After 37 years, the sunny world of ‘Neighbours’ ends

John Dew happened to listen to the first episode of “Neighbors” when he contracted chicken pox as a child. This is Thorpe’s opera that follows the life of a family group living in a fictional cul-de-sac in Melbourne, Australia.

the sun was shining. The drama, with a dash of hilarity, was compelling. A lonely child in Wales, Dew was instantly hooked and has been for 37 years.

“It taught me about understanding, relationships and identity,” said Dew, now 42, adding that the show’s different stories gave insight into both himself and the world.

Dew is now preparing for the final episode of the show, which airs in Australia on Thursday and in the UK on Friday. It will be the swan song of the program that was reserved and viewed.

Earlier this year, the show’s UK broadcaster, Channel 5, announced it was discontinuing “Neighbours,” but the soap opera was unable to find another station to finance the production. Despite appeals by fans, including a petition to save the show, it led to its cancellation.

While ‘Neighbors’ has attracted more Australian audiences in recent weeks, the majority of the show’s audience is in the UK, where it now averages 1.25 million plays daily. So while ‘Neighbors’ typically lagged behind its British rivals such as ‘EastEnders’ and ‘Coronation Street’, he has become one of the most watched shows in the country. .

Richard Carr, a senior lecturer in history and politics at Anglia Ruskin University, says one of the reasons “neighbors” have been popular over the decades is their consistency. increase. The show also benefited from portraying an uncontroversial, amiable and wholesome Australian outlook on life, he added. It’s safe to leave it there.”

Lesley Renshaw says he became a fan of ‘Neighbours’ when he was a student in North Wales and now watches it with his 13-year-old daughter. Thanks to her soap, her daughter “has a little more understanding of what’s right and wrong about human behavior. It grows with you.”

The show’s early hype was fueled by a thriving cast that included Kylie Minogue. Kylie Minogue has captivated fans with her stormy romance with Jason Donovan on screen, and off screen. In 1990, about 20 million people watched the show every day, including about 80% of her 12-year-olds to her 15-year-olds in the UK, according to Carr’s research.

At the time, the world of ‘Neighbors’ provided an antidote to the controversial impact of Britain’s conservative Thatcher legislation, which favors a ‘do it yourself’ economic policy that opponents say has increased inequality. Mr. Kerr said. “Neighbors” provided “a very different and very positive vision of what the community could be like,” Carr said. “Everyone tends to work together instead of against each other.”

In Ramsay Street, the fictional cul-de-sac in which the show takes place, kindness was rewarded while characters who put their own interests above themselves, such as the villainous Paul Robinson played by Stefan Dennis, were punished. Character issues were also relevant, including relationship troubles and family tensions. And there was enough quirkiness and comedy to keep it lighthearted.

It also provided an illusion of what a classless world might look like, Jeff Payne said. rice field.

However, while it primarily conveyed socially progressive attitudes, at times “neighbours” failed to portray the country’s indigenous peoples and did not seem to reflect the diversity of the population, nearly half of whom had parents. Appearance was criticized for its nearly all-white cast.Born abroad.

“We didn’t push the boundaries when it came to storytelling. It wasn’t a diverse show,” admitted Jason Harbison, who became the show’s lead producer in 2013.

Aware of the criticism, Harbison said he tried to create a more contemporary ‘Neighbors’ that was more reflective of Australian society. It’s my family,” he said.

In recent years, more LGBTQ and ethnically diverse characters have moved to Ramsay Street. Just as Australia was debating same-sex marriage laws in 2017, producers began planning the soap opera’s first wedding between gay characters, a fictional ceremony shortly after the legalization was confirmed off-screen. ‘Neighbors’ also made headlines when it became one of the first English-speaking shows to resume filming during the pandemic.

Still, the show came under renewed scrutiny last year after Indigenous actors said they experienced discrimination and racism on set and accused management of not doing enough to protect them. Fremantle Media, the show’s production company, has launched two external investigations into the allegations, which are now being resolved, Harbison said.

For thousands of actors, producers and screenwriters, the speed of producing hours of television programming per week has made Neighbors a valuable training ground.

Payne said of playing Gibbons, his first role out of drama school, “it was a wonderful baptism by fire”, citing the pace of production often meant there was no time for many retakes. I pointed out that Alumni who have appeared on screen over the years include Hollywood’s Australian celebrities such as Russell Crowe, Liam Hemsworth, Guy Pearce and Margot Robbie.

While “Neighbors” has had plenty of tried-and-true soap opera twists over the years (multiple instances of return from the dead, cheating, and amnesia), fans and crew are more likely to appreciate the show’s real appeal. said that was the trick. It reflects life’s exaltation and disappointment.

Philippa Byrne, a lecturer in film and television at the University of Melbourne and former “Neighbours” screenwriter, said, “I’ve met a lot of people over the years who said, ‘I literally grew up with these characters. I did,” he said. The show’s impending end was just drowning.”There will be a lot of grief.”

Excitement is building for the show finale with the return of Donovan, Minogue, and Robbie. But how can he wrap up a 37-year-old conspiracy?Long episodes at first: In the final week, his normal 22-minute running time for each installment was extended to his 90 minutes. . According to Harbison, who helped write the finale, it took him four weeks to put together the storylines for the characters after the screenwriters learned the soap was ending.

For Dew, a lifelong fan who has missed only a handful of the show’s thousands of episodes, the impact of “Neighbors” is hard to overstate. “I was saddened by the show,” he said when he passed away.

Saying goodbye to soap opera feels like a bereavement in itself. “‘Neighbours’ was just a TV show, they say,” Dew said. But for fans like him, “it was more than that,” he added.

This article was originally new york times. After 37 years, the sunny world of ‘Neighbours’ ends

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