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Neighbours icon Ian Smith hasn’t aged a day as he returns as Harold Bishop for the soap’s finale – over 30 years after his first episode aired

He first appeared in Neighbours in 1987, portraying Harold Bishop.

And now, as the soap nears the end of its 37-year run, Ian Smith has returned to the role to see it through.

As he braced the set this week, the actor, now 83, demonstrated that he hasn’t aged a day since his appearance on the show back in its peak.

Ian looked almost identical to how he did after leaving the show in 2008. He appeared alongside the original cast members Guy Pearce, Annie Jones, and Paul Keane.

For his comeback, he was back on site in Melbourne, where the crew was gearing up for the final week of production.

Ian was photographed wandering down Ramsay Street, still sporting his characteristic appearance for the role, which included round rimmed spectacles and Harold’s signature hairstyle.

Harold was one of the longest-serving characters in soap opera history, with Ian taking a break from 1991 to 1996 before returning in 2008 and briefly in 2015.

Throughout his reign, he was involved in a number of tragic situations, including forgetfulness, illness, and grief.

Harold was lost at sea in one of his most memorable storylines, and he was considered dead until he returned.

Despite his successful term, Ian previously acknowledged to Network 10 his reason for quitting, revealing that he was turned down for a number of jobs due to his long-standing relationship with Harold.

During an audition for a completely different character, the actor was told, ‘Oh, you were Harold.’ You couldn’t possibly be a paedophile who murders children.’

Following a sequence of all-too-familiar occurrences, Ian decided it was time to give up on Harold.

But, as he prepares to return to the small screen, Neighbours legends Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan are gearing up for their own comebacks.

In a tweet in March, Neighbours revealed that production on the long-running soap would be ending after 37 years.

‘After over 37 years and approximately 9,000 episodes broadcast, we regret to inform you that Neighbours will be ending production in June,’ the programme wrote.

‘Following the loss of our primary broadcast partner in the United Kingdom [Channel 5], and despite a thorough search for alternative funding, we have no choice but to put the show on hold.’

‘We know this is a big disappointment to our amazing, dedicated fans, as it is to all of us on the team. We appreciate all of your messages and support, and we pledge to end the programme on a positive note. We’ll be commemorating Neighbours from now on.’

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