As cantankerous plumber Max Ramsey, Kiwi Francis Bell was the original patriarch in iconic soap Neighbours. A popular and sought after actor in Australia, Bell had roles in numerous TV staples; he played ‘Pompey’ Elliot in the Anzacs mini-series. In the mid-80s Bell returned home, and in TV3 soap Homeward Bound played Dad to a young Karl Urban. In May 1994, aged 50, he fell from an Auckland building to his death.

Francis was an eccentric genius who didn’t always fit in, but I think he was the most talented male actor this country has ever produced. He could get into a role at the drop of a hat. Bell's New Zealand agent Graham Dunster

Hercules and the Lost Kingdom (TV movie)

1994, As: Auctioneer - Television

Mrs Piggle-Wiggle

1993, As: Howard the Hat Tree / Blackjack - Television

Homeward Bound - First Episode

1992, As: Bob Johnstone - Television

A family reunion is the perfect vehicle to introduce the characters of this early TV3 soap. Set in a rural hamlet just south of the Bombay Hills, it revolves around the Johnstone family who have farmed the area for 100 years; but times are changing and, following the market crash, so are their fortunes. Beneath the surface of reunion civilities lurks a marriage in tatters, a prodigal son returned, a family inheritance spat and a mystery teenager (Simone Kessell) confusing the bloodlines. The cast included Liddy Holloway, Peter Elliott and a young Karl Urban.

Marlin Bay

1993, Actor - Television

Marlin Bay was a drama series following the comings and goings of a far-north resort and casino. Andy Anderson, Ilona Rogers, Don Selwyn, Pete Smith, Katie Wolfe and others made up the cast of earthy locals, wealthy foreigners, and city weekenders. Created by writer Greg McGee, Marlin Bay was one of the first primetime drama series from South Pacific Pictures. Kevin Smith received a 1995 Best Supporting Actor nod for his role as villain Paul Cosic. 

The Gift

1992, Actor - Short Film

Absent Without Leave

1992, As: Paddy - Film

In 1992 Australian soap star Craig McLachlan (Neighbours) landed in NZ, to tackle one of his only starring roles in a movie to date. McLachlan plays Ed — a WWll soldier who goes AWOL — in a story 74-year-old writer James Edwards drew from his own life. When Ed is shipped overseas with no leave, he feels obliged to make sure that his recently pregnant wife Daisy (Katrina Hobbs) is OK before he departs. But then the days become weeks. For director John Laing the road movie offered a chance to explore changing gender roles, as women discovered life beyond house and family.

Mother Tongue

1992, As: Ted - Short Film

The Sound and the Silence

1992, As: Thomas Watson - Television

At the Risk of Their Lives - William Colenso the Missionary

1991, Actor - Television


1991, Actor - Television

The End of the Golden Weather

1991, As: Mr Irons - Film

Set over a Christmas beach holiday in 1935, The End of the Golden Weather chronicles the friendship between a teenage boy and the wild-limbed Firpo, dreamer and social outcast. Writer/director Ian Mune spent more than 15 years "massaging" Bruce Mason's classic solo play into a movie, before assembling a dream team to bring it to the screen. The finished film captures the world view of a boy for whom fantasy, hope and disappointment intermingle. Among an impressive awards haul, 12-year-old star Stephen Fulford was recognised at America's Youth in Film Awards.   

Against the Innocent

1989, As: Brigadier de Bondage - Film

Bushfire Moon

1987, As: Sharkey - Television

Rubbery Figures

1986, As: various characters (voice) - Television


1985 - 1986, As: Max Ramsey - Television

Glass Babies

1985, As: Radiologist - Television


1985, As: Major-General 'Pompey' Elliot - Television

Who Killed Hannah Jane?

1984, Actor - Television

Special Squad

1984 - 1985, As: Burnett - Television

Carson's Law

1983 - 1984, Actor - Television

Five Mile Creek

1983, As: Toby - Television

Who Killed Baby Azaria?

1983, As: Des Sturgess - Television

Sara Dane

1982, As: Mr Clapmore - Television

A Country Practice

1981 - 1993, Actor - Television

Sons and Daughters (Australian soap opera)

1983, As: Malcolm Crosbie - Television

Breaker Morant

1980, As: Lieutenant Reed - Film

Cop Shop

1977 - 1984, Actor - Television

The Sullivans

1976, As: Billy Brinkley - Television