The names who became famous thanks to Aussie serial Neighbours.
As part of our celebrations for the 25th anniversary of the Australian soap Neighbours we take a look at a few individuals who started out in the show before going on to bigger and better things. Now instantly Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan will spring to mind but they aren’t the only two who found greater success following life on Ramsay Street.
As our introduction stated Jason Donovan and Kylie Minogue are probably the two individuals who instantly spring to mind for most people when they think about those who went onto bigger and better things following a stint in Neighbours. Now just to remind you Donovan played Scott Robinson in Neighbours between 1986 and 1989 [he wasn’t the first actor to take on the role] and was involved in the soap’s most memorable moment of all – his marriage to Charlene [Kylie Minogue].
Following his exit from the soap Donovan enjoyed pop-chart success just like his co-star Kylie Minogue and a string of roles in London’s West End. He appeared in ITV’s reality television series I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! and lent his voice to the Buzz series of games. More recently he has his own radio show and returned to the world of soap for ITV’s ill-fated Echo Beach which lasted just one season and was universally panned by critics and audiences alike.
Now we don’t we really need to remind you who Kylie played in Neighbours but we’ll do so anyway; Charlene Robinson between 1986 and 1989. During her time in Neighbours the actress released several singles and following her exit from the soap continued with her music career releasing album after album. Kylie is still a prominent figure within the music industry and continues to enjoy success. In 2007 she made a brief return to acting when she played “one-off companion” Astrid in the Doctor Who special, Voyage of the Damned.
Played Catherine O’Brien on Ramsay Street in the mid 1990’s and will be most familiar to most of you for her role in the 2006 horror film Silent Hill – based on the series of playstation games. However, the actress has enjoyed success in American on television and film with roles in Phone Booth, Finding Neverland, When Strangers Appear and Cowboys and Angels. Mitchell is expected to reprise her role of Rose in the much delayed sequel to Silent Hill which was due to start filming sometime this year.
Remember young Billy Kennedy? Cos we do – we remember when the Kennedy family first moved into Ramsay Street. Billy Kennedy somehow acquired a sheep – we forget how – and clocked up a long-running romance with neighbour Anne during his time in Ramsay Street. Now you’ll find Jesse Spencer as one of the main characters in the hit American drama House where he plays Dr. Robert Chase alongside English actor Hugh Laurie.
Played Sam Kratz in Neighbours between 1994 and 1996 and had brief relationships with Cody Willis and Analese during his time on Ramsay Street. Cody was shot during a siege on Ramsay Street and her “ghost” briefly appeared to Sam urging him to move on and stop mourning for him. Following his departure from Neighbours he joined rival Australian soap Home & Away – one of the few actors to appear in both soaps. In Home and Away he played Lachlan Fraser but only stayed in the soap for a year before leaving.
Not quite over with the world of soap he played Jonny Foster in Emmerdale between 2007 and 2009. Jonny enjoyed romance with village resident, and former Drag Artist, Paul and the two later got “married”. However, their romance was a rocky one as Jonny suspected that Paul fancied fellow village resident bisexual Grayson Sinclair.
Alan Dale played Jim Robinson in Neighbours from its launch in 1985 right through to 1993 when Jim was killed off via a heart-attack. Jim was one of the most popular residents of Ramsay Street with fans so his exit was a disappointment to many. Alan was already a familiar face for Australian audiences due to his roles in dramas such as The Young Doctors.
Since leaving Neighbours all those years ago the actor has relocated to America where he has starred in many popular shows over there such as The X-Files, Space: Above and Beyond, ER, 24, The West Wing, The OC, Lost, Ugly Betty, NCIS, CSI: Miami and Entourage. Film wise he appeared in Star Trek Nemesis and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. In the UK he appeared in an episode of Torchwood, the Doctor Who spin-off, and Moving Wallpaper.
Played hunky Joel Samuels between 1998 and 2002 before swapping Ramsay Street for the British drama The Bill. The Australian actor played PC Cameron Tate for two years in the ITV1 cop-drama and they were two eventful years for the character. After two years on the beat as Cameron the actor quit the drama and returned to Australia and in 2006 starred in Tripping Over – which aired on Five in the UK. Tripping Over also starred another former Neighbours star – Brooke Satchwell. Following Tripping Over he joined the cast of City Homicide but also presents the Australian version of Dancing with the Stars.
Played Shane Ramsay in Neighbours between 1985 and 1987 and his since gone on to star in drama’s for British, American and Australian audiences as several appearances in films too. After leaving Neighbours the actor appeared in popular Australian medical-drama The Flying Doctors until 1991 and in the mid 1990’s he made several appearances on the BBC medical drama Cardiac Arrest. His other roles include the British version of Queer as Folk, extended guest stints in The Bill, Casualty, The Knock, Water Rats, White Collar Blue, Blue Heelers and Underbelly. He recently appeared in the Doctor Who special, The Waters of Mars.
Played Beth Willis between 1992 and 1994 but left the soap to follow in the footsteps of those who went before her – like Kylie Minogue – to launch a pop career. She found success with her single Torn – the music video for which stars hunky Jeremy Sheffield in his days before Holby City. However, while Torn was a hit for her subsequent single didn’t quite have the same impact although the actress is still a familiar figure within the entertainment industry. In 2003 she starred alongside Rowan Atkinson in the spoof spy film Johnny English.
The actress originally auditioned for the role of devious Elle Robinson in Neighbours but producers created the role of Katya Kinski for her instead – a role she played between 2005 and 2009. Most recently she was a regular cast member of Joss Whedon’s Fox television series Dollhouse which also starred Eliza Dushku and Tahmoh Penikett. The Sci Fi series ran for two seasons on Fox before being cancelled due to low ratings.
The actress turned singer played Felicity “Flick” Scully in the soap between 1999 and 2002 before leaving to launch her own pop career. The singer found early success with Kiss Kiss but struggled to maintain the success of that hit. Valance later moved to America where she guest starred in a number of dramas such as CSI New York, Prison Break, Shark, Moonlight and Taken. The singer also has a number of new projects in the pipe line.
Played Nina Tucker in the soap between 2002 and 2004 and reprised her role briefly in 2005 for several episodes. The actress has since launched a hugely successful singing career with her 4th album currently in production. Her relationship with former Westlife singer Bryan McFadden brought her to wide-spread media attention in the UK.
Neighbours airs on Channel 5 weekdays at 5.30pm