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With a little understanding, you can find the perfect blend (Photo: Tina Tiller)
With a little understanding, you can find the perfect blend (Photo: Tina Tiller)

Pop CultureMarch 11, 2022

Time to rack off: Saying goodbye to Neighbours’ most iconic moments

With a little understanding, you can find the perfect blend (Photo: Tina Tiller)
With a little understanding, you can find the perfect blend (Photo: Tina Tiller)

Everybody needs good Neighbours, until the day they don’t. 

After 37 years, Neighbours is no more. The iconic Australian soap set in a quiet Melbourne cul-de-sac has reached its own dead end, with the announcement that production of the show will stop in June. After the UK’s Channel 5 dropped Neighbours from its schedule, production company Fremantle decided the series was no longer financially viable. They kindly told Neighbours to “rack off”, and rack off they will.

In those four decades, Neighbours delivered all sorts of drama. Remember when Cheryl Stark was captured by Ecuadorian rebels, or when Marlene went on a cruise and never came back? What about when Dr Karl Kennedy formed a band called Oodles ‘O’ Noodles, or Kerry Mangel was killed during an anti-duck shooting protest, or Delta Goodrem launched her pop career?

Neighbours didn’t have the sun and sand of Home and Away, but it had ordinary people living in an ordinary street who also fell down mine shafts or got amnesia. It’s hard to choose which Neighbours moment is the most iconic, and yet, like Susan Kennedy performing an emergency tracheotomy on Lou Carpenter when he choked on a sandwich during a tornado, we’ve given it a crack.

10) Toadie drives off a cliff on his wedding day

When good neighbours become good friends (Photo: YouTube)

Toadie and Dee’s marriage began badly when he accidentally drove off a cliff on their wedding day in 2003. Dee was dead, until she turned up 16 years later to confront the woman who had assumed her identity to embezzle $100,000 from Toadie, and who turned out to be her twin from whom she was separated at birth. Awkward.

9) Susan Kennedy is bitten by a zombie 

The face of a woman bitten by her zombie son-in-law (Photo: YouTube)

2014’s Halloween spinoff saw a zombie attack on Ramsay Street, with dead characters returning to life, the theme song lyrics changing to “everybody eats their neighbours”, and Susan more scared than the time she slipped on spilt milk and woke up thinking she was 16. It was followed in 2017 by Neighbours vs Time Travel, when Paul Robinson traveled through time and was almost eaten by a dinosaur.

8) Mrs Mangel

An angel stands before us (Photo: YouTube)

Nell Mangel was the first villain of Ramsay Street, a prickly busybody with a nose for trouble and an ear for smut. She was everyone’s frenemy, but she did get drunk with Harold that one time in 1987, so maybe she was just misunderstood. Mrs Mangel left the street when she found true love. A fairytale ending for an absolute queen.

7) Toadie’s mullet gets the snip

When your hair is more iconic than you are

Toadie’s mullet was one of the finest ponytails on Australian TV, second only to Kim’s wedding-day switch in Kath and Kim. Sadly, this bushy neck warmer got the chop in 1999. Gone, but never forgotten.

6) The tornado 

It got windy in Erinsborough in 2014. A dog went missing, a car was swept away, and Kyle spent the entire tornado trapped in a portaloo. An incredible week for all involved.

5) Paula Abdul makes a guest appearance

Opposites attract

Paula Abdul popping into Lassiters for a drink is an unlikely scenario, but the suburban charms of Dr Karl Kennedy know no end. Tragically, no video evidence of this rendezvous exists online, but Abdul joined a prestigious list of celebrities to visit Ramsay Street over the years, including Shane Warne, Lily Allen and The Wiggles.

4) Harold disappears

Haaaaarold (Photos: YouTube)

Everyone adored Harold Bishop, the bumbling fool with the kind heart who found true love with Madge. It was a match made in heaven, until the fateful day Harold was washed out to sea, leaving nothing behind but his glasses in a rock pool filled with the nation’s tears.

Harold was missing for five years, until Helen Daniels found him suffering from amnesia. Harold regained his memory, but later suffered a heart attack during a rap-off with Margot Robbie.

3) Scott and Charlene’s wedding

I should be so lucky (Photo: YouTube)

They were Neighbours’ first power couple, and in 1987 over 20 million viewers watched teenagers Charlene and Scott get hitched. Everything about the wedding was peak 1980s, from Scott’s silky mullet to the gypsophila in Charlene’s perm, and even now, the piano intro of ‘Suddenly’ gets me as emotional as Mrs Mangel when she caught the bouquet.

2) Jim returns as a ghost in a Christmas ornament

A true Christmas miracle (Photo: YouTube)

Ramsay Street’s original patriarch Jim Robinson died in 1993. Like most dead people, we heard nothing more from him, until Christmas Day 2018 when Jim came back as a ghost in a Christmas ornament.

Paul Robinson – a poor man’s Chris Warner with a thousand ex-wives and even more children – crashed his car and lost consciousness. When he woke, his dead father stared back at him from inside a bauble hanging from the rear view mirror.

What follows is Alan Dale’s finest work. His lines are few, his time is brief, but he smashes every “ghost trapped in a festive ornament” TV cliche. “What have you done now?” Jim barks in greeting, livid at being woken from his 25 year slumber. He gives his troubled son some simple advice, and then the glittery portal closes forever.

1) Bouncer’s dream 

It is clear the dogs are in love (Photo: YouTube)

Not only is this the finest moment in Neighbours history, The Spinoff’s Calum Henderson declared this the “greatest moment in Australian television history”. Bouncer was the best dog Neighbours ever had, and this 1991 dream sequence where he marries his canine girlfriend Rosie is TV soap at its finest. Ridiculous, unnecessary, yet utterly compelling. 30 years later, and we’re still talking about the time an Australian soap featured a labrador’s dream. Perfection.

Neighbours screens Monday-Thursday on TVNZ 1 at 4.30pm and on TVNZ OnDemand. Get it while you can. 

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