> Tammy Arnold
Tammy Arnold was in charge of the hugely successful Neighbours Fan Club at the height of the show's popularity in the late 80s and early 90s. Here, she shares some of her memories from that time...
When did you start watching Neighbours?
I started watching it on Channel Seven, not long before it got axed and moved to Channel Ten.
How did the fan club come about, and what was your role in it?
I was actually a member of the fan club before I ran it. There was another person running the club, but they had to give it away. They advertised in one of the newsletters and I got the job (and I was 13 years old at the time!).
How long did it run for?
It was running for a couple of years before I took over, and then I ran it for approximately six years.
The club was set up at the height of the show's popularity - did you encounter any problems?
When I took over, Kylie had just started and there were only a couple of hundred members in Australia. Within a year, I had around 2000 members from Australia, England and Europe. We used to get mail delivered daily, but in the club's peak we had to get a post office box to accommodate the hundreds of letters we recieved each day.
Did you have any connection to the UK fan club?
No, I didn't have any connection, but I still had a few hundred members from the UK.
Were there ever any events set up by the club to meet the stars of the show?
No, there were never any events like that, as most of our members were either interstate or international, so we couldn't accommodate for all those members to arrive in Melbourne. And Grundy's were also unable to help us out, although we did enquire to arrange some sort of event, I couldn't organise it on my own and Grundy's weren't very helpful. However, I did go to the filming of a TV show that talked about TV soaps and met a few celebs from Neighbours, E Street, etc. I was allowed to bring one member, and their family, from the club, so we had a competition.
Who did you meet from the cast and get on well with?
I met every cast member that was on the show while I was running the club. I was (and still am) a huge Kylie fan and she was lovely and always so polite. Such a beautiful person. Ian Smith was always so nice, Craig McLachlan was also fantastic as were Stefan Dennis, Guy Pearce and Mark Little. Craig and Ian always remembered who I was if I bumped into them at a function or at the studios, but I never had any problems with the cast as they were always so welcoming and humble.
Do you have any stories to tell about the cast?
Not that I can remember... Craig McLachlan would always have us in tears of laughter with the jokes he used to tell. He was such a funny person.
What did you get up to when you used to visit the studios?
I would go into the studios at around 9 or 10 o'clock and go into the green room, have a coffee, chat with the cast and maybe take a few photos, help with fan mail, etc. The cast would fill out pre-typed questionnaires and profiles that we used for newsletters. Then I'd watch filming, have lunch in the canteen or eat in the green room. I usually stayed until around 4 or 5pm.
Do you have any memorabilia that you saved from those days?
I do have heaps of photos that I've cherished over the years, plus Christmas cards, scripts, etc.
Are you still in touch with any of the members?
One guy from Brighton, England, is now one of my very best friends who has stayed with my family over here, and who we stayed with in England when we travelled. Another member was one of my bridesmaids at my wedding.
Do you still watch Neighbours now?
Yes, I do.
How has the show changed over the years?
It's still very much a family show. I don't think it's changed a great deal, except for the characters and storylines being much more in today's era.
Why do you think Neighbours is still so popular after 20 years?
I honestly don't know. We've sat down before and tried to pin-point it, but we can't figure it out.
Interview by Paul. Added on 17th September 2005