Karl Kennedy

Karl Kennedy
Karl Kennedy
Karl Kennedy.jpg
Neighbours character
Portrayed by Alan Fletcher
Introduced by Ian Bradley
Duration 1994–
First appearance 20 September 1994
Classification Current, regular
Date of birth 25 June 1955
Home 28 Ramsay Street
Occupation Doctor at the Erinsborough Medical Centre (1994–96, 1997–2006)
Doctor at Erinsborough Hospital (1994–2006, 2008–09, 2010–)

Karl Raymond Kennedy is a fictional character from the Australian soap opera Neighbours, played by Alan Fletcher. The character and his family were created by storyliners in an attempt to bring the show back to its roots. Karl made his first on-screen appearance on 20 September 1994 along with his youngest son. The storyliners made Karl the local GP to give him immediate links with other characters.


Character creation and casting

In 1994, the Neighbours' storyliners decided to introduce the "solid" Kennedy family.[1] They felt that they needed to take the show back to its roots when it seemed that all the houses on Ramsay Street were populated with misfits and distant relatives.[1] Susan was given the job of teacher at the local school and Karl was made the local GP, giving the family immediate links with other characters.[1]

Alan Fletcher had previously starred in Neighbours as Greg Cooper for a three week guest role in 1987.[2] When the character of Karl Kennedy came up, Fletcher auditioned for the role in the same way as he had for the role of Greg.[2] He was subsequently cast in the show again seven years after his first appearance.[2] Fletcher admitted that when he joined the show again he thought he would be there for a year.[3] In 2009, Fletcher celebrated the 15th anniversary of his character's arrival on Ramsay Street.[4]

Character development

Susan and Karl were childhood sweethearts who married before they both graduated from university.[1][5] Karl has cheated on Susan twice and the couple have broken up and divorced, but they later reunited and have re-married.[4] Karl and Susan are best friends who enjoy each other's company, share a deep connection and take joy in each other's quirks and ways.[6][7] Woodburne described them as having a "really solid foundation for a marriage" and she has said that she does not want to see Susan and Karl's relationship break up again.[6][7]

Holy Soap have called Susan and Karl "contenders for the friskiest couple on Ramsay Street".[8] Following their "passionate arguments", the couple enjoy making up together as they have a healthy attraction for each other.[6][8] Fletcher says he and Woodburne find the scenes "funny". Fletcher said "Karl and Susan every now and again do go through a phase where they become slightly more amorous than in their tougher times and tougher storylines – suffice to say it's not bawdy, but I think the audience will enjoy the fun aspect".[8] Karl and Susan have been caught in the nude together on three occasions; at the beach, in Lou Carpenter's (Tom Oliver) spa and when they went skinny-dipping in the bush.[9]



Doctor Karl Kennedy met his wife Susan Smith at university and they had three children Malcolm, Billy and Libby.[10] When Karl was suspected of causing the death of a patient, he moved his family to Erinsborough for a fresh start.[10] Karl was strict with his children, until he found out that the man he had grown up calling 'dad' was not his biological father and he changed his attitude.[10] Karl and Susan have become surrogate parents for many of the local kids including Toadfish Rebecchi, Joel Samuels and Taj Coppin.[10]


Dr Karl Kennedy previously ran the local medical practice in Erinsborough. Though a former GP, Karl has been involved with various aspects of different medical situations, including mental health problems and births. He is married to Susan and they have broken up and reunited a number of times. Karl's first act of infidelity happened when he kissed Sarah Beaumont (his receptionist at the time).[11] After some time, Susan found out about this incident through their son, Billy. Her response was to slap Karl and throw him out. She eventually forgave him, but they separated after Susan developed retrograde amnesia and forgot everything that happened after 1972, including her marriage to Karl and the birth of their children. They eventually reconciled, but separated again and divorced after nearly 30 years of marriage. Karl then fell for Izzy Hoyland (Natalie Bassingthwaighte). She fell pregnant by Gus Cleary (Ben Barrack) and led Karl to believe he was the father of her baby, but she suffered a miscarriage. The relationship between Karl and Izzy later ended. Karl nearly died after having a heart attack on a lonely road. Convinced any phone call he made would be his last, he called his ex-wife Susan, making him realise that he had made a mistake divorcing Susan although another reconciliation seemed unlikely at the time. Karl went on to make a full recovery.

After Susan's second husband Alex Kinski (Andrew Clarke) died, Karl and Susan then attempted their relationship again but were forced to play it cool after Rachel (Caitlin Stasey) and Zeke Kinski (Matthew Werkmeister), felt that she was betraying their late father. Karl became a mentor for Zeke, helping him with school work and football. Eventually Susan and Karl won Rachel and Zeke around and Karl moved back into the Kinski household, reuniting Susan and Karl in their marital home. While in England to see their son Malcolm, Karl proposed to Susan, who accepted, on the London Eye. Both were extremely surprised to discover that a heavily-pregnant Izzy was also in England and in a relationship with married footballer Pete Gartside. When Karl threw a surprise wedding a few days before they left for Ramsay Street, Izzy decided she was going to tell Karl that he was the father of her child. Both Pete and Izzy sneaked on board the boat Karl and Susan were getting married on, and she fell into labour after they were officially married. Karl helped deliver Holly Hoyland at the ceremony, but he did not know she was his own child. Susan overheard Izzy and Pete talking in the ambulance that Karl was the father, but she kept this from him until they arrived back in Ramsay Street. Karl then returned to London to see his new daughter. When he returned from visiting Holly in London, Karl started working for Davo Mather, until he found out that the company Vivex was supplying dodgy drugs. He and his double-crossing PA went into the warehouse and tried to find the evidence. When he was ready to leave, she hid the swipe card and they were caught. She faked an injury so he could escape, returning to his office. When he got there, CEO Christian had the police remove his things, but his PA dobbed in Christian and Karl was set free.

When Susan was diagnosed with MS,[12] Karl had to get another job in order to cover the finances at home. He applied to work at the hospital again and became a hospital registrar. He became doctor to Rebecca Napier's ex Richard Aaronow who was dying of kidney failure. Karl wanted to tell his kids about it but he couldn't because of patient confidentiality. Paul Robinson eventually found out and told Rebecca. Karl became close to Nicola West (Imogen Bailey) while she was working as a nurse at the Hospital. His relationship with Nicola opened old wounds for a jealous Susan, but Karl was actually trying to cover up Nicola's unethical behaviour – she took a blood sample from criminal Pete Ferguson without permission. When interviewed during an investigation into the matter, Nicola blamed Karl, but Karl was ultimately found innocent.

When Harold Bishop and Lou Carpenter went for a routine checkup it was discovered that Harold had prostate cancer and needed urgent surgery.[13] Word quickly spread and Karl ordered Harold to have the surgery. Harold then fled Erinsborough and Karl and the rest of the street begin to panic. Fortunately though Harold saw sense and returned to have his treatment. After returning from the brink of death, Harold left Ramsay Street to go travelling again[14]

After Zeke went missing in a rafting accident and was presumed dead, Karl couldn't handle it and desperately believed that Zeke was alive. When he realised how much his family needed him, he finally accepted that Zeke was dead and wasn't coming back. Karl and Susan then received a call from Zeke who was living with a man named Phil Andrews. Zeke had suffered amnesia in the rafting accident, but the phone call triggered a memory he couldn't explain. Susan and Karl went to rescue their son where he decided to return to Ramsay Street. Since then, Karl has worked with Zeke, re-building his trust and making him recognise that he does belong in Ramsay Street. When exchange student Sunny Lee arrived, she and Zeke began a relationship, much to Karl's disapproval. After a while it became apparent to Karl and everyone else that Zeke was not well and he was found to be suffering from anxiety disorder. Karl took Zeke back to the scene of the rafting accident to help him with his anxiety.

Karl spent his time writing his "Ask Dr Karl" newspaper column and co-presenting Lost Boy's radio show on PirateNet with Zeke. He co-presented the radio show with Zeke in an attempt to help Zeke with his anxiety disorder, however Zeke started to resent Karl's help.[15] Karl was sacked by PirateNet for breaching their station charter, however, knowing how much the radio show means to Karl, Zeke started an on-air campaign to bring him back.[16] After Paul Robinson took over Pirate Net, he allowed Karl to come back for his regular radio show.

When Karl suffers a health scare he is taken to the hospital, where he meets a seemingly arrogant, Doctor Doug Harris. After having to wait a long time to be seen and for test results, Karl decides to expose the hospital board in a newspaper article. He then asks Doug for his job back and Doug agrees. Karl clashes with Doug on a few occasions and is shocked to find Libby is dating him. During a Million Paws Walk, organised by Rebecca Robinson, Karl decides to walk Dahl, the Galah, to compete against Rebecca and Cat. Dahl goes missing and Karl blames Cat, he shouts at Rebecca and she leaves upset. Karl then launches a search for Dahl. Karl and Susan both support Libby when she discovers that Steph is carrying Daniel Fitzgerald's baby. Karl helps Susan out with a report on Lou's new used car lot and he spots a Galah nearby. Karl decides that he will help Lou bond with the bird, but he discovers that it is Dahl. Lou refuses to give up the bird as he wants to use her in his new advertisements. They begin a competition with each other to see who can attract the bird. Dahl flies in to Toadie's house and Toadie brings her back to Karl. Ringo Brown (Sam Clark) asks Karl to be his best man at his wedding to Donna Freedman (Margot Robbie). Karl forgets his wedding anniversary and tries to get Zeke and Ringo to help him out. He eventually writes Susan a song and performs it to her in Harold's Store.

Karl is devastated when Ringo is accidentally killed by Stephanie Scully (Carla Bonner) and he leads a tribute to him at the Blokes Club shed. Karl is not happy when Libby decides to lie in her statement. When he discovers that Lyn is running a blood drive in Ringo's memory, he reacts angrily. He tells Lyn that he thinks Steph should go to jail for killing Ringo. He and Susan fight and Karl later agrees to make an victim impact statement for Samantha Fitzgerald (Simone Buchanan). Karl and Susan compete for Citizen of the Year, but they both lose out to Lou. Following a fire at the Scully house, Karl announces that the neighbours should raise money to help Lyn rebuild it. He clashes with Jade Mitchell (Gemma Pranita) and they both decide that whoever raises the most money out of the men and women, will win the Men's Shed. Karl then convinces the guys to do a nude calendar. The women win, but after Susan makes him wear a dress to Charlie's, Karl and the men are given the shed back. When Karl thinks Libby is being consumed by work, he tries to set her up with his colleague, Jonathan Swan (Gary Abrahams). Libby is embarrassed and she fakes a relationship with Lucas to get back at Karl. Karl is not happy when Susan invites Summer Hoyland (Jordy Lucas) to stay without consulting him. Karl later tells Susan that he thinks they are heading in different directions and he worries that he is not enough for her. They make up and begin planning a holiday together.

Karl clashes with new doctor Rhys Lawson (Ben Barber), after he gives his patient, Jim Dolan (Scott Parmeter), some medical advice. Malcolm comes for a visit and detects all is not well, even though Karl reassures him that he and Susan are fine. Karl becomes angry when he learns Susan wants to postpone their holiday for Jim. Karl asks Jim to keep his distance from Susan for a while, but later confesses that he overreacted and calls Susan to meet Jim. Malcolm tells Karl not to make anything more out of Susan's friendship with Jim. Karl invites Jim over for lunch, which pleases Susan. Jim collapses and Karl helps to save him. Karl asks Rhys if he can be Jim's attending physician and he agrees. Karl witnesses Susan kissing Jim as she comforts him. When Susan tries to take Jim out of the hospital, Karl stops her. When they go outside to talk, Jim dies. Susan is angry with Karl for keeping her from Jim and she goes away with Malcolm to plan Jim's funeral. Karl is left unsure if and when she will return. Karl introduces Rhys to the head of surgery, Martin Chambers (John Wood), when he covers up a mistake for him. Karl asks Paul not to print Susan's negative newspaper article about Jim and the hospital. Paul amends the article and Karl joins Susan. On her return, Susan tells Malcolm and Summer that she and Karl have decided to separate. Malcolm initially blames Susan for the separation, but Karl tells him he initiated it. Karl tells Susan it is too hard to be friends with her and he starts looking for other places to live.


Fletcher has earned various award nominations for his role as Karl. At the 2007 Inside Soap Awards, Fletcher was nominated for "Best Actor", "Best Couple" (with Jackie Woodburne) and "Best Storyline" for Susan and Karl's wedding.[17] The following year, Fletcher was again nominated for "Best Couple" with Woodburne.[18] 2009 saw Fletcher again nominated for "Best Actor", he was also nominated alongside Woodburne, Valentine, Stasey and Werkmeister for "Best Family".[19] At the first Digital Spy Soap Awards ceremony, Fletcher was nominated for "Most Popular Actor".[20] He and Woodburne were also nominated for "Best On-Screen Partnership" and their 2007 storyline in London was nominated for "Storyline of the Year".[20] 2011 saw Fletcher nominated for "Best Daytime Star" at the Inside Soap Awards.[21]

In 2007, Australian newspaper the Herald Sun placed Karl's affair with Sarah at number eight on their list of Neighbours Top Ten moments.[22] They said "In one of the most shocking storylines, no one could believe that the perfect Dr Karl, played by Alan Fletcher, could cheat on his wife of many years, Susan, played by Jackie Woodburne. But, that's exactly what happened when he couldn't resist his receptionist Sarah Beaumont played by the vampy Nicola Charles".[22] In 2009, Karl came tenth in a poll by British men's magazine Loaded for "Top Soap Bloke".[23] The following year, he was voted the third "Most Popular Doctor".[24]

In 2010, to celebrate Neighbours' 25th anniversary Sky, a British satellite broadcasting company profiled 25 characters of which they believed were the most memorable in the series history.[25] Karl is in the list and describing him they state: "Karl and Susan became a truly legendary soap couple in an age when they have become thin on the ground. On paper, it's not quite clear why – they're just a pleasant, middle-class couple, and Karl can be a bit moany sometimes. But the important thing is it works, and watching the writers break them up and put them back together several times has made for great telly. And you know it's only a matter of time before Karl adds another unexpectedly sexy neighbour to his cheatin' list..."[25]


  1. ^ a b c d Monroe, Josephine (1996). Neighbours: the first 10 years. Michael Joseph LTD (Penguin Group). p. 63. ISBN 0718142128. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=EFU6NAAACAAJ&dq=neighbours+the+first+10+years&cd=1. Retrieved 18 June 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c "Doctor beat". Doncaster Free Press (Johnston Press Digital Publishing). 6 December 2007. http://www.doncasterfreepress.co.uk/freetime/Doctor-beat.3562581.jp. Retrieved 11 June 2010. 
  3. ^ Johnston, Tony (2005). Neighbours: 20 years of Ramsay Street. News Custom Publishing. p. 28. ISBN 1-876-17678-4. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=KWjxAAAACAAJ&dq=neighbours+20+years+of+ramsay+street&hl=en&ei=V5FQTPuPO8Lc4AbRjJXxBw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CDEQ6AEwAA. Retrieved 5 August 2010. 
  4. ^ a b "Kennedy clan mark 15 years". Holy Soap. Channel Five. 20 August 2009. http://holysoap.five.tv/neighbours/news/kennedy-clan-mark-15-years-2259. Retrieved 5 August 2010. 
  5. ^ "Susan Kennedy Bio". Neighbours. Network Ten. http://neighbours.com.au/susan-kinski-characters.htm. Retrieved 30 March 2010. 
  6. ^ a b c Green, Kris (9 January 2009). "Jackie Woodburne talks Karl and Susan". Digital Spy. Hachette Filipacchi (UK) Ltd. http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/soaps/s14/neighbours/scoop/a141216/jackie-woodburne-talks-karl-and-susan.html. Retrieved 22 June 2010. 
  7. ^ a b "Jackie reveals marriage secret". Holy Soap. Five. 2 January 2010. http://holysoap.five.tv/neighbours/news/jackie-reveals-marriage-secret-4717. Retrieved 22 June 2010. 
  8. ^ a b c "Susan and Karl's frisky fun". Holy Soap. Five. 6 May 2010. http://holysoap.five.tv/neighbours/news/susan-and-karls-frisky-fun-7104. Retrieved 22 June 2010. 
  9. ^ "Jackie Woodburne (Neighbours' Susan Kennedy) Interview". Last Broadcast. http://www.lastbroadcast.co.uk/soaps/interviews/v/3094-jackie-woodburne-neighbours-susan-kennedy-interview.html. Retrieved 11 June 2010. 
  10. ^ a b c d "Karl Kennedy Bio". Neighbours.com. Network Ten. http://neighbours.com.au/karl-kennedy-character.htm. Retrieved 30 March 2010. 
  11. ^ "Alan: Karl Kennedy to stay faithful". United Kingdom: Metro. 04.12.08. http://www.metro.co.uk/fame/article.html?Alan:_Karl_Kennedy_to_stay_faithful&in_article_id=432235&in_page_id=7. Retrieved 10.11.09. 
  12. ^ Balls, David (09.01.09). "Neighbours Interview – Jackie Woodburne". United Kingdom: Digital Spy. http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/soaps/s14/neighbours/interviews/a138943/jackie-woodburne-susan-kennedy-neighbours.html. Retrieved 10 November 2009. 
  13. ^ "Harold Bishop discovers cancer". United Kingdom: STV. 21.02.09. http://entertainment.stv.tv/showbiz/78162-harold-bishop-discovers-cancer/. Retrieved 11 November 2009. 
  14. ^ "Harold bows out of Ramsay Street". United Kingdom: BBC. 01.05.09. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/8028314.stm. Retrieved 10 November 2009. 
  15. ^ Green, Kris (10.11.09). "Lily Allen drops in to the PirateNet studios". United Kingdom: Digital Spy. http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/soaps/s14/neighbours/spoilers/a185953/5772-lily-allen-drops-into-the-piratenet-studios.html. Retrieved 11 November 2009. 
  16. ^ "Karl is hired then fired by PirateNet". What's on TV. 11.11.09. http://www.whatsontv.co.uk/soaps/neighbours/coming-next/karls-hired-then-fired-by-piratenet/6387. Retrieved 11 November 2009. 
  17. ^ Green, Kris (3 July 2007). "Inside Soap Awards 2007: The Nominations". Digital Spy. Hachette Filipacchi (UK) Ltd. http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/soaps/scoop/a64083/inside-soap-awards-2007-the-nominations.html. Retrieved 5 August 2010. 
  18. ^ "Inside Soap Awards 2008 – Nominations". MSN TV. Microsoft. 16 July 2008. http://msnuktvsoaps.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!E65397F19A3BDCEA!3110.entry. Retrieved 5 August 2010. 
  19. ^ "Inside Soap Awards 2009: Nominees". Sky. BSkyB. http://tv.sky.com/inside-soap-awards-2009-nominees. Retrieved 5 August 2010. 
  20. ^ a b Green, Kris (21 March 2008). "Digital Spy Soap Awards 2008: The Winners". Digital Spy (Hachette Filipacchi (UK) Ltd). http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/soaps/news/a92054/digital-spy-soap-awards-2008-the-winners.html. Retrieved 5 August 2009. 
  21. ^ Love, Ryan (11 July 2011). "In Full: Inside Soap Awards 2011 Nominees". Digital Spy. Hachette Filipacchi UK. http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/soaps/s2/eastenders/scoop/a329296/in-full-inside-soap-awards-2011-nominees.html. Retrieved 11 July 2011. 
  22. ^ a b "Your all-time favourite moment". Herald Sun (Herald and Weekly Times). 11 July 2007. http://www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/confidential/your-all-time-favourite-moment/story-e6frf99f-1111113933908. Retrieved 11 June 2010. 
  23. ^ "Harold Ramsay is Loaded's Top Soap Bloke". news.com.au (News Limited). 28 July 2009. http://www.news.com.au/story/0,27574,25846677-23109,00.html. Retrieved 4 August 2010. 
  24. ^ "Did someone call a Doctor...?". heatworld.com. Bauer Media Group. 30 June 2010. http://www.heatworld.com/Fun-Stuff/2010/06/did-someone-call-a-doctor/. Retrieved 11 September 2010. 
  25. ^ a b "Neighbours: 25 Top Characters". Sky. 2010. http://tv.sky.com/neighbours. Retrieved 26 April 2010. 

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