Farewell, friend! Soap hit Neighbours’ finale this week

After 37 years on screen, Australian soap Neighbours is ending - with the finale on the UK's Channel 5 this Friday, and on RTE next week, says Gemma Dunn
Farewell, friend! Soap hit Neighbours’ finale this week

AUSSIE HIT: The cast of Neighbours in 2003 - it began airing on RTE in 2001 and comes to an end on the UK’s Channel 5 on July 29, and on RTE on August 3

ALTOGETHER now... ‘Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours...’

That cheery tune has been the soundtrack for many for a couple of generations.

Now, the Australian soap Neighbours is about to reach the end of the line, and the last-ever episode will air on Channel 5 next Friday, with an episode in its usual daytime slots at 1.45pm and 6pm, followed at 9pm by an hour-long grand finale.

Fans who follow the doings of Ramsay Street on RTÉ2 will have to wait a little longer - until August 3.

The much-loved, long-running series is coming to an end after 37 years on screen, after UK TV station Channel 5 announced in February it was cancelling it. Neighbours originally launched on Australia’s Seven network in 1985, then Channel Ten picked it up the following year and it became an international hit.

In Australia, it has been shown on a digital channel since 2011 and been reliant on the UK broadcaster for funding. It has racked up almost 9,000 episodes.

The soap has aired on RTÉ since January 2, 2001.

Fans both past and present will enjoy nostalgic fun for the finale, as some of the soap’s stars down the years return for a last hurrah - the fun begins as Toadie’s adopted son Callum arrives ahead of the wedding, but there’s more trouble brewing between Karl, Izzy and Susan. Later, Mike (Guy Pearce) returns for a trip down memory lane with old flame Jane.

Perhaps that’s when the much-heralded appearance by Jason Donovan and Kylie Minogue as Scott and Charlene Robinson will take place?

After the drama on Channel 5 come the documentaries Made Me A Star: From Ramsay St To Hollywood and Neighbours: All The Pop Hits & More, Especially For You.

The soap also made names out of Liam Hemsworth, Natalie Imbruglia and Margot Robbie.

The honour roll also includes, ’80s veterans Ian Smith as Harold Bishop and Peter O’Brien as Shane Ramsay; ’90s stars Daniel MacPherson as Joel Samuels and Lesley Baker as Angie Rebecchi; 00s Natalie Bassingthwaighte as Izzy Hoyland and Chris Milligan as Kyle Canning; and recent teens Olympia Valance as Paige Smith and Ben Hall as Ned Willis.

“It is the biggest head spin coming back here,” Samuels, now 42, says of his return. “I haven’t been on the Neighbours set for 20 something years, so even on the drive out my mind was blowing.

“To come and see all the faces again, all my friends, to get back on the sets, it was one of the most enjoyable times of my life.”

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