Neighbours stars who got their unlikely big breaks from the soap – from Gladiator actor to Strictly heartthrob

NOT only did the Neighbours cast “become good friends” as the theme song suggests, but many of them also managed to launch lucrative careers in the entertainment industry.

From Hollywood A-Listers to pop music sensations, a number of its young starlets went on to become household names – most notably, of course, on-screen sweethearts Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan.

Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan are just two of the famous stars to emerge from Neighbours

Despite the show, which was first broadcast on the BBC1 in 1986, serving as a launchpad for emerging talent, it’s now being axed for good, with no channel taking it on since Channel 5 dropped it.

Channel 5 and Fremantle Media cited high filming costs and a reported £5million deficit in advertising revenue as the reason behind the split.

Here we look back at the actors who went on to become big stars after their stints on Ramsay Street.

Russell Crowe 

The Gladiator actor, 57, joined the popular soap for four episodes in 1987 when he played released convict Kenny Larkin, who was hellbent on revenge against his former cellmate.

Russell admitted he was hesitant about signing up for the show because he thought the storyline was “awful” and he nearly turned it down.

Russell Crowe started out as Kenny Larkin in Neighbours

However, that all changed after reading one scene where Kenny punched rival Henry Ramsay before Scott tried to break it up and Charlene clung onto his back and strangled him.

Prior to appearing on Neighbours, Russell had three bit-parts in TV series including two where he was uncredited according to IMBD.

After leaving the show he bagged a string of career-defining roles, starring in in L.A. Confidential, Gladiator and A Beautiful Mind.

Margot Robbie

Margot Robbie is perhaps one of the most famous faces to emerge from Neighbours

Now she’s known for her portrayals in Hollywood blockbusters Suicide Squad, The Wolf Of Wall Street and I, Tonya – but back in 2008, Margot Robbie was relatively unknown.

She played Donna Brown in Neighbours for three years until 2011 and, shortly after, landed her first American gig in the flight drama Pan Am.

The actress, 31, has gone on to take the US by storm, earning three BAFTA nominations for roles playing Queen Elizabeth I, murder victim Sharon Tate and a Fox News employee.

Dave Bautista

Dave Batista played himself in Neighbours but it helped to launch his acting career

Guardians Of The Galaxy actor Dave Bautista, 53, is also among members of the Neighbours alumni who have made it big across the pond.

After years performing as a WWE wrestler, using his last name, he transitioned to acting thanks to a cameo on the Aussie soap.

During his appearance in 2009, he interacted with real-life wrestling fans Toadie and Callum.

The part arguably helped him to land big parts in the James Bond flick Spectre, Blade Runner 2049 and the Marvel franchise including the Avengers films.

Natalie Imbruglia

Natalie Imbruglia had a difficult part to play on Neighbours and found success as a musician

Before embarking on a musical career that earned her 10 million album sales, Natalie, 47, played sex abuse survivor Beth Brennan on Neighbours for two years until 1994.

She had a few acting gigs after leaving Erinsborough but mainly found success as a singer after covering the 1994 Danish hit Torn in 1998.

The song topped the charts and became the biggest track from the seven albums she’s released so far.

Liam Hemsworth

Liam isn’t the only Hemsworth brother to have starred on Neighbours

The hunky Hemsworth brothers are no stranger to the Aussie soap either, with Luke launching his career on the show as Nathan Tyson in 2001 – and shortly after his sibling did the same.

In 2007, Liam, 32, took on the part of Josh Taylor – an athletic paraplegic who found love with Bridget Parker after she became paralysed on one side of her body following a car crash.

Since then he’s gone on to star in TV shows, most notably the sci-fi fantasy flick Westworld, and imitating his brother Chris as ‘Thor Actor’ in Marvel films.

Holly Valance

Holly Valance was on the show for three years and still flirts with acting

Holly Valance, 38, is probably best known for her catchy Noughties tune Kiss Kiss, but before her musical fame, she was also on Neighbours.

She was 16 when she joined the cast as Felicity ‘Flick’ Scully in 1999 and had a permanent role on the show until 2002.

Three years later Holly returned to Ramsay Street to reprise her part for one episode but then turned her focus to music, where she had three number one songs.

She’s flirted with acting multiple times including appearing on the film Taken, the US jail drama Prison Break and as a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing in 2011. She’s now married to wealthy British businessman and Tory donor Nick Candy.

Guy Pearce

Guy Pearce is barely recognisable as Mike Young in the soap

English-born musician and actor Guy, 54, landed his breakthrough role in Neighbours in 1986 as troubled youngster Mike Young, who was abused by his father.

He spent three years on the show before earning acclaim for his part in L.A. Confidential alongside fellow former Neighbours star Russell Crowe.

Since then Guy has appeared in Christopher Nolan’s Memento, The Hurt Locker, The King’s Speech, Prometheus, Alien Covenant and Iron Man 3.

Delta Goodrem

Singer Delta Goodrem cut her teeth in Neighbours before becoming a musician

Delta, now 37, was 15 years old when she landed her first recording contract but it wasn’t until she took the role of Nina Tucker in Neighbours that she was able to hit the big time.

She appeared on the soap from 2002 until 2005 and went on to release tracks including Born To Try, Innocent Eyes and Lost Without You.

She was engaged to Brian McFadden until their relationship ended in 2011 and a month later started dating Nick Jonas. She’s been settled with musician Matthew Copley since 2017.

Jesse Spencer

Jesse Spencer went on to star in House and an emergency services TV series

Jesse, 42, had a few parts before playing Bill Kennedy in Neighbours but prior to his 11 year stint on the Aussie soap, his career never seemed to take off.

He appeared in one episode of the TV series Hercules as Triton Jr, the film Uptown Girls as Neal and even voiced Flynt in a video for Action Man toys, but never became a big star.

Neighbours helped him to land the part of Dr. Robert Chase in Hugh Laurie’s medical drama House, which he starred in from 2004 until 2012.

Since then, his main role has been Matthew Casey in an emergency services drama series – named Chicago P.D, Chicago Med and Chicago Fire – from 2014 until last year.

Adelaide Kane

Adelaide Kane starred in The Purge and Once Upon A Time

While many of the Neighbours cast were scouted by the soap’s talented production team, Adelaide got her part in a slightly different way.

She won a magazine competition to be on the show and from there she played Lolly Allen for 45 episodes in 2007.

After leaving the show, she appeared in the 2014 horror hit The Purge as Ethan Hawke’s daughter and has also had several recurring TV roles.

Adelaide, 31, appeared in Teen Wolf, Power Rangers, Reign and in fairytale drama Once Upon A Time, where she played Cinderella’s step-sister

Alan Dale

Alan Dale struggled to become a star in Australia but found fame in the US

Alan, 74, was part of the original Neighbours cast, where he played patriarch Jim Robinson from 1985 until 1993.

However, after he left the show the actor struggled to find work in Australia because he was constantly typecast based on his soap character.

Thankfully, Alan moved to America where he found more luck on big TV shows including 24, The O.C., Lost and Ugly Betty.

Bella Heathcote

Bella Heathcote went from Neighbours to the Fifty Shades films

Bella, now 34, played Amanda Fowler for 10 episodes of the soap in 2009 and since then has been rather busy in Hollywood.

She appeared in the film Dark Shadows alongside Johnny Depp, Pride And Prejudice And Zombies, and the 2017 saucy flick Fifty Shades Darker.