Neighbours – Bonus Post 6

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Happy 2018 everyone! By the time you read this of course it’ll probably be closer to 2019, but as I write this on the 11th of January, Neighbours has just recently returned to our screens. If you followed my previous posts, you’ll know I started watching the show again after being excited about the Dee returning storyline. That story and its repercussions dominated much of 2017 and in the final episode of the year, as Toadie and Sonia renewed their marriage vows, someone watched from the shadows – is it fake Dee, or could it actually be real Dee? Elsewhere we’ve had dead old Scottish guys, uncomfortable prancing cupids, kidnapped babies, and Elly struggling to keep her clitoris in check. Yes, it’s just another ordinary week on Ramsey Street! Rumours and confirmations that a number of key figures will be leaving this year, so expect some new faces too – that dreaded curse of ‘what do we do with the teens once they finish school’ continues. Lets take a look back at some golden oldies.

Todd Landers – Kristian Schmid – 1988 – 1992

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Significant Others: Katie Landers. Hope Gottlieb. Beverly Marshall. Phoebe Bright.

Todd and his sister Katie were among the first ‘orphans’ on the street, taken in by other relatives in Erinsborough due to issues at home. In all honesty I don’t remember much about Todd, except for somehow convincing myself when I was younger that he was played by Christian Slater –  no idea why. My greatest memory of him is of course his death – being hit by a van when trying to catch up to Phoebe as she was on her way to have an abortion. I remember this being one of the first switcheroos I’d experienced, as he woke up in hospital, apparently fine, then died moments later. Neighbours would pull the same stunt with my beloved Cody a few years later.

Where Are They Now:

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In the dirt, though he did return as a ghost shortly after dying. We’re still waiting for Hope, his daughter, to make an appearance, though she did of course return for Neighbours Vs Zombies. Schmid has maintained his acting career, appearing in The Tomorrow People, Sea Patrol, and can currently be seen in Home And Away.

Lori Lee – Michelle Ang – 2002 – 2004

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Significant Others: Jack Scully. Connor O’Neill. Michelle Scully. Taj Coppin. Nina Tucker. Madeleine Lee. The Kennedys.

Oh man, I loved Lori Lee. She was one of my favourite smaller characters of the time and of course I had a bit of a crush. She first appeared as Jack Scully’s girlfriend, but it was her one night stand with Connor which brought their daughter into the world. The enduring question from all of this is how the hell Connor had relationships with so many hot women. My biggest memory of her is of course her slipping at the pool.

Where Are They Now:

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Lori left with Maddie in 2004, with Connor keeping in touch. When Connor returned to the show in 2012 he let us know that Lori had recently been married and that he was going to move closer to her to spend more time with Maddie. It seems unlikely she’ll return after 14 years, but the time is ripe for Maddie to make an appearance now as a new regular teen. I may have literally screamed when I saw that Michelle Ang joined Fear The Walking Dead – spoiler alert – she only appeared in a couple of episodes and wasn’t shown being killed – she could yet make a return there, or even better on The Walking Dead itself. She’s appeared in some other notable movies and shows too – The Taking Of Deborah Logan, Top Of The Lake for example.

Joe Mangel – Mark Little – 1988 – 1991 (2005)

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Significant Others: The Mangels. Kerry Bishop. Melanie Pearson.

Joe Mangel for me was the prototype Australian man. When I was young if someone asked me to think of someone from Australia, I thought of Crocodile Dundee and Joe Mangel. While they’re both drenched in cliche, it doesn’t make their characters any less true. Joe was a beer-drinking, easy going bloke’s bloke but still had a soft hart. Joe was involved in one of the show’s most famous moments when his wife Kerry was shot and killed but I mostly remember him for his relationship with the ever-laughing Melanie.

Where Are They Now:

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Joe left the show with Melanie and Sky, leaving son Toby behind for some reason, only to return to Australia and re-connect. By the time Joe came back for the 20th Anniversary show, he and Melanie had divorced. Joe was one of a handful of characters who returned for multiple episodes in 2005, sparking a potential relationship with Lyn Scully before leaving again. I’m not sure if he has been mentioned again in the years since, but it seems likely given his ties to the street. Mark Little has stated he doesn’t want to come back to the show and outside of Neighbours he has remained popular in Britain, appearing on The Big Breakfast, The Wright Stuff, and multiple pantos. He did narrate the 30th Anniversary documentary, so maybe he has softened his stance and could return.

Sky Mangel – Stephanie McIntosh (Miranda Fryer) – 1998 – 1991, 2003 – 2007 (2015)

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Significant Others: Joe Mangel. Harold Bishop. Serena Bishop. Boyd Hoyland. Dylan Timmons. Stingray. Lana Crawford.

I don’t remember much about Sky from first time around, but when she returned she quickly became a fan favourite. She had an independent and rebellious streak which set he at odds with her Grandfather Harold, but they quickly fell into a cozy relationship. Speaking of relationships, she had a few during the time on her street, including the first same-sex kiss in the show, shared with Lana Crawford. Sky continued an on-off relationship with Boyd, but eventually has a baby with Dylan (though there was some uncertainty over whether Dylan or Stingray was the daddy). She eventually moves away to Port Douglas and in her brief 2015 return she convinces Harold to come join her.

Where Are They Now:

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Presumably still in Port Douglas with her children and Harold. I’m not sure if Dylan is there too… or Boyd. There’s every opportunity she could return, and all the more likely one of the Bishops will return given it’s been a few years since we’ve had one on the street. Sky could come back with her kids, or one of the kids could come back now they’d be in their early teens. McIntosh has not appearing in much since leaving the show – a couple of interesting little known films and her own reality show, as well as releasing a moderately successful album.

Let us know in the comments what your memories of these Neighbours icons are and who you would like to see returning to Ramsey Street!

Neighbours – Bonus Post 5

*Note – this post was originally written at the start of August/end of July – if you’re up to date in you’re viewing then obviously there has been a certain character’s tantalizing reappearance, messing up my original intro below!

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Just when you thought it was safe – Willow’s back! Will fake Dee return too? I know it will never happen, but I’d still love it if real Dee returned. Quit living in the past, you say! Never, I say! Here are some more of my favourite classic characters.

Katya Kinski – Dichen Lachman – 2005 – 2007

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Significant Others: The Kinskis, The Kennedys, The Robinsons, Max Hoyland, Ned Parker, Guy Sykes

Katya was the annoying older Kinski sibling, joining the cast later than the rest of her family. For such an apparently wholesome bunch Katya was the antithesis, not willing to play happy families and trying to take custody of her brother and sister from Susan. Her short time on the street was marked by a lot of dramatic storylines and she was never a character allowed to be friendly or happy. Her various relationships never felt like they were going anywhere and they only ended in tragedy or anger. Still, she was an interesting, conflicted character who made an impression.

Special Powers: Her stare can turn a person to polystyrene.

Where Are They Now:

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Katya left after around a year on the show, going off to Adelaide to be a medic of some sort. It would be nice to see her come back, but I don’t see where she would fit unless the other Kinskis come back too. Dichen has had a distinguished cult career since moving on from Neighbours – appearing in the likes of Dollhouse, The 100, and Agents Of Shield to name a few.

Rachel Kinski – Caitlin Stasey – 2005 – 2009

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Significant Others: The Kinskis, The Kennedys, The Timmins, Ringo Clarke, Angus Henderson, Bridget Parker, Donna Freedman, Ty Harper.

Rachel was one of those characters I would have fallen in love with had she joined a few years earlier – interesting, a little introverted, clever, and beautiful. Her and Zeke never came across as the most interesting characters, but her need to be accepted and slight naivety ensured she still got into scrapes, particularly becoming the latest in a long line of students having a secret relationship with a teacher, and a pregnancy scare.

Special Powers: Can manipulate her body so that its natural tan drips off and can collected and sold.

Where Are They Now:

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I’d stopped watching by the time Rachel left, but apparently she faffed off to London with some guy I don’t remember or never saw. As for Stasey, I suspected she would hit the big time – as yet it hasn’t really happened. Sure she has starred in the very enjoyable Tomorrow When The War began movie, All Cheerleaders Must Die, I Frankenstein, and the TV shows Reign and Please Like Me

Zeke Kinski – Matthew Werkmeister – 2005 – 2011, 2014

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Significant Others: The Kinskis, The Kennedys, The Timmins, Justin Hunter, Kyle Canning. Phil Andrews. Sonny Lee. Summer Hoyland. Victoria Elmahadi.

The longest lasting Kinski character was the least interesting in the start, just another nerdy kid that Susan took on. He certainly grew as time went on, but it looks like I missed his most significant storylines after I stopped watching. Like his sister he had a sheltered childhood, but came out of his shell on Ramsey Street. He had to deal with the death of his father, various girlfriends, a near death experience followed by memory loss, and becoming a Radio DJ.

Special Powers: When he gets angry, everyone laughs.

Where Are They Now: 

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Zeke left in 2011 to study in London, but returned briefly in 2014 to announce he was getting married. I’m sure he’s been mentioned since but I don’t know – he seems like a good bet to return in the future with a young family. Mr Werkmeister doesn’t appear to have ‘werked meist’ (worked much) on TV or movies since leaving Neghbours – appearing on stage or in music videos or arsing about instead.

Drew Kirk – Dan Paris – 1998 – 2002, 2005

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Significant Others: Libby Kennedy, Ben Kirk, The Kennedys, Lou Carpenter, Steph Scully

Libby’s one true love, Drew Kirk had the looks of anyone’s Prince Charming and the attitude to boot. most of his storylines were not overly dramatic and his time was spent wooing and winning Libby. Outside of that he kept away the attention of other ladies in the area while working as a mechanic and sometimes race car driver, leading to one of the soap’s more memorable and ridiculous stunts. After only a year of marriage he fell off a horse and died (before coming back a few years later as a ghost, and then once again later as a zombie).

Special Powers: Can disguise himself as a tree.

Where Are They Now: 

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Presumably in training to become a vampire or a mummy. As for Dan Paris, aside from his undead appearances, he is currently a presenter for some show I’ve never heard of and has had many other presenting jobs while also running a Photography business.

Sam Kratz – Richard Grieve – 1994 – 1996, 2005

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Significant Others: Marlene Kratz. Annalise Hartman. The Starks. Stonefish Rebecci. Cody Willis. Lou Carpenter.

Another friendly everyman character, Sam had the looks and the personality, but never got too many huge storylines, Yeah he had an on and off relationship with Annalise, eventually leaving to marry her, and yeah he had just started a relationship with Cody when she was killed, but nothing too juicy. Still, he was one of the more memorable and likable blokes of the time.

Special Powers: Can turn petrol into diesel, but never diesel into petrol.

Where Are They Now: 

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After leaving with Annalise, they eventually married and he popped up in the 20th Anniversary episode. Since then I don’t think there has been any further mention of them. Given that there isn’t much of a Stark or Kratz connection on the street anymore it seems unlikely we’ll eve see him again. However, old families or kids of old characters do often make comebacks, so we may hear about him again. After leaving the showGrieve jumped ship to Home And Away before setting his sights on UK theatre work. He is also known for a stint on Emmerdale and still does a lot of stage and musical acting.

Have a look through my other Neighbours posts and as always leave your feedback on the show and any characters!

Neighbours – Bonus Post 4

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Well. That’s all over with. The ‘Dee’ storyline has come and gone, wrecking numerous relationships and apparently pissing off a lot of viewers. I found it all desperately sad and was holding out for some miracle that fake Dee was real Dee in the end. Alas. Presumably Dee/Andrea or the kid will come back in the future, but for now they are gone and Toadie is a hundred grand poorer and has been thrown out for slipping one in.

Elsewhere, we’ve had the revelation of who Leo and David’s father is and the associated fallout, Brad and Lauren left, and Toadie’s brother Shane and his family have moved in to the street. But that’s not why we’re here. We’re here so I can drone on for a while about some of my favourite residents, past and/or present, and today we’ve reached the letter KAY. And that can only mean one thing – MISTER….. KENNEDYYYYYY!……………. KENNEDYYY (Anderson). Wha?

Billy Kennedy – Jesse Spencer (1994 – 2000, 2005)

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Significant Others: The Kennedy Family. Anne Wilkinson. Melissa Drenth. Caitlin Atkins. Toadie. Lance. Amy.

Billy was arguably the central figure of The Kennedy family when he first arrived, his friendships and romances a focal point for many years. He was good looking, a little naive, was always getting into trouble even though his heart was in the right place, and his friendship with Toadie and Lance became a major draw, along with the other core members. It was however his on again off again romance with Anne Wilkinson that kept viewers intrigued – the closest thing to a Scott and Charlene that the show had in the 90s.

Special Power: Grows cabbages under his fingernails.

Where Are They Now:

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Billy left with Anne in 2000 and subsequently got married and had three kids – a new generation of Kennedys to appear in the future no doubt, hopefully not after Anne and Billy divorce. Billy appeared in the 2005 20th Anniversary show, strolling along a beach in LA. That’s because Jessie Spencer landed a hot job in the US – main role in House, followed up by a starring role in Chicago Fire, which sounds like an American London’s Burning. 

Libby Kennedy – Kym Valentine (1994 – 2014)

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Significant Others: The Kennedys, Drew Kirk, Ben Kirk, The Kinskis, Darren Stark, Daniel Fitzgerald. Steph Scully. Taj Coppin.

It’s fair to say that Libby is one of, if not my favourite Neighbours character. Bad ass all around. Her introduction greatly pleased my adolescent self, thanks to her assets. She was smart, feisty, yet always got involved with the wrong man. All until Drew came along and she finally felt settled. Till he was killed by a horse. Of course. Libby became a teacher, following her mum’s footsteps, and drama continued to follow her until she began a series of departures from the show – first in 2005, returning in 2007, and popping back and forth until 2014 where it appears she has left for good. I missed many of those last years after I stopped watching around 2007 or 2008.

Special Power: Breasts

Where Are They Now:

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Kym Valentine has sadly had several health issues in the last few years which contributed to her leaving the show. Of all the characters I’d want to see ending up happy, whether that means in a stable relationship or whatever, I’d love to see her coming back to reach that dream as Kym does such a great job in the role. There’s always a chance she’ll be back of course, given that Libby’s teenage son Ben is in the show now while she is teaching in China. Fingers crossed!

Mal Kennedy – Benjamin McNair (1994 – 2014)

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Significant Others: The Kennedys, Danni Stark, Stonefish, Catherine O’Brien.

There are many rumours and suggestions for the origins of my nickname – Mal – it’s part of my name, it’s Latin (etc) for evil, and because people knew I was a Neighbours fan back in the day and thought it was funny to call me this after one of its characters. Anyway, Mal was never a major figure, at least to me, in the show – he was the one Kennedy with the less interesting plots and the least screen time, so it seemed. Still, he’s a familiar face and has popped back every so often, typically with some new personality traits, and he’s alive and well so can return again at any point.

Special Power: Can swivel his pelvis 360 degrees.

Where Are They Now:

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He left after three years and it looked like he wouldn’t be back. Then he came back in 2002, his mischievous ways replaced by a ruthless, money-driven ego. Since then he was been away and been back several times, never staying longer than a few months. He and Catherine are still together in London now, both successful business types or something.

Karl Kennedy – Alan (1994 – Present)

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Significant Others: The Kennedys, The Kinskis, Sarah Beaumont, Darcy, Izzy, Ben Kirk, Holly Hoyland, pretty much everyone on the show for the last 20 odd years.

The legend. The daddy of the show’s longest running stable (sort of) family, Dr Kennedy, a some time singer, womanizer, and tight-wad, Karl has had several spicy affairs, fights with his kids and their partners, brushes with death, law suits, and everything else. But he’s still standing, and now acts, along with Susan, as the show’s emotional, nostalgic, and humourous core, like Harold and Lou before. That’s not to say he doesn’t still get his fair share of interesting stories, but more often now Karl is there to put a smile on your face or a laugh on your… feet? We’ve known him for so long now, he is Neighbours. 

Special Power: Obscene limericks.

Where Are They Now:

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Still on the show! 23 years now, and still going strong.

Susan Kennedy – Jackie Woodburn (1994 – Present)

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Significant Others: See Karl’s entry (matron)

The other legend. I’ll be honest, I had a crush on Susan too. Maybe it was some adolescent fantasy that, while I was more interested in Libby I didn’t think she would ever like me so I’d have a crack at her ma instead (never mind the fact that we were thousands of miles apart and they were fictional characters). Fun fact – I did eventually have a Maths teacher who looked an awful lot like her, though I did not have a crack at her. Fun fact 2 – I did have a crack at her daughter though – more than a crack in fact. MUCH MORE. Susan has seen and done it all in her years on the show – she has been teacher and Headmistress at Erinsborough High for decades now and has had her fair share of sexual escapades. She did a Twin Peaks, losing her memory and thinking she was 16, she has had to put up with Karl’s cheating and singing since the 70s, and has been through surrogacy and health scare storylines often being the character who most honestly depicts difficult real life plots.

Special Power: Her long black hair isn’t gone – it’s hiding in her tear ducts and it can be spooled out at a moment’s notice and used to garrote unsuspecting visitors.

Where Are They Now:

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Also still on the show, and still with Karl, and still in the School, and still taking on strays and family members such as Ben, Elly, and Angus. This pair and Toadie and Steph are my main ties to my peak viewing period so long may they continue!

How many more of these things will I write? To find out, keep coming back for more – it’s torture! Feel free to add your thoughts about The Kennedy family or any of the other Neighbours characters in the comments below.

Neighbours – Bonus Post 3

So, Dee is back, and it’s all as weird and convoluted as you would expect. 2 things:

  1. Why not just go for the ‘I banged my head, half-drowned, and lost my memory’ rather than all of the other guff Dee said before actually getting to that point. Obviously they’re setting her up for future conflict, secrets, and stories.
  2. I was disappointed by the lack of emotion in the reunion scenes – Toadie, Susan, Karl, Steph – this was someone you LOVED and someone you thought was DEAD. I don’t care how many years have passed, you’re going to be in floods of tears. Of course there’s more to come so we’ll see, but just those initial scenes weren’t what I was hoping for.

Oh yeah, another thing – I want to see some old friends coming back to see Dee, even if only for a handful of episodes or scenes. Make it happen.

Aside from that, i have enjoyed watching the comeback and it’ll make future episodes interesting. As a side note, I’m writing this on 1/31/17 and have not yet watched yesterday or today’s episode yet. I’ll try to finish and post ASAP. But enough of that, here are a few more of my favourite Neighbours characters!

Amy Greenwood –  Jacinta Stapleton – 1997 – 2000 (2005)

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Significant Others: Lance Wilkinson, Damien Smith, Anne Wilkinson, Toadie, Billy Kennedy

Ahh Amy, sexy, flirty, and a little bit dumb, Amy gave hope to all hopeless nerds and romantics across the globe by loving resident geekazoid Lance. She arrived with her mum and brothers who all left the show inside a matter of months, leaving Amy to navigate the perils of Ramsey Street with her friends. She was there during my peak watching period/favourite watching time and so was part of the core Ramsey Street teen group, getting up to the usual fun and games, notably her on and off relationship with Lance and for preparing the blokes for the Full Monty show.

Special Power: Tricking people into believing she is a time-travelling Madonna.

Where Are They Now:

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She returned for the 20th Anniversary Show and appeared in Annalise’s documentary – and although still working as a flight attendant and still married, she gave Lance (who was watching) a special mention – one of my favourite moments of that episode. As for Jacinta, she’s still a regular on Australian TV and movies but I haven’t seen any of them.

Annalise Hartman – Kimberley Davies – 1993 – 1996 (2005)

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Significant Others – Sam Kratz, Joanna Hartman, Mark Gottleib, Beth Brennan, Lou Carpenter.

Speaking of Annalise – here she is! Another glamour Queen for Erinsborough, Annalise was a favourite of men on and off the show, making a significant enough impression in her three years to warrant her return for the 20th Anniversary show as a focal point. A typical blonde bombshell (a phrase I’ve never really understood), she had a million jobs, survived a plane crash, got it on with almost every bloke on the street, and got jilted on her wedding day. There’s probably a lot I don’t remember about her period on the show, but I was pleased to see her come back.

Special Power: Immune to orc poison

Where Are They Now:

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As you know, she became some sort of film-maker and came back to document Ramsey Street and its people for the 20th Anniversary. After that, I’ve no idea. Kimberley Davies made guest appearances on some pretty big shows – Friends, Ally McBeal etc and has also appeared in various reality shows.

Boyd Hoyland – Kyal Marsh – 2002 – 2007

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Significant Others: Max Hoyland, Izzy Hoyland, Summer Hoyland, the other Hoylands, Steph Scully, Sky Mangel, Janae Timmins, Kayla Thomas.

Ah yes, Boy. Yes, I called him Boy. I always made fun of Boy because he always seemed like a bit of a tool in his early days, but I still liked him. As time went on, he was still kind of a tool, but always wanted to help people and was generally a good guy. I was a big fan of the Hoylands and was hoping they would stick around but around the time I stopped watching it was clear they were on their way out too. Reportedly Boyd was unhappy with some of the later relationship stories the Producers gave him, hastening his departure. He did have some good stories, acting as a surrogate father, getting on steroids, and developing schizophrenia. He was always protective of his sister and even though he was always butting heads with Max, it was clear they loved each other too.

Special Powers: Superior upper arm strength

Where Are They Now:

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After splitting up with Janae, Boyd deciding to leave with Sky. I know Steph has mentioned Max since I started watching the show again late last year, but I’m not sure if Boyd has been mentioned. Kyal Marsh quite acting after leaving the show, like so many others, but did appear in and win Circque de Celebrite. I’ve no idea what he’s at now.

Izzy Hoyland – Natalie Bassingthwaighte (WTF) – 2003 – 2007

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Significant Others – The Hoylands, Karl Kennedy, Darcy Tyler, Paul Robinson

The arch-schemer of the show, Izzy was a whirlwhind in her time on the show. I can’t say I ever really liked her character  – how could you – but she invigorated the show and caused trouble wherever she went. Her most significant moments were with Karl and Susan and Darcy, as she pretended Karl was the father of her unborn daughter. Later on it is revealed that Karl fathered a different child with her – Holly – who has apparently been in the show too. Her and Darcy marked the most scheme/wicked period in the show’s history.

Special Powers – Her lies can turn you to stone.

Where Are They Now

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Currently faffing around somewhere – sent her daughter Holly to leave with Karl and Susan for a while in 2013, but didn’t show up herself. Natalie has had a successful career outside of Neighbours as both a solo singer and as part of a group with various gold and platinum singles and albums – I don’t believe I’ve heard any of her stuff. She has also been a TV Presenter, Judge, and appeared in a few movies.

Max Hoyland – Stephen Lovatt – 2002 -2007

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Significant Others: The Hoylands, Steph Scully, The Robinson family

Good old Max – he always seemed stressed and in truth there was usually always something stressful happening to him or his family. Whether it be keeping tabs on his kids and looking out for the sister that everyone hated, or trying to keep his realationship with Steph going while dealing with the Robinson’s scheming (fair enough after he killed Paul’s innocent son thinking it was his evil twin… I know I know), Max had a tough life. But Max was a good father and always loyal, and hopefully after he departed for Fiji his life has been easier.

Special Power – Misfortune

Where Are They Now – Max left in 2007 after splitting with Steph and later got sole custody of their son. He’s still in Fiji and every so often Steph mentions calling him to talk with Charlie. It seems unlikely he’ll return now as Steph and him have moved on. Stephen Lovatt is a respected theatre actor who has also appeared in a variety of TV shows and movies, from Xena Warrior Princess to Ash Vs Evil Dead!

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Summer Hoyland – Marisa Siketa (2002-2007) and Jordy Lucas (2010-2013)

Significant Others: The Hoylands, Steph Scully, Andrew Robinson

Oh man, it would have been sweet if Marisa had returned to play Summer – that may have been enough to make me tune in back in 2010. Summer was mature beyond her years, conniving, and highly annoying, but occasionally sweet as time went on. I never saw anything of her second stint on the show so I don’t know how different her character or the portrayal was. You couldn’t help but like her, even when she was annoying as hell, thanks to Siketa’s performance.

Special Powers: Cries chocolate tears.

Where Are They Now:

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She left the show for the second time and headed for Paris. I’m sure her scholarship there is over, so it’s a ripe time for her to make another appearance in the show. Of all the Hoyland family, it’s Max and Boyd I’d love to see come back, but Summer and Izzy are the more likely options. Siketa was a child actress in Saddle Club and other shows but has since – you’ve guessed it – retired from acting and is now a traffic reporter on Radio. Jordy Lucas has had minor appearances in shows and movies I’ve never heard of.

I’ll only do a few more of these posts, I promise! Let us know in the comments what you thought of any of these characters!

Sh*t I Used To Watch – Neighbours – Bonus Post 2

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G’day mate, howz it goin’ ya flaming ga-lah! Wait, that’s Home And Away. Anyway, I’m back with another list of Neighbours characters and some recollections. I know you loved the last one, so please enjoy another!

Lou Carpenter – Tom Oliver – 1988 – 2016

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Significant Others: Cheryl Stark, Trixie Tucker, Kathy Carpenter, Lolly Allen, Lauren Carpenter, Nina Tucker, Paige Smith, Harold Bishop, Madge Bishop – basically everyone.

Lou Carpenter is now the soap’s longest serving character and Oliver the longest serving actor. Appearing briefly in 1988, he returned as a regular in the early 90s and immediately became a hit with viewers, mainly down to his womanizing ways, his banter with Jelly Belly Bishop, and that laugh. As you would expect, Lou has had his fair share of tragedy and interesting storylines – most notable being him becoming the owner of Lou’s Place, getting it on with and then losing Cheryl after a car accident, and becoming a dad again at a mature age (sort of).  Of course he has had a number of other realtionships over the years, but it’s his backstory and on screen chemistry with Madge and Harold that I remember him most fondly for, the three growing old together, falling out with one another, and helping each other through tough times. Always ready to sneak a buck or two when the opportunity arises, Lou’s house has also seen any number of tenants and neighbours over the years. Lou is a legend on the street and the show, and though he is only a recurring character now every few months, it’s always a joy to see him.

Special Power: His laugh can both raise the dead and kill the living and immediately causes those who hear it to imitate without pause for the duration of the episode.

Where Are They Now:

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Still on Ramsey Street, and recently got (re) married to Kathy. Expect guest appearances every so often.

Taj Coppin – Jamie Robbie Reyne – 2002 -2004

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Significant Others: Tahnee Coppin. Jack Scully. Nina Tucker. Libby Kennedy.

I could have done without including Taj because I never really liked him, at least at the time. I think this was more bias on my part because he was getting it on with my beloved Libby Kennedy and was a bit of a knob. Still, he was involved in some decent storylines with some of my favourite characters so I’ll include him here, namely his relationships with Nina and Libby.

Special Power: If he lived in Royston Vasey he would most certainly work in the local shop for local people.

Where Are They Now:

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As a minor character I doubt he has been mentioned much since leaving. After cheating on some film school exam he nevertheless got a job in the film industry and left the town. Jamie Robbie Reyne has released a number of albums since leaving the show, and while they don’t appear to have been very successful he has toured with my (other) beloved The Bangles so plus marks there.

Helen Daniels – Anne Haddy – 1985 – 1997

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Significant Others: The Robinsons, The Martins, The Bishops  – basically everyone who lived on the street in the first 15 years of the show.

One of the original and longest running characters on the show, Anne Haddy’s Helen Daniels is another legend. She was the unofficial matriarch of Neighbours, offering advice, taking in strays, and always willing to lend a hand in stark contrast to the more typical busy-boddy or nosy archetypes. She is one of the few characters whose death received the famous ‘sad Neighbours theme’ and she was a great loss to the characters and the show as a whole. Helen of course had plenty of her own juicy storylines from marrying or getting involved with dodgy types, to being kidnapped but most remember her as being the one person anyone could go to for help – everyone wanted a granny like Helen. Everyone remembers her death, surrounded by her family, in her own home, while watching a video of Scott and Charlene’s wedding.

Special Power: Curing any malaise.

Where Are They Now:

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Her death left a gap which has never really been filled. Anne Haddy was forced to leave due to real life ill health and died a couple of years later – she was so popular that her death was announced after the airing of that day’s Neighbours episode.

Mark Gottlieb – Bruce Samazan – 1993 – 1995

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Significant Others: Serendipity Gottlieb, Stephen Gottlieb, Annalise Hartman, Gaby Willis

Mark was just such a likeable chap, helped by Samazan’s cheeky performance. Mark was a typical good guy, though always came across as a little awkward which made his heartthrob tendencies all the more amusing. I was pretty pissed when the character turned to God and became completely different, even ditching Annalise on their wedding day to become a priest instead. After a few weeks or months of that nonsense he regained his senses and went back to normal, but by that point the damage was done and he left the show after a few months of reconciliations.

Where Are They Now:

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It always seemed like Mark and Annalise would get together finally, but it never happened. Mark left the street after getting a job as a TV chef and presumably that is where he remains – as usual I’ve no idea if he has been referenced again in the years since. Samazan remains the only actor to have appeared in all three of the major Ozzy soaps – EStreet and Home And Away along with Neighbours. He quit acting in 2000 and apparently became some sort of Sales Consultant for Real Estate firms.

Serendipity Gottlieb – Raelee Hill – 1994 – 1995

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Significant Others: The Gottliebs, Luke Handley.

Pretty much the opposite to Mark with regards to how I felt about the character – I never liked her and found pretty much everything about her irritating. But if I include Mark I may as well throw her in too. She started off as a bit of a hippy, then became a business woman, then moves to Japan.

Special Power: Attracts fists.

Where Are They Now:

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Maybe still in Japan, maybe back in Oz, no idea. Naturally, we all know Raelee Hill for starring as Sikozu in the last couple of seasons of Farscape.

Let us know in the comments what you think of any of the characters above and share your favourite Neighbours moments!

Sh*T I Used To Watch – Neighbours Bonus Post

Hello, hi, and hello. As you may have or did not see in my previous Neighbours post, I mentioned that I was going to abuse you all with a few bonus posts on my recollections of the show. The response to this of overwhelmingly non-existent, so here you are! As the folks on Ramsey Street are on their festive break, hopefully this will tide you over until the return in January. Here are a few of my favourite characters who have appeared in the show and some of their most memorable antics.

Rick Alessi – Dan Falzon – 1992 – 1995

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Significant Others: Benito, Cathy, Marco, Christina, Caroline (the large Alessi family), Andrew Robinson, Danni Stark, Debbie Martin, Cody Willis.

Most people remember ‘The Twins’ – Caroline and Christina – some of Paul Robinson’s early conquests, but I wasn’t overly fond of them even though they were already established before cousin Rick arrived. No-one remembers Rick’s brother or parents. Within a year, Rick was the only Alessi left on the show, a troublesome heartthrob always getting into scrapes with his buddies. He has various relationships and flings in his time on the show, mainly with ‘Mad Debbie Martin’ and ‘Maybe My Cousin Cody Willis’. Rick has a particularly turbulent time in Erinsborough, before leaving for Darwin. I always enjoyed Rick’s relationship with Lou Carpenter and how he got on with Cody, breaking up with her before she was shot and killed – it would have been nice to see him come back for Cody’s funeral but at least he did leave a message for her memorial.

Special Power: Rick’s floppy hair took at least six hours a day to clean and was known to make panties drop at fifty paces.

Where Are They Now:

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I’m not aware of Rick returning to the show at any point and I can’t think of any character mentioning him in years. Like so many of the younger performers on Neighbours over the years, Falzon has seemingly now retired from acting. He dabbled with music over the years, but is currently a paramedic and eco-warrior. He did appear in Gamesmaster, so that’s a bonus.

Sarah Beaumont – Nicola Charles – 1996 – 2016

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Significant Others: Karl Kennedy, Bess O’Brien, Catherine O’Brien, Peter Hannay, Angus Beaumont, Antigone Beaumont

No discussion of Neighbours would be complete without mention of Sarah – the original home-wrecking hussy. Sarah arrived on Ramsey Street to consideration male attention – basically everyone was infatuated with her, including Toadie. She eventually works in Karl’s surgery where she becomes close with everyone’s favourite doctor. Thus one of the soap’s most famous affairs started, devastating every character who was involved. It was great. She also had a dog called Bob, continuing the show’s long tradition with cute pets. Sarah has left and returned several times in the show, most recently returning to announce that she is dying of cancer.

Special Power: Breasts.

Where Are They Now:

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Sarah has appeared sporadically either in person or by name on the show this year, and her tearaway son Angus became a recurring character, moving in with Karl and Susan. Charles was super popular in lads mags in the 90s, appearing on FHM’s sexiest list a couple of times, but she hasn’t appeared in anything else of significance.

Beth Brennan – Natalie Imbruglia – 1992 – 1994

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Significant Others: Brad Willis, Ned Willis, Lauren Carpenter, Lucy Robinson, Philip Martin, Wayne Duncan.

It may not be obvious if you’re a regular here, but I love Natalie Imbruglia. She was probably my first crush on the show but I don’t remember much now about her time. Imbruglia though is one of the best pop peeps of all time though, and White Lillies Island is one of the best albums ever. Her other albums are pretty great too, as well as her B-Sides. Seriously, check her out. But that’s not what we’re here for. Beth joined the show as a bit of an innocent country girl who was also practical and hard-working. She is most notable for her on again off again relationship with Brad – Beth leaves him at the altar on their (first) wedding day after she finds out about his affair with Lauren, though they later marry for reals before leaving the show together.

Special Power: Can take apart and re-assemble an M-16 in 17 seconds.

Where are They Now:

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Her and Brad divorced for reals. She gave birth to tearaway son Ned, who is currently on the show, but Imbruglia has said she has no interest in returning to the show. There’s always a chance someone else could pick it up. Imbruglia has of course gone on to sell millions of records, do lots of modeling stuff, and appear in decent movies like Johnny English and Closed For Winter.

Carmella Cammeniti – Natalie Blair – 2003 – 2011

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Significant Others: Rocco, Lucia, Rosario, Rosetta, Chloe, Raimondo and a bunch of other Cammenitis, Marco Silvani, Oliver Barnes, Connor O’Neill.

Of all the characters I would have been most interested in keeping up with after I stopped watching Neighbours, Carmella would be near the top. She was always a bit part character when I was watching at my peak, and always had interesting and bizarre storylines. The daughter of Rocco, some sort of Australian Mafia type, she first began a relationship with our very own Connor which of course Rocco did not approve of. This would be an on and off thing while until she went into hiding as a Nun. Later stories involved a singing career, selling a baby, and later various relationships, drug addiction, becoming a mum, and being haunted by her dead husband – most of these last ones I was not around to see. Blair was always incredibly hot and always gave great performances, though maybe this was heightened when up against the acting ‘talents’ of Patrick Harvey.

Special Power: Anytime anyone paints a picture of her, it looks like Jessica Rabbit.

Where Are They Now

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She left the show in 2008, briefly returning for a few episodes with her happy family in 2011. I have no idea if she has been mentioned since. Natalie Blair married her Neighbours co-star David Hoflin (Oliver Barnes) and has appeared in a few minor movies and series.

Rocco Cammeniti – Robert Forza – 2003 – 2007

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Significant Others: The Cammeniti family, Sindi Watts, Connor O’Neil, Toadie, Stuart Parker.

Rocco was introduced as a scary Godfather type, but also sort of looked like a cuddly teddie bear. He’s clearly a scumbag as he was having an affair with Sindi, eventually deciding to ditch his wife for her. When Sindi sets her sights on Toadie, Rocco gets angry and bad things happen. All the while he is jealous and protective of any male attention towards any of his family, usually in the form of Connor. He later seemingly becomes reformed but is arrested due to his past crimes and sent to prison. Rocco always brought a fun new dimension to the show and was a memorable and funny recurring villain.

Special Power: If you shave his beard, nothing happens; you can keep shaving forever and the hair instantly replenishes itself.

Where Are They Now:

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Presumably still in prison. Forza previously played two different characters in Neighbours, only for a few episodes though. He only appeared as Rocco in 28 episodes, which must make him one of the most impactful characters for such a small number of appearances. He’s another who has appeared in minor shows and movies, but he was Prisoner Cell Block H, because of course he was.

Stay tuned for another riveting trip down Ramsey Street next time, while we eagerly await the show’s return in the new year!

Sh*t I Used To Watch/Sh*t I Watch Special – Neighbours

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Greetings, Glancers! Today I begin a new niche sub series of the Sh*t I Watch posts. Recently as I have been writing other posts in the series and remembering all the other shows I used to watch, I began thinking more and more about Neighbours. I have a huge list of old and current shows which I just from at random when writing the next post in the series, and Neighbours is one of those. I added it thinking that it would be a weird one to write about due to its sheer size. One night I was arsing about on Youtube and I happened to see the 30th Anniversary of the show was coming up, so I began watching a few promo clips. This led to me watching some old promo clips and fan made videos and the more I watched it the more I realized I missed it. As the days passed I kept watching more clips and the waves of nostalgia and fondness and sadness were overwhelming – I’ve never been a huge soap fan, but I was a massive Neighbours fan for quite a few years. In fact, I wouldn’t be overstating things if I said that Neighbours has been one of the most important and most watched shows in my life.

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Don’t worry, you’re still my number 1

You see, when you watch a soap, when you properly dedicate yourself to it, you become part of an extended family. You spend time almost every day of the week with the characters on screen – you go through their ups and downs and by extension it feels like they are with you as you grow up and deal with the good shit and the bad. It was a difficult but necessary separation when I began moving away from Neighbours. I can’t remember precisely when it was, but I had met my future wife and moved in with her. I was working and had less time to myself, and was rarely home in time to watch the show. I estimate that this started in the middle and 2nd half of 2007 and by the same point in 2008 I had all but stopped watching. Considering I had been watching it from the beginning (though much of this as a toddler and young kid with little memory of the early episodes), that was already a 20 plus year relationship. The separation was made easier by the fact that around this time the soap was going through many changes – a lot of my favourite characters had left and many new ones had joined who I simply didn’t connect with. I would watch episodes and forget who they were and in the end stopped caring about the show. Over the next few years I would only watch a handful of episodes or snippets.

I’ve never been a huge fan, as I’ve said, but soaps are a staple for British Television – there was simply no getting away from them. Eastenders and Coronation Street are the big two from the UK, with Emmerdale eagerly hanging on and Hollyoaks doing it for the kids. I hear there is some show called Doctors these days too. As much as I watched Eastenders and Coronation Street, it was always Neighbours which I needed to see – it was simply sweeter, more quirky and light-hearted and funnier than the others. Watching Eastenders is like a slow seductive suicide while Coronation Street doesn’t have the emotional weight I need. I mean, it does, but it has too much of the old soap cliches – everyone has had an affair with everyone else. Neighbours doesn’t escape this, but it’s much softer and when the emotional moments come they hit all the more heavily. It’s also exotic, getting away from the stinking ever grey and brown streets of Britain. Oh yeah, for those wondering, I never could get in to Home And Away – I did try.

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Take your tears somewhere else….Alf

But what the hell am I talking about? Neighbours is a long-running Australian soap opera created by Reg Watson. It started in 1985, has over 7000 episodes, and has launched the careers of many famous peeps – Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan? Guy Pearce and Natalie Imbruglia? Margot Robbie and Holly Valance? Liam and Chris Hemsworth? Russel Crowe? Them and many others got their start or appeared in the show and the show has been as much a hit in the UK as it has been in Oz. It has had its fair share of weddings, funerals, births and break-ups, and other assorted weirdness. It’s great, it’s crap, but mostly it’s mine… again.

Full disclosure – as of 2016 I am a regular Neighbours viewer again. After all the watching of promos and hearing some rumours of one particular ex-character making a return I thought I would dive in again. As you would expect with re-connecting with old family and friends after years apart there were some nerves and awkwardness. It took a few episodes, weeks, storylines before I was up to speed with who everyone was and how the related to the characters I already knew. The atmosphere and tone and spark is all still there, helped by the fact that there are still plenty of familiar faces – Karl, Susan, Toadie, Paul, Steph, Lou to name a few. One of the best moments for me was in a recent episode where a 2 second – literally 2 seconds – snippet of an old song they used to play regularly was played during an embarrassing moment. The song is called Sea Of Love – click that link and be prepared for nostalgic tickles if you watched the show in late 90s – early 2000s. I’m just waiting for them to play One Good Reason again – that would be sweet.

Music is one of many triggers the show uses to keep audiences involved – the show knows its audience and knows that many viewers are long-standing, yet for the longest time the show has catered towards a younger audience, even though it crosses generations. The key to this is that it focuses on the families on one street – Ramsey Street, and that several generations of the same families have been appearing since day 1. When it first started the main players were the Ramseys, the Robinsons, and the Clarkes – over time newer families were introduced – Kennedy, Willis, Bishop, Daniels, Canning Rebecchi, Scully, Mangel etc etc. We get invested – when someone leaves we miss them, when someone does we mourn them, and when someone returns we tune in to see them again even if we had already left by that point.

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Ta-da!

In case you didn’t know (and depending on when I post this and when you read it) Dee Bliss has returned to Neighbours.  At the time of writing this, she is only a day away from making her return. I will say that I wasn’t the biggest Dee fan in the world – I mean I like her of course, but she is more significant in that she represents that time when I was most obsessed with the show. I’m holding out that we may get a few more cameos coming back due to her return. For those who don’t watch the show this will be (at least) the second time that a character who was presumably killed off will be making a return. It’s thirteen years since her death/disappearance, making her absence longer than the infamous Harold Bishop vanishing act. Over the next few posts I’m going to indulge in more nostalgia by going over a few (a lot) of my favourite characters and sharing some of my favourite moments. I hope you’ll join me, and I hope you’ll watch the show. I mean, I know you won’t – on either account – but it would be nice if you did. I’ll be your best friend?

Let us know in the comments if you watch/watched Neighbours and what you think of Dee’s return. What are your other favourite storylines and characters in the show?

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