Neighbours is an Australian television soap opera. It was first broadcast on the Seven Network on this day in 1985. It was created by TV executive Reg Watson, who proposed the idea of making a show that focused on realistic stories and portrayed adults and teenagers who talk openly and solve their problems together. Seven decided to commission the show following the success of Watson’s Sons and Daughters, which aired on the network.
Although successful in Melbourne, Neighbours underperformed in the Sydney market and struggled for months before Seven cancelled it. The show was immediately bought by rival network Ten. After taking over production of the show, the new network had to build replica sets because Seven destroyed the originals to prevent its rival from obtaining them. Ten began screening Neighbours on 20 January 1986, taking off where the previous series left off and commencing with episode 171. Neighbours has since become the longest running drama series in Australian television and in 2005, it was inducted collectively into the Logie Hall of Fame. On 11 January 2011, Neighbours moved to Ten’s digital channel, Eleven.
The show’s story lines concern the domestic and professional lives of the people who live and work in Erinsborough, a fictional suburb of Melbourne, Victoria. The series primarily centres on the residents of Ramsay Street, a short cul-de-sac, and its neighbouring area, the Lassiters complex, which includes a bar, hotel, cafe, police station, lawyers’ office and park. Neighbours began with three families created by Watson – the Ramsays, the Robinsons and the Clarkes. Watson said that he wanted to show three families who are friends living in a small street. The Robinsons and the Ramsays had a long history and were involved in an ongoing rivalry. Pin Oak Court, in Vermont South, is the real cul-de-sac that has doubled for Ramsay Street since 1985. All of the houses featured are real and the residents allow the production to shoot external scenes in their yards. The interior scenes are filmed at the Global Television studios in Forest Hill.
Through its entire run in Australia, Neighbours has been screened as a twenty-two-minute episode each week night in an early-evening slot. In Australia it is currently broadcast each week night at 6:30 pm on Eleven. The show is produced by Fremantle Media and has been sold to over sixty countries around the world, making it one of Australia’s most successful media exports. Neighbours was first screened in the United Kingdom in October 1986 on BBC1 where it achieved huge popularity among British audiences in the late 1980s and 1990s. In 2008, it moved to the UK’s Channel 5.