Neighbours had nice buddies once upon a time. However, after producers Fremantle failed to secure a new UK investor to salvage the Australian serial, Neighbours is slated to conclude its 37-year run in June.
It debuted on the Seven Network in 1985 and was quickly taken over by Channel 10 four months later, transforming it into water cooler fodder and a Logies award-winning machine. More than one million Australians turned in each night at its peak to follow the escapades of four “typical” Australian families living in a cul-de-sac in suburban Melbourne.
The British then went on board. The ratings skyrocketed. The wedding of Scott (Jason Donovan) and Charlene (Kylie Minogue), one of the show’s most popular storylines, drew nearly 20 million viewers in the United Kingdom.
However, in the 2000s, Ramsay Street’s lights began to dim. Home and Away lost a significant portion of its following, and by the beginning of 2010, the show’s ratings had plunged. In 2008, it was transferred to the UK’s “cheap” Channel 5, and three years later, the Ten network in Australia moved it from a post-nightly news time on its main channel to one of the broadcaster’s auxiliary channels. Even when it was revealed that Neighbours was on the verge of being cancelled due to Channel 5’s departure, the show was still attracting 1.5 million viewers over the UK’s two daily screenings.
Let’s take a stroll down Ramsay Street and reflect on the ten memories and experiences that defined Neighbours.
1. The wedding of Scott and Charlene (1987)
The “royal wedding” as it should be. It was watched by 19.6 million people in the UK and sent baby’s breath supplies soaring. Kylie Jenner’s career took off, and a homegrown celebrity was born. Kylie and Charlene are now the names of a generation of Australians and Britons.
2. Harold’s disappearance at sea (1991)
Harold performed a Harold Holt impression. Was he truly gone? No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no After being picked up by a random boat, he suffered amnesia. Actor Ian Smith’s resignation was actually due to contract negotiations. He visited and left Ramsay Street on several occasions over the years, including in 1996, 2008, 2011, and 2015.
3. Helen Daniels’ death (1997)
Helen, the Mother of Neighbours, was one of the first Ramsay Street characters. When the Erinsborough matriarch died in her sleep on her sofa after watching a 10-year-old video of her grandson Scott and Charlene’s wedding, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Given the character’s centrality to the show, no credits were aired at the end for the first time.
4. When Madge died, Harold was there by her side (2001)
Madge was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and quickly developed septicaemia. She died in bed, surrounded by her real love Harold. It’s finally over. Obviously not. She reappeared on Ramsay Street as a ghost, guiding Harold through difficult times. Harold later relocated to Port Douglas, Australia (almost every character written out of Neighbours moved to Queensland). He didn’t take her ghost with him.
5. Toadie and Dee get to the altar, but she passes away (2003)
The beast and the beauty are two sides of the same coin. Toadfish married Dee, a beautiful angel. Is there a happy ending? Obviously not. On the way to the reception, Toadie unintentionally drove their car off a cliff and into the water, ending the union in tragedy. Dee’s body was never located, and Toadie had no choice but to accept that she had died. It’s hardly surprising, then, that Dee returned, or that she had an evil doppelganger named Andrea who tossed Dee down a cliff near Byron Bay. (No, that wasn’t the end of Dee; she later relocated to Alaska.)
6. Karl and Izzy’s relationship (2004)
Dr. Karl couldn’t hold it in his pants any longer. He was back at it with “homewrecker” Izzy, played by pop chanteuse Natalie Bassingthwaighte, just a few years after his tumultuous affair with young Sarah. Susan, his unfortunate wife, was once again left to pick up the pieces. A pregnancy, paternity questions, and a miscarriage were all part of the storey. Soap fodder at its finest.
7. The tornado in Erinsborough (2014)
The strange weather event is a typical soap opera plot: all of the death and destruction perfectly sets up a slew of storylines centred on desperate sexual encounters, proposals, and missing people. Paige and Mark gave way to their desires as the tornado reached Erinsborough, Daniel proposed to Amber after they rescued Paul, and Susan performed an emergency tracheotomy. She was a schoolteacher, but she was married to a doctor, so she’s more than qualified in soapland. Lauren kissed Brad on the lips. It was possible to save a wombat. Someone was stuck in a porta-potty.
8. The first same-sex marriage on Australian television following the legalisation of same-sex marriage (2018)
Since Scott and Charlene’s wedding, this was the most memorable Neighbours wedding. When David Tanaka (Takaya Honda) and Aaron Brennan (Matt Wilson) walked down the aisle in Neighbours, it was the first same-sex wedding to ever telecast on Australian television. Magda Szubanski, a notable marriage equality campaigner, served as the couple’s celebrant in this historic episode. During the wedding moment, the duet Especially For You by Minogue and Donovan was played.
9. Blockbuster 35th anniversary week – five marriages and three deaths (2020)
When there’s never enough Neighbours. In March 2020, Neighbours celebrated its 35th anniversary. The special week included five normal weekday episodes as well as five bonus episodes from the Neighbours: Endgame series. There were five weddings, three fatalities, baggage bombs, exotic islands, a mineshaft, a body in a dinghy, a storm, a deadly snake, and much, much more.
10. Those who created it (1985-2022)
Despite its waning popularity in recent years, Neighbours is responsible for the international careers of a slew of Australian celebrities, including Kylie Minogue, Margot Robbie, and Guy Pearce. One of our most successful worldwide exports is Kylie Minogue. Robbie has been nominated for an Academy Award twice. Pearce has also received a Screen Actors Guild award, an Emmy nomination, and a Golden Globe nomination. The children performed admirably.