Gather ‘round my millennial friends,
Nanna Kellie has a story to tell you.
Once upon a time, there were only 4 television channels.
Kids TV consisted of a ten minute cartoon at 7.50am over your Weetabix, followed by those golden, GOLDEN two hours after school where we would delight in BBC’s ‘Broom Cupboard’ shenanigans - Blue Peter and Grange Hill. Saturday mornings? Well what can we say, it was children’s TV anarchy I tell you, anarchy.
Up to now…We were all suitably impressed by American kids via the magic of the screen. You wore your own clothes at Degrassi Junior High! The schools in the US were like, on streets in buildings that looked like banks and not flat roofed in parks and HAD LOCKERS! We jumped off playground benches like the kids from Fame and longed for the UK to adopt such fantastical things as Cheerleading and Proms. Of COURSE High School was going to be just like Rydell.
THEN… something magical happened.
The Aussies came to town. There had been rumours of course of the success of a certain Melbourne based TV show, and it wasn’t long before the BBC introduced us to the delights of Neighbours and Erinsborough High.
In Australia - kids went to school in CHECKED DRESSES. They drove ‘Utes’ and hung out at Lassiters.They finished school in the ‘arvo’ and had swimming pools IN THEIR BACK GARDENS. - which to be fair, was a bit weird as the weather always looked like West Yorkshire to be honest.
5.30pm - five days a week.
Literally appointment TV - and if you happened to be off school, you could sip your Lucozade to Neighbours at 12.30pm too - it was on *twice a day* - same episode, but that was even better, because you watch it again - and never again would you have to worry about what you would ‘play’ at breaktime the next day. (Lucozade was all it took in the ‘80’s)
It didn’t take long for a soggy UK to fall in love with Ramsay Street and it's interesting inhabitants. A cultural sensation, the Brits went Neighbours mad.
We were months behind the Aussies of course, but that was fine, because if you read enough ‘Look-in!’ magazines you could find out what was going to happen to your favourite be-mulleted surfers.
And what mullet haired surfers they were. My 10 year old self very quickly fell in love with the legend that is Jason Donovan, and to be fair, his boring mate Mike a bit too (Guy Pearce ladies, am I right?).
It wasn’t just the boys though, far from it.
Charlene Mitchell - what an icon, the icon that made Kylie Minogue an icon.
Charlene was sassy, to be honest, really really annoying, wore dungarees and wanted to be a mechanic. Not long after, her lolabout brother Henry entered and gave the world Craig McLachlan. And Madge! If it wasn’t for matriarch Madge, we would never have had Harold Bishop!
And the Robinsons - if Scott Robinson was your high school sweetheart, Paul Robinson (the rotter!) was who you wanted him to grow up to be. Not forgetting annoying little sister Lucy Robinson who was seemingly played by a different actress every second month. Poor Grandma (Helen Daniels) - must have been so hard for the seemingly only normal, conservative member of the community keeping everyone in check and out of ‘The Water Hole’
How unfortunate for street harridan Mrs Mangel, to have such a ne’er do well of a son such as Joe - but with Joe came our first televisual introduction to an eco - warrior in Kerry and her daughter Skye - am sure Kerry died in the line of duty, protecting some ducks or similar at a protest.
Dopey Des Clarke - would he ever find true love? Of course, because along came stripper turned devoted Daphne, who then managed to give birth to their first born in a layby with her tights still on.
My ‘ Neighbours’ days were the best days - I’m not even sure how long our obsession actually lasted - I do remember being at University and lusting a bit over Billy Kennedy after a summer break transformation - but nothing will beat those junior school years of pure love for Kylie, Jason and of course ‘Plain Jane Superbrain’
Alas, my little Gen Z’ers - all good things must come to an end.
After 35 + years, Neighbours is no more with its very final episode airing this week.
Grandma Kell is very excited to reminisce - (despite being a massive hypocrite who hasn’t watched it since 1999 - alongside millions of others, hence the cancellation) alongside as we will see the return to Ramsay Street of my favourite actors turned pop starlets with apparently, Margot Robbie too - who knew?
Kylie, Jason, Guy and co are all making their final appearance alongside those who never left (Good old Stefan Dennis - the Euro pop career never really took off) and Harold Bishop, who came back from the dead, obviously, despite being last seen wandering into the choppy surf minus his glasses. Maybe Mike and Scott surfed out to save him?
And we all lived happily ever after.