As Neighbours Returns, We Look Back At The Show’s 10 Maddest Moments

Turns out Bouncer's dream was just the tip of the iceberg...

Neighbours biggest moments

by Michael Hogan |
Updated on

Like the theme song says, everybody needs good neighbours. With a little understanding, you can find the perfect blend. The perfect blend in this case being a killer mix of dazzling sunshine, dodgy fashion and downright insane storylines.

Last July, long-time fans of the iconic Australian soap were heartbroken when the show announced it was packing up after nearly four decades on screen. The three-episode special, Neighbours: The Finale, forced us to say our goodbyes to the residents of Ramsay Street once and for all.

Plot twist! Only one year later, the show has been saved. Amazon Freevee has revived the infamous series and it will be back on TV four days a week.

When is Neighbours back on TV?

Neighbours will be officially air again from Monday 18 September 2023. It will then be scheduled from Monday to Thursday every week.

Responding to the exciting update, executive producer Jason Herbison said: 'All the cast and crew are incredibly excited that Ramsay Street will officially welcome viewers again to the neighbourhood on 18th September in the UK and Australia, and also be introduced to brand new audiences in the US and Canada when the new chapter of Neighbours is unveiled.'

Will any original cast members be in the new series of Neighbours?

The first Neighbours trailer shows more than a few favourites back in action – as well as some new faces. For example, a new family called the Varga-Murphys will be joining Ramsay Street.

And they're not alone – there's also a new famous face in the neighbourhood too. Mischa Barton is joining the cast as Reece Sinclair, despite the OC star admitting she'd never actually watched it before accepting the role.

She said, 'I was familiar with it, probably the same things most people recognise about the show, like Kylie Minogue and the fun stuff. So when the producers approached me about the role, I thought the character of Reece Sinclair was a very good fit.'

For fans who can't wait, Amazon Freevee will also feature two series-themed FAST Channels, Neighbours – Looking Back and Best of Neighbours. Old episodes will be available to watch too.

As for any other familiar faces, have a look yourself by watching the latest trailer...

Why did the Neighbours first end?

Last July, fans believed they were tuning into the final episode of the show. After nearly 9,000 episodes, aired over three and a half decades, the finale was shown on Channel 5 at 9pm on Friday 29th July.

The finale ran for an hour slot as a double episode special. Within minutes, fans started a #SaveNeighbours social media campaign and launched a petition which gathered 71,000 signatures.

The decision to axe the show came after Channel 5 and Fremantle Media failed to reach an agreement about its funding moving forward. Fortunately, Fremantle managed to strike up a new deal with Amazon in the months that followed, and from next week the show will be available to stream in the UK and US, and on Prime Video in Canada, Ireland, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

To get us back in the neighbourly spirit, let's rewind 10 of the show’s maddest moments - from doggy dreams to characters constantly coming back from the dead…

The 10 maddest moments from Neighbours

1. Bouncer’s dream

The most barking mad moment of all. Golden labrador Bouncer was Ramsay Street’s resident dog between 1987 and 1993. The production team got more requests for a signed photo of Bouncer than any other character. Legend had it that he was paid more than the human actors, too. During Bouncer’s six-year stint, he survived several road accidents, a house fire, getting lost and being poisoned by mushrooms.

By far his most memorable moment, though, was when he dozed off on the carpet after watching Joe and Kerry Mangel’s wedding video and dreamt that he was marrying Rosie, Clarrie McLachlan’s border collie who lived next door. Actress Anne Charleston, who played Madge Bishop, later said: ”The whole cast was mortified. It reduced it to a three-year-old's programme. Very strange.” Dogs don’t dream, you say?

2. Harold Bishop’s return from the grave

Tuba-playing, God-fearing fuddy-duddy Harold (Ian Smith) - best frenemy of Lou Carpenter (Tom Oliver), his arch rival for Madge's affections - was heartbreakingly written out in 1991. Visiting the coast with Madge, Harold was washed out to sea and presumed drowned - poignantly, leaving just his trademark spectacles behind on a rock. Sob.

Jaws hit floors five years later when Harold returned to Erinsborough with no memory of his former life. Now calling himself Ted and working for the Salvation Army, he’s apparently been fished out of the sea by trawlermen and built a new life. But one dinnertime, when Lou served him jelly for dessert, Harold suddenly remembered how Lou used to tease him at school by calling him "Jelly Belly”. Behold, his memory was magically restored.

3. Russell Brand’s muffin monologue

Over the years, the sun-kissed soap became known for its brilliantly random celebrity cameos. If a famous Brit had a few hours to spare in Melbourne, it was virtually compulsory to nip down to the Neighbours set. Little Britain’s Matt Lucas and David Walliams, Chris Lowe from the Pet Shop Boys, Emma “Baby Spice” Bunton, Michael “Parky” Parkinson and Lily Allen all popped up, playing themselves with tongue firmly in cheek.

Two years ago, Russell Brand was in town for the Erinsborough Writers' Festival and dropped by Harold’s coffee shop for some refreshment. Typically, the beardy comedian threw out the script and performed a mostly improvised monologue. It included the epic line to Toadfish Rebecchi (Ryan Moloney): “That’s quite a muffin you've got there, mate.”

4. Susan Kennedy’s teen flashback

The show’s longest-serving female character is matriarch Jackie (Jackie Woodburne), a teacher at Erinsborough High and wife of Dr Karl. Since arriving in 1994, she’s been divorced and widowed, dated a priest, suffered multiple sclerosis and been a victim of cyber-bullying. By far Susan’s best storyline, though, was when she slipped on some spilt milk, sustained a minor head injury and woke up with “retrograde amnesia”.

She’d lost three decades of her life, believing the year was 1972 and it was the night before was her 16th birthday. Following some students dressed in 70s clothes for themed party, she ends up in the bathroom and sees herself in the mirror for the first time since the accident - shocked to see a middle-aged woman staring back at her. Hey, stranger things have happened, But not many.

5. Toady’s tragic wedding(s)

First of all, whoever’s idea is was to introduce siblings called Stonefish, Toadfish, Tadpole and Stingray is officially a fish-fixated genius. Secondly, poor old Toady has been deeply unlucky when it comes to nuptials. One wedding day in 2010 saw him jilt Steph Scully at the altar after realising she didn't love him. At his next attempt, a gas canister exploded during the reception, blowing the marquee to bits, killing two characters and leaving wife Sonya Mitchell with a fractured skull and no memory of the wedding. Textbook.

Before both those, however, came his union to Dee Bliss (Madeleine West). Mere hours after the ceremony, Toady was driving his new bride off into the sunset when he lost control of their car mid-kiss and accidentally drove off a cliff into the ocean. Dee was missing, presumed dead, but her body was never found. Talking of which…

6. Dee’s evil doppelgänger

In typical Neighbours fashion, Dee reappeared 14 years later. Or did she? Actress Madeleine West returned as Andrea Somers, a mentally unstable lookalike who impersonated Dee to scam her family and traumatised “widower” Toady out of money.

This, in turn, led to a double role for West. The real long-lost Dee came back from the dead for a dramatic showdown with her fake fraudster self on a clifftop in Byron Bay. Guess what? They had a fight and Dee ended up going over a cliff again. As you do. It later turned out the two women were twins who’d been separated at birth. Riiiight.

7. Tornado endangers Lou (and loo)

Bit breezy out. The climate in Erinsborough was pretty mild until 2014, when an out-of-the-blue tornado blew into town and got Ramsay Street residents in a spin. Cue cracked ribs, a broken prosthetic leg (yes, really), a marriage proposal, infidelity, an injured wombat and luckless Kyle Canning (Chris Milligan) going AWOL after getting stuck in a portable toilet which got swept up in the whirlwind. Eww, whiffy.

Less stinkily and more seriously, Lou Carpenter’s life was in danger after the coffee shop collapsed on him. Trapped under a fallen beam, he began choking on his sandwich. Happily, Susan Kennedy was in situ to perform a life-saving emergency tracheotomy with the aid of husband Dr Karl, talking her through the procedure on the phone. Handy.

8. Mark finds God on his wedding day

The 1994 wedding of chef Mark Gottlieb (Bruce Samazan) and manipulative minx Annalise Hartman (Kimberley Davies) didn't exactly go to plan. The couple were both suffering with jitters on the day but it was Mark who ended up bailing out in bizarre fashion.

He stared at a statue of Jesus in the church. The camera zoomed in on the statue’s face, then on Mark’s own sweaty, panicking features. He decided there and then that his calling was to become a priest, so he couldn’t possibly get wed. What are the actual chances?

9. Who turned the lights out?

Rapidly running out of disasters to inflict on the residents of Ramsay Street, the show hit upon the idea of a solar eclipse in 2013. All manner of live-changing events duly unfolded under the cover of midday darkness. A child was kidnapped. Retro favourite Brad Willis unexpectedly moved back onto the street after 20 years away. Hapless Kyle Canning (of tornado toilet fame) seriously damaged his eyesight by looking at the sun after his dog Bossy ran away with his protective glasses.

Best of all, Detective Mark Brennan, who’d been presumed killed in the witness protection programme two years previously, returned from the dead to be reunite with his true love Kate. Naturally, she was soon gunned down in a gazebo. A real eclipse occurred in Australia ten days before the episode was broadcast and was boring by comparison.

10. Paul’s plane bombshell

To mark the show’s 20th anniversary in 2005, what could be more celebratory than a plane crash killing off several characters? When local business mogul Paul Robinson (Erinsborough stalwart Stefan Dennis) chartered a private plane to fly Lassister’s staff to Tasmania on a jolly, his troubled son Robert Robinson planted a bomb on it to kill his hated father. Oh and robert was pretending to be his own triplet. Don’t ask.

The device detonated, destroying one of the engines, and the plane crashed into the sea. Harold Bishop’s son David and his wife were among the casualties, prompting the normally mild-mannered Harold to fly into a rage and try to strangle Paul. That’ll teach him for trying to do something nice for once.


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