everybody needs good neighbours
with a little understanding
you can find the perfect blend...

should be there for one another
that's when good neighbours become good friends

should be there for one another
that's when good neighbours become good friends...
(that's when) good neighbours become good friends

The above is the theme song 1 to Australia's longest running soap series, Neighbours. First aired on March 18 1985, the series is broadcast Monday to Friday in Australia, each episode lasting half an hour. Neighbours is produced by The Grundy Organisation and currently airs on Channel Ten.

HAROLD (Ian Smith): "Madge has consented to be my bride."
MRS MANGEL (Vivean Gray): "Well I'm sorry Mr Bishop, but all I can do is commiserate and hope that you come to your senses before too long!"

Once upon a time, in 1984, the Seven Network commissioned The Grundy Organisation to make a soap opera which was vastly different from the most popular soap of the day, Sons and Daughters. Reg Watson was put in charge of the project, and envisaged a wonderful program which would not dwell on the sexual, 'adult', domestic relationships portrayed in Sons and Daughters; the original Neighbours was a gritty working class-focussed program which dwelled on the problems and issues lower socio-economic classes faced daily. After five pilot scripts, two filmed pilots and another name ("One Way Street"), Neighbours was born. It didn't do as well as Seven had hoped in its 5.30 timeslot, and after six months the station bigwigs axed the soap.

HELEN (Anne Haddy): "I'm suddenly feeling very tired."
PHILIP (Ian Rawlings/Christopher Milne): "Do you want to have a lay down?"
HELEN: "No, I'll be alright here, with Hannah."(Helen's last words)

Grundy sold the series to Channel Ten, who needed a popular program to air before Perfect Match to keep the youth satisfied. The program changed significantly in a short time; the lower class, middle-aged characters were replaced by younger, hipper, higher classed characters. The cast were good-looking (think 80s good-looking, like Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan), wore trendy clothes, and had 'cool' or professional jobs. The show remained set and filmed in Melbourne, Victoria.

TOADIE (Ryan Moloney): "Did you hear Johnny Silver is in town?"
BILL (Jesse Spencer): "Isn't he dead?"
TOADIE: "No, he just looks like it. He's doing a gig at Little Tommy Tuckers."
BILL: "Tommy Tuckers? I bet he wishes he was dead now!"

Neighbours has supplied some of the most memorable moments in Australian soaps. Who can forget the beautiful wedding between Charlene Ramsey (Kylie Minogue) and Scott Robinson (Jason Donovan)? And the deaths of Helen and Madge were just so sappy... how could you not be touched? Neighbours has also launched the singing and international acting careers of many ex-cast members: Kylie, Jason, Natalie Imbruglia, Jesse Spencer, Craig McLachlan, Eliza Gazdowicz, Ann Charleston... such fine talent! So many pantomimes!

Neighbours is very popular in Australia, and has an almost cult following in the UK, surviving on a mishmash of affairs, marital happiness, everyday drama, unreal situations, wacky schemes and teen angst. It is shown in almost fifty countries across the world, and, as such, is the most popular Australian soap thusfar.

1 This version of the theme song is the one currently played on the program. Although the versions have altered slightly since the show's inception the lyrics, written by Tony Hatch & Jackie Trent, have not changed. Barry Croker remains the singer. In times of sadness on the program (after a death) a musical version is played over the closing credits and a montage of the character's life.

Info from:, and Moran's Guide to Australian Television Series (Albert Moran, Allen & Unwin, 1993)

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