Photo courtesy of Channel 5.

There must be something in the air in the Neighbours writers’ room at the moment, because it’s all been getting a bit steamy on Ramsay Street lately. For a family soap with an early evening broadcast time, the subjects being discussed in recent plot lines have been a little bit risqué to say the least. Viewers tuning in this past couple of weeks might have been forgiven for thinking they had switched on some sort of saucy late-night version of Neighbours by accident.

We’re all used to Karl and Susan’s antics with their blue box, the contents of which I could happily go to my grave without seeing, but this week we learned more than we ever wished to know about Dipi and Shane’s love life, and witnessed Sonya massively getting the horn as well. This is all thanks, in a roundabout way, to the new semi-naked gardener, Cassius. He’s been a fixture on Ramsay Street for a couple of weeks, manfully lifting heavy things in nothing but a pair of tiny shorts, and wherever he’s been, there has been a council of Ramsay Street women sipping iced tea and ogling him. All the pent-up frustration the ladies build up watching Cassius has to be dealt with somehow, so their husbands have been reaping the benefits.

neighbours cassius

Dipi and Shelia perving on Cassius. Photo: Channel 5/Digital Spy.

After seeing the semi-naked gardener and finally realising why their wives have all got a sudden enthusiasm for bedroom gymnastics, jealous Toadie, Shane and Karl gave Cassius the elbow, and his work on the street dried up. Sadly for them, this meant none of them were getting any action any more, so Cassius was soon redeployed in Ramsay Street in his tiny shorts. Eventually this ended up with Karl taking a leaf out of Cassius’ book and lurking in the greenhouse in the buff until Susan got home, in a scene which is shortly to be replayed in one of my nightmares.

Now, I like a good-looking bloke as much as the next person, but quite why Cassius is reducing every woman, and some of the men, in Erinsborough to a randy, jibbering mess is a bit beyond me. Obviously it’s horses for courses, and I do have spectacularly weird taste in men, but I’m afraid that Cassius provokes no reaction in me whatsoever. I think I would find sitting in my garden staring at a clothes pole about as arousing as I find him. But, he’s been a hit with pretty much everyone in Ramsay Street who finds men attractive, so obviously I am missing something. On that note, I did enjoy the conversation about male objectification which sprung up around the collective ogling of Cassius, it’s a hot topic at the moment and it was nice to see Neighbours throwing it into the mix, especially in the middle of one of their more frivolous storylines.

In a more serious plot, Mishti slept with a total scumbag who recorded it without her consent and then uploaded the video online. Hats off to the writers for this storyline, and using it to explore the concept of victim-blaming. I’m pleased that the focus has been on blaming the perpetrator instead of the victim, which is sadly what often happens, both in real life and on TV.

Neighbours Mishti

Mishti has had a very tough week. Photo: Channel 5/Digital Spy

And as if all that wasn’t enough, then there was Gary and his sugar-free dessert tasting. He was trying to get Fay to start selling his sugar-free desserts at The Waterhole, so he invited her to taste them, in what proved to be one of the most aurally disturbing scenes since the invention of television. The script was pure innuendo, with so much moaning and heavy breathing that anyone not actually watching the screen would have got entirely the wrong idea about what was happening. Please let us never be subjected to this again. Also, there is no way a sugar-free dessert tasted that good.

I actually really love the silly storylines like this on Neighbours, it’s something they’ve always done well, and I’m a big fan of the fact that sex on Neighbours isn’t purely for the hot, young things, like it is on a lot of other shows. Regardless of age, gender or sexual orientation, you’re allowed to have a sex life in Ramsay Street, with the oldest couple on the street arguably out-kinking everyone else. Having said that, this week has all been a little bit much at times. Maybe someone should start dosing everyone’s tea with something to calm them all down. The whole street must be exhausted by now…