The Leader podcast: Kylie and Jason reunited for Neighbours finale

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Jason Donovan and Kylie Minogue reprised their iconic roles of Scott and Charlene for the last ever episode of Neighbours (Channel 5)
Jason Donovan and Kylie Minogue reprised their iconic roles of Scott and Charlene for the last ever episode of Neighbours (Channel 5)

Do you remember the Eighties and Nineties earworm theme broadcast from Down Under to television sets in millions of British homes on BBC One twice a day?

Now, it’s all over for Neighbours as the long-running Australian soap ends its 37-year run now amid dwindling viewing figures on Channel 5, after a total 8,903 episodes.

While these days you’ve got a never-ending on-demand buffet of online shows and films, but back in the late 80s it was four channels and pretty much everyone knew what was happening in Ramsay Street.

Many thousands Londoners are set to tune in for the first time in decades for the last episode after it topped the ratings in Australia, watched by an average 1.2 million people.

Fans gathered to watch the final scenes at an outdoor big screen in Melbourne’s Federation Square, that’s the city where the show is set and produced.

All the big guns are back in Erinsborough for a last hurrah, including Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan.

The antipodeans were known by households throughout the UK simply by their first names, and who were so popular that over a third of the population tuned in to watch their characters’ wedding in 1988 - that’s 19.6 million people.

Now, the pair have joined Hollywood stars Guy Pearce, Margot Robbie and a host of other old, reassuring faces and references - including a tribute to Bouncer the dog - for an emotional extended finale show.

But despite an online petition of nearly 70,000 signatures to save the show, it was not to be, and now Neighbours has gone the way of Crossroads and Brookside to that modern soaps resting place, the internet.

To examine the significance of the poignant end of a pre-web icon, The Leader’s joined by Nick Clark, the Evening Standard’s deputy culture editor.

We discuss the big names from the once cultural phenomenon, reflect on the word-of-mouth hit show and hear from Kylie and Jason themselves, speaking from Ramsay Street.

Listen here or here:

You can find us on your Spotify Daily Drive or wherever you stream your podcasts.

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