Australian soap opera Neighbours returns in Amazon reboot


Australian soap opera Neighbours made a comeback on Monday (Sep 18) in a highly publicised reboot, nearly 14 months after the show wrapped up last year in an emotional finale after running for nearly four decades.

Set in the fictional Melbourne suburb of Erinsborough, the television drama first launched in Australia in 1985 and in Britain a year later, becoming a small-screen staple and launching the careers of Kylie Minogue, Margot Robbie and Guy Pearce, among others.

It aired its last episode of a 37-year run in July 2022 after its financial backer, Britain’s Channel 5, cut it in favour of local content.

Following an outcry from fans, streaming giant Amazon announced in November it would revive the drama, airing it in Britain and the United States on its ad-supported service Amazon Freevee. In Australia, the show will air on Channel 10, and on subscription service Prime Video, where fans in New Zealand and Canada, can also watch it.

“The show is still Neighbours and it will continue to be Neighbours, it’s just Neighbours with a nice polish,” original cast actor Stefan Dennis, who plays the villainous, six-times married businessman Paul Robinson, told Reuters.

There is a “bit more thrown at it… but it basically is still the same formula, which is great”.

Last year’s finale saw old stars, including Minogue, return to Ramsay Street, the cul-de-sac where the show is set.

“To have the opportunity to do a redo is so special because so many people love this show so much,” actor Alan Fletcher, who returns as Karl Kennedy, said.

Actor Rebekah Elmaloglou said reprising her role of Terese Willis was an easy ‘yes.’

“I screamed around the house for about five minutes ‘Oh my God, oh my God, I can’t believe it’,” she said, describing her reaction after getting the call about returning.

The show features plenty of new faces, too, including The O.C. actress Mischa Barton, who joins as mysterious American Reece.

Set two years after the finale, the series begins with the arrival of new residents, the Varga-Murphy family, and a wedding that will shock fans.

“(I am) definitely excited but I think we are all kind of nervous and intrigued to see how (fans are) going to feel about the new plot twists and how it relaunches itself,” said actor Tim Kano, who plays Leo Tanaka.

“A lot of the plot lines are a lot different.”


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