Saturday, July 13, 2024

Neighbours super-fan flies from UK to visit sets of much-loved soapie


Iain Batty, who has spent the most of his adult life watching the TV soap opera Neighbours, was enthralled when he finally arrived in “Ramsay Street, Erinsborough.”

“It’s strange. It’s strange. The 56-year-old Baptist minister who had flown from London to participate in one of the final Sunday bus trips of Neighbours said, “It’s fantastic.

He gradually connected his TV recollections with the house Terese Willis and Jarrod “Toadie” Rebecchi lived in and which house Karl and Susan Kennedy lived in here in what is actually Pin Oak Court, Vermont South.

He then took a selfie next to the street sign for Neighbors.


The group had also visited the series’ backlot sets at the Forest Hill studios of the production company Fremantle, where they got up-close looks at Terese Willis’ backyard, Harold’s Cafe, and Lassiters Hotel.

Even though it was “all a bit much” at times, Batty admitted that he was still enjoying it and lamenting the end of the season. He expressed sadness that the final episode will air the next week. For me, it’s invaluable, he declared. “At 56, I don’t see myself getting another show. I’ll probably keep an eye out for Neighbours repeats and maybe start at the beginning.

Batty flew from London to Melbourne via two US locations for less money than a straight 34-hour flight, but the round-trip fare was still $1,650 ($2,800).

When Shannon, his daughter, learned that the bus excursions would finish on July 31, she persuaded dad to book a flight.


According to Batty, “She said Dad, you’re going to regret it so much if you don’t do this.”

When he goes on vacation, he will record the episodes he missed of Neighbours, which debuted in Australia in 1985 and the UK in 1986. He believes he has seen the majority of the episodes.

He declares, “I would do all I could to prevent Neighbours from stopping.” That’s how much it means to me.

I hesitate to use the word ‘obsessed. I’m not. But I genuinely love the programme. It will be sorely missed.


“What do I do next? is a question I’ve been asking myself. Since I only watch the news on TV, I don’t watch any other shows.

Batty, a pastor at the famed Beatles recording studio-near Abbey Road Baptist Church in London, said that Neighbours has given him solace in his occasionally stressful work.

Neighbours has been one of those shows that you can turn on, grab a cup of coffee, and decompress with since it’s a really stressful job.

He has been able to bring up topics like illness and same-sex marriage with his flock because to Neighbours.

Character Terence Donovan’s character, Doug Willis, suffered dementia. It serves as a reminder that people deal with these challenges frequently, Batty added.

Unexpectedly for a minister, Stefan Dennis’s portrayal of the antagonist Paul Robinson is Batty’s favourite.


Even when he makes mistakes, “I’ve always considered him as someone who has mainly tried to make good,” Batty said.

I admire how fiercely protective of his children he is.

Aside from the current hot in London and the current cold in Melbourne, Batty believes that Neighbours’ popularity with British viewers may be explained by the beautiful weather and “lovely suburban life” on the show.

“In general, the weather in Neighbours is pleasant and everyone is wearing largely summer clothes, while in London it’s mostly pouring and horrible weather,” says a source. “Except for the last [on screen] wedding when there was this enormous storm and someone lost their life.”

Owner of Go West Tours and operator of the Official Neighbors Tour Terry Smit regrets having to put a stop to them.

“You need to keep the show continuing,” folks who are totally devastated have called us, but we have no control over the show,” Smith explains.

Up to the final day, July 31, tickets for tours on Saturdays and Sundays are still available for $115 apiece.

The 90-minute final Neighbours episode will premiere locally on July 28 at 7.30 p.m. on Ten and 10Peach.

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