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The cult Australian soap opera Neighbours has broadcast its last episode. The show, which enjoyed its heyday in the eighties and nineties, helped launch multiple movie and pop music careers.
The show was just the start for Kylie Minogue, pictured second from left
The last episode of the Australian soap opera “Neighbours” was broadcast on Thursday, featuring appearances from former stars including Kylie Minogue, Guy Pearce and Margot Robbie.
Television makers axed the show after 37 years of production due to a declining audience both at home and in Britain, where it was once hugely popular.
The soap’s action revolved around the fictional cul-de-sac Ramsay Street, in the the invented Melbourne suburb of Erinsborough — itself almost an anagram of Neighbours.
It was a television fixture of the small screen in Australia since 1985 and in Britain, where it aired twice daily, since 1986.
The show had its peak in the late 1980s, and became so influential to UK pop culture that it was blamed for British teenagers developing Australian accents.
The wedding of Scott Robinson and Charlene Mitchell, played respectively by Jason Donovan and Kylie Minogue, attracted 20 million viewers when it aired in the UK in November 1988.
Both actors went on to enjoy successful music careers — with Minogue in particular propelled into the pop stratosphere.
Other future pop stars — including Natalie Imbruglia, Delta Goodrem and Holly Valance — also got their big break on the show.
It was the launchpad for a string of Hollywood acting careers of including those of Margot Robbie, Russell Crowe, Liam Hemsworth and Guy Pearce.
However, ratings steadily dwindled and the show was dropped by Britain’s Channel 5 in March, failing to secure another broadcast partner in the United Kingdom.
“I’m just a natural flirt, but I don’t see it in a sexual way. A lot of the time I’m like an overexcited puppy,” once said the pop singer. At barely five feet (1.5 meters) tall and with a slim size 34 figure, Kylie Minogue has seemingly eternal beauty, even at 50. As sexy as ever, she appears to defy the notion that women of a certain age can’t be sex symbols.
She was just 17 when Kylie landed her first television role in 1985 on the Australian soap The Henderson Kids (seen here with co-star Mark Hennessy). Not yet blonde, she wore her hair in a typically 80s hairstyle: permed. She played her supporting role as Charlotte “Char” Kernow so well that she was directly committed to another series a year later.
Her breakthrough came with the next soap opera, Neighbours. The suburban soap starred her future partner, Jason Donovan and launched Kylie to teen idol status in her native Australia. In the series, she played Donovan’s love interest so it was only a matter of time before they partnered up in real life to sing a love song.
Cotton candy pop and sugary sweet love songs were not uncommon in the 1980s. But the way that Kylie and her then-lover Jason Donovan breathed their sweetness into the microphone, is enough to give anyone with contemporary listening habits a toothache. Their big hair and broad shoulder pads scream 80s. Still, “Especially for You” was an international top 10 hit.
Even before Kylie Minogue’s duet with Donovan, her talents had her in the sights of music producers Stock, Aitken & Waterman, who were dominating the music scene at the time. The Australian would become famous so quickly that she was honored with her own wax figure at Madame Tussaud’s (she has had four likenesses). Her nickname? The singing budgie.
In 1995, a completely different pop duo arose when two singers came together who would never imagine dueting: Nick Cave, from the wave / gothic / punk corner with his Bad Seeds and Kylie Minogue, the petite young pop goddess. In “Where the Wild Roses Grow” is not trilled. The dark song is about a man who kills his lover.
Kylie’s career has had its ups and downs. In the early 1990s, her record sales declined as she reoriented herself musically. And in her private life, things weren’t running smoothly, either. An image shift may have been responsible as she transformed from a happy-go-lucky soul to a sex symbol. In 2000 she was back with the album Light Years.
Kylie came out of her slump swinging. The 2001 album Fever sold in the millions and both the song and the music video for “Can’t Get You Out of My Head” went strong. It didn’t matter that the diva was in her mid-30s: She was as sexy as ever in miniskirts and barely-there dresses. In Germany, people started referring to her as “Geilie Minogue” as a compliment about her sex appeal.
Since 2001, Kylie has had her own fashion and cosmetics line. Under the brand “Love Kylie,” she even sells lingerie. In 2006, she cooperated with cosmetics firm Coty to create six perfumes and in 2008, she released “Kylie at home,” a collection of bed linens and curtains made from organza and silk.
Shortly before her 50th birthday, Kylie Minogue has released her 14th studio album, Golden. The result of a trip to Nashville, the singer picked up the American country-western sound and in so doing, she said, she was able to work through her frustration about her unhappy love affairs. She’s doing so much better now that she’ll be celebrating her 50th birthday big-time.
Author: Silke Wünsch (ct)
The finale came after almost 9,000 episodes, and was filled with appearances from characters flipping through old photo albums.
A mystery figure who appeared on a motorcycle was revealed to be Pearce’s character, Mike Young.
Ian Smith, who played one of the show’s stalwarts Harold Bishop for nearly two decades, also made an appearance, as well as Imbruglia, Valance, and Robbie.
Minogue reprised her role as Charlene, appearing alongside Donovan as Scott, with the pair still happily married in the show.
Edited by: Mark Hallam
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