> Be My Guest by
They were only meant to be passing through, but some visitors to Ramsay Street just couldn’t stay away. As Carmella makes Erinsborough her permanent home, we take a look at the guests who were invited back again and again.
Her wedding day made the cover of TIME magazine, and the actress behind her is still an international star nearly twenty years on. So it’s hard to believe Madge Mitchell’s wayward daughter was only meant to stay around for three weeks. Sensing they had a star on their hands, Grundy quickly extended three weeks to three months, and when Scott, and the viewers, fell in love with Charlene, she was soon made a permanent fixture. Nineteen years later, the fairytale wedding between Erinsborough’s very own Romeo and Juliet is still the show’s most famous episode. Charlene left after two years, but her impact can still be felt today; in fact, it’s fair to say that had the tomboy mechanic got back on the bus to Coff’s Harbour, Neighbours itself might not be have survived.
We’d heard a lot about her, but as soon as the dreaded cousin Hilary popped up at Scott and Charlene’s wedding, it was obvious this ‘love to hate’ character deserved more than the odd guest appearance. Viewers got their wish when Hilary moved into No.30 around eighteen months later, to the horror of her family, not to mention her young charges the Davies sisters. However, we got to see Hilary’s human side when it was revealed she had a secret son, Matt, whom she’d been forced to give away. Sadly Hilary’s stint as a regular only last a year, but we were treated to a brief glimpse of her in Annalise’s documentary.
From the moment we heard THAT laugh, we knew madcap Melanie was comedy gold. The Ramsays looked on in horror when Henry introduced her as his new girlfriend, but viewers loved her from day one, and Melanie’s short but sweet visits were greeted with delight. In 1989 fans finally got their wish when Ms Pearson moved onto Ramsay Street full time, and the kind-hearted but unlucky in love girl behind the seal cub chortle was gradually revealed. Her wedding to lonely widower Joe proved Mel could deliver with the romantic moments as well as the comedy ones – it was just a shame the couple had to disappear to England so soon afterwards. Sadly Melanie split from Joe off-screen a few years later, but an appearance in the 20th Anniversary documentary proved she hadn’t forgotten how to laugh.
Lou CarpenterBack in the fifties, it was bad boy Fred Mitchell who put the mockers on Madge Ramsay’s romance with Harold Bishop. Fast forward thirty years, and another of Madge’s old flames marched into town, determined to stop it being second time lucky. Larrikin Lou couldn’t have been more different from fuddy-duddy Harold, and their battles for Madge’s hand provided great comedy moments. Harold won out, and Lou was all but forgotten until Harold’s ‘death’ three years later, when Lou returned for a third try. Lou and Madge’s engagement didn’t last, which was pretty lucky, considering Harold was actually alive and well. What did last was Lou’s presence on Ramsay Street – thirteen years and counting, having survived a brush with the axe in the mid nineties and outlived both Madge and his new partner Cheryl. Not bad for a bit player eh?
Thought Dr Evil invented the idea of a Mini-Me? Think again. When Harold’s son arrived for his dad’s wedding to Madge, it was like looking back thirty years. David was a mini Harold to a tee; even stuffy Mrs Mangel couldn’t resist a giggle. David’s comic cameo became the stuff of Neighbours legend, and when Harold came back from the dead, fans prayed David would follow him home. It took fourteen years, but eventually Bishop Junior returned, this time with a surprise wife and child in tow. While he’d changed a lot, having discovered a love for money his dad never possessed, there was still a hint of the mini-Harold there. Tragically, just as David had finally rebuilt his relationship with his dad, he boarded a fateful flight to Tasmania.
A wardrobe with more colours than Joseph’s amazing coat, hair you could lose a horse in – Cheryl Stark was never going to slip into Erinsborough unnoticed. She’d just won a fortune on the lottery, but the only prize Cheryl was interested in was Lou Carpenter, and when she discovered he still wasn’t over his beloved Madge, she packed up and moved on. However, either Cheryl decided she wasn’t going to give up that easily, or Grundy decided she was too good a character to lose, because three months later she was back on Ramsay Street. Once Lou had a change of heart, he and Cheryl grew into a classic Neighbours couple. After surviving a run-in with Julie Martin’s car and being kidnapped by Ecuadorian drug dealers, Cheryl’s time in Erinsborough finally came to an end after a road accident – and even then it took an injection from Dr Karl Kennedy to finally finish her off!
Jarrod 'Toadfish' Rebecchi
Stonefish Rebecchi’s troublesome little brother only cropped up occasionally at first, usually to drag Billy Kennedy into some zany scheme. Who’d have thought that over ten years later he’d be a Neighbours mainstay? As Stonie and Angie moved into the street, Toadfish would appear more and more frequently, and was ironically the only member of the family saved from the axe in 1996. Although he would cause all kinds of headaches for his surrogate family the Kennedys over the next few years, it was slowly revealed there was a brain behind all that mischief making, and Toadie slowly morphed from naughty schoolboy to respectable lawyer. In keeping with his new serious side, Toadie was also given more dramatic storylines, most notably the death of his wife Dee on their wedding day. However, at heart Mr Rebecchi is still the joker in the pack, and Neighbours fans wouldn’t have it any other way.
When Susan’s nice nephew popped up for a visit in 2000, he seemed like nothing more than a short-term love interest for Dee Bliss. How wrong could we be? When Darcy returned a few months after his initial visit, Dee and Susan were delighted, but the seemingly respectable young doctor was hiding a dark side. Over the next three years Doctor Darcy would gradually morph into the nastiest villain Ramsay Street had seen in a long time, almost conning his uncle Karl out of his surgery and cheating on Dee with her best friend. He eventually got his comeuppance in 2003, but Darcy didn’t lose his knack for causing trouble, making two comebacks – one from a prison cell, another from a hospital bed – proving he works equally well as a guest or a regular. He’s safely hidden away in Perth at the moment, but who knows when the dastardly doc might be back to cause more havoc?
She started life as the woman who outwitted Doctor Darcy, blackmailing him after he’d flirted with her despite dating her sister. But the tables were turned a few months later, when Darcy paid a desperate Sindi to flirt with Toadie and keep him away from Dee. Surprisingly, Sindi ended up falling for Toadie for real, and made several visits to Ramsay Street in an attempt to win his heart. After Dee’s tragic death, she finally succeeded and moved into Ramsay Street for good in 2004, despite shaming her neighbours during the disastrous ‘Making Mansions’ show. Sindi drifted from manipulative to dippy, and was heavily involved in comedy storylines, but her dark side was never far away, and after ditching her supposedly beloved Toadie for his best mate Stu, mysterious ‘accidents’ began happening around Sindi. For Toadie and Lil in particular, Sindi was definitely a guest who outstayed her welcome…