After 37 years on the air, Australian soap Neighbours will air its final episode today in Australia and tomorrow in the UK. News of its cancellation first broke in March, and the sudser finished filming in June. The New York Times reflected on Neighbours' impact on UK and Australian TV after almost 9,000 episodes.
Neighbours grads-turned-Hollywood mainstays like Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan, Delta Goodrem, and Margot Robbie returned to bid the show adieu. The program also helped launch the careers of Russell Crowe, Liam Hemsworth, and more.
But what led to its decades-long appeal? Character conflicts were relatable, while baddies were ultimately punished and good characters were usually rewarded. Geoff Paine (Clive Gibbons) noted that the residents of Ramsay Street operated in a world without class pretensions, saying:
There would be a place where you’d have a plumber and doctor and be on first name terms.
But Neighbours didn't get everything right, especially in its mostly-white cast and its potrayal of Indigenous Australians, among others. EP Jason Herbison said:
It didn’t exactly push the envelope in terms of storytelling. It wasn’t a diverse show.
He added that he had tried to make the soap more reflective of Australian society in recent years. Herbison said:
I wanted to bring it back to a street with families — families of all different shapes and sizes.
To wrap up nearly 40 years of story in a short amount of time, the episodes during Neighbours' final week were stretched from 22 minutes to 90 minutes each. Scribes had four weeks from the time they found out the soap was axed to conclude plot lines.