Neigh­bours join party

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - News -

COM­MU­NITY News­pa­per Group and tele­vi­sion show Neigh­bours share more than a 30th birth­day this year.

“Com­mu­nity News­pa­pers and Neigh­bours have that one thing in com­mon in that ev­ery­one ex­pects the pa­per to turn up in their let­ter­box and Neigh­bours on their tele­vi­sion,” Alan Fletcher, aka Dr Karl Kennedy, said.

“It’s a con­stant in their life and for a lot of peo­ple it’s a re­ally im­por­tant part of their life.

“The au­di­ence and read­ers sit at the very heart.”

Fletcher spent his for­ma­tive years in Melville, back when it was a new south­ern sub­urb.

His fam­ily had the only house on their side of the street and he grew up “chas­ing goan­nas and get­ting up to all sorts of malarkey”.

He found his pas­sion for act­ing while at Wes­ley Col­lege and it be­came stronger while study­ing hu­man­i­ties at UWA and join­ing the Univer­sity Dra­matic So­ci­ety.

Af­ter 18 months of “in­cred­i­ble ground­ing” at The Hole in the Wall and Perth Theatre Com­pany, Fletcher moved to the east coast, where he has had two stints on Neigh­bours – first a three-week role in 1988 as Greg Cooper be­fore re­turn­ing as Dr Kennedy in 1994.

“The whole Neigh­bours thing was a bit of a mys­tery to me,” he said.

“I was work­ing with Mel­bourne Theatre Com­pany at the time, so I went to do this three-week stint on what I thought was just a sweet lit­tle sub­ur­ban drama.

“I didn’t re­alise Neigh­bours was as pop­u­lar in the UK as it was and Kylie (Minogue) had just recorded Lo­co­mo­tion, which was about to go bal­lis­tic.

“They did ask me to do a 12-month stint as the same char­ac­ter (Greg), but I was do­ing theatre and de­cided I would rather con­tinue do­ing that, so passed it up.

“Of course, six years later I came back, so it worked out a treat.”

Tanya MacNaughton

Above: Alan Fletcher. Right: the Kennedy fam­ily.

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