As Neighbours draws to a close, Digital Spy is continuing its series of interviews with the current cast to honour their contributions to the programme.
We’re getting up with Richard Huggett today, who returned to the serial opera in 2021 after an almost 30-year absence as Glen Donnelly.
Richard remarked on his return as Glen and the choice to discontinue Neighbours after 37 years of production just a few weeks before filming was finished.
How has the environment been on the set while you’ve been shooting these last few episodes?
“On set, a depressing mood has pervaded. People are joyful and sad! Everyone is on a different trip and has a different narrative to share about how they feel about it; it’s bizarre.
“It’s “What’s next?” for me. There are other things I’ve been pursuing, and this is true for many other people as well. They’re hoping they can start working on other projects right afterwards, which is virtually impossible for actors.”
Can you give a preview of the last episode?
It’s brilliantly written, quite moving, and extremely joyous.
Was the announcement that the show was ending unexpected?
“I believe there was a question regarding the show’s future when I rejoined the cast for the first time approximately a year ago.
“People were quite shocked when it was announced earlier this year, especially the long-term cast and staff. Reality set in. People still find it hard to realise it is coming to an end, though.”
Are you happy that the group had enough time to prepare a suitable conclusion?
“Oh, for sure. I’m delighted the conclusion could be planned.
“I’m also happy that Neighbours will finish with a celebration rather than a tornado or everyone getting sucked into a huge sinkhole. It was great that we had so much time to plan and get ready.”
Has Glen’s plot had to be altered after the cancellation was revealed?
“As far as I can tell, everything appears to have gone according to plan. The Kiri narrative, the Terese story, and the vineyard accident story have all been told.
“I believe that everything is coming together and coming to a conclusion, so it went according to plan. With the way things are going, I don’t think much has changed.”
What did you think of the relationship between Terese and Glen that seemed doomed?
“I believe Terese needs Glen more than he needs her. Glen has been really concerned about the fact that she still has ties to Paul. I believe she might find him a little too needy.”
How did you feel about Jason Donovan and Kylie Minogue making a comeback?
“There were rumours that they were coming back and rumours that they weren’t. Then, out of nowhere, Jason appeared here because his daughter Jemma—who played Harlow—was about to depart. To assist Jemma with her return to England, he came over here.
“They should have shown because Kylie had returned to Australia. The fact that they are back is exciting. It only serves to make everything more complete.
I guess I was surprised that they returned, but considering that this is the concert that launched their careers, they were undoubtedly quite appreciative to be asked to return.
What Glen-related memories do you cherish the most?
“My favourite plot point was when Glen first startled Paul by returning this time. In the sequence that we filmed, Glen entered the frame from behind Paul as he was gazing out to sea and stated, “It’s been a long time.” One of my favourite moments that we shot was that one.
“Working with Stefan [Dennis, who portrays Paul] and Rebekah [Elmaloglou, who plays Terese] was amazing as was everything related to River Bend. I’ve collaborated with them frequently, as well as Tim [Kano, who plays Leo], of course. It’s been a pleasure working with them.”
Had you ever had a least favourite plot?
“I believe they were all excellent! When there isn’t really a plotline going on, that is my least favourite plot. After a significant plotline, there is a little period where you are only present in the background. Even when nothing much is happening, you are still a part of the scenes. My least favourite aspect of it is that.”
What did you think of Neighbours’s outpouring of support after the cancellation was announced?
“The number of fans wishing us all well on social media made that rather spectacular. You’re unaware of how adored it is, as well as the viewers who have stuck with it since the beginning and haven’t missed an episode.
“It’s strange because, even after 37 years, I’ve rarely been that invested in a performance from start to finish. The love is lovely to feel.”
Can Neighbors come back?
“I believe that in the end, we must recognise that it is over. because, among other things, the performers will move on and do other things! I’m not sure how it would operate.
“I don’t see it happening without a UK broadcaster until a hero steps forward. Just acknowledge that it is the end, and let’s rejoice.”
Would you have stayed past June if the performance had lasted longer?
“Yes, most certainly. I would have stayed longer if I had been asked to. I couldn’t estimate how long I would have stayed because it would have depended on the stories and other information available.
But I would have stayed on without a doubt because I’ve been having a terrific time and I really love Melbourne.
How do you see the future?
“I’ve been giving auditions for many series. mostly six-part, brief series for several streaming sites. I’m simply waiting for a response on those.
“Other than that, I’ll be returning to Brisbane and travelling across the nation on a road trip since it will take a few weeks to get there. I’ll just wait and see what transpires, as well as where my career leads.”
Were you hoping Glen’s story would end happily?
“Yes, without a doubt, since Glen’s previous unfortunate ending involved falling off the roof! When the barrel at the vineyard crashed on him, it was comparable. I said to myself, “Oh no, not again!” It was crucial that he find some kind of settlement that makes him satisfied.”
Have you had any feedback on Glen’s last several weeks?
“No, I just left it up to the producers, authors, and storyliners. You can always approach them and share your proposal, but they typically reply, “Yeah, excellent… Yes, perhaps at a later time. (Laughs.) Over the past few months, they have been in total charge.”
Are you going to take anything from the set?
“Maybe just a pair of jeans! I requested some beautiful pants from the wardrobe man because Glen always wears them. So it’s probably simply some costume.
“The crew that have been working there for thirty years would likely engage in a free-for-all if you took anything from the props, in my opinion. No, just some clothes will do!”