Neighbours

Everybody needs new neighbours!

Neighbours is having a major revamp with a brand new theme song sung by Sandra de Jong, a new bar called Charlie’s, lots of new faces and an increased shooting schedule for the cast.

The Parker family will join Erinsborough tomorrow, acted by Steve Bastoni and Nikki Coghill.

Returning will be Daniel Fitzgerald and Libby Kennedy played by Bretty Tucker and Kym Valentine respectively.

The soap bunnies Nicky Whelan, Pippa Black and Natalie Blair have featured prominently on Who Weekly tabloid magazine’s list of the world’s sexiest celebrities. The Aussie heart-throbs have even outdone the likes of Angelina Jolie, who is noticeably absent from the tabloid list.

These three soap stars make up three of seven Aussie stars on the list.

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The soap bunnies Nicky Whelan, Pippa Black and Natalie Blair have featured prominently on Who Weekly tabloid magazine’s list of the world’s sexiest celebrities. The Aussie heart-throbs have even outdone the likes of Angelina Jolie, who is noticeably absent from the tabloid list.

These three soap stars make up three of seven Aussie stars on the list.

Want to read more about this article? Click here!

First up can I just say that I think Neighbours is pants and I have wasted far too much blog space already talking about this pile of piss. But someone has to report the news.

BBC have threatened to drop Neighbours from their schedule. Neighbours is the BBC’s highest rating daytime programme with each episode screening twice in a day- it’s been that way for nearly twenty years. But now Fremantle Media who currently own Neighbours have tripled the price tag on the show. The BBC have stated they would rather drop the programme than pay Fremantle Media’s price, which they rubbished. They also alleged that Neighbours success in Australia depends on its patronage by the BBC in England. Other networks in Britain have shown an interest in picking up the show.

What were Fremantle Media thinking? Are they not aware of how much the brand value of Neighbours has slumped? Or is this an indication that upon picking Neighbours up Fremantle Media have in fact radically redesigned it, and now think it is worth more money?

Over the course of a season, Neighbours needs to pull itself into the 21st century. Here are my ideas (maybe I will update them later).

Paul buys a handful of adjoining properties on the street. To do this, Paul manipulates the other characters into his debt (maybe by operating a dodgy home loan service which offers them a ‘better’ mortgage) and then takes their houses from under them, at a low price (thus getting rid of some of the crap characters, who move to a poorer area). Paul then has the houses levelled, and sells the property to Affirmacon at a vastly inflated price. He swindles them with a deceptive contract, binding them to the sale. Affirmacon try to force Paul to their will by framing Elle for lese majeste while she is holidaying in Thailand. Paul refuses to budge and it seems Elle will serve a life sentence in a Thai prison. Meanwhile Affirmacon build a four storey apartment complex on the land, and a massive shopping mall/movie complex. They also sell part of the land to the government, who build a freeway through the middle of it all. To get to the end of the cul de sac you have to cross an overpass (No. 22 is in the cul de sac). On the opening day of the mall/movie complex (last day of the series), the mall collapses, killing the remaining shitty characters, including the ultra-boring Paul. Elle comes back from Thailand after the King grants her a pardon and she runs his business. Her experience has made her somewhat nicer as a person, if meaner in business. Apart from Elle, the only characters to remain alive are Harold and Lou.

We start the new series with Elle firmly esconced at number 22, seemingly living by herself. But in reality she is hiding a man from Thailand who came back with her and is hoping to emigrate. He has already overstayed his visa and the couple are running out of ideas. Lou and Harold freak out because they think he is a drug dealer or gang leader. But actually he is a nice guy and Elle is pregnant to him. Pity he actually has a wife in Thailand, whom he hasn’t told Elle about. His wife thinks he is working overseas to make money but he has no intentions of returning.

Meanwhile the apartment complex becomes the focus of the show. No Melrose Place, it is a bleak, badly designed piece of concrete. A mix of characters from different backgrounds have moved in already when we start the new series. It seems their children are happy to make friends (and trouble) with each other but because the parents are from different racial backgrounds they have strong ideas about each other, which when coupled with a dose of Australian territorialism makes them grudging apartment-sharers at best.

Because the mall collapsed, some new sets will be needed. Naturally a coffee shop and restaurant will be there- an extremely pretentious restaurant deigning to serve ethnic cuisine, which only the European characters and the children frequent. The adult migrant characters order takeaway or cook at home instead (thus forming a further division between the characters, allowing strange ideas to formulate and drama to increase). There will be a new set- a train station, where some of the characters will work. Not all of the characters have a car, some of them actually catch the train instead. Bitching about public transport becomes a pass-time for these characters.

Lou and Harold fight with the council to have a park put in. A memorial goes up for the dead characters. Harold is elected to the local council and uncovers the truth about Affirmacon framing Elle and having her thrown in jail. He reveals to Elle that Paul knew about it and did nothing about it. This trashes the memory of Paul for Elle, and makes her hate Affirmacon even more. But she is managing the apartments for Affirmacon (and adding a nice illegal commission for herself to their rent, which Affirmacon know about) so she has to deal with it. Besides, she is extremely comfortable in her new life and needs to keep it together in order not to lose it all.

Erinsborough is a noisy, messy hive of activity. Elle (and whomever she eventually marries) live in riches at Number 22. Harold and Lou cling to the house they still own, despite rising property prices, and realise that they really need each other in order to keep afloat. The more they realise this the more they realise their differences. The new characters’ drama is tempered with intolerance, tunnel vision and excessive pride amongst the adults- however their children do not share these faults. The childrens’ main concern is to come out on top in a competitive world. Neighbours is now about divisions, real (money, law) and artificial (pride, mistaken beliefs), and having to overcome these divisions to get by.

Home and Away is on a roll at the moment, but ratings for Neighbours are desperately low in Australia. Not even a couple of recent on-screen lesbian kisses have helped. They are hemorrhaging their hot young stars, leaving only the fugly ones behind (and Harold Bishop). In England, the BBC might lose the rights to play the soap. Here in NZ, the show’s in its worst timeslot ever.

They need to take drastic action to save the 22-year-old soap. Here’s my top ten ideas for what can be done to attract more viewers…

1. A special ‘live episode’ – like ‘E.R.’ and even ‘Coronation Street’ did

2. Interactive text voting for storylines – eg. “If you want this couple to get back together, text ‘LOVE’ to…”, or unpopular characters can get voted off the show via text

3. Harold’s wife Madge returns to the street as a Poltergeist to give everyone a nightly scare

4. Paul Robinson finally goes insane and teams up with a puppet character only he can see

5. Lou Carpenter runs for Aussie Prime Minister – and wins! How will his life change? Will he still care as much about the love lives of the teenagers around him?

6. An existing (but dull) character discovers secret CGI powers

7. A new cartoon family moves into the street. Will the human residents accept them?

8. Dame Edna Everage joins the cast

9. The residents of the street discover their lives are an elaborate ‘Truman Show’ style plot

10. An existing (but dull) character develops late-onset Tourette’s Syndrome (the very rare kind that makes you swear all the time, of course)

OK so some of those ideas are a bit silly, but give me a break – we can’t all be Julie Christie!

If all else fails, they could always get an ex-Coronation Street actor to join the cast. There are plenty available, and they don’t need much food.

Anybody have any other ideas for saving Neighbours?

Well yet again Neighbours is getting moved but this time its just a time shift. The TVNZ voiceover anounced that next week neighbours will be on at 3:50 P.M. Looks like it failed against home and away on 3.

I decided to put a Neighbours topic on here.
I used to watch Neighbours years ago but got
bored with it eventually.

Alan Dale, who played Jim Robinson for several years in the Australian soap Neighbours before going to America to star in shows such as The OC, 24 and Ugly Betty, has told Britain’s Daily Mirror that Neighbours are really “not nice people” and that he and his fellow Neighbours co-stars were ripped off by the producers.

In the 1980s, episodes of Neighbours would achieve viewing figures in the UK of over 18,000,000 people. Dale alleges that the producers of Neighbours neglected to inform the cast of their UK success in order to avoid paying extra royalties. UK scheduling is currently three months behind Australia and rates on average over five million viewers per day. In Australia it attracts under one million viewers per episode. “They sell it all over the world, make millions, and still not a dollar for us,” Dale said.

What do you think?!!