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Reference > Erinsborough News > Shake-up On Ramsay Street

There’s a major shake-up happening on Ramsay Street.

Along with Ten’s declining fortunes last year, Neighbours - the network’s biggest success story – was also on the slide.

John Holmes, who helped set up the soapie seven years ago, was brought back to get the show back on track. Rumours spread that heads were set to roll, and John admits there will be cast changes.

Already Ian Williams has learned that his contract is not being renewed. Beth Buchanan, Mark Little, Lucinda Cowden, Ian Smith and Amelia Frid are all moving out.

“A show like Neighbours does evolve,” John says, adding carefully: “But perhaps in hindsight, it has evolved along lines one perhaps would not have taken. I think it’s lost its pace and lost the original philosophy behind it.”

It also lost two of its biggest drawcards in the show’s then-teenage superstars Jason Donovan and Kylie Minogue. “But just because people leave doesn’t mean a show is going to finish,” John says. “Neighbours, in fact, still rated just as well when Jason and Kylie left because there were people like Annie Jons and Guy Pearce who were in position to take over. But I think there was a time after that when the show lost its step. We need to revitalise the youth end. New faces aren’t enough. They need to be good faces. They’ve got to have sex appeal.”

John says Ten’s general malaise was no help, and not enough money has been spent on the program in the past 12 months. He smiles as he recalls the reaction of one director when he explained that they were going to change the look of the show and make some changes to the cast.

“Why don’t we have a bomb?” was the director’s suggestion. With the E Street massacre still fresh in viewers’ minds, John assured him there was no chance of that happening.

“I tell you what,” the director countered. “Let’s have an earthquake. That way you could wipe out half your sets and half your cast!”

While it’s not going to be quite that dramatic, John admits he is not tiptoeing around the problem. “There’s a bit more of the jackboot coming in now. They were not appreciative of the tiptoe, so the tips now have steel caps on them!”

This article originally appeared in New Idea magazine, dated May 25th 1991

Article submitted by Steve


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