4 February 1993
4 March 1994
Teacher at Erinsborough High (1993-94)
Helen Daniels, Gwen Simpson,
Anne Daniels, Rosemary Daniels,
Nikki Dennison, Julie Martin, Hannah Martin
Wayne Duncan is a fictional character from the Australian soap opera Neighbours, played by Jonathon Sammy-Lee. He made his first on-screen appearance on 4 February 1993. Wayne became a teacher at Erinsborough High. He departed on 4 March 1994.
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Wayne gets a job as a teacher at Erinsborough High and arrives at 26 Ramsay Street looking for his mother's cousin, Helen Daniels (Anne Haddy). Helen's son-in-law, Jim Robinson (Alan Dale) mistakes Wayne for a potential house buyer but Wayne explains who he is. Jim agrees Wayne can stay as he has plenty of room. While in the local pub, The Waterhole one night, Wayne tries to get the attention of Gaby Willis (Rachel Blakely) and she accuses him of trying to grope her and pours beer all over him. Despite the animosity, there is a genuine attraction between the two and Gaby's grandfather Bert (Bud Tingwell) gets them together. However, Gaby's mother, Pam (Sue Jones) takes a dislike to Wayne one evening when he joins the family for dinner after arguing over politics. Wayne's admission of keeping a gun in the garage does him no favours, despite his reasoning that he grew up in the country with the sense of protecting his property.
Wayne gives Year 12 student Annalise Hartman detention, she responds by spreading rumours around the school that they are having an affair. Principal Peter Knotts (Simon Hughes) is forced to suspend Wayne after it is revealed that he left his previous school due to rumours of a similar incident. Wayne is vilified as a result and members of his own family, including Helen's granddaughter, Julie Martin (Julie Mullins), begin shunning him. Annalise eventually owns up to her lies and Wayne forgives her and they become friends after she finishes her schooling.
After being brutally beaten by a gang of heavies in a case of mistaken identity, Wayne goes back home to recuperate at his mother's farm. When he returns, He shocked to learn Cactus (Les Toth), a biker and one of the heavies who beat him, has been shot dead. Wayne tells the police he was with Lou Carpenter (Tom Oliver) at the time of the murder but the alibi is ruined when Lou's assistant tells them Lou was a the Car Yard all day. Wayne tries to prove his innocence and for a while it looks like he may face imprisonment. Luckily, a fellow biker comes forward and the charges against Wayne are dropped. This puts an end to Wayne and Gaby's relationship after the lack of support she has shown.
Wayne later becomes involved with Beth Brennan (Natalie Imbruglia), who had recently been engaged to Gaby's brother Brad (Scott Michaelson) but ended it when she found out about Brad's affair with Lauren Carpenter (Sarah Vandenberg). Brad later tries to win Beth back and Wayne is prepared to fight for her. Both men propose to Beth, but she ultimately chooses Brad, leaving Wayne crushed. Following his failed engagement with Beth, Wayne has a brief romance with Lauren, who is also feeling hurt after Brad and Beth reunite and marry.
Vince Roland (Bob Brown), Knotts' successor at Erinsborough High, pushes Wayne's buttons by forcing him to teach an extra subject with no pay increase. Wayne feels his frustration building as Roland suspended him over the murder enquiry. The final straw comes when Roland admonishes him in front of his class for being late due to slashed tyres. Wayne can stand no more and punches Roland in the face. After this event, Wayne is disillusioned with being a teacher and general life in Erinsborough. Before he leaves, Wayne introduces fast bowler Mike Whitney as Erinsborough High's new cricket coach.
On the day of Wayne's departure, he tries to slip away without a fuss but Helen arranges a surprise leaving party where the students of Erinsborough High present him with an "Outstanding contribution in the classroom" trophy and thank him for being such a great teacher.
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Neighbours, the BBC asked readers to nominate their twenty favourite obscure characters. Wayne came in third place and the readers said "How's about Wayne Duncan? He lived at the Robinson house, went out with Gabby Willis for a while and could open "stubbies" using only the fold between his upper arm and forearm. What a guy". Matthew Clifton, writing for entertainment website Heckler Spray, included Wayne in his list of "The Best Ever Mid-90s Neighbours Characters". Clifton said "The aforementioned Wayne was a hunky teacher at Erinsborough High, who was notable for having a top lip that never moved when he spoke. This always made you think of that other long haired titan of the era, Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder."