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Reference > Erinsborough News > "I Begged Them Not To Kill The Bishops!"

The residents of Erinsborough are shocked and saddened this week when, following a tragic plane crash, David, Liljana and Serena Bishop are pronounced dead. And behind the scenes, it was a similar story for Ian Smith, who plays family patriarch Harold...

"I have to be honest, I was very upset when I heard the news," explains the actor, who joined Neighbours in 1987. "I went to speak to the producers and begged them not to kill the Bishops off. But they saw value in it and thought it was a good way for the show - and the characters - to move forward."

"Having said that, I have to admit that when I later sat down and watched the episodes, they got to me and I cried," continues Ian. "It left me thinking, 'If that can make me cry, then there must be value in it happening'. I guess that's why they're the producers and I'm not!"

Ian is referring to a series of tear-jerking scenes this week, set in the aftermath of the crash, which see Harold vainly clinging to the hope that his loved ones will return home from the stormy seas.

"Whilst everyone else is in the depths of despair, Harold's in denial that anything has even happened, and insists that it will all work out," explains Ian. "He can't see why everybody is worrying so much, and tells those around him to have faith."

Indeed, there's joy and relief when Susan Smith is brought home to Erinsborough. However, Harold's own family - as well as Connor O'Neill and Dylan Timmins - still remain unaccounted for.

"One by one, the odds stack up against their return, yet Harold refuses to accept the reality," reveals Ian. "It's one of those terrible situations where you know that his emotions are building up inside of him, and when released, the pain will be enormous."

Ian developed a close bond with co-stars Kevin Harrington, Marcella Russo and Lara Sacher, who played David, Lil and Serena, over the past two years. So, not surprisingly filming their final goodbye scenes was an emotional experience. "They were fabulous people, and it's been wonderful working with them," says the actor. "They'll be sorely missed from the show, but I suppose change is what keeps soaps going."

With Neighbours celebrating 20 years in 2005, Ian's point is a valid one. But what lies in store for Harold now that he has lost so many people he loved? Despite rumours that he'll murder the person he blames for his family's deaths, Ian's giving little away...

"Harold's not a man to get close to, is he?" he laughs. "His first wife died before he came to Erinsborough, then his second wife, Madge, and then his daughter, Kerry, also perished, and now his son has been killed, too! Everybody should keep away from Harold - he's bad news!"

This article originally appeared in Inside Soap magazine, dated 27th January 2006 and was written by Jason Herbison

Article submitted by Callum


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