Moving trucks are rolling into Ramsay Street as long-running Australian soap Neighbours will end after 37 years.
If you grew up in Australia (like me) or the UK, chances are you might have spent weeknights after school poking into the highly dramatic lives of the residents of the fictional Melbourne suburb of Erinsborough — and one particular suburban cul de sac.
On Thursday, Fremantle Media announced Neighbours — Australia’s longest-running drama series with a whopping 9,000 episodes since first airing in 1985 — will cease production in June 2022, citing funding problems following Channel 5’s departure as its UK broadcaster (Channel 10 airs it in Australia).
“Following the loss of our key broadcast partner in the UK and despite an extensive search for alternative funding, we simply have no option but to rest the show,” a tweet from the show’s official account read.
If you’re a Neighbours enthusiast, the whole thing has inevitably awakened the theme in your brain. You know it, the one jauntily insisting that “everybody needs good neighbours,” and originally sung by Barry Crocker. It’s an instant earworm — even Lily Allen sampled it.
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I’ve been admittedly watching other things over the past few years, but there was a time in my life where I didn’t miss an episode of Neighbours. It was our glorious daily ritual, hitting the couch after school with my sister, my nanna and poppa, and very reluctantly, my mum, and obsessing over the latest trials and tribulations swirling around Lou’s Place — the show’s pub, now called The Waterhole.
Were you there for the doomed wedding of Toadie and Dee? When Lou Carpenter and Harold Bishop waged war for Madge’s affections then became besties? When Harold was swept out to sea — then returned? When Susan Carpenter slipped on cereal milk and landed with amnesia? When the show gave labrador Bouncer a dream sequence in which he married his border collie neighbour?
The show’s ending will inevitably bring up a bunch of these truly formative memories, and spark what’s become a well-worn tradition for know-it-alls at the pub like myself: listing Neighbours stars who’ve gone on to become mega-celebrities. Margot Robbie, Guy Pearce, Russell Crowe, Liam Hemsworth, and so many more strolled through the streets of Erinsborough in their time, checking in at Lassiter’s and causing chaos for a while.
Kylie Minogue famously got her start on the soap as Charlene Robinson, whose relationship with Jason Donovan’s Scott Robinson persistently made the front page of Australian magazines during the late ’80s — their onscreen wedding was watched by almost 20 million people, live, and inspired a Footscray band of the same name.
Natalie Imbruglia played Beth Brennan in the early ’90s, Holly Vallance played Felicity Scully before her whole “Kiss Kiss” music career in the ’00s, and Delta Goodrem launched her music career with 2002 hit “Born to Try,” which was written into the script for her character Nina Tucker to perform — when she wasn’t dating IT Chapter 2 star Jay Ryan who played Jack Scully in Neighbours from 2002 to 2005. ANYWAY.
Cast members present and past have been sharing their own posts. Alan Fletcher, who’s known for his role as Dr. Karl Kennedy on the show, tweeted, “I want to express my deepest gratitude to the millions of fans all who have supported us for 37 years.” Kym Valentine, who played his daughter, Libby Kennedy, tweeted some sweet behind-the-scenes photos featuring her onscreen brother, Billy, played by House actor Jesse Spencer.
Meanwhile, folks on Twitter have been sharing their own big memories of the show.
It’s a sad day for the residents of Ramsay Street, current and former, onscreen and off. Here’s some textbook Karl and Susan banter for you to mourn.