Thirty Things You Didn’t Know About Neighbours!
There are some crackers in here!
* On March 18th 1985, new soap Neighbours launched on Australian Channel 7. Despite an incredible opening dream sequence, the show was axed just months later. It was picked up by Network 10 in 1986 and the rest, as they say, is history.
* Erinsborough is an anagram of Neighbours – with an extra o and r.
* Ramsbottom Street was the new name proposed for Ramsay Street – Harold led the fight to prevent it.
* Neighbours has been the step on the road to world stardom for many artistes including: Kylie Minogue; Guy Pearce; Natalie Imbruglia; Alan Dale; Jason Donovan; Kimberley Davies; Craig McLachlan; Holly Valance, Jesse Spencer, Anne Charleston and Delta Goodrem.
* Russell Crowe played Kenny Larkin in several episodes in 1987.
* Hugh Jackman was signed and about to start when he got accepted into WAAPA (the prestigious Western Australia Academy of Performing Arts) so the programme let him go.
* In 1985, Neighbours shot 12-14 scenes per episode; now it’s often 20 scenes with more stories running through them.
* Often the actors change in and out of 200 costumes over five episodes in each week.
* The wardrobe designer spends more than 20 hours a week shopping for clothes.
* Bouncer’s fan cards were the most sought after of any cast member.
* During Bouncer’s years on the show he lived at three addresses – 26, 28 and 32. Bouncer saved baby Sky from a fire by barking down the phone for help. And, in true soap fashion, he survived road accidents, being lost, a broken heart (over a bitch named Rosie), house fires, and even a nasty case of poisoning caused by some strange-looking mushrooms.
* Four characters have had fishy nicknames – Stonefish, Toadfish, Tadpole and Stingray.
* Three characters have gone into labour in unusual places: Daphne at a picnic; Libby in a barn at a rodeo and Christina Robinson in an icecream van.
* Six separate characters have been kidnapped or taken hostage – Helen Daniels, Lucy Robinson, Toadfish, Cheryl Stark, Bouncer the dog and Daphne by a man in a gorilla suit, and most recently Declan Napier.
* Three characters suffered from amnesia – Mrs Mangel got it when she fell down a ladder while painting Daphne’s nursery; Susan suffered an extreme case of it after slipping on some spilt milk and banging her head; Harold had it for five years after disappearing at the seashore.
* No 26 Ramsay Street was home to the Robinsons, the Martins and the Scullys, the Timmins and most recently the Parkers.
* Caravans have featured heavily on the show – Charlene lived in one behind Lassiters for a time; so did Sarah Beaumont; Lou hid Lolly in a caravan park and Stuart found Jamie Clarke in a caravan park.
* One of the most imaginative deaths for a soap star ever was when Harold’s daughter and Joe’s wife, Kerry was accidentally shot dead while protesting against duck-shooting season!
* Erinsborough, the fictional suburb in which the Neighbours characters live was originally named Erinsfield.
* Six of the cast have gone missing – Harold went missing, presumed dead; Emily Hancock went missing; as did Steph; Susan went missing after losing her memory and Karl was thought responsible and even Toadfish went missing for a while.
* The show gets real-life applications for jobs at Lassiters. One young woman sent in a full CV, applying for a job on reception.
* Stefan Dennis took part in the show’s first ever scene in 1985, a dream sequence filmed on location in Ramsay Street.
* The show’s oldest surviving prop is the school emblem and motto – stickered on the doors leading from the car park to the show’s studios – ‘Erinsborough High School: Sapienter Si Sincere’ meaning wisdom and success.
* Dr Karl and Susan Kennedy have broken up and got back together more times than any other Neighbours couple over the last decade.
* Karl and Susan went on a trip to London in March 2007 and Karl proposed on the London Eye. Susan accepted and they got married on the River Thames – with Neil Morrissey acting as the priest.
* Karl, Toadie, Drew, Joel and Billy performed The Full Monty for charity in 1999. Harold Bishop backed out at the last moment. When the lights came up they were all reported for indecent exposure!
* Seven best-loved characters have left and returned to the series: Ian Smith first played endearing fuddy-duddy Harold Bishop from 1987-1991, when his character fell into the sea, presumed drowned; Tom Oliver appeared as lovable rogue Lou Carpenter in 1988, returned in 1991, and was brought back by popular demand in 1997 – he’s the show’s longest running continuous character; Stefan Dennis played wheeler-dealer Paul Robinson from 1985-1993, returned at the end of 2004, and has been a regular character since 2005; Kym Valentine played Karl and Susan Kennedy’s daughter, Libby, from 1994-2004 -
She returns under dramatic circumstances to our UK screens in 2008; Todd MacDonald, who played Darren Stark, from 1996-1998, returns in 2008; Brett Tucker, who played PE teacher Daniel Fitzgerald, from 1999-2000, also hits our screens again in 2008 and Joan Sydney, who played troublemaker Valda Sheergold from 2002-2004, is back as a regular cast member and up to her old tricks with Lou Carpenter.
* The Lassiters complex spectacularly burned down in 2004. Among the new buildings built is a Post Office, which forms part of Lou and Harold’s General Store. The production worked closely with Australia Post to create the store, which is an official, registered Post Office.
* The tuba is Harold’s preferred musical instrument – he played it in the Salvation Army Band.
* Neil Morrissey, Michael Parkinson, Clive James, Matt Lucas, David Walliams, Emma Bunton and Derek Nimmo have all appeared on the show.