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Features > Take Five by David

When not working hard in school or around the Lassiter’s complex, Ramsay Street’s residents like to relax with various popular pass times. Let’s put our feet up to see how they like to take five…

1. Television & Film
Neighbours doesn’t often dwell on watching its characters watching TV screens, but occasionally we get glimpses of their viewing habits. Soap has cropped up a few times, most notably with Susan, Libby and Bree’s love for the OTT sounding Brazilian show Lust Na Vila - Libby even spent a night with one of it’s stars; Alessandro Cortes. Jen Handley became addicted to Stairwells Of Time in the mid 90s and baby Oscar Scully seemed to appreciate The Bold And The Beautiful more than the cricket coverage - much to his father’s disgust. Serena Bishop loved Charmed, Lou Carpenter has always been into 70s comedies, Summer and her dad Max Hoyland both liked The O.C.; Lance Wilkinson adored sci-fi and Karl & Izzy bonded with a shared love of spy spoof Get Smart. Many of Erinsborough’s most popular programmes seem to appear on cheap Channel 44. Its home video show Stupid Aussies has featured Janae Hoyland pretending to be Britney Spears - and falling flat on her face, and Sindi Watts forged her TV presenting career on the channel’s renovation show Making Mansions - which ended up making a mockery of the Scully family. Harold Bishop even did some late night adverts on the channel; rapping as “Afro Harold” to promote the Coffee Shop. Real life chat show Rove Live featured when writer Janelle Timmins got an interview but admitted live on air that her daughter Bree had written most of her novel. There are plenty of film fans too, with Ned Parker and Harold enjoying musicals; Susan Kennedy liking Cary Grant films; and Sky Mangel adoring Withnail And I, Ghost World and old fashioned Hollywood movies. Taj Coppin left to pursue a career in the film industry and Stingray Timmins studied media at university.

2. Books
There have been a few bookworms in Ramsay Street - it’s even had its own book club, formed by Susan Kennedy, Lyn Scully, Maggie Hancock and later Liljana Bishop (although it often ended up as an excuse to gossip). As an English teacher, Susan is obviously a very keen reader and her favourite book is Pride And Prejudice; the Kinski children grew up without TV, so learned to appreciate classic literature; and Bree Timmins buried her head in books as a distraction from her noisy family. When Bree got to know her biological father Greg Baxter, they discovered the link that they both enjoyed Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-time. Many Neighbours have also taken to writing their own books, Annalise Hartman became a poet; Madge Bishop compiled the cookbook Ramsay Recipes; Phillip Martin took on the pen-name Phillipa Martinez to write romance novels; and Janelle & Bree Timmins co-wrote The Bogan’s Tipped Hair.

3. Music
As everyone knows, Neighbours is a surprisingly musical soap producing many pop stars, but onscreen there have also been several musicians and singers. Clive Gibbons played piano and drums and took on the task of trying to teach the foghorn-like Eileen Clarke how to sing. Susan Kennedy used to give piano lessons and Karl has infamously had a lifelong love of music. Playing, singing and writing his own songs, Karl has had a strange fascination with bodies of water (e.g. The River Of The Soul and Free As A River) ever since his time at uni with his band The Right Prescription. In the noughties he’s attempted to make music with tone deaf girlfriend Izzy Hoyland, motley crew KenNEDy and children’s entertainers Oodles ‘O’ Noodles. Summer Hoyland followed in her mother’s footsteps showing an impressive musical aptitude which earned her a scholarship at the Gillard School of Performance and Music. Nina Tucker also came from a musical family but her shyness held her back until she was encouraged by Connor O’Neill to perform at Lou’s Place - prompting Toadie to cheekily comment that she could be “the next Kylie”. Speaking of Kylie; Charlene Mitchell’s backing vocals stole the limelight from Scott Robinson and Mike Young when she featured on their demo tape. It was heard by producer Molly Meldrum and he was only interested in Charlene’s talents rather than the band. Ned, Harold, Lou, Lyn, Karl and Sky have all taken part in musicals with varying degrees of success and Harold has been entertaining the neighbourhood with his tuba playing for over a decade. Remember when he formed the experimental duo Tuba Electrica with guitar playing foster son Paul McClain?! When not making their own music, the folks of Ramsay Street do listen to other peoples material. Fictional Dayle, The Honeypigs, Boy4 and Robbie D have all entertained the teenyboppers of Erinsborough, but there have been plenty of real star mentions. Annalise Hartman loved Madonna and the Pet Shop Boys; Libby was a Bros fan as a child; Christina Robinson listened to Chopin during the birth of her son Andrew; Janelle Timmins was obsessed with Daryl Braithwaite (who made a cameo in her final episode); Elvis Presley was worshipped by Des, Lou and Marlene; young Paul Robinson appreciated Cold Chisel; Billy Kennedy liked Led Zeppelin; Joe Scully’s favourite band is Status Quo; and Ringo Brown enjoys Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs. It remains unclear how Jack Scully feels about Ricky Martin.

4. Sport
Australia’s national obsession with sport is well represented in Neighbours. From Harold’s power walking to Boyd Hoyland’s pumping iron - nearly everyone enjoys staying healthy. Going back to the show’s beginnings, Shane Ramsay was set to be an Olympic standard diver and Mike Young, Guy Carpenter and Billy Kennedy have all been strong swimmers. The classic ‘80s titles showcased a love for cricket which was repeated in the titles for 1994, 1997 and 2003. It was also featured in the Willis Kennedy storyline (when Cody dressed as a man to get on her university cricket team) and when Karl Kennedy and Joe Scully locked horns over the coaching of the local amateur team. Cricket legend Shane Warne even made a cameo in 2006. Australian Rules Football has made several appearances with Paul McClain going on to an impressive career with the Adelaide Crows, Zeke Kinski and Bridget Parker being keen players, and Mickey Gannon playing for the under 9’s Erinsborough Pups. AFL stars Warwick Capper and Brodie Holland have both made cameos. There’s also been reference to British football (soccer), as Rick Alessi and Debbie Martin watched Arsenal FC play during their trip to London. Jack Scully spent his young years playing in the UK and after returning to Erinsborough, he coached Summer Hoyland’s team. Summer also showed interest in boxing as did Janae Hoyland and Lolly Allen. Shane Ramsay and Mike Young became involved in a boxing match over Jane Harris but it ended with referee Clive Gibbons getting knocked out. Many Neighbours have had a casual involvement with surfing but Brad Willis and Kim Timmins are two of the most prominent exponents. Golf has been the sport of choice for many of the more mature characters including Jim Robinson, Tom Ramsay, Harold, Lou and recently Karl and Susan have been competing against each other. Few soaps could boast their own version of the Olympic games, but Ramsay Street had just that in 1987 featuring the hilarious sight of Mrs Mangel and Madge Ramsay racing bicycles in motorbike crash helmets.

5. Computers
Computers have provided Ramsay Street’s more technological residents with plenty of entertainment. When not working hard in the office, Paul and Gail Robinson were playing hard - on computer games. Twenty years on, Paul had become hooked on the violently titled Doom Slayer; often competing with daughter Elle and even basing his friendship with Ned Parker on it. During the Kennedys' early years, Karl bought a home computer for the family and ended up hogging it due to his addiction to the game Magic Carpet. In 2007, Steph Hoyland had a motorcycle game installed in Scarlet Bar and became very competitive with a mysterious high scorer called “Thorn”, who turned out to be the unlikely Rosie Cammeniti; she’d honed her skills on a similar game during her time at university. The internet has been used as a plot device for a surprisingly long time on Neighbours. Back in 1991, Todd Landers found a new friend called Rebecca Huxley who sadly died before he could meet her in the flesh, and in the mid 90s Libby Kennedy met surfer Sonny Hammond in an internet chat room. In ‘99, Tad made a fake nude photo of Sarah Beaumont and posted it on the web. More recently, Toadie Rebecchi and Connor O’Neill spent some time internet dating; but were being paid by the site to pretend to be women. Unfortunately, things got a bit too close to home when Connor ended up dating Lou Carpenter. Things went better for Lou some months later when he met Russian Mishka Schneiderova on the web, and Karl also had a relationship with Jenny McKenna after joining a dating site. Lou has also enjoyed using the internet to download old comedies such as The Benny Hill Show and The Two Ronnies - although his shifty disposition raised some eyebrows, and questions, about what he was watching! Janae decided to blog her life at number 30 which became surprisingly profitable when her webcam videos of Toadie dancing and Boyd kissing his muscles proved to be big hits. Interestingly, the people of Erinsborough have their own search engine; Erinsearch, and their own email service; Erinsmail.