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Features > 20th Anniversary Quotes

Friday 18th March, 2005 marks the 20th Anniversary of Neighbours. In this feature, cast, crew and fans from those 20 years share their memories and thoughts on what the programme has meant to them.

"I've been watching Neighbours since the eighties and really feel I have grown up with it (still watching and growing almost 20 years later!) The show has always had a special place in my heart, because it has been the perfect source of escapism and showed me a different world than the one I lived in. On my 21st birthday I visited the real Ramsay Street and got to see that world - or part of it - first hand. It was the best experience I could have wished for that day. Watching Neighbours over the years inspired me to travel and for that I am extremely grateful!"
Claire, fan

“If Reg Watson had been a chef, the recipe may have looked like this: Play the theme song. Make a casserole. Take it next door to your neighbour. Start a game of street cricket. Hit a tennis ball over long on for six. Care about young people. Care about old people. Take part in your community. Fall in love, fall out of love. Try to keep secrets. Fail. Be inquisitive. Succeed. Take yourself to a kinder, gentler world. Feet up. Set on. Neighbours.”
Rick Maier, former Neighbours script editor and Executive Producer for Creative Development at Channel Ten

"I've only been watching Neighbours for ten years, but for as long as I can remember I've been aware of it – it's almost a part of Australian life. When I first tuned in, I remember instantly falling in love with the mixture of comedy and soapy drama, the quirky characters, and the typical Aussie street setting. I'll continue to watch it for as long as it's on air for these same reasons. I'm so proud of the little Aussie show that's made it big around the world and has continued to draw audiences in for two decades."
Aaron, fan

"For me, Neighbours is an escape. I can sit down on a dark, cold and wet English tea-time, switch on the television and while away half an hour watching the lives of others in a fictional street in a sunny Australian suburb. I've grown up with some of the characters, and my love for the show has only grown as it's got older. Happy Birthday Neighbours, here's to the next 20. "
Lucy, fan

“I guess the moments that have stuck with me most during my time writing for Neighbours have been the deaths of regular characters. Having never written 'in-house' or been involved in storylining process, the sudden departure of a much loved character is as much of a shock to me as the viewing public. I remember when Jim Robinson died, I was in a state of disbelief. One minute he was walking across a room, the next he was on the floor clutching his chest. I was convinced that it was just a false alarm and that in the next episode he'd be resuscitated. I had to wait for a whole week for the next lot of scene break-downs to have this confirmed and was completely stunned and extremely miffed when it wasn't. Drew's death was another one that took me for six. I mean, the guy just fell off a horse. And Dee Bliss's untimely departure - what can I say about that! I remember it was a Wednesday ep when her car sailed off that cliff - by the following Friday I was still in denial, expecting to see her in a soggy wedding dress, all scratched and bruised, with seaweed in her hair, clawing her way back up the rocks yelling "Toadie, I'm alive!". But then, they never did find her body, did they? ”
Neighbours scriptwriter Helen MacWhirter

"It's with a great sense of pride and happiness that I get to wish my beloved Neighbours a Happy 20th Birthday. When I first devotedly watched the residents of Ramsay Street go about their daily lives back in 1988, I never would have known how much of an impact it would have on my life and television viewing habits over the next 20 years. There have been some truly wonderful characters, storylines and moments over the years, and I've stuck with the show through thick and thin, and always will. Here's to at least another 20 years.. "
Mark, fan

"Neighbours has been such an institution on global television for the past 20 years and for me it seems bazaar that it has been so long already. It's been the stepping stone to huge successes for many actors in many different fields. I personally would never have ended up where I am without that experience. I was plodding along in a Science degree with no real direction when I got the job. Neighbours gave me the financial freedom and self belief to go to the UK and do something really special for a few charities. It's only now after swimming the English Channel and then being linked with International Aid Organisations that I've worked out what I want to do with my life. I'm now studying History and Politics and working towards a career in the United Nations. Although that has nothing to do with Neighbours, I wouldn't have dreamt it possible had I not had that experience. I think that can be said for many of us. Happy 20th Neighbours. I think that's an achievement everyone who's ever been involved will be proud of. "
Stephen Hunt, who played Matthew Hancock in Neighbours

"20 years has gone so fast for me. It doesn't seem so long ago that I first auditioned for Neighbours in 1986 for the role of Henry Mitchell. As you know the part went to Craig McLachlan but Grundy TV was so impressed with my audition that they offered me the role of Todd Buckley in the final year of Sons & Daughters. In the early 90's I did get to work on Neighbours in the recurring role of Mr. Denning the science teacher. Then in 1998 I got my most memorable part in Neighbours as Kim Howard ..... sports teacher, house-mate and friend of Susan Kennedy, boyfriend of Sarah Beaumont and rival to Karl Kennedy. The role lasted most of that year. I've always loved working on the show and the cast and crew have been nothing but fabulous! I hope the show goes for another 20 years so I can get some more work in it and maybe my children and grandchildren can too!"
Paul Dawber, who played Kim Howard in Neighbours

"Neighbours has been a part of my life ever since I started watching; just before it became a national obsession here in the UK. There’ve been times when I didn’t think we’d make it this far, but it’s a great testament to the endurance of the programme that we’re here celebrating 20 years. Here’s hoping that we’ll be celebrating 40 years of Neighbours in 2025."
Steve, fan

"Neighbours is escapism at its finest. Who wouldn't rather have been a Kylie or Jason or Guy or whoever, than slog it out daily in the humdrum real world?"
Gary Files, who played Tom Ramsay in Neighbours

"I have grown up with Neighbours, I don’t actively seek it out, but I always end up watching it at some time or another. I really believe the success comes out of a winning formula. We have known these people all our lives, they are like our families and so you will always tune in to see what is happening. They are also like a well-oiled machine. Everyone knows exactly what he or she has to do, and they do it. Everyone works very hard at getting it right. Cast and especially the crew. It is great to be a part of. "
Simon Mallory, who played Chris Cousens in Neighbours

"Neighbours has been a huge part of my life since being a toddler, and to see it reach its twentieth birthday, a matter of weeks after my twenty-first, brings home just how much I've grown up with it. I began watching it towards the end of 1986 when the show launched in Britain, though I'd have been too young to be fully aware of it at the time. My earliest memory comes from a period not long after this with Mike, Daphne, Jane and Charlene outside No.28, and I have vivid memories of storylines from around this period onwards, including watching Daphne slip on buttered toast three times! Since growing up, my obsession with Neighbours, for that's what it is, has grown immeasurably. No Neighbours at 5:35pm is beyond comprehension. Far from just watching every episode, I also record them and store them, adding to my library of videos numbering in their hundreds! In 1997, I cemented part of my obsession in some form by appearing on the BBC's Good Neighbours programme, which chronicled fans of the soap, and in 2004 I was extremely privileged to be taken around the studio complex to see Neighbours from a unique behind the scenes perspective. The fact that I've now realised a life-long dream still hasn't sunk in! Whatever else might be going on in my life: exams, university, friends, relationships, holidays... Neighbours always has to have room made for it in some capacity. Almost like a best friend, Neighbours is with me wherever I go and whatever I do, and always there, purring away in the background. More than anything, I feel great pride in being obsessed with something so special - a unique television programme which fully deserves to be reaching this milestone. Happy Birthday Neighbours xxx "
Rhys, fan

"Neighbours is the only TV show I make an effort to watch, and not just out of habit. It’s had its ups and downs of course, but I think few will disagree that the show is celebrating its twentieth birthday on an “up”, and quite a high one at that. And that’s even without acknowledging the year of nostalgic treats the writers have in store for us. Happy Birthday Neighbours, and long may you live on our screens!"
Alice, fan

"My first memory of Neighbours is of seeing it broadcast twice daily in London on the BBC. My flatmate was a fan and I had no idea that I would eventually work on the show over several years as commissioning script editor. One little known fact about Neighbours (and there are many!) is that when the storyliners decided to kill off Harold, I immediately wrote a future story outline in which Harold returns suffering from memory loss. My suggestion was that he should turn up, confused and dishevelled, at the wedding of Madge to Lou. The producers did not take up that story - which I still believe would have been a ripper because Madge was still legally married to - and was grieving for - Harold, but she had fallen in love again with her past lover, Lou. I am glad that they were wise enough to bring Harold back, eventually, though by this time I was no longer with the show. I believe that the duo of Harold and Madge was the most valuable asset that Neighbours has had over many years. I take this opportunity to wish Neighbours another happy 20 years. "
Barbara Angell, former scriptwriter and script editor

"Happy Birthday Neighbours! Like most of the other Perfect Blend team, I have grown up with the show and still vividly remember many of the early episodes. Although much of the success must go to the actors who bring each character to life, I think we need to remember the important part the writers play in the success of the show - who are often blamed when a show flops and ignored when it is successful! One of my favourite writers throughout the show’s history has been Judith Colquhoun - episodes written with such a stong emphasis on what’s important in life, and what makes us value and appreciate our own neighbours. I hope it will last another 20 years."
Barry, fan

"I am, of course, delighted that Neighbours is celebrating its 20th anniversary and credit is due to everyone who has been involved with the programme during all those years. Because of my involvement with Crossroads when I was in the U.K. it didn't really surprise me that Neighbours was accepted over there. However, I didn't anticipate the incredible success it achieved. I still remember my secretary, Penny, bringing a letter into my office from The Oxford University Neighbours Appreciation Society asking for photos etc of the cast. I, cynically, told her to tear it up, thinking it was from a couple of guys trying to make fools of us. A few months later we received another letter asking if their first one has been lost. They proved to be avid fans who didn't miss an episode!"
Reg Watson, creator of the show

"I’m delighted to be back on Ramsay Street for the happy occasion which is the celebration of 20 years of Neighbours on our screens. This serial was the brainchild of Reg Watson and life was given to it by Reg Grundy. Both Regs I know extremely well and both men cast a long shadow. Rosemary was adopted by Helen Daniels and her husband when Rosemary was a baby. She grew up as the younger sister of Anne Daniels in a loving family and it was not until she was an adult that she knew of her adoption. Rosemary is a complex character, while she has alway put business first and runs her corporation in New York with an iron hand, she remains loyal to her family in Australia. Over the 12 years she was in the show she had some involvement, large or small, with most of the people on Ramsey St. Rosemary will enjoy her few days back in Australia with all the gang... Though there is no doubt she’ll be trying to do a deal or two at the same time."
Joy Chambers, who played Rosemary Daniels in Neighbours

"Thinking of Neighbours being twenty years old makes me very nostalgic. Forgive me if I reminisce a little. I have worked on Neighbours either as script-supervisor, story-editor, script-editor, story-consultant or simply script-writer for nineteen of its twenty years. I didn't become involved until it moved to Channel 10 (after its initial 170 episodes), but then became its first script-supervisor (this title was later changed to 'script-producer'). Before that, the show's creator Reg Watson had been in charge of all facets of the show. Initially, I worked with Reg on coming up with the stories for the program. Eventually, he left me pretty much to work with the storylining team to create the stories. (Except for the occasion when one of Grundy's executives pressed the Bouncer's wedding story upon us - surely Neighbours' most embarrassing moment. All these years later, I would like to make it public that I and all the script team hated the whole idea, but an executive is an executive!) In this time, some of the Neighbours' most unforgettable characters - such as Charlene Mitchell, Harold Bishop, Mrs. Mangel, Henry Ramsay, etc.- were created. We had an excellent storylining team which included at different times: Cheredith Mok (who sadly passed away from cancer much too young), Valda Marshall (who had worked on the show from the very earliest episodes), Michael O'Rourke (still writing for the show), Boaz Stark (whose surname we borrowed for the Stark family), Jason Herbinson (who had been a devotee of the show and kept writing in such good story suggestions that we took him on as a storyliner), and Lois Booton (who had been a script-typist, but soon proved she could be much more), Jenny Lewis and Jason Daniel (the last three all became story-editors at different periods). Jenny Lewis still serves as a Neighbours' writer and storyliner from time to time. Ginny Lowndes was story-editor for a period and contributed greatly to the program as did Dave Worthington later on. During my period as Script-supervisor, I was, quite frankly, in love with the show. "It's such a nice show", I used to tell people. I think that was true then - and still is. There's an air of decency about Neighbours. It features warm, likeable characters, and even the more ambivalent ones like Paul Robinson, Izzy Hoyland and Jack Scully - or even poor old Gus Cleary - have been able to capture our sympathy from time to time. On the whole, Neighbours shows mostly good people trying to do the right thing. Sometimes they succeed, often they fail, but they keep on trying. I hope they keep on trying for another twenty years."
Neighbours scriptwriter Ray Kolle

"Many Neighbours episodes I've written over the past 20 years have stayed in my mind, but two in particular involve Danny Ramsay in our first year (1985) and Libby Kennedy last year (2004). Danny was having problems with his father Max (although we found out later, of course, that Max wasn't his real Dad). Anyway Max, who'd had some hopes of sporting glory for himself, was giving Danny a hard time because Danny was afraid to dive off the high board at the Olympic pool. Family conflict has been a staple of our show through all these years. But so, I believe, is family solidarity, and Danny's older brother Shane confronted Max in some tough scenes which exposed Max's own frustrated ambitions, and forced him to back off. Then last year Libby confronted her Dad about Karl's developing relationship with Izzy. Libby has always been one to make decisions which are quick, emotional and fiercely loyal. Karl had assured Susan that nothing had happened between him and Izzy - which was true at the time - and Susan stressed this to a suspicious Libby. But then Izzy stayed overnight at Karl's flat and Libby dropped in unexpectedly with baby Ben the next morning and found Izzy there. Fire and brimstone. Izzy quickly left, then Libby lashed her Dad with a verbal tirade, ending by saying that she'd always thought of Karl as a role model for Ben but from now on, he didn't qualify. Naturally, Karl was devastated. Susan tried to rally in a defence of Karl but her heart wasn't in it. By the look of viewer response on the website, a lot of fans agreed with Libby one hundred per cent"
Neighbours scriptwriter John Upton

"Neighbours transports its UK audience to sunnier climes and offers both escapism and an insight into the lives of characters whom many can relate to. It has been a great pleasure and privilege to have been involved with the series for the last five years and seeing storylines and characters develop. A real highlight for me was working on both series of Neighbours Revealed, the first involving a trip to Australia where I got to work alongside cast and crew which was a fantastic experience. Neighbours means so much to so many people and it's a real honour to be looking after the programme on behalf of the BBC who are rightly proud of it, I'm looking forward to the next 20 years."
Sarah Barnard, Channel Editor 1&3 BBC Programme Acquisitions