Bouncer's dream and gorillagrams: an oral history of Neighbours – the world's silliest, sunniest sho

On 18 March 1985, Australian TV viewers got their first glimpse of the sun-soaked cul de sac of Ramsay Street, in a fictional suburb of Melbourne, Australia. Its inhabitants were a convivial, nosy bunch particularly prone to romantic affairs and, increasingly, bouts of personality disorder, amnesia and violence. The confines of Erinsborough provided a moral utopia – no matter how much soapy drama poured forth, the barbies, bikinis and banter would soon return.

First broadcast in the UK in October 1986 on BBC One, the show was a symbol of exotic aspirationalism amid the gloom of Thatcherite politics and the continual shuttering of industry. The teatime drama drew in 20 million viewers when Kylie Minogue (as Charlene) married Jason Donovan (Scott) in 1988.

In recent years viewership has declined – the show moved to Channel 5 in 2008 – yet a committed fanbase continues to tune in, nostalgic for the viewing habits of their school days, or a younger bunch looking for that familiar escapism and more modern storylines, along with the usual screaming matches and heartbreak.

With the show celebrating its 35th year, the cast and makers recall its early days of shaky sets and dodgy wardrobe choices, fan phenomena and decades-long onscreen relationships.

Read the feature in the Guardian.

[This piece was published on 31/03/20]