Neighbors: Cult TV series ends after 37 years

When Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan got married, nearly 20 million people watched it in the UK. The two pop stars got married only in 1988 in the world of the TV series “Neighbors”. But the huge interest shows just how popular the Australian show is in the UK.

Channel 5 broadcasts the last episode of the series on Friday – the ending after 37 years is not only a defining moment for the British television scene. “Get out the tissues,” wrote the free Metro newspaper, grieving, “We’re not ready for that.”

If it were up to the actors and audience, “Neighbors” would probably last a long time. But Channel 5 does not continue the series about the residents of Ramsay Street in a fictional Melbourne suburb due to a lack of financial resources. No other broadcaster was interested in the second part, although tens of thousands campaigned for their favorite through petitions and social media. “Neighbours” veteran Stefan Dennis blames the rapidly changing TV landscape at the end. “Free drama is dying fast because viewers are used to watching what they want whenever they want,” he said.

“Neighbours” – under this name, Sat.1 showed the series between 1989 and 1993 in Germany – has long been more than just a series for many Britons, but an attitude to life that also brought about social changes on the island. The Guardian noted that the envisaged location of Erinsboro, near Melbourne, “was the kind of environment audiences in gray Britain wanted to live in: it was warm, friendly, and far more friendly than that of many American soap operas”. “So the imaginary suburb became a new paradigm, home to English-speaking relaxation and fun in the sun.”

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Colorful clothes, new hairstyles, spacious kitchens and cozy slang first appeared in 1986 after the British launch of Neighbors. Today, the British also abbreviated the university as “Uni”, as did the Australians at the time. Watching habits have also changed: while popular series were shown only twice a week until then, “Neighbours” was shown five times – British competitors such as “Coronation Street” had to adapt. The narration was new, too.

The Guardian commented: “Credibility was not an end to storytelling.” Affairs, grief, and disaster: anything was possible in Erensboro. Main character Harold Bishop is washed up at sea, only to return five years later with amnesia.

Drama series with almost 9,000 episodes will be remembered by the distinguished actors above all. Not only for Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan – as Charlene Mitchell and Scott Robinson – the show marked the beginning of a global career as a singer. Guy Pearce, Russell Crowe and Natalie Imbruglia also performed on Ramsay Street. In the last episode, many of them came back.

Minogue and Donovan, who can be seen with an arm in a trailer nearly 35 years after their farewell, are returning, as Pierce, Academy Award-nominated actress Margot Robbie, who starred from 2008 to 2011, and musician Natalie Basingthwaite.

Minogue tweeted shortly after the series was announced: “I will be forever grateful for the experience and the friends you made on Neighbors.” “We had no idea the show would become so popular and how enthusiastically viewers would treat it. Pure love!” The atmosphere in the team always seemed fine, according to the popular title song “Everybody Needs Good Neighbors.”

In the final episode, the residents of what is likely the most famous dead end in television history celebrated their goodbyes. “It definitely feels like the end of an era,” says Harold Bishop (Ian Smith) in the preview. “It’s all happening fast.” (sda/dpa/cbe)

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By Benedikt von Imhoff, DPA

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