In the late ’80s it was a phenomenon. Kylie Minogue and Donovan were household names in both countries and would each go on to launch music careers in the UK. their duet especially for you was No.1 in the UK, Ireland, Greece and Belgium.
Even Suddenly, sung by Rose Tattoo’s Angry Anderson and used for the famous wedding scene, peaked at No.3 on the UK Singles Chart. Years later beloved sitcom Gavin & Stacy would use the same tune to pay homage to Scott and Charlene’s special day at Nessa’s wedding to Dave Coaches.
In The Times newspaper this week, another Australian icon, actor and comedian Barry Humphries, penned a love letter to the show, declaring its demise the end of an era.
He wrote that when the show was at its peak he’d attempted to convince English friends it was unscripted and “cobbled together from real footage caught from hidden cameras in typical Australian homes.
“Very few believed me, to their credit, but nevertheless I extolled its authenticity. Take, neighbors feels like Australia, or it did when Jason and Kylie were its stars. It’s so clean, so self-assured, so comfortable. It depicts Camelot down under, a suburban paradise beneath the sun. There are no shadows, even when the plot takes on a darker hue,” Humphries wrote.
More than 60,000 people had signed a petition this year in a bid to stop the soap being axed, but it was not to be. Britain’s Channel 5 was pulling the pin and neighbors would be no more. Such a moment was it that Guardian live-blogged the final episode.
In Belfast, Gareth Rainey and his wife, Karen, struggled to come to terms with saying goodbye to their favorite TV show this week.
“When we first met her [Karen] told me that I had to watch neighbors with her so that’s how she roped me in,” Gareth said. “Now I’m hooked on it and really don’t want the series to end. Karen has been a super fan since she started watching it as a child with her mum.”
The pair were on holiday in Cornwall in December 2019 when Gareth proposed wearing a Paul Robinson mask.
“I thought there would be a better chance of her saying yes to her face! No matter what that man does on neighbors, she worships the ground he walks on. At our wedding in October 2021 at Orange Tree House in Greyabbey, we also had a life-size Paul Robinson welcoming guests.”
Their personalized number plate includes 22, the fictitious number of Robinson’s house in Ramsay Street.
Minogue, who starred in the show from 1986 to 1988, said in Britain this week that she was initially concerned about returning to the role for the finale.
“I guess because the show kept going and moved on. Also, Charlene was such a presence in people’s memory, I wasn’t sure how it would work,” she told DigitalSpy.
She said a message from Donovan sealed the deal. “Jason and I are connected anyway, but he wrote me a beautiful email, so eloquent and heartfelt about this being a moment for us to acknowledge and say thanks to the fans,” she said.
Following its prime-time screening on Friday night in Britain (Saturday AEST), a review in broadsheet newspaper The Telegraph gave the final episode five stars for a “seriously tear-jerking end.”
“Like most people of a certain age, I watched neighbors avidly at school (the ultimate achievement was to watch both the lunchtime and teatime editions while pulling a sickie) then gave it up on entering the world of work,” wrote arts editor Anita Singh. “But this finale was all about nostalgia, made for people who watched it in the early years.”
Praising Guy Pearce’s performance as Mike, she wrote: “I couldn’t think of a better ending, unless they’d somehow managed to bring Bouncer back from the dead.”
In The Timesdeputy TV editor Ben Dowell said the program was “middle-aged Britain’s fondly remembered teenage crush”.
“The internet didn’t instantly transport us to far-flung places back then and there were only four channels in Britain,” he wrote. This portal into a lovely fresh world of gentle, sweet, sunny suburbia made us smile.”
Channel 5 has teased that announcements will be made in the coming weeks about additional surprises to send off the iconic soap in style.
The stars will potentially embark on a farewell tour of the UK, visiting London, Manchester, Birmingham, Brighton, Southampton, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Cardiff in March.
But for now, the show is being remembered by The Mirror’s TV critic, Ian Hyland, as one “which changed the face of British TV forever”.
“At least this good thing came to a good end,” he wrote.
Get a note directly from our foreign correspondents on what’s making headlines around the world. Sign up for the weekly What in the World newsletter here.