The international closing credits to the Australian saga saw Reg Watson’s name dropped from the captions over a decade ago.
Neighbours creator Reg Watson, who died last month aged 93, has had his name returned to the international version of the serial’s closing credits after a campaign by fans of the cul-de-sac set soap opera.
While Reg’s name had remained on the longer Friday closing captions in Australia the version shown on Channel 5 here in the UK, as well as other international territories, saw the shows creator credit dropped in 2007. Following Reg’s death on October 8th last month viewers launched a campaign to #GiveRegACred.
The campaign aimed at production company Fremantle Australia (formerly Grundy TV) and Channel 5 in the UK was lead by fan podcast Ramsay Speak.
— Ramsay Speak #Neighbours (@RamsaySpeak) 2 November 2019
Reg was born in Maryborough, Queensland, Australia and spent his earliest years living on a sugar farm. He schooled at Flying Fish Point Education Centre and in his later teens moved to Innisfail, and later Brisbane. As a teenager, in Innisfail, he gained his first employment in a jewellery shop; however it was showbiz that Reg had an interest in and from the age of thirteen was one of the performers with Unity theatre, Queensland, progressing later to Brisbane Repertory in the late 1940s and early ’50s. In 1940 he joined one of a number of local radio stations working as an actor, announcer and writer.
He moved to the UK in 1955 switching to the new independent television service in London, ATV. From 1956 as Head of Light Entertainment, for sister station ATV Midlands, he created numerous programmes for ITV viewers including children’s series Tingha and Tucker, magazine show Lunch Box, chat show Midland Profile, game show Hit the Limit and the UK’s first five-days-a-week half-hour soap opera Crossroads.
Moving home to Australia in 1974 Reg joined Grundy Television as Head of Drama. He devised several big serial hits including The Young Doctors, Sons and Daughters, The Restless Years, Prisoner: Cell Block H and of course Neighbours.
Originally pitched to Seven in 1984, the soap was broadcast by that network for a few months in ’85 – Neighbours failed to lure in enough viewers for Seven execs; the show was axed after just under 200 episodes. Luckily for Reg, and Grundy Television, Network 10 saw potential in the saga and commissioned it for their own channel. With some minor tweaks the production became a worldwide phenomenon in the 1980s making household names of Jason Donovan and Kylie Minogue, as well as several others over the years.
The series was centred initally upon three very different Erinsborough families, The Robinsons, Ramsays and Clarkes. For just under a decade Watson kept Neighbours in his vision, before retiring from television when Grundy Television’s CEO and founder Reg Grundy sold the company in the mid-90s. In January 2010 he became a Member of the Order of Australia, for service to the media as a pioneer in the creation and production of serial television drama.
Reg died after a short illness aged 93 with the news announced on October 12th by ATV and Fremantle. Stars of Neighbours, Prisoner and Crossroads celebrated Watson as a television pioneer who gave thousands of actors a chance to shine over his four decades as a creator, writer and producer.