Neighbours stalwarts tell of tears on set after 28-year stint on soap

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The Guardian

The Neighbours stalwarts Alan Fletcher and Jackie Woodburne, who played Karl and Susan Kennedy in the Australian soap opera, have said they shared “a few tears and a lot of hugs” as their 28-year stint on the show came to an end.

With the Neighbours finale due to air later this month, some of the show’s longest-standing actors have been reflecting on their time on set and working alongside future Hollywood stars.

“Right up until the end of the day, we were suppressing the emotions about the end of the show and just got on with the work,” Fletcher said.

Neighbours’ Alan Fletcher on ITV’s This Morning last week. Photograph: Ken McKay/ITV/Rex/Shutterstock

The soap first hit screens in 1985 and followed the lives of those living on Ramsay Street in a fictional suburb of Melbourne. After almost 37 years on TV, Channel 5 announced it would no longer screen the show and it was finally axed when Neighbours’ production company, Fremantle, could not find anyone else to subsidise it.

“We all felt those five stages of grief – anger, denial, acceptance and the rest – at different times over the last few months, and we helped each other through,” Woodburne told Radio Times, noting that her co-stars had formed a strong support network to help each other come to terms with the abrupt end.

The Hollywood actor Guy Pearce started his career as Mike Young in Neighbours and described the close relationship he continued to have with the cast even after he left the show.

“Whenever I’m in London I’ll see Jason [Donovan] most times and I’ll see Kylie [Minogue] as well if she’s around,” he said. “We’re all still good friends and stay in touch.”

The show also launched the careers of Margot Robbie and Liam Hemsworth. Robbie, who has starred in The Wolf of Wall Street and Suicide Squad, joined Woodburne on the cast of neighbours when she was 17.

Woodburne said she recognised Robbie’s star quality after filming only a few scenes. “I thought: ‘Wow.’ She’s a natural. So instinctive. She just got it. And apart from the obvious – she’s a gorgeous girl and a delight to be around – she’s really smart.”

She hopes the current cast “go on and be good jobbing actors” as she did in her career.

Neighbours will end in the UK with a double-episode special on Channel 5 at 9pm on 29 July.

July 19, 2022 at 04:42AM Mabel Banfield-Nwachi

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