It’s been a great year for Neighbours, so much so we wanted to celebrate the best bits of the year. We think 2014 was the year Neighbours really cemented itself as a soap in great shape. 2015 looks set to be even better, but let’s take a look back at our favourite bits of this year.
10 – Neighbours Tornado!
When Neighbours announced a tornado storyline, a lot of fans were unsurprisingly worried. How would this ever be managed on the small budget on the show? The answer is quite well indeed! Set aside what felt like hours of Amber whining, what we got was a slick, well shot story. Cleverly making use of Power Road and great design effects, it was brilliant to see the roof torn off Amber’s car as the tornado waged destruction on Grease Monkeys. More impressive however was the aftermath. That incredible shot of Ramsay Street, the morning after, wrecked and a shell of its usual self had a brilliant visual impact and the attention to detail was stunning. Even better was the fact that the tornado served as a catalyst for the reveal of the kiss – one of the biggest plots of the year – making it clear that Neighbours could nail both style and substance.
9 – Kyle and Georgia’s Wedding
Who doesn’t love a good wedding? They’re a soap staple and this year it was the turn of Kyle and Georgia to get hitched. Sure it wasn’t without its disasters – like Georgia ending up stranded before the wedding – but all in all it was a cute and refreshingly happy day. We’ve not been too fond of plots where these two have struggled with problems in their relationship but keeping them together and in fun plots seems to have worked well for them. Plus we’ll never forget their hilarious attempts at role play to keep the spark after their honeymoon. Really funny stuff. We know there will be Canning drama ahead but we hope they keep the new Mr and Mrs Canning happy together.
8 – Kate Ramsay Shot Dead
How do you solve a problem like Kate Ramsay? Apparently you shoot her in the back. Kate had been one of the more divisive characters in the show with some loving her but others were long tired of her various romantic pursuits and victim status. When it was announced that Ashleigh Brewer would be bowing out of the she and Scott McGregor would be returning for a guest stint, a happy ending was a foregone conclusion surely? Except it didn’t happen. In a shock twist, Kate was gunned down by Victor Cleary, as vengeance for Paul killing his brother Gus ten years prior. Such exits are not what we expect from the traditionally “safe” Neighbours but that rareness is what made it work. Surprising, exciting and emotive, we have to praise the show for pulling the rug from below us and giving Kate the iconic exit no one expected.
7 – Coward Punch
Chris being knocked out by a drunken punch by Josh got a bit preachy at times but it was a well written story that seemed to divide viewers. While we were a bit fed up to see Chris in hospital again, it was impossible not to feel his plight as he struggled to cope following his head injury. We were pleasantly surprised at how sympathetic Josh came across too and his pained regret meant we were relieved at his lesser sentence. James Mason and Harley Bonner did a fantastic job with this morally grey issue so it was an easy highlight of the year.
6 – The Josh and Naomi Affair
This time last year Josh was up there with our most disliked characters. Then a magical thing happened: the Jamber love story ended and Josh became likeable. Then, quicker than it takes to strip in a lift, Josh indulged a little no-strings hook up with newcomer and amazing older woman Naomi. We were totally hooked. They were funny, flirty and sexy and they actually seemed pretty great for one another. We enjoyed every second. Of course it wasn’t to last and we were sad to see it finish, especially because the inevitable prospect of losing Josh to Amber’s charisma black hole is something we dread when he’s now one of our favourites.
5 – The Book of Secrets
The saucy Fifty Shades tribute started out as a simple throwaway comedy plot which grew and grew into a hilarious long running comedy plot involving so many characters and in-jokes. Easily one of the greatest things Neighbours did this year and it just seemed somehow so wrong yet so right that Karl would be the one behind the kinky tale. Not only did it give us great Kennedy moments, it left many of the residents flustered including our favourite Sheila who begun having saucy dreams about Lou and then Paul! It’s the type of comedy Neighbours is so good at and we hope this isn’t the end for The Book of Secrets!
4 – The Kennedys
In 2014 the show celebrated twenty years of the Kennedy family and what a celebration it was! Karl and Susan recovered from a very quiet 2013 by coming to fore once more with a great mix of everyday drama and classic, inimitable Kennedy comedy. Jackie and Alan were as ever in their element and it was fantastic to see the spotlight shine on them once more. Not only this but we were overjoyed to see returns from Zeke, Mal and in particular, Libby and Ben made overdue and welcome returns. And as the year ended, Karl and Susan in true Kennedy form took in a new stray in the form of troubled Nate. The pinnacle of the anniversary came in the form of a special episode, filled to the brim with flashbacks and references to the past. It was a touching look back at the characters’ amazing history and an absolute joy to watch.
3 – Brad and Terese’s marriage woes
The arrival of Paige Smith had a massive impact on the show and characters but no more so than the effect she had on Terese and Brad’s marriage. What once seemed like one of the most stable marriages in the street slowly but surely began to break down in a series of lies, hurt, mistakes and arguments – and understandably so! Brad’s betrayal caused Terese’s deeply hidden insecurities to bubble to the surface and it wasn’t long before they pair’s relationship grew toxic and bitter. By year’s end, we loved hearing that their relationship was born from an affair and getting some much needed backstory on the family. In addition, Terese has quickly become one of the show’s most fascinating characters and been a real star throughout 2014.
2 – Rebecchi struggles
It was a big, big year for the Rebecchi family this year as they waved goodbye to Callum and faced their biggest hurdle in the form of minxy Naomi Canning. What we loved most however was that this wasn’t a cliché affair story – far from it. The reason we really loved the Rebecchis this year was the fact that it brought some of the best character-driven writing the show has seen in a long time. Eve and Ryan delivered as always and cemented their place as one of the show’s most iconic couples. Sonya’s addictions and backstory have a constant impact on every move she makes and it’s been incredible to witness the contributed exploration of such a complex character. Toadie’s loyalty to his wife was both moving, and much welcome in the modern day soap era of affairs and betrayal. Time and again we got powerful, raw and superbly performed scenes and we can only hope 2015 remains as strong for this fantastic family.
1 – Paige Smith Revealed as Lauren and Brad’s Child
One of the most engaging and interesting stories this year had to be Paige Smith’s arrival and subsequent reveal as Lauren and Brad’s long lost daughter. It was a story that rocked both families before she even appeared on screen and her reveal set a chain of events that totally transformed the Turner and Willis families. Not only were the reveal scenes beautifully played and gripping, but Olympia Valance has made a fantastic addition to the cast. Paige is gutsy and headstrong and we love her interactions with her new siblings. We hope to see more of the same great material for Paige in 2015.