you think Neighbours has changed since you last appeared
Yes and no. You could say the storylines have altered, that
they are sometimes grittier and that some of the characters
are angrier people: that would be the 'Yes'. The 'No' side
would be that there are still the marvellous likeable characters
whom the audience relate to and love to follow, in the form
of Harold Bishop (Ian Smith) Lou Carpenter (Tom Oliver), Karl
and Susan Kennedy (Alan Fetcher and Jackie Woodburne), etc.
us a little about the filming of the anniversary episodes,
which included a traditional Aussie barbecue out on Ramsay
Street. What was the atmosphere like on set as characters
old and new came together to mark 20 years?
The atmosphere on the set for the anniversary show was that
of a very happy reunion. It was just terrific to catch up
with some of my favourite people: Ian Rawlings, Stefan Dennis,
Mark Little and Terry Donovan and to see how we had all been
written back into Annalise's documenatary day! The current
cast still included actors we all knew and everybody got along.
But that's the way the Neighbours cast has always been,
like a big family of genuinely likeable people. The actual
anniversary barbeque was shot on a really hot day in Ramsay
Street and because the episodes in Australia went to air in
winter we were in warm clothing! I was wearing a velvet coat,
a glamorous item but oh, so, hot! I remember sitting between
takes under an umbrella with Kimberley Davies who played Annalise,
and we were both perspiring and having to drink iced water.
Mark Little was sensible - he wore a huge hat!
Which other former cast members would
you have liked to see return for the occasion?
I would have loved to see one there who could not possibly
be there: Anne Haddy who played Helen Daniels, Rosemary's
mother, a fine actress and a fine person, and a dear friend
of mine, I miss her. Although it was very good to see her
husband, James Condon at the end of week party.
Have you seen the reunion episodes
yet? If so, what did you think of them?
I have seen them and they are wonderful. The storyline for
the reunion worked very well. And considering the time which
had gone by, I reckon we all passed muster.
A big birthday party was held around
the time of the filming of the episodes, did you attend? If
so, can you tell us a little about it?
I was not in Australia for the big birthday party but I have
it on excellent authority that it was a smashing success.
Now that Paul Robinson is back on the
series as a permanent fixture and once again running Lassiters,
do you think we might see Rosemary back in Erinsborough again
at some point?
I was very glad to see Stefan back on the set. The Paul character
is explosive and he plays it so well. As to Rosemary's return?
At this point I have not been asked... But you never know!
Finally, what do you think accounts
for the 20 years of success Neighbours has enjoyed?
Neighbours' success is due in the beginning to two
remarkable men: Reg Grundy and Reg Watson. The show was Reg
Watson's brilliant idea, and Reg Grundy, who is a powerful
salesman, sold it in Australia and then in England to the
BBC. We can all have opinions on why it has lasted, but the
fact is the longevity of Neighbours has been one of
those showbiz miracles. It's about ordinary people in an ordinary
street, but are they really ordinary? I don't think so. The
fact that they are a tiny bit exceptional and we know them
so well, keeps our attention year after year.
Interview by Moe. Added on 15th October 2005