It's celebration time in soapland as Neighbours reaches its 30th anniversary on Wednesday! Word has even reached Walford, where the residents of Albert Square have marked the milestone with their own special tribute. (opens in new tab)
We caught up with Neighbours stars Stefan Dennis (Paul) and Anne Charleston (Madge) for a trip down memory lane about the Aussie soap which was originally axed after seven months... But was rescued and went on to become a worldwide hit.
"I never thought the show was going to last anyway," says Stefan. "I thought it was this corny little soap opera which I didn't want to do at the beginning. But I said I'll do it for three months, but my agent said 'No they want to sign you for six'. I thought it probably won't last much longer than that anyway!"
Meanwhile, Anne, who was one half of classic Neighbours couple, Madge and Harold, and has returned for a special fortnight of anniversary episodes, remembers the moment she realised Neighbours had become a hit.
"I was over in the UK on holiday when I was asked to appear on Wogan on BBC1. I arrived at the studio in Shepherds Bush for filming and there were hundreds of fans outside. That just blew my mind and I thought, 'We are on to a winner here!'"
Watch the interview with Stefan Dennis and Anne Charleston, above.
Look out for Ramsay Street residents past and present as the Erinsborough Festival begins in Neighbours on Wednesday, March 18 on Channel 5.
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Simon has long been a fan of soap operas, and especially loves OVER-THE-TOP plots involving evil twins, hair-pulling catfights and natural disasters.
Anyone remember the Sunset Beach earthquake/tidal wave?
Or when Krystle Carrington got locked in the attic and replaced by look-a-like Rita in Dynasty?!
Simon has written for a variety of TV and childrens’ magazines/websites including Inside Soap, Nickelodeon, What’s On TV, Radio Times, Metro, Girl Talk, Disney Girl, Toxic! and Digital Spy.
He has reported LIVE from the red carpet at The British Soap Awards interviewing glammed-up stars from soapland, and hosted a Facebook LIVE session for Metro with Home and Away legend Ray Meagher (Alf "Stone the flamin' crows!" Stewart) to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Aussie soap.
Simon is also co-author of The Treasures Of Coronation Street (Carlton Books)
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