Neighbours may be in the midst of sadness with the news of its axe this year, but the soap took the opportunity to celebrate its momentous 37 years on air this week with a series of congratulatory messages from its cast.
Yesterday (March 18), Neighbours shared a video to social media featuring a host of cast wishing the soap “Happy Birthday”, including Takaya Honda, Richie Morris and Charlotte Chimes, but it also included the reintroduction of one of it’s iconic actors – Ian Smith.
Smith has played the legendary Harold Bishop on and off for almost the entire length of the show’s reign, first appearing in 1987, with his last regular episode in 2009, before a few subsequent brief returns in 2011 and 2015.
Neighbours seems excited by the familiar face reappearing on Ramsay Street, captioning the post: “Today is our birthday – it’s been 37 years since we first appeared on screen! We can’t think of a better day to have a Neighbours LEGEND return to Erinsborough!”
This is the first time Smith has been seen on set since it was announced last month by Dr Karl Kennedy actor Alan Fletcher that he would be returning in the final episodes to help send off the show.
Fletcher also teased that producers are hoping numerous classic characters will feature in the finale of the soap, with fans keen to see Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan return to the place that catapulted their careers.
“I can assure you that the producers are working very, very hard to try and entice some of the most loved characters from Neighbours to at least make some appearances,” Fletcher said. “I can’t give away any spoilers on [Kylie and Jason’s return] yet but that’s going to be the joy of those last episodes. Just sitting there and going ‘oh look who’s here!'”
We do, however, know that Peter O’Brien will be reprising the role of Shane Ramsay, who was last seen all the way back in 1987, to celebrate the final farewell of the soap, whilst we also know that some cast will be departing before the show finally ends – Kyle Canning (Chris Milligan), Roxy Willis (Zima Anderson) and Ned Willis (Ben Hall).