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Number 96 together again

Monday, July 26, 2010
Number 96 together again
We couldn’t go outside without being mobbed,” Johnny recalls of the show’s heyday. “Hell, even the hookers went off the streets at 8.30pm so they wouldn’t miss an episode.

Turning 90 gave Johnny Lockwood the perfect excuse to reconnect with his old friends at what was once Australia’s favourite address.

Nothing got tongues wagging in the 70s like Number 96 – the racy TV ratings smash of its day that went where no show had gone before. Leading the cast was battling deli owner Aldo Godolfus, played by Johnny Lockwood, who – incredibly – is now celebrating his 90th birthday.

Johnny’s birthday is the perfect excuse for the gang to get together again at the setting which changed their lives, the very building that made its way into the hearts of television viewers. And the celebrations soon turn into a trip down memory lane.

“We couldn’t go outside without being mobbed,” Johnny recalls of the show’s heyday. “Hell, even the hookers went off the streets at 8.30pm so they wouldn’t miss an episode.”

Other cast members there to celebrate with Johnny are Philippa Baker, 79, who played his screen wife Roma, and Jeff Kevin, 66, the ever-nervous Arnold Feather, who came all the way from his home in Hobart.

Also reunited are the show’s “family”, Mike Dorsey (Reg MacDonald), 80, who flew in from Perth, Wendy Blacklock, 78 (his screen wife, Edie), Frances Hargreaves, 56, who played their daughter Marilyn, and James Elliott, 82, and Liz Kirkby, 89, who played English migrant battlers Alf and Lucy Sutcliffe.

“It’s so special celebrating my birthday in the original Number 96,” Johnny says. “This is probably the last time we shall ever get together like this. I was orphaned at 11. When we did the show back in the 1970s, these people were so important to me. Like family.”


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