Exclusive ATV Interview: Susan Bower Neighbours Executive Producer.
In 2008, Susan Bower took over Neighbours and has guided it through change, whether that may be for better or worse time will tell. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the saga, and a change down under as it moves to a digital only channel. What’s in store as the UK leads up to airing the 6000th episode and what’s in ahead for the characters, let’s find out! (Contains spoilers)
A massive year for Neighbours, how do you feel being in control at such an important time for the show?
It’s been a huge year for Neighbours and I have to say I feel very humbled and honoured to be at the helm of Neighbours.
How did the story for Who Pushed Paul Robinson come around?
We have four forward planning meetings a year where all we do for entire Saturday is plot major story-arches and we knew that the 6000th had to be incredibly important and sensational. We wanted to pay homage to first episode so anything we did would involve Stefan Dennis, the only remaining member of the cast from the day one.
Of course we would have loved to have done who ‘shot’ PR but of course we can’t do that with our G classification and we had to begin that story very, very early to let it develop and set all the suspects and also we chose write into the story that worked for us our new backlot and added to the story that Paul had been over extending financially which led to the embezzling, which led to Diana Marshall arriving – so it was putting all these pieces together and really turning it into a real ‘who dunnit’.
Some fans feel that the show is too teen orientated, are you now trying to strike a balance?
That question surprises me and I can understand it being asked 12 months ago but definitely in the last six months, the storylines have been very balanced involving all our cast members. And just for example Toadie, Steph, Libby, Lucas and of course Paul Robinson, are the key players in the stories now airing and coming up.
It’s my understanding that with Neighbours moving to a digital channel in 2011, it can now take more risks…will storylines change to match this?
To be honest it has not been confirmed how the classifications will be affected. However, we have been pushing the boundaries this year and how far do we take that if in fact we do. Do we want to keep what is essentially Neighbours? Yes. Do we want to make it a bit more contemporary without alienating half our audience, that’s what we are aiming for. It’s a difficult and complex balance we strive for.
For you, what has been your highlights of Neighbours over the past 25 years?
Obviously well before my time the Charlene and Scott wedding, Harold disappearing is the one that got me the most and his return. Certainly in the last two and half years Bridget’s death was a huge milestone and Neigbours matured but kept its essence. And I just love the who pushed PR and there is so much more to come.
And finally, can you give us any teasers for what we can expect over the next few months?
Two very big shocks, a surprise storyline, a romance that is dangerous and very dangerous behavior by one of our blokes and couple of very big shock discoveries, and a return of a heart-throb.
Neighbours airs weekdays at 1.45pm and 5.30pm on Channel 5