Following the recent disaster, which put Martha and then Marilyn in grave danger, Alf has had a nightmare couple of weeks.
The Home and Away legend has been forced to make a difficult decision about where to focus his attention, and he is terrified that someone he cares about will perish.
We spoke with Ray Meagher about how Martha might be worse than Alf realises, how he would feel if Martha died, and, of course, what his favourite disaster is.
After all, there are so many options!
Which disaster has been your favourite throughout the years?
The sinkhole is the one – this was before Roo’s mother Martha returned, and Georgie and I had a lot of laughter while filming those sequences for an intensive day and a half.
How much peril does Martha face?
She’s in grave danger, and because no one knew what was going on in SALT for a long time, it took a long time for the toxin to be discovered. Martha is in the hospital, her lungs and kidneys having been damaged by the toxin. She’s critically ill, and it’s anyone’s guess whether she’ll live or die. Martha is in a life-or-death situation.
What effect do you believe Martha’s absence will have on Alf?
He’d be heartbroken. He had lost her all those years ago and had never expected her to return to his life. He’s been overjoyed since Martha returned; he was doubtful at first, but he’s been overjoyed ever since. They’ve had a few snafus along the way, such as Martha forgetting to mention that she had a son! But, now that everything is in order, Alf and Martha should be able to relax and enjoy themselves, especially now that Martha’s health is in jeopardy.
Do you think Alf and Martha make a good couple?
Absolutely, I thought it was a lot of fun to play! I particularly enjoyed it when Martha first arrived and the writers made them finish one other’s sentences — they know each other through and out, and it was a wonderful, old romantic plot. That was a lot of fun, and I’d be thrilled if we could go back to it once Martha recovers.
When Marilyn is in a terrible mood, things are even worse for Alf — how is he coping at this point?
The tension is immense throughout his stay in the hospital, for both his wife and Marilyn, whom Alf considers to be his other daughter. He spends up to 24 hours a day at the hospital, splitting his time between Alf’s and Martha’s rooms just to be with them. He wants to be there if either of them wakes up, to reassure them that everything will be fine. He’s coping, but he’s stressed out and getting very little sleep.
At this point, he appears to believe Martha is in less danger than Marilyn, but could he be wrong?
He very certainly could. At this point, Martha’s issues are tied to both her lungs and kidneys (or at least those are the ones that we are acutely aware of at this point in time). Marilyn is still in a coma, and we learn later that she has other issues. However, because the doctors are unable to diagnose everything right away or determine why the toxin has impacted Marilyn in the way it has, Marilyn is a major source of concern for Alf.
After all these years, do you still enjoy playing Alf? Can you ever picture yourself leaving, or is that impossible?
Nothing is off the table, but I’m planning on sticking around for a while longer! I still enjoy playing Alf; in fact, I’ve enjoyed my job for more than 90% of the 34 years I’ve been doing it, and I consider myself very fortunate to be able to say that, as I don’t believe many people in their jobs can.