Rhoda Mullucks is a mother of three, who was first introduced in Series Five, Episode One. She is portrayed by Liz White.

Overview Edit

Pregnant with her third child, Rhoda and her husband Bernie approached birth with calmness and ease, expecting things to go as smoothly as they did for their first two. When Rhoda went into labour, she and her husband calmly, happily walked to the maternity home, where she gave birth with assistance from Nurses Patience Mount and Shelagh Turner. However, immediately upon delivery, the two nurses saw that the baby girl was born without proper arms and legs, but with deformed stumps and fingers and toes. The baby did not breathe at once, and it took some time for the baby to come around, and when it did, Shelagh hurried her away before Rhoda could see her. When Dr. Turner returned to the maternity home and examined the baby, he told Shelagh there was no telling what internal damage there was or if she was in pain. Tearfully, Shelagh says she should not have gotten her breathing, that she should have just let her go so she would not be in pain.

Through the night, Dr. Turner monitors the baby and soon realizes she "wants to live". He feeds the baby formula and soothes her by reading aloud from The Lancet.

When Rhoda insists on seeing her baby, still not knowing what she looks like, Shelagh sits with her, offers her a cigarette, and explains that the baby "didn't develop as she should". Rhoda thinks she means that the baby is a dwarf, but Shelagh explains that her baby was born without limbs. As Shelagh explained this to Rhoda, an excited Mr. Mullucks sneaks through the maternity home to sneak a peek at his newborn baby. Upon unwrapping her from her blanket, he is horrified to find his baby deformed. Storming from the room, he encounters Dr. Turner and angrily shouts "How could you let that thing live?!" When he returns to Rhoda just in time to hear her demand to see her baby, he says there is nothing to discuss and that the baby is not allowed in their house.

Despite her fear and heartbreak, Rhoda still wants to see her baby. Alone in the room with her, Rhoda unwraps the baby from her blankets and promises the baby that she won't give up on her, because she's hers. Rhoda kisses her baby and names her Susan.

Later, Mr. Mullucks brings the other children to see their mother. Rhoda refused to give up Susan, and Bernie refuses to have her in the house, thus Rhoda has stayed an extra few days in the maternity home. When Sister Mary Cynthia goes to his house to advise him, she convinces him to take his children to see their mother and baby sister. Rhoda's children are accepting of Susan, their mother making them promise not to treat her different and defend her when others make fun of her. One of the younger boys asks to hold her, and Bernie snaps no, and says he's too rough and that he'll hurt her. He picks up Susan, and holds her close, promising his wife they'll make it work.

A few months later, in episode 5x08, Susan has grown into a happy, healthy baby, able to grasp her rattle and spoons in her fingers, but her mother is still terrified to show her off in public, fearing ridicule. She says at the children's hospital, she saw a little baby boy there like Susan, who was there to get his fingers amputated, because they "would never be any good". Rhoda doesn't want anything like that for Susan, and Dr. Turner says he'll refer her to an occupational therapist to help Susan make use of her fingers. Rhoda admits she forgets she's different a lot, because Susan is just like any other baby but at night she remembers she doesn't have arms or legs, and lies in bed shaking.


Rhoda and her family

Bernie is said to still struggle showing Susan as much affection as his other children, but has taken to calling her "my beautiful" and taking his family on holidays by the sea. Later, during Sister Evangelina's wake, Shelagh pulls her aside to the maternity home to tell her about Thalidomide. Horrified, Rhoda remembers that around the time she got pregnant with Susan, her sister sent her Thalidomide through the mail to help her sleep. Rhoda feels incredibly guilty and tearfully apologizes to her baby over and over.

Months later, Susan is now 18 months old. Her mother still keeps her wrapped up in public, and expresses concern over how Susan will function in the world without limbs, both socially and physically. Bernie is shown to love his daughter greatly. In Series 6, Rhoda comes to Dr. Turner with her concerns of Susan's development without limbs, and he brings her and Bernie to a children's hospital where "thalidomide children" as they've come to be known, can receive specialist treatment. However, upon seeing the other children affected from thalidomide, Bernie can't take it and leaves the room. It is later revealed that when he sees those children--a little boy without arms, and others with malformed hands or feet--he feels ill. He says he can't stand the thought of his daughter being poked and prodded and made to feel like a freak. Rhoda vehemently replies that Susan need treatment for prosthetics and that she can't be wrapped up forever. Hurt and angry, Bernie throws the fact that Rhoda was the one who took Distaval during pregnancy and made Susan the way she was. 

With a heavy heart, Rhoda leaves Susan at the hospital to receive treatment. She also makes friends with another mother whose son became deaf and armless due to thalidomide. Rhoda's older children, especially her daughter, Belinda, berate her for leaving Susan in a hospital. 

Later, when Rhoda finds her husband in a pub, having a beer in the afternoon, the two reconcile, resolving to never blame one another for their child's misfortune and disability. Rhoda states that if anyone's to blame, it's the company who manufactured the drug, who ignored the disfigured babies found in Germany (where it was first tested in the late 1950s). 

Later, Rhoda and Bernie join a "Thalidomide Parents" group, where they, and other parents of thalidomide-affected children share their children's deformities. In voice-over, Jenny explains that eventually, the parents brought the drug companies to court for negligence causing their children's abnormalities. She says it is a fight that has gone on to present day, driven by love and anger.