|First appearance 22 July 1991|
Created by Phil Redmond
Mother Daphne Morrisey
Creator Phil Redmond
|Last appearance 29 November 2000|
Classification Former; regular
Portrayed by Karen Drury
|Duration 1991–1992, 1993, 1995, 1996-2000|
Similar Max Farnham, Ron Dixon, Mick Johnson, Jackie Corkhill, Barry Grant
Susannah Morrisey (previously Farnham) is a fictional character in the defunct Channel 4 soap opera Brookside. She was portrayed by Karen Drury from 1991 until the character's death in 2000. Susannah was no relation of later Brookside character Dan Morrisey.
Susannah is the first wife of Max Farnham, and is mentioned frequently from the very first introduction of Max and second wife Patricia to the Close in September 1990. Before arriving on Brookside, Max had begun an affair with Patricia whilst still married to Susannah. He walked out on her and their children Matthew and Emily to set up home with Patricia and they had a child of their own, Thomas, who is around eighteen months old when they arrive on the Close. Max continues to pay maintenance to Susannah and Matthew and Emily occasionally visit Max during the Farnhams' first year on Brookside. Patricia is initially uncomfortable with the arrangement, but begins to warm to Max's children and they start to enjoy a good relationship.
Susannah was first seen in the episode transmitted on 15 May 1991 driving away from the Farnhams' house after having dropped the children off. Karen Drury was first credited in the episode transmitted on 22 July 1991, when Patricia arrives home to find her chatting to the Farnhams' nanny, Margaret, in her living room. Throughout the latter half of 1991, Susannah remains on the Close and attempts to draw Max away from Patricia. In September 1991, when Patricia is unable to accompany Max to a business dinner, Max's partner Geoffrey invites Susannah to pose as Max's wife. On New Year's Eve 1991, Susannah tries to seduce Max while he is away from Patricia on business. He rejects her, and upon returning to Liverpool reconciles with Patricia who discovers that she has breast cancer. Susannah continues to hang around in January 1992, but Patricia heatedly tells her to leave.
Susannah returns to the Close in April 1993 to inform Max of her plans to take Matthew and Emily to America for a year to live with her new boyfriend, Andrew. Max is incensed and refuses to sign any paperwork assenting to the move, but Susannah jets off with the children anyway. In June 1993, while Patricia is in London on business, Max takes Thomas to DisneyWorld in Florida and whilst there makes a snap decision to kidnap Matthew and Emily and return them to Liverpool. Wracked with guilt at what he has done, he tries unsuccessfully to telephone Susannah's hotel room to explain his actions but finds her at his doorstep vowing to never let him see Matthew and Emily again. With the help of Patricia, Max persuades Susannah to let them have the children for three months until Susannah and Andrew have settled in in the States. Patricia is called away to another meeting in London, leaving Max and Susannah to finalise the children's arrangements but after too much wine, Max invites Susannah into his bed and sleeps with her. The next morning, Patricia's father, David, who recently moved into No. 6, calls round and finds Susannah and Max together. Max pleads with David not to tell his daughter but when she finds out, she begins divorce proceedings. Driving Susannah to the airport, Susannah asks Max who he wants - her or Patricia - and he is unable to answer so she takes her flight as scheduled. Max and Patricia eventually reconcile, but Susannah returns to the Close again in September 1995 penniless and homeless after breaking up with Andrew, who has frittered away all her money. She asks Max to help her find a flat, much to Patricia's annoyance, but when he is unable to come up with anything suitable, she moves in with his business associate Dil Palmer to make Max jealous.
In March 1996, still living with Dil, Susannah is reintroduced as a main character when Max is wrongfully accused of kerbcrawling. When he keeps this news from Patricia and she finds out from the local newspaper, she refuses to accompany him to court and tells him the trust in their marriage is gone. Whilst Patricia goes to visit her mother in France, Susannah supports Max through the trial and though Patricia returns to congratulate Max when he is acquitted, he walks out on her and moves into Susannah's flat while Dil is away. Patricia leaves the Close for good in April 1996 to live with her mother in France and takes Thomas with her. Max makes a last-gasp U-turn to try to make her stay, but he has lost her for good and they eventually begin divorce proceedings in October 1996. Max is reconciled with Susannah and she quickly moves herself and her children into No. 7 in May 1996.
After Max makes a drunken pass at Sammy Daniels in June, the rest of 1996 is a happy time for Susannah as she successfully wins Max round and starts to fill Patricia's shoes in No. 7. They holiday in Ollie and Bel Simpson's family cottage in the Cotswolds in July and Susannah becomes a partner in Grants Restaurant in the Autumn. In early 1997, she tries to persuade Max to have a vasectomy and Matthew begins to excel at school hockey. However, tragedy strikes in April 1997, when Susannah and her children were involved in a car crash driving back from an open day at the fire station. Susannah suffered minor injuries but Matthew and Emily were badly injured. Matthew died shortly after reaching hospital and Emily died the next day. Susannah was wracked with guilt as she had been the one driving and had a drink before.
Susannah is grief-stricken and collapses at the children's funeral. In May 1997, Max receives news from Patricia that she is moving to Quebec and Patricia's children come to stay at No. 7 before they go but Susannah cannot cope with having them around and goes on to attempt suicide by overdosing on pills, but Max arrives in time to save her. She makes a recovery and begins to build her life again, but continues to yearn for children.
Now desperate for a baby, Susannah agrees to pay neighbour Jacqui Dixon to be a surrogate mother in 1998. Jacqui later gave birth to a baby boy, Harry. Susannah and Jacqui had frequent arguments over the child, particularly when Jacqui discovered that Susannah was now pregnant herself. Her initial concern was that Max and Susannah wouldn't want the baby she was expecting but later became concerned that Susannah cared more for her new daughter, Emma, more than she did Harry. Her concerns were realised when Susanah became distraught on learning that one of her babies was ill but was clearly relieved that it wasn't Emma. This made Jacqui look into the legal possibility of getting custody of Harry and bond with Max as he was equally concerned about Harry
Single life in the Close
Susannah and Max's relationship fell apart when she found out that Max had been having a secret affair behind both Susannah's and Patricia's backs for the last 20 years. Susannah threw Max out and began an affair with married neighbour, Greg Shadwick. She also had relationships with local residents, Mick Johnson and GP Darren Roebuck
In August 1999, Susannah and Greg's naked bodies were found after The Millennium Club had exploded after Callum Finnegan planted a bomb. Greg was killed on impact while Susannah lay in a coma for two months. Greg's youngest daughter, Emily, blamed Susannah for her father's death, so she and boyfriend, Tim O'Leary proceeded to make Susannah's life a living hell by waging a campaign of harassment against her. However, the two made peace just before Susannah died.
On 5 November 2000, Susannah was found dead at the foot of her stairs. Max, Emily, Jacqui, Mick and Darren were all suspected of her murder. Each suspect had visited her at least one point that night and had an exchange of words. The true cause of Susannah's death was finally revealed to be Max who pushed her in a fit of rage.