TV’s big question: Will Neighbours’ return to Ramsay Street be a dead end?

Guy Pearce and Annie Jones brought a big surprise to <i>Neighbours</i>' finale, and now they pose a storyline challenge for the reboot.

Guy Pearce and Annie Jones brought a big surprise to Neighbours' finale, and now they pose a storyline challenge for the reboot. Photo: AAP

In the collection of Museums Victoria lies the publicity book for the launch of what was then a new soapie, Neighbours.

Designed to look like a photo album, the spiral-bound notebook from 1985 features a synopsis of episode one which opens: “Danny Ramsay wakes from a recurring nightmare”.

Almost 40 years later, Neighbours is back on air again, rescued by streaming service Amazon after it was cancelled in March 2022.

But after all the hype and sentiment around the final episodes, which screened more than a year ago, will viewers welcome back the Ramsay Street reboot?

“We’re all working very hard to make sure it’s the show that viewers love and remember, but also to attract some new viewers too,” executive producer Jason Herbison told AAP.

After scriptwriters tied up every loose end, including Mike Young (Guy Pearce) reuniting with Jane Harris (Annie Jones) in the three-episode finale, they have had to grapple with how to move the action forward and, importantly, how to get Pearce back to Hollywood.

So, the onscreen timeline jumps two years into the future, leaving viewers guessing at what might have happened in the interim.

Yet some things never change. In that first episode, the action centres around a wedding.

Viewers will have to tune in to find out who is getting hitched, says Herbison, and he promises the answer will come as a surprise.

The much-loved soapie has launched the careers of some of Australia’s biggest stars, including Kylie Minogue, Russell Crowe, Jason Donovan and Margot Robbie.

Its return restarts a valuable pipeline of talent for the film and television industry, with about two-thirds of the old cast and crew coming back.

“I think we all maybe took Neighbours a little bit for granted, and when it was gone we all realised what a big void it left in our local industry,” Herbison said.

Ten has retained the local broadcast rights, while the series will also be available on Amazon, although it’s yet to be seen whether Neighbours can succeed as a daily soapie on a streaming service.

Herbison agrees it’s a leap into the unknown, but says there’s no reason it can’t work because the show is designed for viewers to dip in and out.

The new series stars Alan Fletcher, Annie Jones, Stefan Dennis, Ryan Moloney and Jackie Woodburne among the regulars and guest stars including Mischa Barton.

As Karl Kennedy says in Neighbours: The Next Chapter, “All roads lead back to Ramsay Street”.

Neighbours premieres on Monday at 4.30pm on Channel Ten, 6.30pm on Ten Peach and the series also will be available on Amazon Freevee and Amazon Prime.


Topics: Amazon
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