Channel 5 will screen a week of evening editions to mark the Australian saga’s 35th and a host of former cast members are making a return for the occasion.

“Who would have thought hey? I remember nearly 35 years ago I said it would last about six months, well who is eating their words now! I’m incredibly proud to be a part of Neighbours reaching this milestone, it’s a fabulous celebration for everyone involved, cast and crew, to mark this moment with an awesome week of episodes planned for our viewers, a touch of nostalgia mixed in with some edge of your seat drama – something for everyone.” – Stefan Dennis aka character Paul Robinson

Channel 5 today announced that Neighbours, created by the late Reg Watson and Grundy Television, and currently produced by Fremantle Australia, will celebrate its 35th Anniversary in March with a week of unmissable programming, starting Monday 16th March. The regular 1:45pm and 5:30pm weekday episodes will draw upon the show’s illustrious history and feature a host of former cast members returning to the infamous Ramsay Street.

These will be coupled with five additional stand-alone primetime 10pm episodes.

“We have a reputation for going big with our milestones – and this is our biggest yet. We’re excited to deliver our viewers a double dose of Neighbours which will lead to three deaths and five weddings. There’s warmth and nostalgia as well as high drama and – for the first time ever – we’ll have a week-long narrative taking place separate to the happenings in Erinsborough. Neighbours is 35 years young and we are celebrating with a bang!” – Jason Herbison, Neighbours Executive Producer

This thrilling week promises viewers laughs and tears as they’ll be taken on a trip down memory lane. However, the nostalgia of the evening episodes will rapidly descend into hell in paradise at 10pm – culminating in three deaths.

In Neighbours’ regular timeslot of 1:45pm and 5:30pm, the explosive Anniversary week kicks off with Chloe’s (April Rose Pengilly) genius idea to stage a wedding expo to save Lassiters – with input from Terese (Rebekah Elmaloglou). This will evolve into five unique weddings, one per episode, which also involves reuniting couples featured from different decades of Neighbours that didn’t make it down the aisle in their original stint on the series.

“Having shaped three previous successful hour-long 10pm Neighbours one-off pieces, we wanted to push things even further to mark the 35th anniversary, with a week-long stunt in peak scheduling time. This week promises a darker tone, grittier drama and truly gripping twists and turns. A treat for everyone and anyone who has watched Neighbours at any point in its remarkable 35-year history” – Greg Barnett, Channel 5 commissioning editor.

In stark contrast to the froth and bubbles of the weddings, the 10pm episodes form a darker, grittier plot that begins in the regular daytime episode.

The ensuing drama centres around Elly (Jodi Anasta) being spirited off to Pierce’s (Tim Robards) remote island glamping resort to celebrate her 35th birthday with a key group of her Ramsay Street friends. Erinsborough favourite Toadie (Ryan Moloney) is among the doomed passenger list. Unbeknown to all, Finn Kelly’s evil side has been unmasked and he’s hatched his ultimate deadly revenge plan that will deliver severe consequences. Which three Neighbours favourites won’t survive the fateful adventure?

Neighbours was devised by successful serial producer Reg Watson who had previously created hits for Australian television including The Young Doctors, Prisoner: Cell Block H and Sons and Daughters. He began his ventures into soap suds over in the UK when he launched ATV’s Crossroads in 1964, remaining with the show for a decade.

Neighbours almost proved Stefan Dennis right, it was initially dropped by the Seven Network due to poor ratings, however became a worldwide hit when the show, with a few tweaks, moved to Channel Ten. The series originally aired on BBC One in the UK before switching to Channel 5 where it sits alongside fellow Aussie serial Home and Away.

Reg Watson, Neighbours creator.

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