Reference > Erinsborough News > Harold Back From The Dead!
Five years ago, Neighbours fans were devastated when lovable old fuddy-duddy Harold Bishop departed. On a dream holiday with wife Madge, Harold was swept off the rocks into the ocean, leaving only his glasses behind. But in the soap shock of the year, Harold is now coming back to Ramsay Street!
It turns out he’s a good swimmer who has been suffering from amnesia for five years. In episodes to screen this month, Helen finds him working for the Salvation Army in the belief that his name is Ted.
“My agent called and said ‘Are you sitting down? They’d like you to go back to Neighbours.’,” says Ian Smith, who plays Harold. “I was surprised, but it’s great. I have to add that I needed the money, but it’s also good to say goodbye to the old bugger properly.”
Harold is to be reunited with Madge who, after his “death”, ended up in Brisbane with her grandson, the first-born of Charlene (Kylie Minogue) and Scott (Jason Donovan).
“That’s where all good Neighbours end up. But now it’s good to be back,” says Anne Charleston, who plays Madge. In reality, Anne had moved to Galway, in Ireland, where her family comes from. “When Smithy called me, I thought that Harold’s either coming back as his twin brother or he survived. I was a bit nervous about coming back, but it’s just like putting on an old coat,” Anne says.
Only three cast members remain from when “Madge went to Brisbane” – Helen (Anne Haddy), Philip (Ian Rawlings) and Hannah (Rebecca Ritters). Ian says returning to Harold has been easy. “I’ve slipped into it without any problems, which is a bit of a worry. How much of a silly old fart am I?” he says.
Ian says it’s a treat to work again with Anne, whom he has known since they worked together on the ABC’s Bellbird more than 20 years ago. Ian will also be writing some Neighbours scripts.
“I’m looking forward to that. And I think I’ve got a huge advantage, because I’ve walked the sets and I know how the people act,” he says.
This article originally appeared in TV Week magazine dated October 1996 and was written by Jeff Jenkins