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Features > Birthday Wishes from Reg Watson by Moe

Neighbours: The Perfect Blend is privileged and honoured to have a very special birthday message from the man who started it all – the creator of Neighbours, Mr. Reg Watson:

“I am, of course, delighted that Neighbours is celebrating its 20th anniversary and credit is due to everyone who has been involved with the programme during all those years.

Because of my involvement with Crossroads when I was in the U.K. it didn't really surprise me that Neighbours was accepted over there. However, I didn't anticipate the incredible success it achieved. I still remember my secretary, Penny, bringing a letter into my office from The Oxford University Neighbours Appreciation Society asking for photos etc of the cast. I, cynically, told her to tear it up, thinking it was from a couple of guys trying to make fools of us. A few months later we received another letter asking if their first one has been lost. They proved to be avid fans who didn't miss an episode!”

About Reg Watson...

Reg Watson first worked in the television industry as an announcer, and then went to Britain in the 1950s to work for the BBC as an actor before helping Val Parnell and Lew Grade with various game shows and variety shows. His most famous contribution to British television was the creation of the popular motel-based soap opera Crossroads. Reg wrote, edited, produced and directed the show until he returned to Australia in 1973. Crossroads, of course, continued until 1988 and was even revived twice in recent years.

Firmly back in Australia, Reg worked for the Grundy Organisation and created such Australian soap classics as The Young Doctors, The Restless Years, Sons and Daughters and Prisoner Cell Block H. By 1984, Reg was Head of TV Drama at Grundy and had begun to think about creating a new soap. That soap, of course, was Neighbours.

Reg credits Coronation Street with inspiring him to create Neighbours, as well as the Brisbane street he grew up in, and on which he based Ramsay Street. Original names for the series were One Way Street and No Through Road, but in the end he settled for the simpler Neighbours. The series was based around three diverse families – The Robinsons, Ramsays and Clarkes living in a quiet suburban cul-de-sac in the fictional suburb of Erinsborough.

Reg famously re-wrote the first episodes twenty times, such was his determination to get it absolutely right. Communication between the adult characters and the teenagers was to be a very important part of his creation as was humour. Both continue to be at the forefront of Neighbours 20 years later.

For the first seven years or so, Reg played a prominent role in the production of the show, and even in the years since his retirement, he has continued to watch over his baby from afar. Reg once said that he saw no reason why Neighbours couldn’t continue on and on through the generations, to the point where we would see the grandson of Henry. Said in jest, perhaps, but suddenly that idea doesn’t seem like such an impossibility...