again, until she got a confession out of them. She then explained that she and Lance had actually never split up and she soon dumped her old set of friends. Lance was very happy when Amy started hanging around with the Ramsay Street crowd and became a far nicer person to be around.

When Ben was involved in a terrible accident at the racetrack, Lance was devastated, but Amy managed to keep his mind off his worries by arranging for them to take part in ballroom dancing lessons. Lance wasn’t very keen at all, but as usual, Amy convinced him it would be for the best. However, he warned her that he didn’t want any of their friends to find out. Unfortunately, Toadie found Lance hiding in the school changing rooms, wearing his dancing outfit. For Lance, this was the final straw, but when Amy was asked to the university ball by one of her brother’s friends, Lance decided to turn up and the pair quickly showed their skill on the dance floor.

When Amy’s parents went away for the school holidays, she plotted to spend the time with Lance. But when they were caught getting carried away on the sofa, Ruth made sure that they were separated, sending Amy to stay at the Martin house instead. Meanwhile, Lance once again had cause to be jealous when Amy started spending a lot of her time around Lou’s new mechanic, Drew Kirk. Lance’s desperation to look more hunky like Drew led to him applying too much fake tan and winding up completely orange!

Another new arrival in the neighbourhood caused worse problems for Amy and Lance. When Joel Samuels arrived, it seemed to Lance that Amy had more than a passing interest in him and after a huge argument, they split up. It became very obvious that Lance couldn’t live without Amy and so Caitlin offered to help him win her back. She announced that she would pretend to be interested in him and this would no doubt cause Amy to realise what she was missing. Meanwhile, Amy was pretending to be seeing Billy. Eventually, after a confrontation between Amy and Caitlin, Lance and Amy decided to give things another go, realising that they were meant for each other.

However, Lance decided that he needed to change his image if he ever stood a chance of keeping Amy’s attentions. He began training with Joel and trying to be macho, but it all came undone when he was stung by a bee at the school and had serious trouble breathing after suffering an allergic reaction. Meanwhile, with his mum marrying Phil, the family moved over the road to number 26, something Lance found reasonably easy to adjust to, especially as he was no longer the only man in the household.

A serious problem began developing for Lance when he found himself winning a few bets on the horses. Before long, Lance was finding that the temptation to win more was too great and he started betting more regularly. Once Bill had found out, it wasn’t long until Amy got to know and she warned Lance that he was being foolish. He agreed that he would stop gambling right then and there. Things seemed to be fine with Lance and Amy, as she roped him into helping with her new job at the coffee shop. However, the temptation was too great for Lance and he resumed his betting. Soon, Toadie and then Anne had found him out, but he was desperate to keep the truth from Amy after her earlier threat. Unfortunately, secrets don’t last long in Ramsay Street and she announced that they should take a break from their relationship as she was finding it hard to trust him.

After the teenagers went away together on a camping trip to celebrate the end of school, Lance and Amy found themselves getting closer once again. But after the near-disaster with Anne and Joel, they never got the chance to talk and Amy went away to a health farm for a while. When she returned, Lance was eager to catch up with her, but she was forced to tell him that it was completely over between them. Gradually, they managed to repair their friendship, and it was obvious that they both still had feelings for the other. Meanwhile, the gang all started uni, with Lance studying horticulture, in the hope of becoming a landscape gardener. He’d soon scored his first job working on Harold’s allotment, which turned into a bit of a disaster. On top of this, Amy started a new relationship with a guy called Damien, from her air hostess training. The constant knocks to Lance’s confidence soon meant that he was gambling again.

When Amy spotted Lance taking money from an old gambling associate, Chris Burgess, at Lassiter’s, she was immediately concerned and shared her fears with Anne. When they confronted him, he became extremely defensive and insisted that he hadn’t started gambling again. However, in a desperate attempt to place one final bet, he pawned a precious fob watch, given to him by Ruth and gave the money to Chris to place the bet. Amazingly the horse won, and Lance’s problems seemed to be over, until Anne witnessed Chris giving Lance the money and threatened to tell Ruth everything. Lance decided he had to own up. Ruth was very disappointed and Amy seemed to be the only person who could get through to her ex-boyfriend. In an attempt to put things right, he tracked down the pawned watch, wrote a letter to Ruth trying to apologise and started attending Gambler’s Anonymous meetings.

While Lance had been orange picking in Mildura, he had met a girl named Julia Burrows. He didn’t expect to see her again, so was surprised when she turned up at the uni for a seminar. Amy realised she was beginning to feel jealous about Lance’s new relationship. After Julia returned to the country, Lance started seeing Megan Townsend and Amy’s jealousy got worse. Megan brought out a new side to Lance, making him change his hair and taste in music, but Amy was convinced that something wasn’t right. After confronting Lance, she was shocked when he told her to stay out of his business. When Amy and Lance were forced to kiss at the ‘Desperate and Dateless’ ball, Lance was left confused about who he wanted to go out with. But the biggest shock came when Amy told him that Megan was only going out with him for a bet. This news was extremely upsetting for Lance so he decided to drive off and Amy later found him down by the river, where they got a lot closer.

Meanwhile, with Sarah’s departure, there was a spare room at number 30. Lance and Amy both wanted the room, but there was no way of deciding. Toadie and Joel decided to take advantage of the situation by exploiting Lance and Amy, who did the chores and gave them gifts. When they learnt the truth, Lance and Amy were horrified and started plotting their revenge, something that finally caused them to get back together. However, they decided to keep their relationship a secret, for fear of jinxing things, only forced to admit the truth when Joel started showing a serious interest in Amy.

Problems continued when Lance found out that Amy had shared a kiss with Joel and then Amy realised Lance was still gambling - only with scratchies instead of on the horses. Meanwhile, Lance ended up moving into the spare room at number 30 when Ruth and Phil moved away to Darwin. Things between Lance and Amy got back on track, but she seemed to be spending a lot of time at work and avoiding Lance. With the Millennium Eve party approaching, Lance finally tracked Amy down and invited her. She insisted she’d be there, but on the night, she failed to show up and Lance was upset not to see the new year in with her.

As Amy’s behaviour became more and more distant, Lance became worried and wondered if she was trying to end things with him. As the weeks went on, Lance became more and more confused, until he found out the shocking truth - Amy was pregnant. Knowing they hadn’t slept together, he was furious with Amy and Anne, who had been keeping the secret for weeks. In an attempt to move on, Lance tracked down Julia, but she soon realised it was a rebound thing and told him she didn’t want to be a part of it. By the time Amy left to marry Damien, Lance had forgiven her and they said a heartfelt goodbye at her leaving party.

During all his problems with Amy, Lance had found a great friend in Steph Scully. Lance was delighted when she agreed to go to the Horticulture Ball with him, but he was upset when she pulled out at the last minute, to go to the footy with her mates. Lance’s upset led to Steph changing her plans and going with him, and they had a great night, despite Lance splitting his pants. Lance soon realised that he was falling for Steph, but would have some competition from his housemate, Toadie. The pair found themselves competing for Steph’s attention.

When they heard that Steph’s 21st birthday was approaching, Lance and Toadie asked Michelle for some advice on what they should get Steph. Michelle took advantage of their desperation and told them that Steph collected blown glass animals. Lance and Toadie were both surprised, but set about buying her some animals for her birthday. After giving her the trinkets at her 21st birthday barbecue, they quickly knew it was all a joke. Soon, Lance had enlisted Steph's help in his campaign for student council and Toadie was getting her involved in fixing the engine on his car. Although Steph easily managed to put Toadie off, making Lance realise there was no hope proved more difficult. Steph was forced to turn down an piece of jewellery Lance had brought her back from a trip to Darwin, before telling him straight that they could never be anything other than friends.

Meanwhile, Lance’s bid to join student council was being ruined by a mystery candidate, named Sandy Swimmer. Nobody ever saw Sandy, but this mystery woman was causing chaos and so Lance was astounded when he found out that Toadie was behind the whole thing. Lance was even more destroyed when Toadie won the election. To take his mind off things, Joel’s new girlfriend Dee decided to find Lance a girlfriend. It was a difficult prospect however, and Lance was warned by Dee that he was simply too nice. This seemed to be looking up when he met Lisa Ryan, daughter of Maurie Ryan, the local builder who had sued Karl earlier that year. However, Lance decided to pretend to be a more exciting person from the outset, and hopefully maintain her interest. He found the charade hard to maintain, but when he tried to tell Lisa the truth, she suggested that they go skydiving. Just as he was about to complete the dive, Lance finally realised that he wasn’t cut out for such an adrenaline rush and admitted the truth.

His next brush with romance came when he met mysterious Allana Truman at a science fiction convention. However, this wasn’t to be a straightforward courtship. Allana presented Lance with seven labours which he would have to complete in order to win his heart. First he had to track down the final episode of a show called Kosmosis from the library on reel-tape and convert it into video. Next he had to track down Jimmy Le Van, a retired sci-fi actor and have his photo taken with him. He tracked the man down to the Waterfall Nursing Home and eventually conned his way in to get the photo.

Lance’s third labour proved more difficult, as he had to rope in some of the residents of Ramsay Street and make a sci-fi film of his own. His first attempt, involving Bob the dog dressed as a martian, failed miserably, but when he made Erinsborough Wives, a take-off of the Stepford Wives, he passed the labour. Next, Allana burnt a symbol into the grass outside number 30, which Lance had to decipher. For the fifth labour, Lance had to convince Libby that UFOs exist and make her publish an article about it in the Erinsborough News, then for the sixth labour, present the article at Allana’s home in full ceremonial dress. For his final labour, Lance had to track down a piece of the crashed Miron 41-30 satellite. This proved very difficult, as the police were surrounding the area, so Lance was forced to create his own piece of Miron using old car parts. At the end of all this, Lance and Allana were finally a couple, and they slept together for the first time.

However, Lance soon realised he didn’t know Allana all that well, and her behaviour became very strange. She was eventually forced to admit that she lived with her mother, while her sister Clementine revealed that Allana had changed her name from Dorothy. However, Allana’s mother, Jeannie, plotted to stop her daughter’s relationship, fearing she would lose her company around the house and Allana split up with Lance. However, as she realised what her mother was really like, she went back to Lance and begged for his help in escaping. Once they’d got away from Jeannie, they decided they might have to go a bit further to completely escape her influence and made plans to go travelling in America, visiting a big science fiction convention out there. However, money was a problem for them. Lance sold his ute to Joel, but they still needed more money, so Lance went on a radio quiz, Brainbusters, to try and win the money. However, when Lance proved popular with listeners, they plotted to keep him on the show by feeding him the answers to the next round. When Allana learnt about the cheating, she warned him that she would leave if he took part. As the big day arrived, it seemed Lance would cheat, but at the last moment, he revealed the scam live on air and gave Libby the exclusive on the story.

A few days later, Lance and Allana set off on their trip, with Lance finally happy to have found his soul mate. After spending some time travelling and visiting various science-fiction conventions, Lance and Allana decided to start up their own. Four years after leaving, Lance returned to the area for a Star Trek: Deep Space Nine convention, and decided to call in on his old friends in Erinsborough, where Annalise Hartman was about to screen a documentary she’d been making on Ramsay Street. Lance was horrified to realise that things at number 30 had hardly changed in his absence, with Toadie wheeling in Connor O’Neill, a young guy with many similarities to Lance, as a replacement. For a few days, Lance and Connor competed for Toadie’s friendship and, during the documentary screening, Lance was in for a surprise when a video message from Amy came up. In it, she admitted that she should have married him when she had the chance and asked him to give her a call. However, he was already happily settled and, with one final glare towards Connor, Lance headed home to Allana and the Klingons.

Trivia Notes
• Andrew Bibby originated the character of Lance Hails during a guest spot in 1995. On the basis of this, he was cast as part of the new Wilkinson family in 1996, with the decision to retain Lance as his character taken at a relatively late stage. Consequently, it was explained that the children had taken their mother's surname in the wake of Ruth's divorce, to cover the change of surname
• Lance was allergic to bee stings

Tenure
2487-2584, 2727-3734, 4772-4775

Magic Moments
Episode 3734: Lance's Departure
Episode 4772: Lance's Return

Biography by Steve

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