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Reference > Erinsborough News > Neighbours: A Huge Soapie Success

The Aussie show is still riding the crest of the wave of success and soon celebrates its 1000th episode

Network Ten spends $2000 a month on postage stamps replying to Annie Jones’ fan mail. London cab drivers won’t allow Craig McLachlan to pay a fare – his autograph is considered infinitely more valuable. And in Australia, headmasters have allocated students 10 minutes each morning to discuss the previous night’s episode of Neighbours. It is, they say, the only way they can get them to work.

Neighbours, quite simply, is a phenomenon. On July 7, the cast and crew of the popular soapie celebrate their 1000th episode.

Anne Haddy has been in the show since the first episode and has seen early stars Peter O’Brien and Elaine Smith meet, fall in love and leave, a skinny young, unknown teenager named Kylie Minogue join and then go on to become an international megastar, and the arrival on-screen of bright-eyed Jason Donovan.

The cast unanimously agree that last year’s Royal Command Performance was an unbelievable honour. Ten of them received a personal invitation from the Queen Mother to perform a comedy sketch in front of 2500 people at the London Palladium.

It was the ultimate accolade – the royal seal of approval.

In Britain, a staggering 24 million viewers tune in to the show which is broadcast twice a day. It is also a bit hit in Belgium, the Netherlands and other parts of Europe.

Kerrie Theobald, director of publicity for Channel Ten in Melbourne, doesn’t believe explanations are possible.

“If you were able to say ‘This is why it is so successful’ then we’d make lots just like it. It’s wholesome, so that parents can let their children watch it. Also, it is undoubtedly pure escapist entertainment.”

This article originally appeared in Woman's Day magazine, dated July 4th 1989, and was written by Bunty Avieson

Article submitted by Steve


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