An­dre’s up our Street

The world’s most pop­u­lar vi­o­lin­ist is ready for his Neigh­bours de­but, writes Colin Vick­ery

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Front Page -

SU­PER­STAR vi­o­lin­ist An­dre Rieu had no idea what he was get­ting him­self into when he in­cluded the theme from Neigh­bours in his Aus­tralian con­certs late last year.

Neigh­bours ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Su­san Bower heard about it, in­vited Rieu to be on the soapie, re­ceived an im­me­di­ate ‘‘yes’’, and the rest is his­tory. The waltz king was in Ram­say St film­ing a spe­cial seg­ment on the show two weeks later in early De­cem­ber. Rieu’s episode goes to air next Tues­day.

It turns out that Rieu, who has sold more than two mil­lion DVDs and CDs in Aus­tralia in the past 18 months, is a huge Neigh­bours fan. He was thrilled to be asked to ap­pear on the show.

‘‘In Europe we love Neigh­bours,’’ he says. ‘‘It’s helped us fall in love with what we would con­sider to be an Aus­tralian way of life — laid back, happy and warm­hearted.’’

The Neigh­bours

writ­ers quickly worked out a sto­ry­line for the mu­sic mae­stro, who al­tered his tour­ing sched­ule to film the seg­ment.

In the plot­line, Rieu ser­e­nades Paul Robin­son (Ste­fan Den­nis) and his on-off love in­ter­est Re­becca Napier (Jane Hall). Fel­low Neigh­bours char­ac­ters then join them in Ram­say St, where they dance to three Jo­hann Strauss clas­sics — the Blue Danube, Wer uns Ge­traut and A Bright Young Man.

Rieu ar­rived in Ram­say St with an en­tourage that in­cluded his doc­tor and a se­cu­rity guard for his $11 mil­lion Stradi­var­ius vi­o­lin.

‘‘In the car on the way to lo­ca­tion, An­dre and I were hav­ing a great old chat,’’ Den­nis says. ‘‘He was ex- Neigh­bours, G Chan­nel Ten, week­nights, 6.30pm Vi­o­lin vir­tu­oso plucks heart­strings Du­ra­tion: 30 min­utes tremely friendly and I was sur­prised that we had a lot in com­mon with re­gards to pol­i­tics.’’

Rieu went on to chat with the cast and crew and joined the Neigh­bours team for lunch. He says he was thrilled with his first TV role.

‘‘Ba­si­cally I just say a few things and put two peo­ple to­gether — who had been sep­a­rated— with my mu­sic,’’ he says. ‘‘Isn’t that ro­man­tic?’’

Bower says: ‘‘I’ll never for­get stand­ing on Ram­say St watch­ing

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