Reference > Erinsborough News > End Of An Era
Ian, Ailsa and Rebecca bid an emotional farewell to Ramsay Street.
When Ramsay Street’s Martin family pack up their belongings to begin a new life in Darwin next week in Neighbours, it will mark the end of an era.
Ian Rawlings (Phil) and Rebecca Ritters (Hannah) are two of Neighbours’ longest-serving cast members. Over the last seven years, we have watched them endure many ups and downs, and always come out smiling. Although Ailsa Piper (Ruth) has only been with the show for three years, she has also found a spot in our hearts. Quite simply, after they go, the street won’t be the same.
TV Week caught up with Ian, Ailsa and Rebecca just moments after they filmed their final scenes. Emotions were running high and, as Ian explains, the atmosphere took them all by surprise.
“My last day felt kind of weird,” he says. “It started out as a normal day – I just concentrated on learning my lines and getting through it. Then, at the end, there were no more lines to learn. I guess there is an element of sadness, but also relief.”
Ailsa had mixed feelings when it came time to say goodbye, too. “I was determined to stay calm, but after I filmed my final scenes and the cast and crew gathered, I was overwhelmed,” she reveals. “I expected to say goodbye, hand out presents and walk away. But the connections I have made over the last few years are deep.”
For 15-year-old Rebecca, it was like leaving the nest. After all, she has played Hannah since the age of eight!
“I can’t believe it’s over,” she says. “It will probably take a week for it to hit me. But I realise that life goes on after Neighbours. I feel really confident about the future.”
And she has every reason to be – her career is just getting started. Although Ian and Ailsa, like Rebecca, felt it was time to move on, they are quick to point out that they are not severing ties with the show. They have made many friends and intent to stay in touch.
“I’ve really enjoyed the camaraderie that a show like this brings,” Ian explains. “The people have always been warm and friendly to me.”
For Ailsa, perhaps the two people she will miss the most are her on-screen children, Brooke Satchwell (Anne) and Andrew Bibby (Lance). “Brooke and Andrew have kept me honest,” she admits. “Any time I have felt tired or distracted, I have looked at them and remembered the thing I told them when they first started – to do their best. And they inspire me to do mine.”
Brooke and Andrew also found it hard to say goodbye. Andrew cites Ailsa as “one of my best friends” while Brooke describes her as “my second mum”.
Meanwhile, Ian reckons the joy of watching Rebecca grow up is his greatest memory from the show.
“I’ve had the privilege and the honour of watching this little girl develop into a beautiful young woman, which has been fantastic,” he says. “It’s been a great seven years. I couldn’t ask for a better run.”
The Martins leave Erinsborough in the episode screening on Wednesday, October 20.
This article originally appeared in TV Week magazine, dated October 15th 1999, and was written by Jason Herbison