Who was in original Neighbours cast? 1985 line up explained

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Neighbors is coming to an end this week after Channel 5 decided to scrap the long-running Australian soap

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But when was the first episode, who was in it – and what are they doing now?

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Some of the original Neighbors cast will reunite for the finale on Ramsay Street (Image: PA)

When was the first episode of Neighbors?

Neighbors first aired in Australia on March 18, 1985.

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While the program has always had a bizarre side — like when Bouncer the dog got his own dream sequence marrying Rosie (the dog next door) — its first installment takes a few beatings.

It starts with a topless sweaty boy trying to escape a mob of creepy people, one of whom is trying to strangle him.

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He then sees a man jump off a platform and burst into flames.

It turns out we were watching a dream sequence from the mind of Danny Ramsay – the son of community patriarch Max Ramsay.

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The episode then shows Des Clarke’s bachelor party – an event that begins with a stripper named Daphne and ends with Paul Robinson wearing only a diaper and a baby hat.

The first Neighbors episode starts out like a horror movie (Image: Grundy TV)

As if all this conspiracy wasn’t enough, Des is left at the altar by his fiancée Lorraine because she disapproves of his choice of stripper.

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And then it turns out that her wealthy father is a friend of Daphne the stripper.

Thus began almost 9,000 episodes full of drama, romance and tragic events.

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Who was in the original Neighbors cast?

The original Neighbors cast had a few stars who went on to take on major roles — though perhaps not quite on the level of Russell Crowe or Kylie Minogue.

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Here are the original leads, the actors who played them, and what they later did.

The Ramsays

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Max Ramsay-Francis Bell

Max Ramsay begins Neighbors not only as the patriarch of the Ramsay family, but also as the unofficial leader of his community – Ramsay Street is named after his grandfather.

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He lived at 24 Ramsay Street with his wife Maria and their sons Shane and Danny.

In Max’s troubled family life, he often fell out with Maria, who eventually left him to move to Hong Kong with her lover Richard.

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He also lost his driver’s license for drunk driving before moving to Queensland, where he reconciled with Maria off-camera.

Like future Neighbors star Guy Pearce, Francis Bell was born in Cambridgeshire.

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After leaving the soap opera in 1986, he starred in several television films before dying in 1994 at the age of 50.

The last Neighbors episode was filmed in June 2022 (Image: Getty Images)

Danny RamsayDavid Clencie

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Danny Ramsay, the first of the main actors to appear on screen, was Max Ramsay’s son with Maria Ramsay – or not, as it turns out.

He turned out to be the love child of Maria Ramsay and Tim Duncan – a character we only meet briefly on screen.

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Danny’s time on Ramsay Street sees him taking on his athletic brother Shane and trying to win Max’s approval before finding work in a bank somewhere in Northern Australia.

David Clencie had appeared on several long-running television series such as Sam’s Luck and Starting Out before joining the Neighbors cast.

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After his time on Ramsay Street, he took on smaller television roles.

Maria Ramsay – Dagmar Bláhova

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Although Maria Ramsay only starred in the soap for the first six months, we’ve already seen Maria Ramsay make a huge impact.

Czech-born actress Dagmar Bláhová became a star of her country’s television and film industry after retiring from Neighbors in September 1985.

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She has appeared in several B movies, including the romantic sci-fi film Nexus 2.431 starring Oliver Tobias.

Shane RamsayPeter O’Brien

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The golden child of the Ramsay family and the biggest love interest on Ramsay Street, Shane was a promising diver who dreamed of reaching the Olympics.

Those dreams were shattered when he was involved in a head-on collision with a bank robber – an incident that left his back aching.

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Although he left the cast in 1987, Shane has since returned to Erinsborough and become a main character again.

Actor Peter O’Brien has enjoyed a successful career off Ramsay Street, appearing in films such as X-Men Origins: Wolverine and The Return.

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He has also appeared as a recurring character on several other long-running TV soaps, including The Bill and Casualty.

The Robinsons

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Julie Robinson-Vikki Blanche

Julie is the teenage daughter of Jim Robinson – the patriarch of the Robinson family.

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A curious and talkative character, she is instrumental in getting Lorraine Kingham to throw Des Clarke down the aisle in the first episode.

She ends up having an affair and then marrying bank executive Philip Martin, with the couple leaving the soap in late 1985.

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Another actor – Julie Mullins – played a later incarnation of Julie between 1992 and 1994.

Outside of Neighbors, original actor Vikki Blanche has appeared as a recurring character on several other TV shows, including The Flying Doctors and C’oln Carpenter.

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According to IMDB, she hasn’t had any roles since 1997.

Stefan Dennis is one of the few original Neighbors cast members who is still a regular on the show (Picture: Getty Images)

Paul RobinsonStefan Dennis

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One of Erinsborough’s longest-serving characters, having appeared in more than 4,600 episodes, Paul Robinson is one of Neighbors’ most famous faces.

Originally a quieter character within the Robinson family unit, he has had five marriages, been held hostage, became mayor, survived a tornado and had his leg amputated in two stints on the show: 1985 to 1993 and then 2004 to present.

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Given the length of time he has been on the show, Stefan Dennis has been mostly limited to appearing on Neighbors spin-off series, including 2014’s Neighbors vs. Zombies.

Scott Robinson – Darius Perkins

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The first incarnation of Scott Robinson (before Jason Donovan made him a world star) was a slightly nerdy teenager.

Producers apparently wanted him to be more “open” which led to Scott disappearing on a school field trip before reappearing as Donovan in 1986.

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Darius Perkins initially held the role of Scott.

He returned to Ramsay Street as a different character – Marty Kranic – and appeared on the show from 2013-2014.

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Perkins died of complications from cancer in 2019 at the age of 54.

The widowed leader of the Robinson clan, Jim Robinson, had the unenviable task of keeping his four children, ranging in age from nine to 21, under control.

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Much of his time is devoted to his family, although he has several relationships during his time at Ramsay Street.

Alan Dale played Jim Robinson for eight years and nearly 1,000 episodes before falling out with producers over pay.

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He returned for guest appearances in 2018 and 2019.

In the meantime, he has become one of Australia’s most famous acting exports – appearing in the hit series Ugly Betty, The OC, The West Wing, ER and 24, as well as Dynasty.

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Dale has also made it to the big screen with supporting roles in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Entourage.

Alan Dale took on several big Hollywood roles (Image: Getty Images)

Lucy RobinsonKylie Flicker

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The youngest child in the Robinson clan, Lucy was the golden child of the family.

Known for her mischievous side stories in her original incarnation, she has become a key figure on Ramsay Street in recent years.

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Kylie Flinker did not appear in any other acting role after her stint on Neighbors.

She was replaced by Sasha Close, who played her from 1987 to 1989, and then by Melissa Bell, who played her across multiple stints from 1991 to present.

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Helen DanielsAnne Haddy

Jim Robinson’s mother-in-law, Helen Daniels, helps him keep his family together.

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Over the next 12 years, she is charged with drunk driving, has an affair with her daughter’s fiancé, is kidnapped, expelled, and widowed for a second time.

In her final episode — one of the most famous in Neighbors history — she watches a 10-year-old video of Scott’s wedding to Charlene before dying in her sleep.

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Anne Haddy had a successful acting career before becoming a regular on Neighbors.

She appeared in the original version of Dynasty as well as the long-running television series Sons & Daughters before retiring as a member of the Neighbors cast.

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She died in 1999 at the age of 68.

The plot of the very first Neighbors episode centers on Des Clarke, a bank manager who is dumped by Lorraine Kingham for having a stripper at his bachelor party.

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This stripper – Daphne Lawrence – eventually becomes Des’ wife in 1986.

However, their happiness was not to last long as Daphne was killed in 1988 and Des left the cast in 1990.

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He has since returned to the soap.

Paul Keane did not act outside of Neighbors.

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Lorraine KinghamAntoinette Byron

Lorraine Kingham, who only appears in the first five episodes of Neighbors, is Des Clarke’s former fiancé.

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Much of her screen time after dilting Des at the altar is spent removing her furniture from their shared apartment.

Despite her brief stint with Neighbors, Antoinette Byron had a relatively successful television career, her most notable appearance being a year-long stint on rival Australian soap Home & Away between 1999 and 2000.

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Eileen ClarkeMyra De Groot

Eileen Clarke was Des Clarke’s disruptive mother and a recurring character between 1985 and 1988.

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She had a tumultuous time with the soap and developed an addiction to tranquilizers after attempting to seduce a very young Harold Bishop.

Myra De Groot had landed a number of small television roles leading up to her appearance on Neighbors and was perhaps better known as a stage actress.

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She died of cancer, aged just 50, just days after her final Ramsay Street performance aired.

Daphne Lawrence – Elaine Smith

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After appearing as a stripper in the first episode, Daphne Lawrence became Des Clarke’s partner and then wife.

But not after she became involved in an awkward love triangle with Des and Shane Ramsay.

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Just two years after marrying Paul Keane’s character, she was killed after being involved in a car accident that left her in a coma.

Elaine Smith, who played Daphne, said she moved on because she wanted to explore other acting opportunities.

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The Scottish-born actor has had several minor appearances on TV shows after leaving the cast.

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