Cult Australian soap opera “Neighbours” broadcast for the last time on Thursday, with a series of nostalgic cameos from long-gone characters who are now household names such as Kylie Minogue, Guy Pearce, and Margot Robbie.
The storied show has been axed after 37 years of production due to a dwindling audience at home and in Britain, where it was once wildly popular.
Set around the fictional Melbourne cul-de-sac Ramsay Street, the show was once so influential it was even blamed for UK children developing Australian accents.
It was a rite of passage for generations of Australian stars, including Russell Crowe and Liam Hemsworth, but was dropped by Britain’s Channel 5 in March and was unable to secure another broadcast partner in the UK.
The finale – after almost 9,000 episodes – was pocked with characters tearfully flipping through photo albums, a lingering melancholic piano score, the odd in-joke and a few grand entrances.
A mysterious figure riding around on a motorcycle turned out to be Guy Pearce’s character, Mike Young.
Ian Smith – who played Harold Bishop for nearly two decades – also made an appearance, as well as Natalie Imbruglia, Holly Valance, Robbie and the show’s most popular couple of the late 1980s.
Kylie Minogue reprised her role as Charlene Robinson and was reunited with her on-screen love Scott Robinson, played by Jason Donovan.
Ahead of the finale, executive producer Jason Herbison told AFP it was meant as “a celebration of the past and the present.”
He refused to rule out “Neighbours” continuing in some form if a new broadcaster can be found. The last episode ends “with the door very much left open for the future,” he said.
In the final monologue, lead character Susan Kennedy, played by Jackie Woodburne, waxes lyrical about the street and the show’s global community of fans.
“Everyone deserves a place in the history of Ramsay Street, even those who watched us from afar, we have been a perfect blend,” she said.