Character Review - Ruth Anderson

We first encounter Ruth in a very ill state, when she is deposited outside the Grange by some people who have been driven out of their settlement in
A Beginning. Having already refused to take her in, Greg was furious when Abby insisted on caring for her in the Grange. Before long however, both of them would be very grateful for her presence. When it transpires that Ruth has been in contact with Abby's son, Peter, an optimistic Abby departs to look for him once more. Better still, the revelation of Ruth's medical skills, promises to ensure that the survivors are less at risk when injured, or ill. Greg is Ruth's first patient after an accident with a wood saw.

By the time the tragic fire ravages the Grange, Ruth's vital medical skills have ensured her a larger practice area than the Grange community. This leads to her absence at the time that Jenny is due to give birth in
Birth of a Hope. A very relieved Greg and Jenny are reunited with Ruth at Whitecross, just before the birth, but there are further troubles ahead. Ruth has to see Jenny through some serious health complications connected to the birth. These events tragically lead to Ruth's lover, Paul Pitman, effectively sacrificing himself to retrieve the required drugs from the disease infested Birmingham in Greater Love. Ruth is desolate after his death and at one point it is thought she has committed suicide. Instead the ever practical Ruth ensures that some sense comes out of the tragedy as she strongly suggests that a quarantine hut is built for visitors to the community. The hut's first occupant is Alistair MacFadden in Face of the Tiger.

Before Ruth barely has a chance to recover from the loss of Paul, she is whisked off by Penny and Amul supposedly to help Abby in
Lights of London Part 1. In fact Ruth is taken to the heart of London to help care for the sick living there. At first, the leader of the community at the Oval, Manny, appears to need her medical help to ease a big move from London to The Isle of Wight. However, it later transpires that instead he wants to continue to run the settlement in the city and keep her there too. Ruth is sympathetic to the settlement's needs and when Charles and Greg come to rescue her, at first she declines to go with them. It is Nessie, an elderly nurse whom she has befriended, who eventually persuades her to leave. She heads back to Whitecross with Charles and Greg in the Lights of London Part 2.

Ruth's experiences in London lead her to enforce higher levels of hygiene at Whitecross. Jenny argues with her about division of labour and her obssession with making soap in
Face of the Tiger. In The Witch, it is interesting to note that Charles discusses the issues surrounding the rumours about Mina with Ruth, rather than Greg or Pet. The two have clearly formed a strong friendship by this time.

By Bread Alone, sees Charles and Ruth once more join forces. This time in an attempt to make the community see sense about the physical work that needs to be done at Whitecross, over and above the spiritual diversions provided by the newly arrived priest, Lewis Fearns. Parasites has Ruth unable to help the murdered clergyman after Kane and Grice kidnap John and Lizzie. Whilst New Arrivals sees Ruth criticised for endangering the community by bringing survivors of an illness at a another settlement to Whitecross. Ruth is later convinced that the illness is a delayed depressive reaction to the death.

Ruth's medical knowledge and position also make her an important tool in Charles' crusade, in
Over The Hills, to start another baby boom. When she will not comply to his ideals and refuses to push Sally towards having her child, Charles is furious with her. When Charles makes the issues under discussion more personal, Ruth makes it clear to him that she is fulfilled and has no desire to have a baby herself.

Ruth's final appearance is in
New World. Here she and Pet spend some time pondering the uncertain future which now looms following the arrival of Agnes, Greg's departure to Norway and Charles' renewed talk of federation now that he is armed with Carlsson's notebook. We can assume that Ruth remained at Whitecross, when Jenny, Charles, Pet, Hubert, Jack and Lizzie relocated to Challoner. It is entirely possible that Ruth is one of the five new arrivals to Sloton Spencer from Whitecross, who Pet tells Charles about by phone in The Peacemaker. Given the demand for her skills, it is likely that Ruth was destined to spend the rest of her days moving from settlement to settlement tending to many different groups of survivors.

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Page last updated: 22nd November 2002    All text Andy Priestner   Screen Captures BBC