After 37 years, Neighbours is finally coming to an end, and here at B&T, we sat down with executive producer Jason Herbison to say goodbye.
“Neighbours should be there for one another That’s when good neighbours become good friends Neighbours.” If you are singing that line in your head, while reading it then I think that’s a pretty clear example of the cultural impact Neighbours has had on Australians.
It’s a show that has launched the careers of everyone from Guy Pearce, to Queen Kylie to Margot Robbie and Liam Hemsworth. It’s also been a series that has been on in the background of our lives for so many of us. Who doesn’t love Ramsay St?
After 37 glorious seasons, the show has featured 180,000 scenes, 100 kidnappings or hostage situations, 115 car crashes, 64 deaths, 39 weddings, 17 births and around 15 risen from the dead situations – aka it’s been a cracker of a run.
I catch up with Herbison in the middle of considerable chaos, Neighbours is having a final media lunch, and in between journos trying to get selfies on set – which speaks to the power of the show, even journos can’t resist a shot at Harolds Cafe. The stars and crew of the show are also catching up and some are even offering comment. There’s a buzzy, exciting vibe in the air and it isn’t just because there’s champagne. It also doesn’t hurt that Harold himself is wandering around.
I sit down with Herbison, in the set of the beloved and iconic cafe, which feels like a fitting way to have a final chat; after all, this is the place where all the action happened.
When I ask Herbison how he feels about the ending of such a beloved show, he is feeling mixed: “I’m very sad the show is ending, but very proud. It’s a huge celebration. Almost 9000 episodes! It should be shouted from the rooftops.”
“It’s bittersweet, I’m very proud, there are very few shows in the world that lasts this long. I’m sad that is ending, and I’m saying goodbye to co-workers, but I’m very proud and happy the show has gone on for so long,” he said.
Neighbours have also had a very longstanding relationship with broadcasting partner channel 10, who’s put on the media lunch today. It’s a relationship Herbison is very fond of, “They are wonderful broadcast partners, I think we can we’ve had a very warm and friendly relationship with them, which is very special.”
Herbison is also particularly proud of the stories that have been told on Neighbours, “We’ve told wonderful progressive stories, like our storyline with Georgie Stone, and I’ve received so many letters from people thanking us for telling that story.
— Neighbours (@neighbours) March 30, 2021
“Sonia’s death was something I was also proud of. I had a sister pass from cancer, so it was very close to home to me, and I thought it was done beautifully,” Herbison explained.
So what does the ending have in store for us? After all, Herbison is the man who penned the final episode, where Kylie and Guy Pearce are set to return.
Herbison was tight-lipped but said: “I’m very proud of the finale, I wrote that and I was incredibly privileged to be able to write it.
“I had a very strong sense, of how I knew I wanted to end it, and I’ve kept that quite close. You can’t please everyone, but I hope people feel it is a fitting end.”
One thing is for sure. Neighbours really did become good friends to us all.
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