'Neighbours': 10 stars who started their careers on Ramsay Street

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·TV Reporter, Yahoo Entertainment UK
·7-min read
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Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan pictured together on the set of neighbours, 1990 (Impressions/Getty Images)
Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan pictured together on the set of neighbours, 1990 (Impressions/Getty Images)

Neighbours' future being thrown into jeopardy has been tough news for soap fans, with a tense wait to see whether another broadcaster will step in to save the show after Channel Five decided to end its deal.

But the Australian show is more than just a comforting daytime watch - it launched the careers of some huge global stars.

Read more: Alan Fletcher says Neighbours 'needs a hero'

Who knows what might have become of these well-known former Erinsborough residents if they'd never had their time on Ramsay Street.

10 stars who got their big break on Neighbours

Kylie Minogue

Screengrab of Kylie Minogue in Tourism Australia ad
Kylie Minogue starred as mechanic Charlene. (Tourism Australia)

She's one of the world's most famous women, but Kylie Minogue came from humble beginnings on the soap.

In the 80s she was one of Neighbours' most popular characters as Charlene Mitchell, a trainee mechanic who fell in love with boy next door Scott Robinson (Jason Donovan).

Looking back on her soap fame, it's hard to believe that she only actually spent two years in the soap and in fact was originally contracted for a week.

The show launched her hugely successful pop career, including duet Especially For You with Jason Donovan, that is still going strong in her fifties.

Jason Donovan

Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan as Charlene and Scott Robinson (Credit: Neighbours/Grundy Television)
Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan created one of the great soap weddings as Charlene and Scott Robinson. (Neighbours/Grundy Television)

Of course, there's no Charlene without Scott and no Kylie without Jason.

The couple's love story is still one of Ramsay Street's favourite ever romances, with their wedding to the sounds of Angry Anderson's Suddenly often named as an all-time TV highlight.

Read more: Jason Donovan appeals to save Neighbours

Scott stuck around for slightly longer than Charlene as he waited to get a job transfer to join her in Brisbane, but the couple's screen children were introduced in 2014 and 2016, telling residents that their parents were still happily together.

Meanwhile, in real life Jason Donovan also launched a pop career and has had huge success as a West End star in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, as well as appearing in many a UK reality contest.

Natalie Imbruglia

The singer played Beth early in her career. (Neighbours)
The singer played Beth early in her career. (Neighbours)

By the 90s, Neighbours bosses realised that there was room for another Charlene-style star and cast Natalie Imbruglia as Beth Brennan, who became a builder's apprentice.

The character was best known for her romance with Brad Willis (Scott Michaelson) although their wedding wasn't quite such a high point as Beth discovered Brad had been cheating with Lauren Carpenter and jilted him.

Eventually, the couple did marry and move to Perth, leaving the way open for Imbruglia to become a popstar and later a judge on The X Factor Australia.

Alan Dale

Alan Dale played Jim Robinson from the beginning. (Neighbours)
Alan Dale played Jim Robinson from the beginning. (Neighbours)

As one of the soap's original characters Jim Robinson, Alan Dale had a well-established role on Ramsay Street from 1985 until 1993 as a widower caring for children Paul, Julie, Scott and Lucy with his mother-in-law Helen Daniels.

But when he left over a pay dispute, Dale found himself typecast as the character in Australia and started afresh in the US, where he landed some high-profile roles.

Read more: Amanda Holden films Neighbours cameo

The actor is known for his work in The O.C., Ugly Betty, Lost, The West Wing and Dynasty, as well as film roles in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Margot Robbie

Margot Robbie got her big break on Ramsay Street. (Neighbours)
Margot Robbie got her big break on Ramsay Street. (Neighbours)

One of the biggest stars to have started out on Neighbours is Hollywood actor Margot Robbie.

She landed her first regular role on TV as Donna Freedman, featuring in the cast from 2008 to 2011, but while she was popular with fans of the soap her career was about to take off in a huge way after leaving.

Robbie moved to the US and got a starring role in the short-lived series Pan Am before crossing into movie stardom with The Wolf of Wall Street, Suicide Squad, I, Tonya, Birds of Prey and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

She has been nominated for two Oscars and five Baftas for her film work, and won two Critics' Choice awards.

Russell Crowe

Russell Crowe's Hollywood career began with a short stint on 'Neighbours'. (Getty Images)
Russell Crowe's Hollywood career began with a short stint on 'Neighbours'. (Getty Images)

Hollywood heavyweight Russell Crowe might not immediately strike you as a good fit for soap, but one of his earliest roles was as former prisoner Kenny Larkin in Neighbours.

It was only for four episodes and right at the beginning of his career, but Crowe told his biographer Martin Howden: "I was reading the script and I'm thinking, 'This is awful'. Then I get to the last scene and I've got to punch Craig McLachlan, and Jason Donovan tries to break up the fight, while Kylie Minogue is riding on my back trying to strangle me. And I went, 'I'll do it'."

Read more: The best soap moments of 2021

Crowe's decision seems to have been a good one, as he went on to win an Oscar for Gladiator, with other notable starring film roles including A Beautiful Mind, Cinderella Man, State of Play and Les Miserables.

The Hemsworth brothers

Chris Hemsworth briefly starred in 'Neighbours'. (Neighbours)
Chris Hemsworth briefly starred in 'Neighbours'. (Neighbours)

Liam, Chris and Luke Hemsworth have all found fame in Hollywood after starting out in the world of Aussie soaps.

Chris is better known for his years at Home and Away but also had an early role on Neighbours, Luke has played two different Erinsborough characters over the years, and Liam starred as Josh Taylor.

All three have used the show to launch successful careers: Liam in The Hunger Games films, Chris in Thor, Snow White and the Huntsman and Rush, and Luke in TV series Westworld.

Holly Valance

Holly Valance got her big break on the soap. (Neighbours)
Holly Valance got her big break on the soap. (Neighbours)

In 1999, a then-16-year-old Holly Valance became known to Neighbours fans as Felicity Scully, a role she held for three years.

Valance eventually left to follow in the footsteps of Minogue and Imbruglia by launching a pop career with hit single Kiss Kiss and has also appeared in other TV roles including Prison Break and Agatha Christie adaptation The Pale Horse.

She also took part in the 2011 series of Strictly Come Dancing after moving to the UK.

Guy Pearce

Guy Pearce in his soapland days. (Neighbours)
Guy Pearce in his soapland days. (Neighbours)

Film star Guy Pearce landed his first acting job in 1986 at the then-new soap Neighbours as character Mike Young, sticking around until 1989.

His illustrious movie career since then has included starring roles in The Road, The Hurt Locker, The King's Speech, Iron Man 3 and Mary Queen of Scots, as well as recent TV hit Mare of Easttown.

Pearce has won an Emmy, been nominated for a Golden Globe and released two albums.

Delta Goodrem

Delta Goodrem started out as an aspiring singer on the show. (Neighbours)
Delta Goodrem started out as an aspiring singer on the show. (Neighbours)

Delta Goodrem secured the perfect role to launch her life as a popstar in 2002 with a three-year part in Neighbours as aspiring singer Nina Tucker.

She then went on to music stardom in real life, with her debut album Innocent Eyes becoming the second highest selling Australian album of all time.

Goodrem battled cancer at 18 not long after beginning her music career, but has gone on to release six more albums, win countless awards, and star as a coach on Australia's version of The Voice.

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