I first started watching Neighbours as a child in the 1980s. I can actually recall the very first episode I ever watched. I sat cross-legged on the carpet in front of the TV, way closer than my mum thought was good for my eyes. I have such a vivid recollection of Des with his arm in a cast as a result of a stag night prank that I can pin down my first episode to number 0294, aired in the UK in December 1987, when I was seven years old. I am now 42 and, apart from my viewing being sporadic during one year when I went travelling after university, I have watched religiously, five days a week, every week for around 35 years. This show has been such a constant in my life that I honestly never even considered the possibility that it would end. Yet, today marks the first time that I’m working from home and won’t be able to pop downstairs at 1:45 for my daily peek into the lives of the Erinsborough residents.
So here we are at the end of the road, or at the end of Ramsay Street anyway. I can’t quite believe it, but this is my final ever round-up of the goings-on in Erinsborough. The ending conjured up so many different emotions I feel like I can’t possibly do it justice. Still, I’ll do my best to write a few semi-coherent things about our beloved soap’s final week and the epic last episode.
I’ll be perfectly honest. I struggled to enjoy the episodes from the final week as much as I would have done had the end not been looming darkly at the end of it all. Normally, I absolutely love any nod back to old Neighbours, so the flashbacks that accompanied the various entries into the Ramsay Street history book would usually have had me clapping my hands with glee. Sadly, because of the circumstances, they just made me feel a bit melancholy, but I am planning to watch them again at some point so I can enjoy them properly. Seeing glimpses of Madge, Helen, and Mrs. Mangel was such a blast from the past, and we got to revisit some iconic moments.
I can’t talk about the entries into the history book without mentioning the way that Chloe absolutely steamrollered Chris’s stroll down memory lane. The poor bloke’s only been back in Erinsborough for five minutes, and not only does he have to do his quite personal recollections in front of an audience, but halfway through, Chloe just starts wanging on about Elly and makes it all about her. I don’t know if it’s just because I’ve never really been on board with Chloe and Elly, but it really wound me up – just let Freckles have his moment, Chloe!
The cutest moment of the history book’s journey around the street is surely when Toadie jokes that they’re going to need a bigger book, and Harold chuckles adorably and does a little Jaws-mime with his hands. It was so cute that I have genuinely been thinking about it about three times every day since I saw it, and it makes me happy and sad at the same time. Harold is the most adorable character, and I need a Harold on my street.
Shane is Susan’s New Favourite Person
Izzy is distracted by rich men in the same way that I can’t focus if someone flashes a bar of Dairy Milk in front of me, and she’s drawn to Shane as he stands debating which boring rich man car he should choose. The two of them start flirting straight away, and there’s definite chemistry between Izzy and Shane’s wallet. They even share a steamy kiss in the car, which Shane randomly names Bouncer. I like to name a car as much as the next person, but naming it after a dog that wasn’t even yours is truly bizarre. Kyle sees Izzy and Shane kissing in Bouncer and runs straight off to tell Karl and Susan. Good boy, Kyle.
Karl and Susan waste no time and head straight over to tell Mally that his new squeeze has been squeezing someone else, but Izzy has ruined Susan’s fun by confessing already. Still, the relief that Izzy and Mal’s relationship has ended is palpable, even when Izzy goes into a weird speech about needing the Kennedys’ approval. If she needed their approval so badly, maybe she should have tried not having an affair with Karl, then trying to coax him into having a second baby and, failing that, shacking up with their son. But, of course, it would probably have been a touch easier to win their approval without all that. Just saying.
Mel and Toadie Tie the Knot
I’ve never been a huge fan of Toadie and Mel as a couple, but their wedding ends up being kind of adorable. Toadie has planned a romantic ceremony by the lake, and Mel has planned a big reception party in Ramsay Street. It all suits them both down to the ground, aside from Melanie’s wedding dress, which is truly one of the most hideous things I’ve ever seen. I couldn’t figure out if it was a skirt or big flappy trousers, but either way, it was a cowgirl blouse at the top and some sort of shiny, gold, cruise-ship style monstrosity at the bottom. It left me feeling confused.
Terese has had cold feet about her move to River Bend and her entire relationship with her ex-husband’s half-brother. There’s a huge blow-up when she finds some letters to her inside Paul’s compendium and is overcome with emotion as she reads them. Glen finds her mid-blub and flies off the handle in an absolutely unhinged jealous rage and goes to throw the compendium, which belonged to his and Paul’s dad, into the wheelie bin. Terese gives him an absolute blast when she sees what he’s about to do, and there ends their relationship.
Side note: Who thought that a “compendium” would be so pivotal in anyone’s love life? Not me, certainly.
During the wedding preparations, Terese has a misguided epiphany and decides that after trying out several Robinson-adjacent partners, Paul is the man for her after all. She fully launches herself at him like the face-hugger from Alien, but he books it out of there faster than I get out of my office chair at 5 pm. She gets overwhelmed at the wedding ceremony and dashes off, so Paul chases her. They have an incredibly problematic conversation about the fact that he’s a terrible person and will definitely keep hurting her. Still, Terese is seemingly all-in for that kind of emotional abuse, so here we are. The only upside to this is that they decide to stay in Erinsborough, which has a domino effect on everyone else in the street.
Mike and Jane Forever
Mike From Neighbours (AKA Guy Pearce) took a break from being a massive Hollywood star to come back for one last hurrah, and I absolutely loved it. He’s always seemed like a good egg because he’s never struck me as being embarrassed about his time on Neighbours and seems to embrace the fact that he will forever be Mike From Neighbours to some of us.
He roars back onto the street on his motorbike, and Jane is all aquiver at the sight of her first love, but she has the tricky decision of choosing between Mike and Clive. Luckily for Jane, Mike and us, Clive makes it incredibly easy for her by suddenly and inexplicably becoming an absolute thundermoron. He gets absolutely wasted and turns up on the street, berating Mike and aggressively waving a lamp at him while Jane is in the middle of giving Mike a nostalgic tour of all the houses.
Not at all put off his stride by Clive’s bizarre behaviour, Mike confesses to Jane that he’s always been in love with her. Weirdly, Jane is still on the fence about it at first, but eventually, Mike wins her over, and we are all left with silly big heart eyes.
I absolutely loved Mike’s return. I loved that he turned out to be Sammy’s dad, and I also loved seeing the original four teens reunited again, as brief as it was.
Especially For You
This brings me to the glorious return of Kylie and Jason! It’s a bit odd that Kylie barely said anything, but having them back on the street felt like a fitting end to the show and a tribute to what propelled it to the heady heights of popularity in the first place, especially here in the UK. I couldn’t get enough of Scott, Charlene, Mike, and Jane back in the day, so it warmed my little old heart to see them all back again. Charlene rocking a denim jumpsuit was a nice throwback to her mechanic days – I just wish she had actually attempted to climb through that window!
Paige Takes a Hit on Commission
With Paul and Terese’s reunion and everyone feeling a bit mushy after the wedding, the big Ramsay Street exodus starts to fall apart, and so does the amount of real estate commission that Paige was going to get. Leo decides to stay, and with River Bend off the table, Nicolette and Kiri decide to give their relationship a go, which prompts David and Aaron to cancel their plan to jump ship too. There’s only Toadie left. However, after Karl plays him a bunch of messages from past Ramsay Street residents (which was spectacular fun, and I have too many thoughts about it to properly articulate them here without rewatching it – they even got Margot Robbie!). Toadie relents and decides to remain in the House of Trouser.
The only resident still committed to leaving is Chloe, who shares the world’s most awkward kiss with Elly and decides that’s enough of a push for her to move to Sydney.
I’m glad they’re mostly all staying put. It’s so silly, but I hated the thought that everyone was leaving in the run-up to the final episode. So even though we won’t be able to get our daily dose of the Ramsay Street drama anymore, I like the thought that they’re all still there. It’s oddly comforting.
Susan Single-handedly Destroys Us All
And so, with the wedding reception in full swing, we reach the end. Susan has been chosen as the most fitting person to write an introduction to the history book, and we hear her mulling over what makes Ramsay Street so special as she walks around the party. Susan’s extremely genuine teary eyes had been threatening to make me cry for the whole episode. Still, she finally unleashed a bit of a deluge as she reminisced about her neighbours past and present. We even got ghostly glimpses of some of the sadly departed characters, like Madge, Doug, Sonya, and Hendrix.
Susan’s monologue indeed summed up what Neighbours have meant to us fans, and we even got a shout-out as she mentioned the people who “watched from afar.” I was incredibly touched by that line, and my eyes are welling up just typing this! When Susan said, “we really were a perfect blend,” I thought I would never stop crying. From the montage of old title sequences at the start to the pretty dodgy CGI confetti at the end (they obviously spent all their money on Madge’s ghost), the final episode was really a fitting tribute to a show that has meant so much to so many of us for so long. I think they did it justice.
So, the only thing left to do is for me to sign off.
I first started writing for The Game of Nerds because I missed stretching my writing muscles. At first, I wrote about whatever took my fancy, but then one week, I wrote about Neighbours, and something clicked – from then on, Neighbours was all I wanted to write about. The question of whether anyone else wanted to read my ramblings didn’t matter to me at first, but I really began to look forward to reading everyone’s comments every week, and it brought me such joy to think that whatever nonsense happened to pour out of my brain had managed to make a couple of people smile. So, thank you to everyone who’s been along on this ride with me for the past few years. Thanks for reading, commenting, and being a part of the nicest fandom on the internet.
Most of all, thank you, Neighbours, for over 30 years of genuinely Unmissable Drama™.