Lisa May Young: I'll miss Ramsay Street when Neighbours ends

“Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours...”

By Lisa May Young
Tuesday, 26th July 2022, 4:30 pm
The Australian soap comes to an end this week.
The Australian soap comes to an end this week.

Admit it, in your head you are singing along to the Neighbours theme tune and picturing the 1980s gregarious yellow and blue intro credits? I know I am.

I’m a proud 1980s bairn, permanently convinced the era was ten years ago instead of the four decades that have passed since.

When Neighbours began in 1985, I was eight years old and it was Mum’s favourite go-to soap, after The Sullivans, went off air featuring a war that lasted, at least in terms of storylines, for well over ten

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years.

The showtimes of 1.30pm and 5.30pm became a daily timestamp long before the days of on demand.

I remember being on holiday in Berwick-upon-Tweed with my folks, wee brother, Nana and Granddad and us all traipsing back to the caravan for lunchtime, so we didn’t have wait a full four hours before the teatime re-play.

I knew the names as well as my own; Des, Daphne, Mike, Helen, Jim, and Paul Robinson, not forgetting Plain Jane Superbrain.

The storylines were comfortable.

There was no Fallon from The Colby’s being picked up by an alien ship for the inhabitants of Ramsay Street thank you very much.

It was all about family and romance tinged with enough angst to spin a storyline over six months.

Collectively we followed the dilemmas of whether Bouncer the dug would pick nice Mike or mean Mrs Mangel.

Harold losing and regaining his memory - Bobby Ewing anyone?

And we all know the wedding of Scott and Charlene in 1988 watched by over 20 million people.

Followed by the time Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan appeared at Jackie O’s one Saturday night.

Neighbours heralded consumer change, long before merchandising became a clickable option on your Etsy shop site a plethora of magazines devoted to the cast became available.

At 11 years old, I remember religiously stalking the newsagents at Templehall shops for one such offering and saving up my pocket money for weeks to buy it.

Years passed and heralded the daily commute to Edinburgh. I watched Margot Robbie, Guy Pierce and even good old Jim Robinson, Alan Dale, scale the ropes in Hollywood with a hint of pride.

When Natalie Imbruglia topped the charts with ‘Torn’ I bought the single along with everyone else.

And of course let us not forget the phenomenal success of Kylie Minogue, our adopted national treasure and disco icon.

Some attempts were less notable. Who else remembers when husky voiced Madge and dithering Harold did not top the charts with an ‘Old Fashioned Christmas’ or Stefan Dennis aka Paul Robinson’s ‘Don’t It Make You Feel Good,” which hit number 16 in 1989? Unfortunately, it did not.

Nevertheless, despite declining ratings in recent years, the characters of Erinsborough continued to entertain us undeterred.

Fast forward to lockdown in March 2020 and it is the first time in years I have been home at teatime.

Working from home after years of being in an office was weird and the three second commute to the kitchen welcome and strange. Flicking the tv channels after work, I heard that theme tune and relaxed into the couch. This I knew.

Once again, it become a daily staple in between Scottish Government briefings and daily walks.

Neighbours has spent 37 years in our living rooms, playing on the background to our own lives.

On my daily walk, I walk past the same folk, the same dugs on the same streets at the same time and share a mutual wave in acknowledgement.

It is the same experience having a morning coffee at Cupcake Coffee Box on the High Street.

I do not know most of my fellow patrons by name, but I know their coffee orders and their preferred seat.

I began to see Neighbours as a reflection of our own Kirkcaldy community; friendly, nosy, and there when you need it.

When it was announced in March the series was coming to end, it was clear I was not the only one who felt the loss of these fictional folk in Ramsay Street.

Social media posts bemoaned the news and campaigns ultimately unsuccessful were launched.

So, I will be watching the last episode with a hint of sadness and a truckload of nostalgia.

It’s had a good run and through the experience of lockdowns it made the day a little easier. And for that I’m grateful.

Now, what time is Home and Away on?