> Exit Exclusive from Luke Devenish
Speculation has been rife in recent weeks on our Message Board about the fates of the popular characters Sindi, David and Liljana. The word was that all three were departing Erinsborough later this year, and now, Neighbours script producer Luke Devenish confirms their departures, and that of another popular member of the Bishop family. But fear not, there is good news on the horizon too – a brand new family, a Robinson triplet and a lot more of Joe Mangel on the cards. Here's what Luke has to say...
"We've all read the horrified responses from fans on The Perfect Blend to the somewhat prematurely leaked news that some of the current cast members are leaving. It certainly gave us major deja vu of when the Hancocks left! But you all recovered from that, didn't you?
I can confirm that Marisa Siketa (Summer Hoyland), Marisa Warrington (Sindi Watts), Kevin Harrington (David Bishop), Marcella Russo (Liljana Bishop) and Lara Sacher (Serena Bishop) will all be leaving at different times during this year. Don't panic - written like this it looks a lot worse than it actually is!
Marisa Siketa's final scenes will air in Oz in July. She wished to spend more time on her school work - something we applauded her for. She will be making regular returns, however, and Oz audiences will see her back again on screen in November/December, and again in March/April 2006.
All three Bishops will be leaving together in an extremely dramatic fashion in late October in Oz, in one of our most startling storylines for the year. Those episodes haven't yet been filmed. Lil and David have been at the very forefront of stories this year - caught up in wicked Paul's web - and their departure ties into this. The door will be left open for their return, however, despite the spectacular circumstances. Serena's final scenes will be nothing short of heartbreaking - but very memorable!
Of course we understand that fans get upset to hear that favourite characters are departing, but do remember that it happens all the time. These departures coincide with the arrival of a large number of new characters, including a new family (the Kinskis), plus Ned Parker, Lucinda Robinson and Kim Timmins. There will also be other new characters joining in early 2006. Mark Little's (Joe Mangel) guest stint has been considerably extended beyond his original three months. We love having him back - and so will you!
What we didn't want to do with any of these departures was make them lightweight - with the exception of Summer, who isn't strictly a departure. We wanted these exits to be thoroughly memorable (as the characters have been) and use them to create a strong story.
For those fans who don't take their soap TOO seriously, and who also enjoy a twistingly dramatic, emotional and comic ride, then all these departures will be wonderfully satisfying and very enjoyable. There are shocks and surprises to be had, I promise, plus some well earned pay-offs. For those fans who are upset by change and wish things to always remain the same, then I can only presume they are relatively recent converts to soap! Neighbours, like all serials, thrives on change. If things were static then, trust me, you'd all be bored rigid! Let me reassure you, however, that there are still plenty of romance and comedy stories going on continually too. Lots of silliness and lots of lovey-dovey stuff - this is Ramsay Street after all."