Every­body needs their Neigh­bours

The Advertiser - SA Weekend - - UP -

IN 1984 Bob Hawke was prime min­is­ter, men went with­out socks thanks to and the first Ap­ple Mac was re­leased.

The Mac had just 128KB of mem­ory, which meant you turned it on and waited for it to crash.

It was also the year the TV soap the small screen.

Fast-for­ward 30 years, and Bob Hawke is a pen­sioner, socks are back and Ap­ple is now worth $700 bil­lion. But lives on … and on.

There’s been a lot of hype sur­round­ing the show’s 30th an­niver­sary: some of it jus­ti­fied, some of it to­tally ridicu­lous.

Let’s face it, th­ese days is a shadow of its for­mer self, clock­ing up a mere 350,000 view­ers a night on Ten’s dig­i­tal chan­nel.

Even the much-pub­li­cised 30th an­niver­sary spe­cial failed to at­tract many more view­ers.

If it wasn’t for lu­cra­tive over­seas sales, the Ram­say St gang would have been killed off in a cliffhange­r for sure by now.

How­ever, the mile­stone is worth cel­e­brat­ing be­cause it’s a re­minder of the spe­cial place holds for many peo­ple.

For me, it’s all about Kylie Minogue’s char­ac­ter Char­lene Mitchell, a fem­i­nine-but-feisty plumber who did Year 12 the same year as me (1987).

To my mother’s re­lief, I didn’t fol­low Char­lene’s lead and marry my boyfriend af­ter my fi­nal ex­ams.

(This was mainly be­cause I still had braces and zits, so didn’t have a boyfriend – let alone some­one as spunky as Ja­son Dono­van.)

Like many of you, I sus­pect, I haven’t watched the show for 20 years or more. Luck­ily, this doesn’t stop me from re­mem­ber­ing some of the show’s defin­ing 1980s mo­ments in alarm­ing de­tail.

I can tell you by An­gry An­der­son was sung at Char­lene and Scott’s wed­ding. I can tell you that in Char­lene’s first scene, she tried to break into a house and punched Scott in the nose. And I can tell you the dog was called Bouncer.

Back then, the show was a ma­jor part of our lives – along with mag­a­zine, SAFM and de­tach­able shoul­der pads.

It was the must-watch show for peo­ple aged eight to 80.

It is hard to imag­ine any main­stream free-to-air show hav­ing the same im­pact now.

first hit

Now there are so many cul­tural and dig­i­tal events vy­ing for our at­ten­tion that peo­ple are much less likely to watch the same show at the same time.

Then, sin­gle cul­tural mo­ments united us, like Scott and Char­lene’s wed­ding, Molly dy­ing on

and find­ing out who killed JR on Back in 1984, Ade­laide didn’t even have a casino, an En­ter­tain­ment Cen­tre or the grand prix. (Ac­tu­ally, it still doesn’t have a grand prix). There was no Fox­tel, movies on de­mand, Net­flix or the in­ter­net.

This meant regular TV shows like a much big­ger deal than they are to­day.

Over the years has evolved and re­flected chang­ing so­cial times. In 2009 it had its first Korean char­ac­ter and in 2011 an In­dian fam­ily re­moved in. Pro­duc­ers have just un­veiled the first regular gay char­ac­ter. He’s Nate, an Afghani war vet­eran with PTSD played by an in­dige­nous ac­tor.

You wouldn’t have seen that in 1984, where a week’s worth of sto­ry­lines would have fo­cused on a spat be­tween a surfer and a skater over who stole the lolly jar from the lo­cal deli.

Through­out it all, hasn’t taken it­self too se­ri­ously. For in­stance, school prin­ci­pal Su­san Kennedy has had a re­la­tion­ship with a priest, been mar­ried three times, di­vorced, wid­owed, be­come a step­mother, a grand­mother and been in a plane crash. She was a sur­ro­gate mother to her daugh­ter’s baby, de­vel­oped MS and had am­ne­sia.

Yes, has had some bizarre mo­ments, but there has been a lot of fun too. Who could for­get An­nie Jones and her eye­brows? Bouncer the dog’s dream wed­ding se­quence? Nasty old Mrs Man­gel the busy­body? Plain Jane the Su­per­brain? The day Daphne came back from the dead to play her­self as dead? Afro Harold? It’s a re­minder that, de­spite to­day’s low rat­ings,

is a cul­tural icon that should be revered af­ter more than 7000 episodes.

I guess you wouldn’t want to be the Chan­nel Seven exec who signed off on the show’s ax­ing af­ter six months be­fore it was picked up by Ten in 1984. Or the Nine exec who passed on the idea ini­tially.

We may not watch it, but we still

were love it. Blog with Susie at susieobrie­n.com.au, Face­book.com/NewswithSu­se and fol­low her on Twit­ter @susieob

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