Neighbours closed out its final moments with emotional reunions, a joyful wedding and a nostalgic tribute to past and present stars.
After 37 years on screen, the Australian soap ended with a double-episode special on Friday which featured star-studded cameos from Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan, Margot Robbie and singer Natalie Imbruglia.
The show first aired in 1985 and followed the cul-de-sac community of Ramsay Street within the fictional Melbourne suburb of Erinsborough.
In the opening of the finale, it becomes clear Ramsay Street as the community once knew it is coming to an end as Susan Kennedy, played by Jackie Woodburne, looks at all the houses up for sale around her home.
Harold Bishop, reprised by Ian Smith for the closing episodes, tells Susan and her husband Karl they are the “last of the custodians” of the area and suggests she should write the introduction to their “History Of Ramsay Street” photo album.
Another fan-favourite character to return to their old hunting ground is Mike Young, played by Guy Pearce, who shows his daughter Sam (Henrietta Graham) around the area.
After bumping into his old friend and former love interest Jane Harris, played by Annie Jones, they take a trip down memory lane by going through the houses on Ramsay Street and revisiting memories from their youth.
They recall special moments including his reaction to her makeover when she went without her glasses for the first time and when her mother would not let him visit her.
However, their time reminiscing does not go down well with Jane’s former partner Clive Gibbons (Geoff Paine) who ends up in a drunken row wielding a lamp at Mike, saying: “See this lamp, this is me, it’s a bit old, a bit weathered and it might fail to turn Jane on but it doesn’t mean I can just be disregarded or traded in for some fancy new model.”
The wedding of Melanie Pearson (Lucinda Cowden) and Toadie Rebecchi (Ryan Moloney) also provides moments of reunion and love as it sees the happy couple tie the knot, and brings Terese Willis (Rebekah Elmaloglou) and Paul Robinson (Stefan Dennis) back together, as well as girlfriends Chloe Brennan (April Rose Pengilly) and Elly Conway (Jodi Anasta).
The finale also sees Shane Ramsay (Peter O’Brien) and Izzy Hoyland (Natalie Bassingthwaighte) share an intimate moment together.
As the residents of Ramsay Street are at the wedding, Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan, who starred as couple Scott Robinson and Charlene Mitchell in the 1980s, make their long-awaited return to the cul-da-sac in a green mini with a Queensland number plate.
After Charlene shows her typically feisty spirit by nearly breaking into a house – reminiscent of Minogue’s very first scene on the soap in 1986 when Scott caught her breaking into her mother’s home and got punched for his troubles – the couple finally get their reunion with Jane and Mike to bring the four friends back together.
After Toadie and Melanie’s wedding, the Kennedys surprise the happy couple with a video message from their friends throughout the years who could not make the big day.
Among the star-studded line-up are a trio who went on to have chart success as singers after their time in Erinsborough: Delta Goodrem, who played Nina Tucker, Natalie Imbruglia, who was Beth Brennan and Holly Valance who played Felicity Scully.
Oscar-nominated Margot Robbie, who played Donna Freedman and is currently filming the live action Barbie movie, also delivers a fond message saying: “My years living on Ramsay Street were honestly some of the best of my entire life.”
Libby and Billy Kennedy (Kym Valentine and Jesse Spencer), Joe Mangel (Mark Little), Steph Scully (Carla Bonner), Lance Wilkinson (Andrew Bibby) and Stuart Parker (Blair McDonough) all offer their congratulations as well.
Following the emotional tributes, Melanie and Toadie decide to stay on Ramsay Street, as do Paul and Terese after they get back together.
Mike also takes the plunge and tells Jane that he would like to buy a property on the street and give their relationship another go which makes her emotional.
As the Ramsay Street characters from past and present come together for one final time during the street party wedding reception, Susan makes a poignant speech.
She says: “When we moved to Ramsay Street, the community was already here – the Ramsays and Robinsons.
“The stories from those early days are legendary and their legacy still lives on today. There have been many families over the years of all shapes and sizes, some of them unexpected. And friends who became like family, whether they were related or not.
“Love has always been a central thing. How many Ramsays were born on the street?
“Things seldom ran smoothly, of course, but they usually worked out in the end.
“I think of all the people who never crossed paths who could have been great friends and those who kept turning up whether we welcomed them or not. The street always has a way of bringing people back.”
She also reflected on friends and neighbours no longer with them, with ghost-like figures of characters who have died appearing among the crowd, including Erinsborough stalwart Madge Bishop played by Anne Charleston.
Susan concluded: “I think you have to acknowledge everything, celebrate it all – the good, the bad because all of that makes us who we are.
“Everyone deserves a place in the history of Ramsay Street, even those who watched us from afar. Together we have been the perfect blend.”
The end credits then showed a montage of photos from characters through the eras before a message appeared on the screen saying: “Thank you for loving us, we love you.”
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