“We are each other’s people”: Neighbours hosts final media event

As they have done for decades, veteran Neighbours stars imparted wisdom one last time to their young cast, at a final media event.

There were laughs, smiles, plenty of tears and a fleeting shot of Bouncer yesterday when Neighbours held their very last media event yesterday at their famed Nunawading studios.

Media were treated to a lunch by Network 10 with cast joined by Executive Producer Jason Herbison, 10 Head of Drama and Executive Production Rick Maier, host Angela Bishop and a busy team from 10 publicity.

4 long tables sat in between sets including the Kennedy home, the Waterhole Bar and Harolds Cafe, adorned by poppies and nostalgic photos and script excerpts.

Today the interior sets will begin to be dismantled, with producers having fielded calls from the Australian Centre for the Moving Image and various arts and state museums. Fremantle will remain tenants at the site, once home to Channel 0 and shows including Prisoner, Young Talent Time, Rove Live and more, until the end of the year.

Jason Herbison, Rick Maier.

Rick Maier said, “We’re all very proud of what it’s achieved. If you if you have a look at the number of writers that have gone from the Neighbours writing room into other jobs, I think there are five production companies at the moment with Heads of Drama who are Neighbours alumni, the Head of RMIT Screenwriting, 4 broadcasters doing drama who are Neighbours alumni. There wouldn’t be a Writing Room in Australia putting together a new show that didn’t have some antecedents from Neighbours and that’s just on the writing side. Certainly on the performance side of it, we know where all these actors have gone. We talk a lot, historically, about the actors that have succeeded. But we haven’t talked about the current crop. I’m very curious to know where they are in five years, 10 years, 15 years time because this show will continue in terms of their performances and where they go from here.”

Jackie Woodburne, who has played Susan Kennedy for 28 years, “We come in here every day and we are each other’s people. How lucky are we that that happened? I’ve made wonderful friendships, done some work that I’m really proud of. As ‘Fletch’ (Alan Fletcher) said, I learned so much from you guys. I mean, they talk about the big successes, you know, the Margots (Robbie) and so on. And, that’s all wonderful. But for me, it’s those moments on set when I see one of you amazingly talented, young people have a little breakthrough.

“Your joy at that, and your pride in that, and the passion that you will take with you into your career ongoing from this show with these people, that makes me very, very proud.. I’m all wobbly again, I knew I would!” she said fighting back tears.

“It’s been an absolute joy. All of you actors will go out into the world, you will have wonderful careers working as actors. It doesn’t matter what the project is, it doesn’t matter what the show is, you will take that same passion and commitment that we all have here to get the best work we can, in the time that we have, with with each other.

“I know that you will take that discipline with you into your lives, and you will have wonderful careers. I’m so proud of you.”

After a standing ovation a final reel of highlights from across nearly 4 decades screened, followed by tears…. and no spoilers.

The final episode screens 7:30pm Thursday July 28 on 10 / 10 Peach.

Cast in attendance:

Jacinta Stapleton
April Rose Pengilly
Jackie Woodburne
Takaya Honda
Phoebe Roberts
Charlotte Chimes
Gemma Bird Matheson
Richard Huggett
Ryan Moloney
Alan Fletcher
Georgie Stone
Tim Kano
Stefan Dennis
Annie Jones
Freya Van Dyke
Candice Leask
Emerald Chan
Zima Anderson
Benny Turland
Ian Smith
Melissa Bell
Olympia Valance
Kate Kendall
Scott Major
James Mason
Sally-Anne Upton
Ian Rawlings
Tim Robards
Jemma Donovan


21 Responses

  1. Pity they can’t keep the physical location and all the sets up a bit longer and have it as a tourist attraction. So many people would love to visit it and see the sets as they are.

  2. It’s been slightly amusing that the amount of noise being made about Neighbours’ demise is so disproportionate to its paltry viewing figures and profile in this country over many years. That’s not to say that all the elements and talent associated with the program weren’t excellent. They probably were. But it’s essentially been a UK soap about a fantasy Australian fictional locale for at least 20 years now. When 10 relegated it to a multichannel more than a decade ago, it didn’t matter what they actually said about the move at the time—the message was implicit. I wonder if the show would’ve avoided the axe if all the people making a noise about it ending has actually kept watching it?

    1. It is possible to no longer watch the show and still mourn its axing, or believe it should keep going.

      So many of us would have loved a larger profile for Neighbours over the years. But factors beyond our control, including decisions made by 10, Channel 5, EPs, etc – have sometimes hindered that. There were years when the show just didn’t deliver and people tuned out, as people tend to do with soaps. That’s why they are the way they are.

      But under Jason Herbison, I felt the show pick up again and actually try and reflect Australia as it is now rather than following Home and Away’s route and just pretend that we’re stuck in the 90s. Does it always succeed? No. But Neighbours deserves every bit of attention it gets, regardless how much it may amuse you.

  3. It’s a shame a small number of the current cast weren’t able to make it to the final event (I think Lucinda Cowden, Matty Wilson, Geoff Paine and Rebekah Elmaloglou were the only credited adult cast not there). April Rose posted that she hadn’t realised there would be so many commitments to attend after June 10th and Jacinta Stapleton implied that she hadn’t realised yesterday was going to be such a big event. It’s interesting that Anne Charleston has been spotted anywhere (other than her Studio 10 interview with Ian Smith earlier this year). Health could be an issue for her. Great to see Ian Rawlings popping up. Still hard to believe that it’s over.

  4. Looks fabulous!! I still hold out hope that someone, somewhere might bring it back. Sad to read the sets will be dismantled. Is there a tv museum somewhere that might like them? I’ve loved this show since it’s first episode, it’s so sad to see it end. Sending lots of love to the Amazing Cast and Crew. Thank you for all the years of entertainment.

  5. I’m glad Jackie Woodbourne got a word in.
    I can remember only a few years into Neighbours (for her), there was stage play worked into the show where she, Helen Daniels (Anne Haddy) and a couple of other characters were in it too. Jackie played a gothic, or horror kind of character, totally unrecognisable and her performance really showed her breadth of acting ability that you didn’t usually see and parallel opposite from the loving, caring and nurturing Susan. Does any long term Neighbours fan remember this?

  6. Quick question, could all of this been avoided if Fremantle lowed their licensing fees?
    Also does channel 10 own the land? Did they not renew neighbours, so they can subdivide the land for housing??

  7. its a pity they didnt thank Jan Russ who made neigbours famous with her eye for talent kylie jason craig guy and so on snubbed typical she was never told why they sacked her after many years as a casting expert and an eye for talent

    1. Leo there was only praise for Jan yesterday from current chiefs who told me, “One of the great unsung heroes of the Neighbours story. Jan could see talent, potential and star quality.” As is the way of television, yours is a question for former chiefs. But I will have an interview to come…

  8. Looks like all the cast and crew had a great time, going by the Instagram stories I’ve seen.

    Just reading the sets will begin to be dismantled today made my heart sink a little though…

    David- do you know what will happen with the exterior set – that being the Lassiters complex?

    1. The Official Neighbours Tour is still running until July 31st (they made a deal with Fremantle to continue until the day before the final episode airs – originally, they were told that they wouldn’t be able to access the outdoor sets after June 5th). I’d say the outdoor sets will start being dismantled after that.

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