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Neighbours is a long-running Australian television soap opera, running daily episodes of 25 minutes, time excluding commercials. Originally aired on the Seven Network in Australia in 1985, it was shifted to the Ten Network early in its life and has remained popular with its core teenage audience ever since. However, rival Australian soap Home and Away still consistently rates better in its home country and has done for over a decade now. The show was created by Reg Watson and is produced by his production company, Grundy Productions .

The series follows the daily lives of several families who live in the fictional Ramsay Street, Erinsborough - although in fact it is restricted to the small cul-de-sac of six houses at the end of the street - and includes the usual soap staples of births, deaths, and marriages. The show features a regular turnover of attractive young actors mixed in with the more stable cast of older people. Though it is not commonly mentioned so as to not alienate viewers in other Australian cities, Erinsborough (a pseudo-anagram of 'neighbours') is undoubtedly supposed to be a suburb of Melbourne. The show is filmed in Melbourne, and for street scenes uses Pin Oak Court in Vermont South, a suburb in eastern Melbourne. Erinsborough is often contrasted with the neighbouring, and equally fictitious, suburb of Eden Hills. Other locations often mentioned (and sometimes seen) in the show include West Waratah and Waratah Heights.

Many successful Australian actors and singers had some of their earliest work on Neighbours, including Kylie Minogue, Guy Pearce, Russell Crowe (brief extra appearance), Natalie Imbruglia, Jason Donovan, Holly Valance, Mark Little, Delta Goodrem. Actor Alan Dale who had previously starred in The Young Doctors, played the central character of Jim Robinson for the show's first seven years and is now a recognisable star in US series such as 24 and The OC. One of the most enduring characters currently on the show is Harold Bishop, played by actor Ian Smith who has also written many of the scripts for the show.


Neighbours Internationally

The show is also popular in the United Kingdom where it quickly gained a cult following after it began to be broadcast there in 1986. BBC One began by screening it at lunchtime, but it was soon given an early evening repeat slot by controller Michael Grade on the advice of his daughter. In the late 1980s it regularly has a UK audience in the tens of millions and was sometimes watched by more people than the population of Australia at that time. The episodes in the UK are now generally shown between one and three months after they are seen in Australia, as the BBC often removes the show from its schedule during major sports tournaments such as Wimbledon and bank holidays in order to take into account the fact that the show usually takes a four week break over the Christmas/New Year in Australia.

The show has also been sold to networks in many other countries. Episodes from 1999 were aired for a six-week trial basis on the American channel Oxygen in March of 2004. At first, it was shown in the afternoon opposite higher-rated American soaps such as The Young and the Restless and All My Children, which caused the show's anemic ratings from the first airing; the people who would be most interested in the show were watching other, more established serials. After a couple of weeks, the show moved to a late-night time slot and eventually left the air entirely. It was the sixth Australian soap opera to be aired in the United States (The Sullivans, Prisoner, Home and Away, Paradise Beach and Pacific Drive are the other five).


In the beginning, the show mainly focused on two families, the Robinsons and the Ramsays (after whom "Ramsay Street" is named) who were as the name of the show suggests, neighbours. The show initially gained notoriety for its depiction of the teenage romance of Scott Robinson and Charlene Ramsay. Their Romeo and Juliet style romance culminated in a wedding was keenly anticipated by viewers and is still fondly regarded today as being one of the high points of the series.

Both the Ramsays and the Robinsons have been written out of the series with the sole exception of the Bishop family who are related to the Ramsays through the marriage of Harold Bishop to the late Madge Ramsay. Also, one of the original characters, Paul Robinson, made a return to the show in the final episode of 2004 and has become a recurring guest character in 2005. Today the show revolves around the Scully, Hoyland, Bishop and Timmins families, along with several other residents who live in Ramsay Street.

In the late 1990s, Neighbours gained the reputation as being a somewhat conservative soap with topics such as sex generally not being included in the storylines due to its early evening timeslot in Australia and the United Kingdom (Earlier storylines involving controversial topics such as incest and teenage sex were often censored by the BBC in the UK, which may account for the reluctance on the part of producers to depict controversial issues). In the past two years this has started to change, with the show now regularly featuring its teenage characters discussing issues such as sex and contraception in a manner which has not been seen on the show since the mid 1990s. Most recently, the show has depicted a lesbian storyline involving Sky Mangel and Lana Crawford. The character of Sindi Watts has also been involved in storylines involving stripping and more recently prostitution. The break up of long time married couple Karl and Susan Kennedy and soon after Joe and Lyn Scully has also been a great source of interest to viewers, especially since it has led to a long running storyline in which Izzy Hoyland has duped Karl into believing that he is the father of her unborn child.

Current characters

Spoiler warning: This list is based on the Australian cast, and will sometimes reflect arrivals and departures which have not been broadcast in the UK.

These are the current main characters, who each appear in two or three episodes every week, apart from fairly rare breaks for the actors' other real life commitments. (The actors all get a month off at the same time for their main holidays). Most main characters feature for at least two years, but only a fairly small minority last for more than five years.

  • Bishop family
    • Harold Bishop (Ian Smith) (1987-1991, 1996, 1997 onwards) - former coffee-shop owner (before it burned down), General Store co-owner, devout christian, Salvation Army member, tuba player, slightly na´ve, often comic relief, widower of the late Madge Bishop. Harold was given up for dead in 1991, when it was thought he had been washed out to sea. Five years later, however, in one of the show's less credible storylines, Harold reappeared in Erinsborough as a Salvation Army worker called Ted. Recently suffered a stroke, but has now recovered. However, the stroke brought out some elements of his personality which had been previously hidden from his loved ones and the audience. Runs "The General Store" with Lou Carpenter.
    • David Bishop (Kevin Harrington) (1988, 2003 onwards) - Harold's son. A dull individual, often too proud to ask for help. Recently lost much of the family's wealth on a poor business decision. He has a long running fued with Max Hoyland. Is now a councillor on the Erinsborough Council, and is basically Paul Robinson's puppet.
    • Liljana Bishop (nee Ristic) (Marcella Russo) (2003 onwards) - David's ethnic Serbian wife, who reads coffee beans. She recently got a liver transplant from her illegitimate long-lost son (adopted out at birth) and Serena's ex-boyfriend, Luka Dokich, Svetlanka's godson. Was on a trial seperation with David, but got back together with him shortly afterwoulds.
    • Serena Bishop (Lara Sacher) (2003 onwards) - teenage daughter of David and Liljana. Was taken advantage of by an older photographer named Chris Cousins, who wanted to get nude pictures of her to put on the Internet. Went out with Stingray Timmins for a while, then started dating Luka Dokich, only to find out he was her half-brother. Had a short fling with Boyd Hoyland, but is now back with Stingray, whom she has lost her virginity to.
    • Sky Mangel (Miranda Fryer , Stephanie McIntosh) (1988-1991, 2003 onwards) - Harold's rebellious teenage granddaughter, daughter of Joe Mangel (absent) and Kerry Bishop (deceased), on-off girlfriend of Boyd Hoyland, to whom she lost her virginity. Became best friends with Lana Crawford after they initially hated each other, and Sky helped Lana come out of the closet. She recently found out about Serena and Boyd's fling, and is really angry with Serena because of it.

  • Scully family
    • Lyn Scully (nee O'Rourke) (Janet Andrewartha) (1999 onwards) - mildly neurotic hairdresser, works for Gino. Recently split up with her long-time husband, Joe. Mother of Steph, Jack, Flick, Michelle and Oscar. When Oscar was born, she got post-natal depression and even left Oscar alone in the car once. Has slight problems with shoplifting. Recently dated Andy Tanner, who left his wife for Lyn, but ended it shortly afterwoulds.
    • Oscar Scully (Ingo Dammer-Smith) (2003 onwards) - infant son of Lyn and Joe Scully. His mother had post-natal depression when he was born, but she got over it after a while.
    • Harvey the Dog (2000 onwards) - The Scully's family dog.

  • Timmins / Rebecchi family
    • Janelle Timmins (nee Rebecchi) (Nell Feeney) (2004, 2005 onwards) - Dylan and Stingray's mother from Colac, and Big Kev's sister. A bitter, lazy woman who used to make money from injury scams. Trying to provide for a family of ten children on her own, since her husband left her. Is currently Lyn's apprentice at The Salon.
    • Dylan Timmins (Damien Bodie) (2005 onwards) - Stingray's brother. Was formerly a high-school dropout in juvenile detention. Now released and trying to reform himself, he is constantly being put down by his mother. Dylan is currently repeating year 12, and is also doing part time work for Paul Robinson. It is not known what that work is, but it seems to be something illegal.
    • Janae Timmins (Eliza Taylor-Cotter) (2005 onwards) - Janelle's daughter, Dylan and Stingray's younger sister and the older sister of Bree. She is very flirtatious, and in her own opinion, "Janae Timmins is a dead set hottie."
    • Briana "Bree" Timmins (Sianoa Smit-McPhee) (2005 onwards) - The youngest of the Timmins children. She seems like a sweet little girl, but she is actually very sneaky and helps Janae in her schemes. She really enjoys reading.
    • Scott "Stingray" Timmins (Ben Nicholas) (2004 onwards) - teenage cousin of Toadfish, and "favourite" son of Janelle Timmins. Diagnosed with ADHD. Boyfriend of Serena Bishop. Has 5 brothers and 4 sisters, including Dylan Timmins. Used to go out with a girl named Shazza, who he lost his virginity to, but soon broke up with her. Had split up with Serena for a while, but has now got back together with her.
    • Jarrod "Toadfish" (or "Toadie") Rebecchi (Ryan Moloney) (1995 onwards) - sometime tearaway, now a respectable lawyer. Several other Rebecchi's have featured in the past, and Toadie was the link to introduce the Timmins's to the street, starting with his cousin Scott. Was married to Dee Bliss (for about twenty minutes, before she went missing after their car careened off a cliff after the ceremony, presumed drowned), ex-boyfriend of Sindi Watts. Is currently dating Eva, who is a wrestler, primary school teacher and jazz singer, in a long distance relationship.

  • Hoyland family
    • Max Hoyland (Stephen Lovatt) (2002 onwards) - father of two, married to Steph (not mother of Summer and Boyd). His first wife died several years ago, leaving him to raise Summer and Boyd by himself. Former co-owner of the pub "Lou's Place" (with Lou Carpenter), before it burnt down. Co-owner of "Scarlet Bar" with his sister Izzy. Was working on the Oil Rigs for a temporary period but returned after being told of Boyd's condition.
    • Stephanie Hoyland (nee Scully) (Emma Roache ) (Carla Bonner) (1999 onwards) - 20-something mechanic and biker chick, overcame cancer and is married to Max Hoyland. Daughter of Lyn. Was undergoing IVF treatment with Max, but it failed. Was found guilty of the murder of her bilogical grandfather Charlie Cassidy (although innocent), but was given a suspended sentance.
    • Summer Hoyland (Marisa Siketa) (2002 onwards) - precocious 14 year old daughter of Max. Used to date a kid named Declan for a while, until her friend Lisa stole him off her. She then started going out with a rich kid named Caleb, but broke up with him afterwards.
    • Boyd Hoyland (Kyal Marsh) (2002 onwards) - teenage son of Max, skater and on/off boyfriend of Sky Mangel, to whom he lost his virginity in 2004. Had a dispute with a guy named Travis Dean about space to put up posters, which resulted in Travis threatening Boyd's family. He was up a grade, but flunked his year 12 exams and got a job at a gym. At the gym, he was convinced to take Human Growth Hormones, and is now suffering the side effects. Was mistakenly diagnosed Adolescent Schizophrenia and was found to have a big brain tumour. Is currently repeating year 12. The teenage representative on Neighbours' current male pin up list.
    • Isabelle "Izzy" Hoyland (Natalie Bassingthwaithe) (2003 onwards) - sister of Max, business partner of Harold Bishop in the coffee shop. She moved in with Karl Kennedy after he broke up with Susan and for a long period claimed (falsely) that Karl is the father of her unborn baby. Has also had affairs with Jack Scully and Gus Cleary, who is the biological father of her unborn child. She is no longer pregnant, owing to a miscarriage. Recently broke up with Karl, due to an affair with Paul Robinson. Izzy is the co-owner of "Scarlet Bar" with Max Hoyland.

  • Other
    • Louis "Lou" Carpenter (Tom Oliver) (1988, 1991 onwards) - businessman, sometime mayor, widower, former co-owner of the pub "Lou's Place" (with Max Hoyland) before it burnt down and the garage "Carpenter's Mechanics". Has a long-standing chalk-and-cheese friendship with Harold Bishop. He recently went to jail but was later released after an appeal hearing conducted by lawyer Toadfish Rebecchi. Played by one-time Number 96 actor Tom Oliver. Co-owner of "The General Store" with Harold Bishop.
    • Stuart Parker (Blair McDonough) (2001 onwards) - friend of Toadfish. Former mechanic. Lost everything when fleeced by a cult, now a police officer, now in relationship with Sindi Watts. One of Neighbours current pin ups. He was now blind after rescuing Sindi from an explosion in the Lassiters Complex which destroyed Lou's Place, The Coffee Shop and several other buildings, but got his eyesight back after a $50000 operation.
    • Connor O'Neill (Patrick Harvey) (2002 onwards) - Young, slightly na´ve, Irish immigrant. Romantically linked with Michelle Scully, but had an affair with Lori Lee while Michelle was abroad. Has one daughter, Maddy, with Lori Lee, whom he rarely sees. Was in a realtionship with Carmella Carmenetti, who was recently stalked by her bodyguard Frank, but she ended it after the stalking incident.
    • Sindi Watts (Marisa Warrington) (2002, 2003, 2004 onwards) - on/off love interest of Toadfish, with numerous short-lived jobs. She's interested in star signs. Used to date crime boss Rocco Cammineti, and then cheated on him with Toadie. Now in relationship with Stuart Parker, and recently returned to stripping to pay for an eye operation for Stuart. After a couple of nights she even turned to prostitution, and won a bet with her client to get the money without doing the deed. Unfortunately, she gave the money away, but then Paul Robinson's "Helen Daniel's Foundation" raised the money for Stuart's operation.
    • Karl Kennedy (Alan Fletcher) (1994 onwards) - doctor and frustrated would-be rock star. His thirty-year marriage to Susan hit the rocks after he became friendly with Izzy Hoyland, eventually leaving Susan for her. Nearly died from a heart attack after breaking up with Izzy. The middle-aged representative on Neighbours current male pin-up list.
    • Susan Smith (previously Kennedy) (Jackie Woodburne) (1994 onwards) - Ex wife of Karl, mother to Malcolm, Libby and Billy, grandmother to Ben, English teacher and previously headteacher. After the break up with Karl, she was in a relationship with a former priest named Tom Scully, but he ended the relationship.
    • Dahl the Galah (1994 onwards) - originally belonged to Brett Stark, when he left, he gave it to Libby to look after and it has lived in the Kennedy house ever since. However when Karl used to lived in the house, Dahl sometimes made him angry.
    • Casserole "Cassie" the Sheep (1995 onwards)
    • Audrey the Dog (2002 onwards) - originally owned by Libby Kennedy, named after Audrey Hepburn. Ran away a while ago only to be found when Mal Kennedy accidently ran her over. She survived, and now lives with Libby's mother Susan.
    • Bob the dog (1997 onwards) - originally belonged to Sarah Beaumont. When she asked for him to join her in her new home abroad, they duped her by sending a lookalike in his place.

  • Guest Characters

Guest characters on Neighbours are played by actors who do not have a long term contract to appear (almost) every week. These can range from single episode appearances, to two or three month stints of weekly appearances, to intermittent appearances over several years. Unlike main characters, they do not appear in the opening titles. The list shows some guest characters who appeared in many episodes in 2004 and 2005.

    • Paul Robinson (Stefan Dennis ) (1985-1993, 2004, 2005) - Sneaky businessman, son of Jim Robinson. Was married to Terri Inglis (who murdered someone and then shot Paul), Gail Lewis (who he married for a business deal before true love blossomed) and finally Christina Allesi. Had eventually fled to Brazil on fraud charges. Returned to Ramsay Street in 2004 (on Australian screens - early 2005 for those watching in the UK). Is in an affair with Izzy Hoyland, and is trying to steal Liljana Bishop from David. Is now believed to have caused the Lassiters Explosion and murdered Gus Cleary.
    • Reuben "Roo" Hausman (Richard Cawthorne ) (2005) - Dylan's friend from Colac, who has just got out of juvie to come and see Dylan. Is trying to steal Dylan's job with Paul.
    • Gabrielle Walker (Linda Hartley ) (2005) - An employee at "The General Store". She is a dead ringer for Harold's daughter Kerry. (NOTE: Is played by the same actress as Kerry Bishop)
    • Sharon "Shazza" Cox (Emily Wheaton ) (2005) - Stingray's ex-girlfriend, who he lost his virginity too. Janae stole her new boyfriend.

Past Characters

There is a separate article about past Neighbours characters.

Noteworthy Episodes

Please note: All dates are the original Australian airdates.

  • 1985 - The first episode involving Des Clarke's bachelor party.
  • 1986 - Clive Gibbons doing an emergency tracheotomy on Lucy Robinson after she was stung by a wasp.
  • 1987 - Charlene and Scott's wedding with cameo appearance by Angry Anderson.
  • 1988 - Daphne waking from her coma and uttering the immortal line "I love you too, Clarkey" to her husband Des, before dying of her injuries.
  • 1989 - Madge Bishop and Harold Bishop winning the Lottery.
  • 1990 - Kerry Bishop getting shot by a duck hunter.
  • 1991 - Harold Bishop disappearing off a cliff into the ocean.
  • 1992 - Todd Landers hit by a car and killed as he rushed to stop his pregnant girlfriend from having an abortion.
  • 1993 - Jim Robinson's Heart Attack.
  • 1993 - The Waterhole explosion.
  • 1994 - Julie Martin falling off a tower and dying during the Murder Mystery Weekend.
  • 1994 - Mark Gottlieb jilting Annalise Hartman at the altar and telling her that he has decided to become a priest.
  • 1995 - Mark Gottlieb discovering Lucy Robinson working as a go-go dancer.
  • 1995 - Susan confessing to Brett Stark, whilst in Africa, that she performed Euthanasia on her mother.
  • 1996 - Helen discovering Harold Bishop alive when he had been presumed dead for five years.
  • 1996 - Cody Willis being shot by drug dealers.
  • 1996 - Cheryl Stark getting knocked over by a car and Karl Kennedy giving her the wrong injection which killed her.
  • 1997 - Helen Daniels dying in her sleep after twelve years on the show.
  • 1997 - Ben Atkins race car crashing and bursting into flames.
  • 1998 - Susan slapping Karl after finding out about his affair with Sarah Beaumont.
  • 1998 - Joel Samuels' leg being trapped under a ute, with the water level rapidly rising around him.
  • 1999 - Sarah Beaumont's wedding to Peter Hannay, in which her and Karl share one last passionate kiss.
  • 1999 - The Scully house catching fire at the Millennium Eve party, with Lolly Carpenter trapped inside.
  • 2000 - Steph Scully and Libby Kennedy having a serious accident on Steph's motorcycle.
  • 2001 - Madge Bishop's death, after suffering from pancreatic cancer.
  • 2001 - Whilst being trapped in a stable in Oakey, Libby Kennedy going into labour with Ben.
  • 2002 - Rosie Hoyland's church catching fire, with her and Lou trapped inside.
  • 2002 - Drew Kirk's death, after being thrown from a horse.
  • 2003 - Dee Rebecchi disappearing off a cliff after her wedding.
  • 2004 - Susan yelling and screaming at Karl after she found out he and Izzy were having a baby, and the rest of the street witnessing it.
  • 2004 - The Lassiter's explosion, in which the Coffee Shop, Lou's Place and the Doctors Surgery were all destroyed and Paul Robinson's return to the show during the chaos of the explosion.
  • 2005 - Steph Hoyland is incriminated for the death of her grandfather, Charlie Cassidy.
  • 2005 - Boyd Hoyland is believed to have murdered the father of Izzy's baby, Gus Cleary.
  • 2005 - Izzy finally pushes Karl to breaking point - Karl almost dies from a heart attack on a lonely country road, but is taken to hospital and survives.
  • 2005 - Boyd Hoyland is diagnosed with a big brain tumour.

External links

Neighbours is also the title of a 1952 Academy Award-winning short film by the National Film Board of Canada using the technique known as pixilation.

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