Nearly 20 million UK viewers watched the scene as Charlene Mitchell proposed to Scott Robinson. The music was Angry Anderson’s Suddenly. Madge’s bottom lip wobbling behind them, and Mrs Mangel smiling, were some of the many scenes that were aired in the UK.
It stars then-real-life lovers Kylie Minogue & Jason Donovan. This scene is now well-known among many big names returning from saying goodbye.
Ramsay Street has seen more weddings than any other street in the past decades, and many with more drama than the Mr. and Mrs Robinsons’ more tame controversy about Harold not having enough vegetarian options at the buffet table.
The fictional suburb of Erinsborough witnessed many things: deaths, births, relationships, and even returns from those who are dead. It launched the careers of Hollywood stars MargotRobbie and Guy Pearce as well as Minogue, Donovan and Donovan.
Three of the soap’s most prominent cast members spoke out to Sky News ahead of the final episodes airing. They shared their unforgettable moments on set with Sky News.
Alan Fletcher, Dr Karl Kennedy
Karl and Susan Kennedy, played by Jackie Woodburne, have been with Neighbours since 1994. The Kennedys, parents to Mal, Libby, and Billy, quickly became Ramsay Street favorites – but soapland is not without its ups and downs. They are happy to be married again, but Karl’s affair with Sarah and then Izzy mean that this was not always the case.
Fletcher says, “The way that I tried to play it was that Karl’s the kind of person who can be easily manipulated.” Fletcher says that Karl is easily manipulated by flattery. He’s almost childlike in that he pursues things without understanding the consequences.
Karl makes mistakes, but not Paul Robinson, who can be very Machiavellian, and plot how he will bring down someone’s downfall. People can relate to this because that’s how most people experience life.
After learning about Sarah’s kiss with Karl, Susan is seen slapping Karl. This scene sticks out to many soap lovers. “She went completely ballistic and collapsed in front of me. It was a stunning scene that became very, very famous.”
Karl is loved by his fans, despite his infidelities. Fletcher said that the same cannot be said for other soap actors.
“I have been extremely fortunate. Vivean Gray, bless her heart, played Mrs Mangel on Neighbours. People took her character very seriously because she was so busy. Karl has always been loved by her fans. They laugh about it or wave their fingers at me.
Fletcher said that special episodes shot in London, which included cameos by Emma Bunton and Julian Clary, are some of his Neighbours highlights.
“[Also] Libby married Drew. It was almost like I was giving away my daughter. Episode 7,000 is a comedy episode that Karl loves. Karl loses $7,000 in the lottery and must find it by sneaking into Toadie’s home to get it. He finds it stuck to his backside.
“I think Karl and Susan’s remarriage or renewal of their vows after Susan was amnesia was one of my favorite moments. She was close to divorcing Karl, but she changed her mind halfway through the ceremony and remembered her original wedding vows.
Fletcher said he will never forget the time he spent on the show. “Neighbours is a deeply loved show and everyone I know has a Neighbours story. I have been bombarded with messages from people who are devastated by the show’s end.
“I am sad that the journey is over, but I am glad that it has continued. Unheard of 28 years as an actor. I have the most interesting role, worked with the best people possible, and had the best fan experiences.
“I want people remember it fondly as something that was in them and a big, important part of their lives.”
Jackie Woodburne – Susan Kennedy
She has recovered from amnesia and attempted surrogacy for her daughter. Her rollercoaster marriages to Karl.
Woodburne says, “I always talk to how much I enjoyed Susan/Karl/Izzy’s love triangle. It had so many layers. It was nice to see another side of Susan that wasn’t Saint Susan.” “She had someone she hated and someone she tried to score points on just for fun, just to sport and just to be spiteful, but we never saw that side of her.”
Their on-screen friendship has played an important role in their attraction together. “Anything we do together, even if it has a little bit of silly comedy, we will always go a lot further than we should. That’s what has made Neighbours so special to me.
Woodburne recalls being told 1997 by producers that Karl was going to have an affair Sarah. He says they both believed this would end the Kennedys.
“We both walked back together from lunch and said that there was no way to go… obviously, once the story goes on air, it’s over.” It was one of our most memorable stories…
“I can recall shopping on Chapel Street in Melbourne and hearing a woman shouting from across the street, in traffic: ‘Susan! Susan! That b *****d is gone! This was the kind of reaction I got, at least from women. But there were many blokes stopping [Fletcher] on the street and saying: “Good on you, mate… Go for it!”
According to the actress, the Neighbours scriptwriters faced a daunting task in creating the ending.
“How do I make everyone happy after a show that has been on for 37 years?” She says. “I cannot imagine what the writers felt when this was in front of them.”
She described the final episode as “perfect” and added: “I think it’s a tribute most importantly for our viewers. It’s a beautiful tribute to them and all those who have watched the show for 38 years. This is a small tip of the hat for our crew, our current cast and our past cast.
“I can’t see it being ended in any other way. Of course, we were all taking bets. What will it be? Are there aliens? It will be an explosion. It could be a sinkhole. Will it catch fire? It’s not. It’s just beautiful heartland neighbors.”
Stefan Dennis-Paul Robinson
Paul Robinson, a Ramsay Street character that viewers hated and loved, made his debut in the first episode of the show’s 1985 season. Paul Robinson was the grandson of Helen’s husband, Jim. He is also brother to Donovan’s Scott Robinson. Paul had many affairs and marriages. He became well-known for his womanizing and explosions. Dennis left soap in 1993, but he returned in 2004 to reprise his role.
He was the only actor on set to film the last episodes with Minogue, Donovan and Kylie. “Jason plays the role of my brother, Kylie plays the role of my sister-in law so it was quite natural that I would be appearing in a scene alongside them.
“Ten to fifteen minutes of catching up turned into an hour of silly frivolity. It’s almost like picking up from where you left off. This shows the camaraderie we shared from the beginning. We had only 12 principal or initial cast members, so it shows how close-knit our first cast was. The following year, Jason, Kylie and Guy [Pearce] joined the cast.
“Even though so many years passed, we were still able to get it back quite quickly.”
Scott and Charlene’s return – along with other prominent names such as Margot Robbie and Donna Freedman- were kept secret.
“None of us knew [beforehand] that Kylie was coming back, because obviously they had it under wraps to avoid the paparazzi and all that intrusion on the set… Jason kind of gave me a bit of a heads-up so I kinda knew what was going on. They sent me these scripts and schedules. Poor Annie Jones [Jane Harris], didn’t realize that this was all secret and she wasn’t going to do those scenes. She’s now gone and learned them all. They were very wordy. She was so p **** off.”
Paul Robinson wasn’t a con artist or scheming businessman when he started his Neighbours journey. But, he developed the ruthless and conniving traits over the years.
Dennis says that he doesn’t think he was the arch-villain, but the villain of Neighbours. “I was always afraid that I would be physically accosted on the streets because of the nefarious acts that my character does… but I get the exact opposite. I get, ‘Hey, Paul! Legend! Mate, you’re very welcome to all that.
Dennis, like Woodburne has a Chapel Street encounter story. It is about a man wearing a mohawk that looks like Russell Crowe (another former Neighbours alumni] from Romper Stomper”. He was having an affair with a woman friend while he was calling in a telephone box. Dennis shouted at them to stop talking and was unable to hear their conversation.
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“This guy just saw red and I’ve thought, ‘Oh My God, this guy is going to kill me ‘… He was going to smash in my face. He comes up to the telephone box, and he places his face up against it. Then he says: “Paul?” Paul from Neighbours! Maaaate! Maaaate! That’s what I get when I see the silly reactions.
Dennis believes that the love shown for the show now it is ending shows there was a life for it on another platform. “I don’t know why it wasn’t picked up on a streaming channel. I wanted to be the first to set a new trend and the first soap to move over to a streaming platform. But it didn’t happen. Unfortunately, it was an economic decision.”
It wasn’t meant to be. Tonight’s last episode airs – and nobody is giving away anything.
Dennis teases, “Well, Paul Robinson is involved.” “So there might have been a little explosion …”
The last episodes of Neighbours will air on Channel 5 at 9pm