In celebration of Neighbours’ 30th Anniversary we decided to put together a list of our Top 5 Neighbours moments of all time. Considering neither of us were alive in 1985, we can only really remember about 20 years’ worth so you’ll have to forgive some early omissions (sorry Scott and Charlene) as our focus is on those iconic moments from the nineties and noughties. There were lots of moments that narrowly missed out in our Top 5 (ranked by year, not by merit) but we hope you enjoy our choices!
Susan slaps Karl (Episode 3110, 1998) – [watch clip]
Ask any Neighbours fan, casual or die hard, to name their top five most memorable moments of the last 30 years and we’re certain 99% of them will describe one powerful Neighbours scene, universally known to all as ‘The Slap’. Few soap scenes gain such a legacy, such a memorable tag that two words are enough to let any other fan know exactly what they’re referring. The build up was fantastic, as Karl exchanged a kiss with Sarah Beaumont in the 1997 finale – a simple kiss that led to one of Karl and Susan’s most iconic stories and arguably the story that truly put the Kennedy family on the map and cemented their role as legends in the making. As Susan discovered Karl’s deceit, she was overcome with emotion and Jackie Woodburne sold it to hell and back, Despite the fact that Karl and Susan had only been on a few years, Jackie and Alan succeeded in making a really believable pairing and to see it ripped apart was fantastic TV. As Susan tore her husband apart, her anger erupted in a vicious slap that was destined to go down in the Neighbours’ history books. Vicious and raw, you felt like you were really experiencing Susan’s fury. A scene often imitated by many a soap but never bettered, ‘The Slap’ will always remain an unforgettable memory in the history of the show.
The Lassiters’ Fire (Episode 4630, 2004) – [watch clip]
The 2004 Neighbours finale certainly was an explosive one! Not only did it see the whole of the Lassiters complex burn to the ground, losing the iconic Coffee Shop and Lou’s Place pub, but it also saw the return of legendary Paul Robinson – in a roll neck sweater murdering Gus Cleary no less! It was one of the most dramatic stunts that Neighbours have ever done and sad for us and the characters to watch their livelihoods and favourite places turn to ash – especially moving for poor Lou and Harold. The tension didn’t just end there as the Ramsay Street residents knew Stuart and Sindi were still inside the burning building. Both of them were fine, of course, except for Stuart’s brief, obligatory blindness plot. It was an amazing way to end 2004, leading to another gripping year of Neighbours. We also love that ten years on this plot was revisited when Gus Cleary’s brother murdered Paul’s niece Kate in revenge for the death of Gus all those years ago.
Karl finally learns of Izzy’s lies (Episode 4772, 2005)
Right in the middle of the fantastic 20th Anniversary week, Neighbours pulled out such a satisfying moment in the Izzy and Karl saga that it had to make our Top 5. Izzy and Karl’s relationship had been a real slow burn and watching the Kennedys divorce was heart breaking for viewers, but while Karl played happy families with his precious, devious “Isabelle” we all knew she was playing him for a fool. Desperate to cling onto Karl after he found out her miscarried baby wasn’t his, she lied saying that Guy Cleary had raped her and Karl – being the lovestruck idiot he was – believed her! This classic moment we’ve picked came just after Karl overheard Izzy telling her brother Max that she’d lied to Karl – claiming she had no choice. Karl overheard everything and Izzy was left to chase him outside and was humiliated on the Lassiters complex in front of everyone. A truly satisfy climax to a long running story with Izzy, an incredible soap bitch, finally getting the comeuppance she deserved.
The plane crash (Episodes 4836 – 4838, 2005) – [watch clip]
Now, it’s no secret that Neighbours’ 2005-2007 era isn’t looked back on for its great storytelling. By the show’s own admission, it was a period where plot was often placed before character and big, bombastic plots replaced character-led story. In many ways, the plane crash signalled this change in direction and while we could talk for days about the mistake of killing off the Bishops and lack of proper aftermath, it would be wrong to lump the plane crash in with what came after. Technically, it was an incredible feat and something yet to be matched. Given the show’s small budget, to stage a plane crash was a fantastic achievement and what was even better, was that we could overlook any budgetary constraints due to some wonderful directing. The eerie silence as the plane veered towards Bass Strait, the outpouring of emotions and ‘I love you’s’ were exchanged, Izzy choosing Karl over Paul, Susan promising Alex that Karl would protect Zeke and Rachel – all brilliant. We can remember our hearts in our mouths as rivals Izzy and Susan found each other in the water, and Izzy’s haunting screams when Susan disappeared. The choral music, the grief from those left behind and Janelle’s vision of Dylan were all highlights but for our money, the most moving moment was the realisation that Serena was overcome by the waves and slipped away, never to be found. While we believe David and Lil were gone too soon, Serena’s exit remains one of Neighbours’ most powerful.
Stingray Timmins dies (Episode 5174 – 5175, 2007)
Finally, in our Top 5 Neighbours moments we’ve chosen a really poignant and moving episode which we’ll always remember – the tragic death of Scott “Stingray” Timmins. Stingray was a hugely popular Neighbours character who, with his bogan family, brought chaos, laughter and catchphrases (caketaker!) to Ramsay Street. In many ways, this made his death even sadder. Viewers had just seen Stingray be a donor for his niece Kerry (and the operation had been a success for all involved) and there were celebrations all round for Janelle’s “39th” birthday, but as Stingray sat down and fell quiet, his family and friends mistakenly believed him to be asleep. As family and friends partied around him obliviously, Stingray had died from a brain aneurysm. Heartbreaking! In a wonderful touch, the next episode showed a video message Stingray had recorded for Kerry, talking her through each and every family member. We all, the Timmins family included, watched through tears. To this day we still think it’s a real shame Stingray was killed off, but if there is a silver lining is that we got to see him again in the incredible Neighbours Vs Zombies spin off!