Neighbours: 10 best moments from the Australian soap

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Alan Fletcher and Jackie Woodburne as Karl and Susan Kennedy in Neighbours
Dr Karl and Susan Kennedy are two of the soap's longest-serving characters

The UK is preparing to say goodbye to Neighbours - after more than 35 years as a lunchtime and teatime favourite on two TV channels.

Channel 5 will show the final two episodes of Australia's longest-running drama series, at 21:00 BST, on Friday.

Here are some of the storylines the soap opera from Down Under will be remembered for most.

Especially for you

Jason Donavan and Kylie Minogue
Away from Ramsay Street, Jason Donavan and Kylie Minogue were a real-life couple

It is still arguably the most talked-about fictional wedding in television history.

Almost 20 million people in the UK watched Scott Robinson and Charlene Mitchell tie the knot, in 1988 - more than watched Prince Harry marry Meghan Markle, in 2018.

Both Jason Donavan and Kylie Minogue went on to have huge pop careers, including their number-one duet, Especially For You.

Back from the dead

Ian Smith, as Harold Bishop, smiling while holding a script in 1988
Harold Bishop was killed off in the early 1990s

As in a lot of other soaps, characters have been killed off only to return with a convenient storyline to explain their absence.

Harold Bishop, apparently swept out to sea when his wife Madge's back was turned, returned to Erinsborough five years later, suffering from amnesia.

Madge herself returned, in 2015, 14 years after dying from cancer, as a hallucination Harold was having following a car crash.

Others to reappear include Dee Bliss, the first wife of "Toadie" Rebecchi, killed after accidentally being driven off a cliff on her wedding day.

Bouncer, the dog

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oyNtMpPYF8k

Writers even gave Bouncer, the labrador, a dream sequence, in which he imagines marrying another dog, Rosie.

The plot did not land well with all the cast, though - Anne Charleston, who played Madge Bishop, said it "reduced it to a three-year-old's programme".

First for representation

Takaya Honda, Matt Wilson, Alan Fletcher, Jackie Woodburne
Ramsay Street had its own float at the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade

Aaron Brennan and David Tanaka's was Australia's first TV same-sex wedding, in 2018, a year after legalisation.

It was also the first time a mixed-race couple had married in a drama down under.

The following year, Neighbours cast its first transgender character, after actress Georgie Stone pitched the role to producers, with the soap highlighting sex-change surgery.

But despite on-screen diversity, other cast members have alleged they suffered racism on set.

The millennium bug

Millennium bug pamphlet
The UK government's bug advice reassured homeowners swimming-pool equipment would be unaffected

New character teenager Michelle Scully, like others, wrongly believed there would be mass disruption at the end of 1999, with computers around the world unable to cope with the year 2000, and if nothing was done, her family would die.

When zombies invaded

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBkAh4BNY2k

This did not make it on to Channel 5 but there was a 2014 official YouTube series involving zombies (yes, really) and Neighbours characters.

It brought back some characters who had been killed off - but, crucially, they were unaware they were dead.

Ramsay Street residents tried to fight off the creatures, in a Halloween special.

Disaster strikes Erinsborough

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S92-rUCp7Do

The resilience of residents was further tested by occasional ambitious storylines that could have featured in Hollywood blockbusters, such as:

  • an unexpected 2014 tornado

  • a plane crashing after an on-board bomb explosion

Both killed a number of characters.

The famous cameos

https://www.instagram.com/p/CU72RtXMPu3/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=

Entertainers such as Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Russell Brand and Paula Abdul have appeared as themselves in the soap.

But the arrival of Dutch violinist André Rieu was voted the "weirdest ever storyline", in an online poll.

Out of nowhere, he appeared playing his instrument, from a limousine - and before long, there was a waltz on Ramsay Street.

Dr Karl's affair

Alan Fletcher and Jackie Woodburne
Dr Karl and Susan Kennedy remarried

Ramsay Street staples the Kennedys have been through a lot together, including Susan's memory loss which saw her injure her head slipping on some spilt cereal and lose 30 years of memories.

But Dr Karl's late-1990s affair defined the couple.

Completely out of character, it was a huge shock for viewers.

And a distraught Susan responded with one of the most epic slaps in the history of Australian TV.

The longest-serving characters

Paul Robinson posing for the camera
Paul Robinson was introduced on Ramsay Street in the first episode, on 18 March 1985

Dr Kennedy is the third continuous longest-serving character in Australian TV history - but Paul Robinson, played by Stefan Denis, has been in Neighbours the longest.

And although the title sequence says: "Everybody needs good neighbours," he has not always been someone most would want living next door.