end as they move to Queensland to be closer to Jai and Amber.
Three more characters are scheduled to leave Summer Bay this week when Dean Thompson (Patrick O’Connor), Ziggy Astoni (Sophie Dillman), and their infant daughter Izzy travel to Queensland, only a few days after we said goodbye to Nikau Parata (Kawakawa Fox-Reo).
Only a little over a month after Ziggy and Dean became parents, the family’s life was gently normalizing. In the form of newcomer Mali Hudson (Kyle Shilling), Dean has a reliable pair of hands managing the board shop, and Ziggy has successfully overcome her first bonding challenges with newborn Izzy.
When Dean learned devastating news from Jai’s mother Amber last week, they were eager for Izzy to meet her older brother, 8-year-old Jai (River Jarvis) (Maddy Jevic). A 21-hour drive away in Northern Queensland, she had accepted a wonderful job offer and would be moving there within a week.
Dean was devastated at the development, worrying that he would only see Jai during the school holidays. He only learnt of his son’s existence two and a half years ago, and given that he isn’t even named on the birth certificate, Dean knows that he has no rights in contesting Amber’s decision.
This week, Ziggy proposes that they also relocate to Queensland, arguing that they aren’t need to stay in Summer Bay in order to be a family. He’ll be close to Jai, which will allow Izzy to get to know her elder brother as she grows up.
As pure fate would have it, Ziggy’s sister Coco (Anna Cocquerel), who relocated to Cairns back in 2019, now resides in North Queensland, so that’s got to be an added plus as well.
With Ziggy’s offer, Dean is overjoyed and snatches her up for a hug. Soon after, word of the suggestion spreads throughout the community.
But, Dean must move away from his half-sister Mackenzie, which is a disadvantage (Emily Weir). After finding out that her partner Gabe (Akos Armont) had cancer, Mac has experienced her most recent setback in the previous week. After being engaged for over four years, the two have only recently rekindled their relationship. However, Gabe recently learned that his non-Hodgkins lymphoma has returned and has spread to his bones.
Gabe knows that the outlook is bleak, with chemotherapy having almost zero chance of making any difference, but has agreed to undergo the treatment in the hope he can spend just a little more time with Mac before the inevitable.
In spite of his assurance to Mac that he would support her every step of the way, Dean is finding it difficult to tell his sister he is leaving.
In the end, Ziggy has to inform Mac of the bad news. While she is devastated to be leaving her sole family in the bay, Mac can see why they need to leave and offers them her approval.
One must also consider Dean’s mother Karen (Georgia Adamson), who is currently dealing with the departure of both of her grandsons. It’s unclear how Dean will inform her of the situation, but happily she has Brett (Aaron Glenane) to turn to.
We can only hope that Karen visits Summer Bay on occasion to confront her friend/enemy John (Shane Withington). if she doesn’t follow Dean to Queensland instead of following her own advice!
“Dean’s had so much heartbreak during his time on the show, so to leave him in a space of contentment is satisfying,” Patrick told TV Week. “For a lot of his life, he’s been hanging on.”
“Dean and Ziggy are looking towards a new and exciting future,” Sophie adds. “We were stoked to be able to create a family and have a happy ending – it doesn’t always happen for a lot of people in Home and Away.”
Irene (Lynne McGranger), Justin (James Stewart), Mac, Gabe, and Mali all congregate outside the surf club where Dean and Ziggy had left their car in preparation to depart town, continuing what appears to have become a Summer Bay ritual.
Mali swears to make Dean proud as Dean gives her the keys to the board shop (probably with owner Ben’s approval!).
Mali has already demonstrated his dedication to the position by making his own significant life changes, such as leaving his family behind to begin working there. Dean and Ziggy’s framed newspaper clipping from their victory in the Summer Bay Surf Contest has been sitting proudly in the board shop, so Mali makes sure to give it to them before they depart.
“The final scene is in the car, and we drive off into the sunset – it felt like a really nice way to say goodbye to them,” Patrick revealed. “The last day was so emotional.
“We finished filming around 4pm and it was normal – until my last scene, where Dean was handing the board shop to Mali. I had to turn away from the camera because I was quite upset.”
Ziggy has come far since she first arrived in the bay 5½ years ago, as the angsty teen daughter of Ben (Rohan Nichol) and Maggie (Kestie Morassi). Together with younger daughter Coco, the family’s arrival in the bay in 2017 marked the show’s first nuclear family in over 17 years.
Dean arrived in the first week of 2018 as a member of a River Boy clan sent by Ash (George Mason) to find a Robbo who was evading capture (Jake Ryan). While Dean has consistently stated that he will be a River Boy for life, he has also managed to settle down and grow into a well-respected member of the neighborhood (most of the time!).
“We were given characters so relatable and complex,” Sophie told TV Week. “I admire Ziggy and I’m so honoured to have played her. Thank you to everyone who supports the show and has watched our journey.”
“It’s been amazing to be part of,” Patrick adds. “This show is a powerhouse, and the fans are so crucial to it. To be part of it and have people encourage us has been incredible. Thank you.”
The real-life couple recently revealed that they are looking to move to London, which will act as a base for their plans to travel around Europe.