Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Neighbours: Hit show bows out after 37 years


The Bold and the Beautiful’s Brooke Logan, a figure played by Katherine Kelly Lang, paraded through Kenyan living rooms in the 1990s. Soaps were scarce.

However, Brooke at KBC had neighbours over the fence on the first and only private TV station KTN, which aired the Neighbours television programme.

KTN’s adventure began in 1990, when the station made history by becoming the continent’s first privately owned free-to-air television network and the first to end KBC’s monopoly.

By broadcasting programmes for a full day, the new channel established new ground. Even though soaps are a staple in modern society, they were uncommon at the time, therefore the content was also distinctive. Neighbours was one such soap opera.


This year, on March 3, it was announced that the wildly popular Australian soap opera would be ending after 37 years, approximately 9,000 episodes, 63 weddings, 20 births, and 68 deaths, with the finale scheduled for August 1.

On March 18, 1985, three families—the Ramsays, the Robinsons, and the Clarkes—who all resided in Erinsborough, a made-up Melbourne suburb, began the dramatic tale of Neighbours.

The Bishops, Scully, Hancock, and Willis are just a few of the many additional families that have joined the show over the years, along with new and younger actors. Only Stefan Dennis, who plays neighbourhood bad guy Paul Robinson, is still a part of the cast.

The series focuses on the people who live on Ramsay Street, a picturesque cul-de-sac located somewhere in Melbourne’s eastern region and its surrounding region. Real people live in the houses that appear in “Ramsay Street,” and they give permission for filmmakers to utilise their yards to film exterior scenes. However, the inside scenes were filmed in a studio.


Locally, the drama series gained popularity among Nairobi residents, and during the mid-1990s, when it began airing on KTN, many people hurried home to see the episodes, which were broadcast every day at 6.30 p.m. (Those who missed the weekday shows see the replays on Sundays.)

When veteran actor Mumbi Kaigwa appeared in the drama series in 1995, their long-distance connection between Kenya and Australia reached its zenith.

“In Australia, they had a real-life situation where people from World Vision were educated. I played Racheal, a Maasai woman who works for World Vision. I worked with World Vision, and my plot involved becoming one of the people they had saved and taught.

The well-known actor, who has appeared in a number of notable movies and television shows, including Asha, The Knife Grinder’s Tale, The Constant Gardener, The First Grader, and The System, acknowledges that it is not always possible to collaborate with people from other countries.


She says, “Working with a team of international pros who were really encouraging and coached me as an actor was a beautiful experience.

10 episodes, some of which were filmed in Nairobi and others in Amboseli, featured Mumbi.

“I first met the team when they came to Kenya for auditions, and Jimmy Gathu actually told me about the auditions so I could participate. Fortunately, I got the job,” she explains.

Numerous other famous people have made cameo cameos on Neighbours during its nearly four-decade run, including singer Paula Abdul, Katherine Kelly Lang (Brooke Logan from The Bold and the Beautiful), Russell Brand, Amy Pearson, and even WWE wrestler Batista.

A-list celebrities including Kylie Minogue, the all-time highest-selling female artist in Australia, Jason Donovan, Natalie Imbruglia, Ben Mendelsohn, Margot Robbie, Guy Pearce, and Academy Award winner Russell Crowe are all attributed with using it to launch their Hollywood careers.

One of Australia’s most lucrative exports and its longest-running television series, Neighbours has been sold to more than sixty other nations.


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