Neighbours stars reveal cast WhatsApp group turned awkward over return rumours

embargo 07022022 karl kennedy, susan kennedy and paul robinson in neighbours
Neighbours group chat turned awkward over returnChannel 5

Neighbours legends Stefan Dennis, Alan Fletcher, Jackie Woodburne and Ryan Moloney were forced to go quiet on the cast's WhatsApp group chat when rumours spread that the show could be returning.

The foursome were the first stars to be informed of Neighbours' revival last November when free streaming service Amazon Freevee stepped in to commission new episodes.

After the "core four" signed up to reprise their roles as Paul Robinson, Karl Kennedy, Susan Kennedy and Toadie Rebecchi, they were sworn to secrecy for several days. However, this didn't stop rumours from swirling.

susan and karl kennedy in neighbours
Channel 5

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Annie Jones, who has now confirmed a return as Jane Harris, told Digital Spy and other press: "We're all in a group WhatsApp chat.

"On that day when it was announced to the world, Charlotte [Chimes] who plays Nicolette came on and said: 'Hey, does anyone else know? I've heard there's going to be a big announcement about Neighbours soon'.

"We were all going: 'Hmm, I wonder what it could be?' We were guessing and thought maybe they were going to release old episodes or something like that.

"Unbeknownst to us, these four – Stefan, Ryan, Jackie and Alan – were being very quiet on this WhatsApp chat group because they already knew!"

jane harris in neighbours
Channel 5

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Neighbours' executive producer Jason Herbison had visited the four legacy cast members days earlier to organise their returns.

Stefan Dennis added: "Jason came round personally and visited myself and the other three. It was confusing, shocking – everything.

"Jason said: 'You cannot tell anybody. It hasn't been announced. You can't even tell your own family'. I was very good and I didn't tell – although I told my wife! But I didn't tell my kids – my kids didn't find out for a week.

"That's why, as Annie was saying, we were suspiciously quiet on the WhatsApp group. We were itching to say: 'Guys, guess what?'"

paul robinson in neighbours
Channel 5

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Annie laughed: "When it was announced to the world, that's when these guys said: 'So sorry, but we couldn't say anything'."

Neighbours has now confirmed eight regular cast members and three guest stars for the new season, with more names expected to be announced in the coming weeks before filming resumes in April.

Neighbours returns in the second half of 2023 with new episodes streaming free on Amazon Freevee in the UK and US. Network 10 will retain first-run rights in Australia for the new series.

Read more Neighbours coverage on our dedicated homepage

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