Goodbye Ramsay Street: 10 ways neighbors changed British culture Neighbors

AAfter nearly four decades of unlikely melodramas, British viewers are set to see the closing credits on July 29 of the TV soap opera that made a group of small-town Australian families really seem like “neighbors who became good friends,” to misquote the enduring theme tune by Tony Hatch. Memories of the dead end at the heart of the plot may fade, but the show’s impact will live on.

Modern Oz

Erinsborough, a location dreamed up and filmed by Grundy Television at Pin Oak Court near Melbourne, was the kind of environment that audiences in gray Britain would want to live in: it was warm and friendly and much more approachable than the surrounding area many American soaps. A seat at a table at Waterhole, the bar at the Lassiters Complex, didn’t seem out of reach. So the fictional suburb became a new ideal, the home of laid-back, English-language fun in the sun, and it also quickly updated the wartime image of a backward Australia portrayed in another of Reg Grundy’s beloved long-running drama series. The Sullivans.

youth drama

The creaky, class-ridden world of British daytime soap operas embodied by ITVs The cedar tree or CrossingShe took a small “King blow” off Neighbors‘ unexpected youth attractiveness. On the plus side, however, it gave Phil Redmond the momentum it needed to finally convince Channel 4 Hollyoaks. Spurred on by the success of the show and its rival, home and away1995 Redmond, creator of Grange Hill and BrooksideHe had asked, “Why do we only have to have the Australian stuff?”

TV programs

The general presence of Neighbors When it hit British screens in five weekly installments in 1986, it rocked the nation’s daytime viewing habits. Until the Australian show proved how moral normal drama can be, Coronation Street, EastEnders and Emmerdale only went to their devoted audience twice a week. But in just over a decade, all three British soap operas had introduced a third weekly episode.

Repeat episodes were also well received, with BBC One postponing its morning repeat Neighbors previous midday show through early evening, on the advice of the school-age daughter of the station’s controller at the time, Michael Grade. The combined audience peaked in 1990 at more than 21 million. After nearly 22 years entertaining BBC viewers, Neighbors moved to Channel 5 in 2008 because its producer Fremantle Media asked too much money to renew the contract.

Harold Bishop looks impassive as he wraps his hands around Paul Robinson's neck from behind
Harold Bishop strangles the villainous Paul Robinson after a plane crash that has devastated the community – one of several revealing storylines. Photo: Fremantle Media/Shutterstock

Stupid conspiracy

Believability was no limit to the kind of storylines that propelled the cast through love affairs, breakups and bereavement. Harold Bishop was washed up at sea for five years only to return with amnesia, a contagious disease on the show that also infected Susan Kennedy after she slipped on some milk. There have been plenty of disasters, including emergency tracheotomy, an explosion at a wedding, the 2014 Erinsborough tornado, the Lassiters fire (the villain’s Paul Robinson was to blame), and of course, an infamous dream sequence involving Bouncer, Joe Mangel’s dog She falls asleep and dreams of marrying Rosie, the black and white collie next door, and raising puppies.

Fresh talent pool

The list of stars who dropped out Neighbors intact is impressive. Highly paid, Oscar-nominated Hollywood actress Margot Robbie landed one of her first jobs as schoolgirl Donna on the show for a few seasons, while Russell Crowe had an early stint as bad boy Kenny Larkin before earning an Oscar gladiator. Guy Pearce was the smiley Mike Young on the show until 1989, when he finally showed up The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Deserta role that brought him Hollywood attention and led to the lead role in Christopher Nolan’s memorybefore recently courting Kate Winslet Mare by Easttown.

The Faces of Peter O’Brien, who played Shane Ramsay and then took on the role of Scissors Smedley in the acclaimed British hospital drama cardiac arrest, and by Alan Dale, who played Jim Robinson, are also known. Dale has since appeared on the TV show Lostand the movies Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

A young Donna stands with her hands clasped next to Susan, an older woman, both of whom are looking at something backstage
Hollywood star Margot Robbie (left, with Jackie Woodburne as Susan) in an early career role as Donna. Photo: FremantleMedia/Rex

Australian humor

The daily comedic twists of Ian Smith as Harold Bishop, Mark Little as Joe Mangel and later Ryan Moloney as troubled class clown Toadfish Rebecchi have shaped Australia’s international image at least as lastingly as that of Dame Edna Everage or Crocodile Dundee. Bishop became the show’s unofficial ambassador for a while and is back for the finale, along with Little, who later took his standup shows to the outskirts of Edinburgh, replacing Chris Evans on TV The big breakfast and played in London’s West End. However, “Toadie” is still a mainstay of the show and his fourth vows will now help Neighbors say goodbye forever He eventually tries his luck with Melanie Pearson, played by Lucinda Cowen.

pop music

For British audiences, the show’s biggest impact was the bubbly, diminutive form of Kylie Minogue, who played mechanic Charlene Mitchell on the show. After chart success alongside her on-screen husband Scott Robinson, actor and singer Jason Donovan, Stock Aitken and Waterman reimagined her as a pop star with a string of UK chart hits.

After an affair with INXS’ Michael Hutchence, she suddenly found street fame as a disco queen before eventually becoming a consistent crowd favorite in international stadiums. Hot on Kylie’s heels was Natalie Imbruglia, with Beth Brennan joining Neighborswho had a hit with the song Torn, and then came Holly Valance who played Felicity Scully.

But there were bad songs too, including disturbing tracks by actor Stefan Dennis aka Paul Robinson and by Craig McLachlan, better known as Charlene’s crazy brother Henry.

LGBTQ+ stories

That Neighbors The wedding album may still be dominated by memorabilia of Charlene and Scott’s union in 1988, seen by just under 20 million viewers in the UK, but characters David and Aaron’s 2018 wedding was an equally big moment for that gay audience. The show didn’t have a reputation for crossing societal boundaries, but has made up for it in recent years by staging the first same-sex wedding on Australian television. Three years ago, the show also introduced its first trans character, Mackenzie Hargreaves. The storylines followed her gender confirmation surgery and sexual identity change. Most influential, however, was the decision to treat her like any other teenager on the show most of the time.

A man and woman look at each other fondly in the dimly lit cab of a Ute (light pickup truck).
Ned (Daniel O’Connor) and Kirsten (Nikola Dubois) share a quiet moment in a “ute.” Photo: Fremantle Media/Shutterstock


Early episodes gave British viewers a long-needed update on Australian slang, finally breaking the cliches established by Waltzing Matilda’s lyrics and establishing a new Australian lexicon, many of which have been adopted by the show’s teenage and student fans. So “dosser” became “claps”, snitches became “dobbern” and a row became a “blue”. More explanation was needed when calling a pickup truck “a ute,” short for “utility,” or to appreciate that “thongs” really meant flip-flops. Everything on Ramsay Street was shortened: often a weekend involved visiting his ‘Rellies’ or dressing up his ‘Cozzies’ and ‘Sunnys’ to go to the beach and swim in the ‘Arvo’, but beware the ‘Mozzies “. the way back home. The abbreviation of “university” or “univ” to “uni” is now so common in Britain that its etymological roots in Neighbors have largely been forgotten.


The show’s aesthetic, including its bright primary colors, ripped vest tops, board shorts and Charlene’s totemic tomboy dungarees, had an immediate impact on youth looks in Britain, as did the simple, open kitchen lives of many local sets.

Charlene’s curls and the early mullet hairstyles of Scott, Shane and Henry also had their eager copyists. This mix of kitsch and cool became more difficult to unravel after a string of celebrity guest appearances on the show, including from the Pet Shop Boys’ Chris Lowe, Spice Girl Emma Bunton, Michael Parkinson, Russell Brand, Lily Allen, Matt Lucas and David Walliams.

The finale of Neighbors takes place on July 29th at 9pm on Channel 5.

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