> The Curse of Number 32 by Billy
I have come to the conclusion that whenever an actor is involved with Number 32, Ramsay Street, they fall under the house's curse. The curse seems to work in one of three ways - either you are attacked in public, given no storylines, or axed for no apparent reason.
Allow me to elaborate. The first actor to live in the house was the wonderful and amazing Vivean Gray, who played the resident battleaxe Mrs. Mangel. Gray's portrayal of Mrs. Mangel was so convincing that fans of the show refused to believe that she was in fact acting, and decided it was their duty to attack and hurl abuse at her in public. This constant harrassment from the viewers caused her to resign and consequently become a recluse. Victim #1.
In the early 90s, Julie Martin, another rather unpleasant neighbour (but extremely pleasant woman in real life) moved into 32. Unfortunately for her, she suffered the same treatment from the viewers as Vivean Gray. Julie Mullins (Julie) was verbally attacked in the street and was refused rides from cab drivers. Victim #2.
Before I continue I feel I should comment on the events above. I don't really understand how people can be so... well, stupid. Surely the members of the public who attacked these actors knew better? It's not as if they were children - most were reported as being adults, for crying out loud. Mrs. Mangel and Julie Martin were two of the best characters to have ever appeared in the show, and it's a shame that their memories of Neighbours may be tarnished by the way they were treated when not in character.
The second segment of the curse, what I like to call "lack of storylines" applies to almost everyone to have set foot in that blessÚd house. Joe Mangel and Melanie Pearson became pretty stale after a while, and Cameron Hudson did what exactly for his one year on the show? Flounce around? That's all I seem to remember him doing, anyhow. The Wilkinson clan seemed to carry the curse with them when they moved out. Ruth and Phil became boring and predictable and Lance... well, let's all try to forget his seven labours of love for Allana. Teresa "Tess" Bell only ever really had the one storyline for her two years - the Darcy/Tess/Dione love triangle, and that story saw the end of her! Victims #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8 and #9, I believe.
So, what is the logic behind this? As soon as you enter Number 32 you may as well kiss goodbye to storylines? That would seem to explain an awful lot of things. Number 32 has often spent many months being a vacant property, so I believe that this has sort of subconsciously been implanted into the writers' minds. They forget its there and tend to write around it, and not really integrate it into any of the other houses or Neighbours. For example, people are always popping in and out of Number 24, Number 26 and Number 28, the three main houses (the three the show focused on when it started), but this never seems to happen to Number 32, unless of course you count the 1996 finale where the residents gathered there to sing Christmas carols, and we won't be counting that, otherwise my entire point is destroyed.
For the third section of the curse, coined "axed for the hell of it", I want to spend my time talking about the Hancock family, because they also fit into the second section as well (lack of storylines). As you may have guessed, I loved the Hancocks. I think they were the best family since the Robinsons, I really do. The fact that they were not given any storylines (unless you count runaway children and conversations with Madge's ghost) really didn't do them any favours, making people believe they were "unpopular". I'm sorry, but any character you don't give storylines to will be unpopular. You have to make the viewers care about them, god dammit. I believe it was the fact people didn't take to them which led to their axing -- but so much could have been done if people had given them a fair chance. But no, let's axe them instead. This could also be applied to Rosie Hoyland. Although she didn't technically live in Number 32, the rest of her family did, and look how she finished up - axing Rosie was a terrible decision, considering she was one of the most popular characters ever (judging by the huge response and campaigns led to try to save her).
So -- the current residents. What do I think the future for the Hoylands is? Well, Rosie (pun intended). I really think now that there is a new Executive Producer and that the show is slowly on the up (at last), I believe the curse will be lifted. Of course, only time will tell... so watch this space.