Saturday, June 22, 2024

Farewell Neighbours, harmless viewing of my youth


But I’m sure there will be plenty more people who feel the same way I do about the end of an era. During its heyday in the UK in the late 1980s and early 1990s, each episode of Neighbours drew 10 million viewers. In November 1988, over 20 million people tuned in to see Scott and Charlene (Jason Donovan and Kylie Minogue) tie the knot in episode 523.

Two years ago, I recall watching the very first episode. I was out of school due to a stomach virus, so I sat on the couch with my mother and watched as Ramsay Street inhabitants coped with the aftermath of Des Clarke’s stag do (or bucks’ night in Aussie lingo). We were completely sucked in.

Neighbours were a part of my family’s daily routine after that. We weren’t big TV watchers, but every Monday through Friday, we got together to watch BBC1 at 5.35 p.m. before dinner at 6 p.m. That’s exactly what we did; it was completely innocuous viewing.

That regimen gradually fell by the wayside when my siblings and I grew older and left home. But I didn’t stop watching. The 1.40pm time slot was perfect for a new sub-editor who didn’t start work until 3pm!


Ironically, it was during a gap year in 2001 with friends – to Australia, of course – that I broke the habit. Yes, we met Jarrod ‘Toadfish’ Rebecci in a pub in downtown Sydney for a Neighbours Quiz Night, and yes, we went to Vermont South on the outskirts of Melbourne to stand on Pin Oak Court (aka Ramsay Street), but I stopped watching because life got in the way.

Now that I have three children of my own, I’m not sure how I ever found the time. But now you know my secret: I used to enjoy Neighbours! And on August 1, when Channel 5 broadcasts the final programme, I’ll tune in again. For the sake of nostalgia.

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