After 37 years on the air, the Australian soap Neighbours will come to an end in June, with the final episode airing later this year. Looking back at who has appeared on the soap, Natalie Imbruglia, Delta Goodrem, Jesse Spencer, as well as Kiwi actor Jay Ryan and honorary Aussie Russell Crowe, reads like a who’s who of Australian acting talent. We take a look at some of the most well-known celebrities that got their start on Ramsay Street.
While Kylie Minogue’s time as a mechanic, Charlene Mitchell, was only two years long, her cultural impact would span decades. Charlene immediately rose to prominence as one of Neighbours’ most popular characters, and her wedding to Scott Robinson (Jason Donovan, Kylie’s real-life boyfriend at the time) was a ratings hit. Kylie left the series after the chart success of her remake of Locomotion to focus on singing, but she has continued to act in films and television shows such as Moulin Rouge! and Kath & Kim. Early in her career, she was dubbed “the singing budgie,” but now the 53-year-old is Australia’s best-selling female recording artist of all time and remains hugely popular in the United Kingdom, where she has lived for three decades. “I’ll be forever grateful for the experience and the friends I made on Neighbours,” she wrote on Twitter in response to the show’s cancellation. We had no idea how popular the show would become or how deeply viewers would care about it.”
Jason Donovan, Kylie’s onscreen husband, didn’t quite reach the heights of his co-star, but his songs and appearances in stage productions like Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat helped him carve himself a successful career in the UK. The 53-year-old continues to perform and do voice work for video games in the United Kingdom, where he resides. Donovan has three children, the eldest of whom, Jemma, is presently starring in Neighbours as Harlow Robinson, Scott Robinson’s great-niece. “Neighbours transformed the Australian television landscape,” Donovan commented on Twitter in response to the show’s cancellation. Many professions, including mine, have been launched as a result of it throughout the years.”
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Hemsworth’s eldest son From 2007 to 2008, Liam appeared as paraplegic athlete Josh Taylor before moving to the United States to pursue glory. His first major break came in the 2009 romantic film The Last Song, in which he co-starred with Miley Cyrus, his future (and ultimately ex) wife, but his biggest success came with the Hunger Games franchise. Luke Hemsworth, Hemsworth’s older brother, played Nathan Tyson on Neighbours and, while not as well-known as his siblings, has found success on the HBO series Westworld. Chris, the middle brother, rose to fame as Kim Hyde on rival soap Home And Away, however he did make an appearance on Neighbours in 2002 as mechanic Jamie Kane. The future Thor star, on the other hand, would only appear in one episode.
Margot Robbie is a bona fide Hollywood star with a slew of award nominations to her name for roles in films like I, Tonya and Bombshell, but she got her start on Ramsay Street as Donna Freedman, a role she would play for three years starting in 2008. The 31-year-old got her big break in Martin Scorsese’s film Wolf Of Wall Street, and has since played Harley Quinn in the DC Comics Universe. Robbie confessed in an interview that she wanted her Neighbours character to be killed off, but the producers refused. “They said no because, you know, we want you to be able to come back and perform the role again if things don’t work out in America. So, coincidentally, my character migrated to America as well. Because I haven’t returned to the show, I assume she’s still there.”
After leaving Australian drama Young Doctors, Alan Dale landed the lead role of Jim Robinson, everyone’s favourite neighbourhood dad, on Neighbours, which premiered in 1985. However, his character died of a heart attack in 1993, as a result of a salary dispute. Dale struggled to find employment in Australia and moved to the United States, where he appeared in shows including The OC and Ugly Betty. In 2017, the 74-year-old actor, who has four children, returned to his soap opera beginnings in the relaunch of Dynasty, which will run through 2021. Jim Robinson would return from the grave in 2018, appearing as a ghostly vision in a Christmas bauble, lecturing his wayward son Paul, despite his acrimonious exit from Neighbours.
From 1986 to 1989, Guy Pearce portrayed Scott and Charlene’s buddy Mike Young on Neighbours for three years. He had a memorable affair with Annie Jones’ ‘Plain Jane Superbrain’ Harris, who was, of course, a beauty behind her glasses. The actor garnered international notoriety for his part in Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert after leaving the show and a time on Home And Away. With appearances in L.A. Confidential, Memento, and, most recently, TV drama Mare Of Easttown, Pearce arguably blazed the path for Australian actors making it in Hollywood, alongside Russell Crowe. He still works in Australia, most notably in the Jack Irish television movie series, despite being a Hollywood star. Pearce, like his former Neighbours co-stars, is a musician who has recorded two albums of original songs. “It’s bonded all of us in unfathomable ways,” the 54-year-old, who shares a son with actor Carice Van Houten (Game Of Thrones), wrote on Twitter after news of the show’s termination, “It’s bonded all of us in unimaginable ways.” It was a great honour to be a part of it.”