Number 96 was an Australian television nightly soap opera/serial set in a fictional, small, four-storey, inner city apartment block at 96 Lindsay Street, Paddington, hence the title. Creators Don Cash and Bill Harmon of the Cash Harmon Television production company, produced the series for what was then known as the 0–10 Network (the predecessor of Network Ten), which had requested a similar type of series to the high-rating English soap opera series Coronation Street and specifically one that explored mature subject matter. The premise, original story outlines, and the original characters were devised by David Sale, who also wrote the scripts for the first episodes and continued as script editor for much of the show's run. A then-vacant building at 83 Moncur Street, Woollahra, provided the exterior inspiration for the set built at Channel Ten's in-house studio in Lane Cove, Sydney. Though the series was not the first soap opera in Australia (the first being Autumn Affair, that premiered in 1958), it was the first to gain a cult following both locally and internationally. When the series started it had the largest ever assembled cast of a local production and was upon its demise and 1218 episodes the longest running soap opera ever produced in Australia, before being surpassed by the Nine Network program The Young Doctors.
Former resident Sonia Freeman (Lynn Rainbow, who filmed all of her scenes in just one day) returns to Number 96 after her release from a mental asylum. Sonia is now married to newspaper journalist Duncan Hunter (Alister Smart). Her forgetful episodes and hallucinations become increasingly erratic and deranged. This worries Duncan, Sonia's good friend Jack Sellars (Tom Oliver) and Jack's new girlfriend, flight attendant Diana Moore (Rebecca Gilling), who has moved into flat 6. It is revealed that Diana and Duncan are secretly scheming to drive Sonia insane. Jack and the police arrive just in time before Diana and Duncan can persuade Sonia to kill herself.