As Neighbours approaches its 35th anniversary on British television, BBC Radio 2 earlier this week hosted a three-hour tribute to the soap that at its peak was watched by over 20 million British viewers.
The Brits were familiar with Aussie soaps, with earlier titles like The Young Doctors, The Sullivans, Sons And Daughters, A Country Practice and Prisoner all playing to loyal audiences. In October 1986, BBC1 debuted Neighbours as part of its new daytime line-up. By 1988, an evening re-run was added to the schedule and became a hit, bumping local soaps Coronation Street and EastEnders from the top of the ratings.
Although BBC no longer airs the soap — it moved across to rival Channel 5 in 2008 — BBC radio presenter Scott Mills pays an affectionate tribute to the soap, recalling some of the show’s most memorable moments, and hosts an on-air reunion of former Neighbours cast members Anne Charleston, Ian Smith, Jason Donovan and Kylie Minogue. The special features interviews with Stefan Dennis, Delta Goodrem, Geoff Paine, Alan Fletcher and Jackie Woodburne. There are also trivia quizzes, some of the songs released by various Neighbours cast and Barry Crocker, who performed the original Neighbours theme, leads a nationwide sing-a-long of the classic theme song.
Happy Birthday Neighbours With Scott Mills can be heard at the BBC Sounds website.