Since its debut in 1985, Neighbours has been a fan favourite. The drama, which was set in Melbourne, Australia, immediately drew fans from all around the world.
Following its immediate popularity, the TV show went on to become Australia’s longest-running drama series, and it is still going strong today.
Over the years, Ramsay Street has produced some true legends, like Sonya Rebecchi, Nicolette Stone, and Charlene Robinson.
However, while fans are always up to date on the latest drama, many are unaware that there was also turmoil behind the scenes – and much of it was far more sinister.
Take a look at the scandals that the actors were involved in while portraying happy families or happy neighbours on television.
On set, there is ‘racism’
Last year, when Aboriginal actress Shareena Clanton spoke out against racism behind the scenes of Neighbours, claims of racism surfaced.
The actor, whose first episode had just aired, alleged that members of the cast and crew had used racially derogatory words toward her.
She said in an exposé that she overheard the N-word being used on set several times and that a colleague actress used the phrase “monkey” to describe someone.
” Struggling to write anything nice about the months I endured on @neighbours after several racist traumas and navigating continuing counselling from this incredibly problematic programme,” Shareena wrote on Instagram at the time.
“Working in such a culturally uncomfortable setting has been lonely, triggering, and traumatising.”
“Overt and covert degrees of racism were common,” she said, “sometimes camouflaged as “jokes,” such as a white actress brazenly calling another actress of colour a ‘little’ monkey.”
“I had to suffer the “N”-word being openly uttered on site and in the green room twice. When confronting the actor directly, staff ordered me to “go somewhere else” since I was making others “uncomfortable.”
“A Head of Department considered it humorous and appropriate to openly laugh at the word “c** slut” by a cast member who loudly yelled about “c“, “c“, “c**” in front of other cast and staff,” said the Neighbours star, who also recounted tales of sexism and misogyny on set.
“I’ll never work for this programme again,” she concluded the lengthy statement.
After Shareena made her claims public, more performers came out with similar claims. “Neighbours do better!” tweeted Meyne Wyatt, who starred on the show from 2014 to 2016. The Film and TV Industries do better! “Australia, you can do better!”
While working on the show, Meyne claimed to have encountered “rampant” homophobia and racism.
“There have been extensive and lengthy discussions with Shareena during her time on Neighbours,” a statement from Neighbours told CNN at the time. “We will continue to work with all cast and crew to ensure Neighbours remains a completely inclusive environment.”
The boss offered a boob job
This didn’t appear to be the only instance of misogyny on set. Nicola Charles, a former Neighbours actress, revealed in 2020 that a show producer offered to pay for her to get a boob job.
From 1995 through 2016, Nicola played Sarah Beaumont, a popular character on the show.
But, as Nicola explained in an interview with the Herald Sun, it wasn’t all glitz and glamour behind the scenes.
Not only was she encouraged to get a boob job, but she was also told to post naked images of herself on the internet to increase her celebrity, according to the actress.
“I was patted on the knee in a condescending manner and told you can always share images of yourself after the show wraps to promote your image,” she alleged.
“It was back in the day when one of the naked photos was leaked online. “Would you like me to get you a set of t*ts?” suggested the same Neighbours producer to me.
“I declined since I intend to breastfeed.” “It’s alright,” he answered, “I’ve done it for all the other girls,” to which I replied, “Really, I’m fine, thank you.”
When Nicola’s name was called out, she assumed she was in trouble, but it was just “generic stuff” – “like offering a set of boobs, instructing me to behave, what to wear,” she claimed.
“He’d say some really out-there things to me about how I looked, my physique, the things I said, the route my career could take, and dangle things like money in front of me and say this is how much you could earn,” the actress continued.
Scandal at a strip club
Another controversy erupted in 2011 when Scott McGregor, who played Detective Mark Brennan in the soap, urged a strip club exotic dancer to “f*** off.”
According to the Daily Mail, exotic dancer Danielle ‘Ivy’ Lee was later found guilty of hurling a glass at him, resulting in three stitches.
Danielle, on the other hand, said that the glass throwing was in response to Scott’s verbal abuse the night before, telling her, “F* off you disgusting st.” You’re a knucklehead. I’d never take someone who was as filthy as you.”
“I am better than that,” he declared. I am superior than you. “F*** off,” she yelled at the judge.
Despite the fact that Scott assaulted Danielle, Magistrate Mark Howden determines that her response was “disproportionate” to the crime. After paying $1000, she was released.
‘Pain, hurt, suffering, and humiliation’ are words that come to mind when I think of pain, hurt, suffering, and humiliation
Kym Valentine accused producers of sex and disability discrimination in 2013 amid a seemingly never-ending list of allegations of abuse on set.
She sued for pain, suffering, and humiliation, but later settled with Fremantle Media on a private basis and returned to the show.
“I’m definitely looking forward to catching up with old friends at Neighbours and getting to know many of the new cast,” she only mentioned publicly. I can’t wait to reintroduce audiences to Libby, who was such a crucial part of my life.”
On set, there were overdoses and ‘dilated pupils’
However, this was not the only form of abuse that took place on set. According to the Daily Mail, Neighbours star Nicola Charles said after her time on the programme that the group was frequently on drugs during filming.
In 2021, she revealed that a female co-star, whom she did not want to name, overdosed on speed when the two were on set, and she had to help her.
Soap Star, her autobiography, made the claims. Nicola, who played Sarah Beaumont in the drama in the 1990s and early 2000s, said she witnessed coworkers overdosing on drugs several times.
Another occasion, she discovered a colleague who was “barely awake and battling” after an amphetamine overdose.
“The human inside of me couldn’t leave her alone on the couch, barely conscious and battling,” she explained. Her so-called castmates had conveniently vanished and wiped their hands clean of the affair.
“I couldn’t help but sympathise with an actor as I sat on the green room couch clutching her fragile and boney hand, waiting for the ambulance to arrive.”
Nicola later reported that the same woman had offered her medication.
According to the Mirror, Nicola wasn’t the only one who made such claims. Actors would frequently show up inebriated or on drugs, according to Jay Bunyan, who played Shane Connor’s onscreen son Jack Scully.
“You frequently notice that with some of the younger cast members showing up hungover or with dilated pupils as a result of drugs or alcohol,” he explained.
“They usually go straight to cosmetics to cover it up,” he added.