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      12.11.2010 18:33
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      An Australian soap opera that has been running for 25 years.

      Neighbours, for those of you that don't know is a long-running Australian soap opera that started airing in 1985 in Australia and 1986 in the UK. It has celebrated its 25th anniversary this year. The soap has such an iconic theme tune that it has apparently been voted the world's most recognised television theme song.

      Neighours is based on the residents that live in the fictional Ramsey Street, Erinsborough. Other than Ramsey Street homes and gardens, Neighbours features the Lassiters Complex which includes Lassiters Hotel, Charlie's bar, Harold's Store and also featured are the garage, Erinborough High School, Hospital and Lou's car lot. I know that what we see as Ramsey Street is actually a real street in Australia that is used for all the external scenes shown on screen; however what we see as the interiors to the houses are all studio based.

      I think over the 25 years Neighbours has been aired it has changed drastically. I was too young to watch it when it initially started but have over the years seen many repeated episodes and iconic clips so I feel like I have watched it from the beginning. Initially, the soap centered on 3 families - the Ramsey's, Robinson's and the Clarke's. I remember iconic incidents from this era such as Daphne's coma, Scott and Charlene's wedding, the meddling Mrs. Mangel and Madge and Harold's romance.

      My interest in Neighbours hit its peak whilst I was in secondary school in the 90's. It was always topic of conversation and if the title sequence was ever changed it was big news. I distinctly remember always wondering why were so many women interested in Paul Robinson, being utterly shocked when Cody Willis got shot, being desperate for Toadie to cut off that ponytail, being confused by Harold's amnesia, being distraught when Todd got ran over and feeling like it was the end of an era when Jim Robinson died and years later when Helen Daniels died.

      Over the last 10 years I have dipped in and out of Neighbours - I don't watch it daily anymore. I do find that it is quite easy to follow despite not watching every episode and I also think that Neighbours is much more light-hearted and humorous than most of the other soaps probably due to the time it airs.

      One thing that I always find entertaining about Neighbours is the soaps ability to be completely unrealistic. I always comment on how Karl Kennedy single-handedly runs the Hospital and seems to be trained for every type of medical emergency possible. It also makes me laugh that Toadie is every person on Ramsey Streets Lawyer, how illness such as blindness last only an episode and how pregnancies don't last a few months let alone 9 months. All of these are reasons why I enjoy watching Neighbours.

      Neighbours has produced some really well known celebrities. Alan Dale who starred as Jim Robinson has been in many big American hit series over recent years, Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan, Natalie Imbruglia, Holly Valance and Delta Goodram to name but a few.

      There are still some characters that I remember from the days where I was an avid viewer such as the Kennedy's, Toadie, Lou Carpenter and Paul Robinson. The soap is no longer centered on just 3 families but does still have links to its history with the introduction of some new Ramsey's last year and Paul Robinson retuning to the street a few years ago. Most of the households now contain people that are loosely related and quite a few of the families seem to have taken in waifs and strays.

      I think this a soap that you don't need to watch religiously to follow and is very light-hearted and quite funny at times.

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      03.09.2010 01:44
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      A dated show well past its sell by date. AXE IT NOW!

      I saw this the other day for the first time in approximately 50 years. It is more diabolical than I could have imagined. Neighbours was the show of choice for my classmates back in the late 80s. It wasn't any good then either. However, it did have a couple of redeeming qualities. It focused on families back then, and everybody seemed to have a place on Ramsay Street. Now, it would appear that its just a mish mash of random characters, in much the same way as Hollyoaks, except not as craptastic or remotely interesting.

      Neighbours began in 1985 on Australian television, and was axed a few months later. Focusing on the Ramsays (which the street was apparently named after, for some bizarre reason) and the Robinsons, it was created by Grundy television. A few short minutes after its axing, another channel saved it, and god help us, its still showing around the world to a fraction of its former audience.

      Back in the day, Paul Robinson was the JR Ewing of Erinsborough, and is still playing that part. Nobody's tried to off him with a gun, but I believe he's been through a jail sentence, a plane crash, many fires, and a dodgy short lived singing career. Thats the norm for the Ramsay Street people, to go off and release records. Charlene has done it, Scott then done it, then Henry, then Madge and Harold, before handing the singing baton down to the big lipped twins, that Kiss Kiss woman, and Natalie Umbrella.

      The stories were simple, which was just as well, because it was a staple of early afternoon and tea time television schedules in many countries. Rumour has it that it was moved from a morning slot to tea time because mobs of kids were jumping school to catch it. Clearly they didn't have VCR's in their home. So, for twenty years, Neighbours successfully played out from BBC, before they lost the contract to the high brow Channel 5, which is known for its quality television.

      Apparently, the show now plays to an audience of half a million. Compare that to the 21 million viewers who saw Kylie Minogue waddle up the aisle in a dress twice the size of her to marry Jason Donovan, whose hair was even bigger than Minogue's frock. That will indicate just how much this show has lost the plot and its audience. Yet, Australian tv makers refuse to axe it because it still pays for itself and fits in with the regulations they are required to meet to keep on air.

      Okay, so now about some of the storylines I can recall. Originally, the Ramsays and Robinsons were supposedly enemies, although things initially seemed rather cosy. This was brought to the forefront by the arrival of Mad Madge, the husky voiced vixen who appeared to be mother of the year, despite dumping her kids in Queensland. With her came pompous Harold, who only bowed out recently, played with aplomb by Australian veteran Ian Smith. Anne Charleston was the lovable hag Madge.

      Anyway, when she turned up, her tomboy daughter Charlene soon followed, punched neighbour Scott in the face, fell in love with him, fell out with him, punched him again, was sent away to work in Queensland, returned half an hour later, moved in with him, got blown up in a caravan explosion, before marrying him, then discovering he had an affair with her best friend, before buggering off to Queensland for good. Scott and Charlene's antics remained the highlight of the early years.

      Across the street, daft Des married dippy Daphne, who couldn't have babies, but got pregnant anyway, before being sued by the local busy body Mrs Mangle. In a rare well acted and well written storyline in Neighbours, Daphne remained in a coma for about a year before whispering something to her hubby and then dying, after being run off the road by a couple of thugs.

      Back to Mrs Mangle. She was the manipulative granny of plain Jane, super brain. Jane was forever apologising for old Granny Mangle, who saw her husband off after discovering he was cheating. We never got to see her husband until long after she had gone, but rumour had it in the early days that she had bumped him off, aided by the discovery of a gun in the back garden. She moved to England to marry some elderly gentleman, and is apparently still there, despite being 136 years old now.

      The Robinson clan were made up of Helen Daniels, the wise old gran of the cul-de-sac, who oversaw everything and everybody. She lived with son in law Jim, who raised his four children after the death of his wife. The children were the aforementioned Paul and Scott, as well as Lucy, who was played by at least half a dozen actresses in a very short time, and Julie, who got thrown off the top of a hotel by her wilful step daughter Debbie.

      At least this lot had spirit, even if they didn't have much in the way of meaty storylines or acting ability. Back then, the sets wobbled, but it all looked very pretty and made for pleasant television. Audiences stalked the stars round shopping centres, and rushed out to buy their every book, record and hair extensions. Then, they all left to pursue more serious careers. Kylie Minogue can be seen at a concert hall near you. Melissa Bell can be seen at a knocking shop near you.

      Characters that also managed to add a little colour to Ramsay Street were Caroline and Christina, who came as a pair, played by real life twins Gayle and Gillian Blakeny. The two of them had one acting gene between them, but at least they had those lips. Part of Neighbours memorabilia was a set of Blakeny lips that you could lick and stick to the window for your own amusement.

      We also got treated to laugh-a-minute Melanie, who literally sounded like a cat being strangled. She married somebody whose wife died in an animal rights protest. Elsewhere, Lou Carpenter came to the street to win back the heart of his old flame Madge. Everybody was after her, you know. The way was cleared when old Harold fell off a cliff, bequeathed his specs to Madge, and then turned up with the very fictional and very convenient illness amnesia.

      Years later, when people were still watching, Helen died in her arm chair, and Madge got cancer. Cancer is not something to be made light of, so how this flimsy badly written show thought they could pull it off is beyond me. Dont get me wrong, Anne Charleston gave it some welly, but the BBC were having a laugh when they stuck up cancer help line numbers at the end of the airing of this show. Surely, nobody felt moved or saddened by such a blatantly bad example of somebody suffering from this terrible illness.

      That was really the last time I watched Neighbours, as I grew up then. The episode the other day only highlighted how much more rubbish it has become. The sets still wobble, none of the actors can act, the characters all look and act the same, and there is not an ounce of individuality or originality left on the show. I'm not a fan of Home and Away either, but on the rare occasion's that I'm home from work that early, I noted that it is at least moving with the times, reasonably well acted, and attempts to provide proper adult drama to enjoy.

      The actors (???) from Neighbours who have made a notable departure from the street to other things are few and far between, although many tried. I would never mock the lovely Kylie, as I'm a huge fan of hers, I'm just glad she disassociated herself from this rabble early on. Guy Pearce has had a fairly successful career in excellent films such as LA Confidential, Memento, and Priscilla; Queen Of The Desert. Jason Donovan had a fairly admirable recording career for somebody who can barely sing a note in tune, then got hooked on drugs and is now doing panto.

      Natalie Imbruglia had some relative success as a somewhat alternative pop singer, but seems to have opted for a quiet life in recent years. Anne Charleston was on Emmerdale til not long ago. It pays the bills. Alan Dale has appeared on American shows such as Nip/Tuck and Ugly Betty. And Stefan Dennis showed up in Scotland on our very own laughable drama River City before bogging off back to Ramsay Street to become JR Ewing once again.

      Whilst Neighbours was never brilliant tv to start with, it did capture the imagination of kids and parents the nation over. If there were any justice, it would have been thrown off the telly when it was still relatively well thought of. Instead, it continues to roll out random characters, unrelated to anybody else on the show, and taking up nightly half hour slots that would be better served to show something else. I'm in the camp for "Bring back Crossroads". However, if that doesn't work out, there's always re-runs of Fawlty Towers.

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        07.06.2010 00:23
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        I would miss 'Neighbours' if it ended.

        I have been a fan of the television programme, 'Neighbours,' a daytime soap opera, from the beginning. I first watched it on BBC one, as a mum with two young children. It was my treat, while having lunch. My three year old loved to sing to the theme song,
        'Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours...' This song has been changed over the years but would still be recognisable as the theme song. I think it's only the tune that has changed anyhow, not the lyrics.

        I still like to watch this at lunch time but as it is aired at 1.45 p.m. I record it. I am now a day or two behind.

        Neighbours was first aired in Australia but became more successful in the U.K. It was first shown in the U.K. in October, 1986, on BBC1, but moved to Channel Five in 2008.

        When this Australian soap was first broadcast in the United Kingdom, daytime TV hadn't really taken off. There was news, educational programmes and a soap, called, 'The Sullivans.' That too, was Australian. I enjoyed 'Neighbours' from the start.

        This series looks at the lives of neighbours (of course!) residing in Ramsey Street in the suburb of Erinsborough. Much activity takes place in the neighbour's homes and gardens and in the street where they sometimes enjoy community cricket matches. I think an attraction for this programme is that other locations are used. Characters move quickly around, for example visiting the Lassiter Complex where there is the busy Lassiter's Hotel, Harold's coffee shop (now run by Lynne Scully) and Charlie's Bar, which has been taken over by Rebecca Robinson. Also, the high school is often featured.


        Since 1986 families have come and gone but I remember the first episodes which introduced the residents of three houses in this street. They were:


        The Ramseys
        ************

        The street was built and named for a Ramsey and the family were proud of their street and name. Max, married to the gentle Maria, and father to Shane and Danny.
        Later the Mitchells came into the story (Madge and her children, Henry and Charlene- Kylie Minogue) and Madge was a Ramsey (Max's sister)


        The Robinson's
        *************

        Jim, widowed and father to Julie, Paul (Paul who is a present day key character), Scott (later played by Jason Donovan) and Lucy. And the patient Helen Daniels, Jim's mother-in-law. Helen painted the portrait of the Kennedy children still on their living room wall.


        The Clarkes
        ***********

        Respectable bachelor Des, about to get married. Later, he asks Daphne to move in with him and leventually they marry.


        In the first episodes Des was about to marry. Daphne a stripper is hired for the stag night. The wedding ends up being cancelled and soon Daphne and Des start a relationship.


        Neighbours has covered many subjects and in all it's years some probably more than once. Mainly teenage trauma, adoption and trying to trace birth parents, cancer, family deaths, jealousy, revenge There have been hostage situations, shootings, wrongful imprisonment...you name it, it's most likely been covered.
        I agree with critics that, like any soap, the story lines are far fetched and, often, not thought out enough but I still find I get caught up in the lives of these people. I grew so angry with Dan's attitude to Libby recently and his controlling behaviour. BUT what makes this, for me, a much better programme to watch than say, 'Eastenders' is the often vibrant characters.
        I find there is humour (which Eastenders should take note of!) intertwined in many story lines.
        Also, the youngsters playing central characters are usually more wholesome than those portrayed on British soaps. I think our TV teenagers seem to get involved in everything bad, possibly helping to give our youth a bad name, whereas the Aussie kids are (mostly) essentially good.

        My favourite characters over the years have been; Daphne Lawrence, Joe Mangel, Harold Bishop, Charlene (Kylie Minogue), Beth (Nathalie Imbruglia), Sky Mangel and Toady.


        Key character at present are: Stephanie Scully, Toady, Doctor Karl Kennedy and wife Susan, Libby, Zeke, Declan Napier, Kate Ramsay and family, Lucas and more.


        * In case your viewing doesn't go back that far, Bouncer was a Golden Labrador dog. Originally the pet of Lucy Robinson, he tended to be adopted by different Ramsey street homes and families. He was a very popular member of the cast.

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          05.06.2010 21:11
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          Bring on Monday!

          I am a long-standing viewer of Neighbours, even watching it during the worst possible times. For some reason I can't not watch it and even record it now I have sky+. It also seems to be essential student viewing considering the students I know.

          Neighbours takes place in the fictional area of Erinsborough (more precisely, Ramsey Street) in Australia. Most of the episodes are centred around Ramsey Street, Harolds Store or Charlies (which I still preferred when it was Lou's Place).

          Neighbours isn't serious viewing, but it makes a for a good dose of escapism with its nutty plot lines and simple characters. It really is the street where anything can happen and as such is never boring. The plotlines may not be gripping or leave you wanting more but they are definitely entertaining. Whether there is bombs on planes, people dying, terminal illness, getting pregnant by your best friends husband while cheating on her best friends husbands brother and then pretending the baby is her ex's, all of a sudden one character has a creepy porportion of photographs of their friend that were found after going missing after a rafting trip that is soon forgotten about, if they move away they will move to London (though they have branched out to New York recently) and this is probably some of the more saner plot lines.

          The characters are nothing special. The turnover of characters has slowed down somewhat recently, though they have made some odd additions. There are some characters who you shouldn't expect to see leave soon. Mainly Susan and Karl Kennedy and Lou (though Lou is not in it so much recently, and I assume actually will be leaving permanently more soon). There is the ever loveable Toadie as well, who has definitely grown up in recent years. The characters may not be amazing or awe-inspiring but they are good enough to keep you watching it.

          I wish I could articulate why I actually like this programme, but I can't. There have been some characters that I have really enjoyed (Conner, Stingray and some others) and there have been some plotlines that I have felt the need to continue watching but none are coming to mind right now. It doesn't have the best reputation, especially for being so unconnected to reality. But it is a part of my day and I make sure I have a cup of tea ready.

          Neighbours is on channel five, weekdays at 1:45pm and 5:30pm.

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            27.03.2010 11:59

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            Just getting better with age.

            Oh, where to begin, my beloved Neighbours...

            I'm 27 and have been watching Neighbours every day for just about as long as I can remember...It's survived school, uni and now well into my working life, despite the move to Channel 5, the many changes in format and so on.

            Neighbours is *great*. It's just 20 minutes of escapism every day...To go down under, where it's pretty much always sunny, where people know their neighbours, play cricket in the street and have jobs they hardly ever turn up to.

            It's so much nicer than the English soap operas that I find somewhat bleak in their realism, but it's not as far-fetched as the likes of Sunset Beach or Days of our Lives. There's drama...and the characters have their problems, but rarely in a completely unbelievable way - although there are times where the crew are obviously trying to get their money's worth out of the hospital set and you kinda think "how many times have these people been almost dead, now??"

            I've seen generations of cast come and go...Sure, looks are often placed above acting prowess in the casting process, but I rarely cringe at the acting - and you get beautiful people to look at every day.

            I enjoy it every day, it makes me happy - long live the Neighbours

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            21.03.2010 11:50
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            Overall, simple to watch and fun

            Neighbours is a long running Australian Soap opera that was originally aired on BBC1 for along time before moving to Channel 5 in recent years. I watched this religiously when I was younger around the time when Scott played by Jason Donovan and Charlene played by Kylie Minogue were in it. I have to admit I used to love this soap alot more than say Eastenders as it was alot more light hearted and fun and I found others to be depressing. However, I have to admit I haven't watched this soap regularly now for while, although noticed that Paul Robinson, one of the original characters is back in it.

            The soap focuses on the residents of Ramsay Street in Erinsborough which is a fictitious place in Australia, but actually filmed on a set in Melbourne. We see them as they go about their daily lives and their trials and tribulations. I have to confess when this first started they didn't really address serious storylines but over the years they have done.

            The funny thing is the times I have visited Australia to see relatives they do not seem to like it over there but it is very popular over here. I still tune in to watch when I want a break from the serious stuff in Eastenders and Coronation street. The reason this is so popular with many viewers I think and also with me at various points is that we all secretly long to be living out there with the sunshine and friendly atmosphere. Everyone seems more upbeat when the sun is shining through.

            This soap is definately worth watching as it's an easy watch and light hearted and if you have never got into it it's very simple to follow and come back to if you've been away for a while.

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            05.02.2010 18:37
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            A good program to watch at the end of a hard day

            My mum watched Neighbours and it is now the only soap that I watch. I started watched Eastenders and others but found them too argumentative and violent.

            I come home from work and sit down and 'veg' infront of Neighbours. It requires minimum concentration and I enjoy following the lives of the different characters.

            The program follows the neighbours that live on Ramsey Street. The adults, family and children that attend Erinsborough High. The story lines are fairly interesting, although quite often predictable.

            Some of the characters include Lou (who works in the pub and shop), Paul Robinson (who is trying to show the good side of his character), Susan (who is carrying her daughter's baby), Karl (husband of Susan and doctor in the street) and many others.

            I find the adverts on channel Five frustrating, when the program is only 25 minutes long, but I normally Sky+ this bit and fast forward. I missed neighbours while it was being moved, and during the Christmas break etc. Its my little bit of relaxation time during the day. Its also a bonus to see the heat of Australia, especially during our winters when they are celebrating Christmas around the BBQ.

            I'm currently learning sign language and the added bonus is that a signed show is shown on channel Five, at about 5am, but thank god for Sky+.

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              14.01.2010 19:14
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              Don't knock before you watch it.

              Okay its confessional time! I have been an avid watcher of Neighbours since its first episode - okay who remembers THAT birthday cake and Daphne?

              If you have been on the planet Zog and are not aware of the programme, the premise is that this daily australian soap opera (who came up with the name "continuing drama"?) is set in one cul-de-sac - Ramsey Street. Throughout the years the stories have revolved around the six houses on the street and the people who live there. Fact is suspended when you realise that the adults would have to sleep about seven to a bedroom, the amount of rooms each house has - but that is quickly overlooked when you realise that you are rarely shown anything other than the lounge and the kitchen.

              Throughout the years there have been a number of stories and the writers are not shy of tackling difficult topics. However there is also a strong moral purpose running throughout the tales and the youngsters, though getting into trouble as many young people do, never vere far from the straight and narrow. Even a recent teenage pregnancy was completed with a quick wedding. Schoolgirls wear incredibly stupid school dresses without complaint and the adults solve marital crises - time after time - just watch the Kennedys.

              This is a perennial - it has even survived a move from BBC to Channel 5 - and can be classed as a guilty pleasure. Neighbours has many knockers, ad it can be tempting to jump on that particular bandwagon. However it is also easy watching after a stressful day and kind of keeps you rooted to your past.

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                28.12.2009 18:51
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                A woman in her 60s is pregnant with her own grandchild through a process of IVF, conveniently ignoring the relapsing/remitting MS that threatened to confine her to the house two months previous and unaware that her adopted son, who works in a radio station, has just been locked in a cupboard by his girlfriend's psychopathic angel faced stalker. A few doors down the road an orphaned teenager looking after her younger brother and sister agonises about a bullying girl who is hindering her efforts to organise a debutante's ball and a widowed boy struggles to look after his infant daughter. Simultaneously, another teenage girl runs away from home after being told she is not allowed to work for a major fashion designer and a relationship is on the rocks because the couple cannot afford a new house because one of them is still funding a former partner.

                Such is life in the sunlit world of Neighbours - a television programme so disconnected from reality that it makes Wallace and Gromit look like cutting edge social commentary. First broadcast in Australia in 1985, it tells the stories of the residents of Ramsay Street, located in a fictional suburb of Melbourne called Erinsborough. The longest running drama ever broadcast on Australian television, it is a show that attracts equal parts affections and derision. So why can I just not help absolutely loving it?

                * Plotlines*

                The opening paragraph of this review is a snapshot of current neighbours storylines, and the hectic happenings are no exception to normal practice. Ramsay Street has seen it all - plane crashes, bush fires, jiltings, characters dying and sometimes coming back from the dead, affairs, marriages and the occasional attempted murder. To give the scriptwriters some credit, the occasional believable storyline does rear its head, but these storylines quickly become boring when compared to the surrounding chaos. At any one moment the Neighbours cast of characters will probably contain at least one current or past criminal, several heartrending/terminal illnesses and a few troubled teenagers. The bad point of this is that Neighbours is tends to veer towards the ridiculous: the plus point is that it is pretty much never boring.

                *Characters*

                In a soap such as Neighbours which is broadcast every weeknight, there is quite a high turnover of characters and so within a month of writing this review they will probably have changed entirely again. There are of course a few stalwarts, as with all soaps. There is Harold, the old storekeeper who disappeared at sea, was rediscovered while playing with a Salvation Army band and still periodically makes little cameos into the series. Then there is Lou, Harold's staunch friend and former love rival, who is still working in the same old general story. There are Karl and Susan Kennedy, now husband and wife again after being on and off for years and testing out between them much of the rest of the neighbours cast. And there is Paul Robinson, who sunk to the depths of being completely evil, then had a brain tumour removed and attained the heights of being only mildly repulsive. Oh, and Toady - got to love Toady!

                Around these fixed points orbit a whole galaxy of other characters, all of the inevitably beautiful (unless they're unspeakably horrible, in which case they're allowed a few blemishes) and utterly two dimensional. I'm sure that somewhere there is a neighbours character design checklist: great hair? Check. Dark history? Check. Potential for romantic engagement with multiple other characters (not normally simultaneously)? Check. Find a suitable attractive actor and off we go again.

                That's not to say that Neighbours hasn't conjured up some fabulous characters. I still remember the lovely Connor, and was horrified when I thought they had killed him off but it turns out he's just gone travelling around East Asia (for the past six years or so). There was also Stingray, who I absolutely adored and was heartbroken when he died of a brain aneurism. Somehow, Neighbours manages to make you identify with characters who are often entirely without character.

                So yes - in technical terms I can't say that Neighbours characters are particularly good. But you spend half an hour of your day with them every week day and you just can't help but love them.

                * The Song *

                Special mention has to be made of the famous Neighbours song, often revamped to try and match up with the modern age, but still unfailingly cheesy. This song is rather like the Neighbours show itself - you know that it is absolutely terrible, but because of the associations it conjures up (weekday teatime, all gathered in the living room of our student house) you really don't mind at all.

                * So why is Neighbours so good?*

                When I tell people that I'm an avid Neighbours fan, I tend to get one of two responses. There is either the nod, smile and enthusiastic launch into chatter that marks another Neighbours acolyte, or there is the smirk and snide comment of one of the uninitiated. When I come across one of these people, I find it hard to explain why I love the programme. I know the characters are poorly written. I know the plotlines are outrageous. I know the song is the worst kind of tacky. And I know that the acting is often wooden to the point of comedy. But the thing is that when you get home from a day in lectures or in labs, you don't want to engage the weary brain again and watch some hardcore, heartrending, mind stretching programme. You want to make a cup of tea, grab a packet of biscuits, sit down with your housemates and find something brainless.

                In Erinsborough, the sun always seems to be shining, except when a character is miserable and the weather kindly agrees to reflect them. People die, but nobody ever mourns for more than a couple of episodes, people argue and make up, people are endlessly falling in love. You get so familiar with the characters and all their quirks and bad acting and silly storylines, and you can jump in and completely immerse yourself in a world totally separate to your own. It's escapism, pure and simple, and sometimes that's exactly what you need.

                At the moment Neighbours is in its Christmas break, and I miss the characters the same way I miss my neighbours from university. They're a key part of my day - when I'm having a bad time, I look forward to seeing them in the evening. And even though they're rubbish and I know it, I'm certainly not going to stop watching in a hurry! So it's four Dooyoo stars (just for the sake of fairness to properly decent drama!) and long may it continue.

                Thank you for reading.
                (Written exclusively for Dooyoo).

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                  25.11.2009 18:22
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                  My teatime viewing!

                  Back in the 1990's, Neighbours was my staple teatime viewing (along with Home & Away). I can't remember the exact reasons why, but I stopped watching both for several years and only really got back into them when they moved to Channel 5.

                  Picking things up wasn't as easy as I'd expected as the show had changed quite a bit since I'd last seen it. These days, there is a strong focus on the younger residents of Ramsay Street - in particular the teen gang, which is currently made up of Donna, Zeke, Ringo, Declan and Sunny (but also used to contain Rachel and Bridget until not long ago). A lot of the storylines revolving around these characters can be quite typical of teenagers and are usually not particularly serious. In this sense, they can probably be seen as one of the more light-hearted aspects of the show, along with Karl and Susan - who frequently act as the comic relief in many episodes. I have to admit that I don't find them as amusing as I used to, especially since Susan developed MS but that's probably an intentional move by the scriptwriters.

                  If you've not already guessed from my hint, all of the characters (bar the odd few) live or work on the infamous Ramsay Street. I don't think that all of the various locations are actually located on the street (such as Harold's, Charlie's, the garage, Lassiters and the high school) but all of the main characters have some strong link to the street itself. This helps it to retain a community feel despite the fact that many of the characters are quite new and haven't been in the area that long.

                  Of the 'older' characters (by this I'm referring mainly to those that were in the show pre-move to Five), there are still a few remaining, such as Karl, Libby and Susan Kennedy, Paul and Elle Robinson, Toadie and Steph Scully (and now Steph's mum, Lynn, has returned to cause havoc for Paul). The rest of the cast is made up of predominantly new characters, which is one reason why I struggled with my first fortnight of being a returning viewer as I had no idea who half the cast were or how they fitted into the community.

                  At the moment, I'm not finding Neighbours particularly riveting viewing as it seems neither serious nor entertaining. There is also a tendency to create storylines and then forget all about them. For example, Zeke was recently displaying symptoms of OCD and this came to Karl's attention but nothing seems to have been made of it since and Zeke miraculously does not seem to feel the need to constantly rearrange his pens or things in the house anymore. I find this kind of lack of continuity quite annoying and it seems to happen a lot on Neighbours.

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                  19.11.2009 16:25
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                  Great show to kill 20 minutes of your time - very addictive

                  I still remember the first ever episode of Neighbours with Charlene climbing in through Madge's front room window, and Scott wrestling her to the ground....that was back in 1988 when I was just 7 years old and I must admit I have hardly missed an episode since!

                  Neighbours is an Austrlian soap set on Ramsey Street, a fictious street with only a handful of houses. The soap centres around a few main characters that change quite frequently.

                  Ramsey Street must be the most unlucky place to live (other than Summer Bay of course!). Since the start of the show they have had burglaries, fires, car accidents, murders, suicides, abortions, plane crashes, hit and runs, amazing births....the hospital plays a huge part in the soap and there is always a doctor on the street who, as it happens, deals with most injuries/births/deaths on the street. Currently this is Dr Karl Kennedy.

                  There is always someone arriving or leaving Ramsey Street, and there are always amazing storylines with cliffhangers galore.

                  I can only remember one point in the last 20 years when I haven't watched Neighbours and that wasn't through choice - that was before the time of Sky Plus and when I was working and going to college. Now I am a stay at home mum I must admit I am addicted again. It is not the most intellectually stimulating show on the plant but it is good entertainment.

                  I would definitely recommend watching Neighbours but be warned, you get hooked. It shows on Channel 5 twice daily.

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                  07.11.2009 11:48
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                  Australian soap, albeit semi-adopted by us here in the UK

                  The 1990s saw mw, sat at lunchtimes, watching Neighbours, then Home and Away. Occasionally, you'd get a crossover and miss the start of H&A, but this was always the preferable way round. You'd never miss the end of Neighbours! This was a routine at school every day for me, which then continued at Uni, and despite the fact that some extremely inconsiderate lecturers would schedule their classes when Neighbours was on, I pretty much managed to catch it most days.

                  Neighbours is a long running Australian soap, one that us here in the UK have almost adopted to champion. For years, it has ruled the roost in terms of daytime viewing, and many a person has grown up following the daily lives of the inhabitants of Ramsay Street, where the show is set. Running for a half an hour each episode, it used to be aired on BBC 1, only for Channel 5 to acquire the distribution rights a few years back. Sadly, I don't catch it as much any more, as I have to accept life and adapt to the real world of having a job, with no TV. I can't even ask for my lunch break to be centred around Neighbours: it just woudln't work (sob).

                  However, the wonders of modern technology mean I can still catch episodes every now and then, and the storylines aren't too tricky to catch up on. The stoylines themselves are often very appealing, and while they don't get anywhere near as morbid and depressing as most of our soaps that we have home grown, they still feature the occasional hard hitting trails such as Susan's ME or the occasional sudden death. They have a habit of building up a character and then spectacularly dismissing them from the show, which comes as a shock to us all, despite the fact that their leaving the show has been advertised and the episode has already aired in Oz however long ago.

                  Toady in particualr seems to have no luck, with bad things alwasy happening to him, whether it be losing his wife on their wedding day, or his close cousin dying suddenly, or just unlucky in life and love. He seems to battle through it all though, and the Karl/Susan saga goes on and on, with affairs and sexual preferences changing all the time. Paul Robinson is also a recurring character who serves as the bad guy of the soap. Every soap needs a constant villain to keep us on our toes and to provide the rest of the characters with trust issues, and he does this perfectly.

                  Neighbours is a great soap, and one I happily watch whenever I can catch it. It airs daily on Channel 5 during the week, and is one I recommend you give a go, if by some chance it has passed you by. Recommended.

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                    24.10.2009 23:59

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                    Best show on TV?

                    A staple part of the daily life for students, unemployed, housewives and pensioners, Neighbours gets sillier and sillier with every episode but you know what...I still love it!

                    All soap operas push the boundaries of reality to the extreme, Neighbours just ignores the boundary and casually walks over it.

                    Only in Ramsey Street could a dog (Bouncer) call for an ambulance, could every single emergency involve the same doctor (Dr Kennedy) and could so much happen in a small cul-de-sac in a City suberb.

                    Despite the ever constant changing cast, Neighbours manages to create a very warm feel around its character - so much so that I would love to live in Ramsey Street and I'm sure I'm not alone in that wish!

                    Yes it's cheesey, yes it's unrealistic but so what? Neighbours has never claimed to be anything deep, it doesn't take itself serious and overall it provides good nice and easy entertainment with a few chuckles along the way.

                    It's sad TV but do I sound bothered?

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                    13.10.2009 15:52
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                    Still enjoyable

                    Neighbours is one of the first tv programmes I can distinctly remember watching in around 1988, and I have been watching it ever since, mainly very regularly. It is generally a great feel good show, unlike alternatives such as Eastenders where everyone always seems to be shouting at each others every time I happen to see a bit of it. Neighbours is only filmed when it isn't raining, although it does rain quite a lot in Melbourne, which adds to the 'Australian Idyl', life is always good theme.

                    Of course they do have sad and serious storylines, such as the recent death of Bridget and Susan's ME but generally the storylines are trivial and often amusing. The Susan/ Karl double act and Toadie are particularly amusing characters and these stalwarts of the street provide excellent performances. However, some performances are significantly below par. Ben and Mickey seem particularly badly acted, they must have some decent child actors in Australia as Callum is excellent.

                    One thing we are getting particularly sick of recently is the number of band placements where presumably an up and coming band have paid for a slot which leads to an endless series of pointless gigs at Charlies and the recent ridiculous Winter Cool festival that only had about 50 people in the audience!

                    However since the move to Five the budget seems to have gone up as they seem to have many more location scenes and can afford a slightly larger 'rent-a-mob' for crowd shots!

                    Much as it is fun to laugh at the ridiculous happenings, Neighbours is a great show that is still fun to watch and I haven't found it has got boring or repetitive despite watching it for around 20 years!

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                      11.10.2009 13:23
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                      Aussie escapism

                      Ah, Neighbours. I don't watch much TV, but this show is the one programme I can't do without. I don't even have a TV, but make sure to watch this one on Demand 5!

                      Neighbours is the ultimate escapist show. Everything is larger than life here: comedy, tragedy, love, hate. The sun is always shining (except when the plotline requires a rainstorm or some lightning!).

                      I remember the first episode I ever watched. I was 7 and Paul Robinson's wife (one of the twins, Christina or Caroline, I always forget which) was giving birth to their son. I've recently found out that their son is coming back into the show as a new teenage character - which makes me feel really old!

                      The acting in Neighbours is very variable. Some of the regulars, such as Jackie Woodburne who plays Susan, the legendary Alan Fletcher as Karl, and Ryan Moloney aka Toadie, are fantastic actors who give really believable performances. However, occasionally they get guests in on short-term contracts, and the acting of some of these people is absolutely appalling!

                      Over the years there have been some very memorable storylines - when Philip Martin's wife Julie fell off a tower, and he was accused of her murder; Harold Bishop falling off a rock into the sea and disappearing for several years, eventually turning up suffering from amnesia as a Salvation Army member; Toadie marrying Dee and accidentally driving into the sea, leading to HER disappearing (wonder if she'll ever come back too); the plane crash that killed Harold's son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter.

                      Neighbours can deal with important issues really well, such as Steph's breast cancer and Susan's ME. However it can be very cheesy and random, which is really all part of the fun. Bouncer's dream anyone? Bridget's recent tragic death involved a very odd premonition sequence in which she floated around a garden in a white dress and predicted she would die at 12 o'clock. These strange sequences are the source of much amusement, and at least the writers are trying to be different!

                      Since Neighbours moved to Five it has lost a few viewers, which is shame as it's just as good! I hope it carries on running for years to come as it's my favourite show of all time!

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