Naybers max 1985

Francis Bell as Max Ramsay.

Wayne Francis Earl Bell (18 April 1944-3 May 1994) was a New Zealand born Australian actor who played Max Ramsay from Episode 1 - 18 March 1985 to Episode 245 - 2 May 1986.

Pre Neighbours careerEdit

Francis Bell was born Wayne Francis Earl Bell in Cambridge, New Zealand. He was of Scottish and Ulster ancestry, his maternal grandparents were Scottish immigrants to New Zealand. Francis moved to Australia and trained as an actor. He had roles in A Country Practice and The Sullivans in 1976. 1976 was his first known TV role.


Franics Bell joined the cast of Neighbours in late 1984 after landing the role of uncouth plumber Max Ramsay. Filming began in January 1985. Francis Bell played a major role as the shouty patriarch of the Ramsay family for over a year.

Francis took sick leave due to a bad back in around March 1986, and during hsi sick leave he decided to quit the show completely, so he never returned to the show. Francis said he had recently considered resigning but his back problem and sick leave is what made him decide to not return to the show, and as he decided to leave for good while on sick leave, he never returned to the show when he got better. As a result of this, his character never got a proper farewell episode. According to James Oram's 1988 book Neighbours Behind The Scenes, actors contracts are written in such a way that they can be written out at short notice.

The Neighbours Behind The Scenes book also said that Francis also felt that he was not paid enough, due to the long hours and playing such a major role in the show.

Max's final episode was Episode 245 - 2 May 1986. Max was later said to have gone to Brisbane to see his estranged wife Maria Ramsay and they later reconciled, and Max decided not to return to Erinsborough. Due to Francis' sudden departure from the show, the scriptwriters hastily introduced Gary Files as Max's brother Tom Ramsay to cover for Max's plumbing business while Max was away. The scriptwriters crossed out dialogue given for "Max" and replaced it with "Tom".

As Francis Bell left the show for good during his sick leave, dialogue was written into the show to say this his character Max Ramsay had got a job in Brisbane and would not be returning to Erinsborough, and his share of No 24 Ramsay Street was later sold to Tom then to Harold Bishop.

Francis attended the gala celebrating the 1000th episode of Neighbours in 1989. The celebration was televised.

After NeighboursEdit

Naybers francis bell 1989

Francis Bell at the Neighbours 1000th episode celebrations in 1989.

Francis Bell's first post Neighbours TV role was a voiceover in the TV series, Rubbery Figures. He then played Sharkey in Bushfire Moon, a 1987 film.

He attended the Neighbours 1000th anniversary celebrations in July 1989.

Francis's 1990s TV credits include The End Of The Golden Weather and as Paddy in Absent Without Leave in 1992. His last TV role was as the voice of Blackjack in Mrs. Piggle Wiggle.

On the 3rd May 1994, aged 50, Francis Bell died after falling from a building in New Zealand. He was buried at Purewa Cemetery.