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Ann Reynolds (Gerda Nicholson)

Appointed Governor of Wentworth to succeed Erica Davidson. This is a surprise, given her child welfare background and the stiff opposition from internal candidates Meg, Colleen and Joan. She is suddenly introduced at the end of (364) by Ted Douglas with his usual tact to all of the three unsuccessful candidates at once. They all look suitably thunderstruck.

According to Terry Bourke's book, a two hour special followed to introduce her character, but this may only mean that episodes (365) and (366) were originally shown on the same evening for the original Australian run. They were shown as two separate episodes in the UK.

Ann is immediately latched onto by Joan who attempts to feed Ann information to discredit her rivals (367) and she aggravates her Deputy Colleen into giving her a list of her mistakes (368). Her taste in men proves to be as unreliable as her views are liberal. The first man to attract her interest is Wally Wallace (the human anorak) who she invites to stay in her attic (377) and her son Paul helps him to move in (379). Paul is a photographer, and his candid snap of Ted Douglas taking bribes from crime boss Ted Douglas causes trouble for both of them: Fellowes' attempts to recover the negative include sending two men to Ann's flat to rough her up (381).

Ted Douglas' successor, Arthur Richards (387), is no easier to deal with and Ann finds herself blamed for poor security after the bomb blast organised by Fellowes to take revenge on the women. Her relationship with Wally develops and they first sleep together in (390), though she has rival in Paul's lawyer, Sam (413). She first notices a lump in her breast in (412) and after considerable delay in seeking medical advice, she is admitted to hospital for a biopsy (417), during which a mastectomy is performed. To add to her problems, her son Paul is shot in (422) on Lionel Fellowes orders. She leaves hospital in (424) but does not return to work immediately and considers giving up her career to look after Paul.

Not expecting to return to Wentworth, she helps Joan Ferguson to take back her resignation (427), but when Wally offers to look after Paul, she is able to return to Wentworth as Governor (429). Ann's next romantic involvement is an old flame, Dr Joanathan Edmunds, who visits Wentworth to conduct experiments in behaviour modification (448), but he conducts a parallel affair with Meg, even visting the two of the name in the same evening (449). Colleen alerts Ann to Jonathan's double dealing (453), and he is soon exposed for his unothodox methods in a previous post, and arrested by the police. Joan Ferguson reports Ann's relationship with Dr Edmunds to the Department, and as a result Ann is placed on six weeks notice (463) and after the riot orchestrated by Joan, she is discharged as Governor (467), but before she has worked out her notice she is reinstated due to Leigh Templar's influence with politicians (469).

A campaign of death threats against Ann beginning in (478) appears to be over when Ann co-operates with the police in dropping off ransom money (490), but this was merely an opportunistic attempt by an accomplice of Lou and Reb, and the real culprit, Brian Lowe, takes Ann and Meg hostage (498) and holds them in a booby trapped warehouse (499-501). Ann returns to work prematurely after her ordeal in (504), but collapses in (507) and returns again in (512). She seems to be about to leave again when William Coleby seems keen to organise a promotion for her (517) but she turns it down (522).

After the resignation of Andrew Fry, the Minister asks Ann to take over his job (558), but she is more interested in moves towards reform represented by the prisoners' Council and educational classes. Ann has to fight Departmental corruption when Julie Egbert tells her about duplicate payments for goods supplied to the prison (563), leading to the exposure of Geoffrey Chaucer in (566), but Ann has to face an intimidation campaign from his supplier Adrian Bullock, including an attack on her daughter Pippa (568). When Lou Kelly takes over as top dog and orders a mass hunger strike, Ann offers to resign but is persuaded to take leave of absence instead (591).

During this "leave of absence", she appears only occasionally, helping Ettie Parslow with her home for wayward girls (595) but finding time to embark on a third disastrous relationship. This time she falls for Dan Moulton, a priest and bikie, and they are sleeping together by (605). She returns as Governor in (606), but Dan is hospitalised after an accident during Bongo Connor's attempt to break Rita from prison (618). Her final battles with Joan Ferguson begin: she is compelled to accept Joan as Deputy (620), and the Minisiter is clearly on Joan's side, even threatening to demote Ann in favour of Joan over the handling of Julie Egbert's wedding (629). Dan returns from hospital to tell her he's fallen in love with one of the nurses (648).

Joan takes her chance while Ann is away at a conference on prison reform and transfers Rita to Blackmoor (665), and when Rita burns Blackmoor down and Ernest Craven is transferred to Wentworth, Joan plots with him to depose Ann, which they achieve over the issue of Lorelei's rape: Ann is dismissed in (671). After Craven is exposed on a TV news program, the Minister is forced to reinstate Ann (678) and she pushes ahead with her plans to liberalise the prison regime at Wentworth. In the final episode, she achieves the double triumph of having her reform report accepted by the Department, and seeing Joan Ferguson fixed once and for all.

Updated 15 June 1997

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