Neighbours join party
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.”
Above: Alan Fletcher. Right: the Kennedy family.