He played Mike Young on the iconic soap between 1986 and 1989. And Guy Pearce has returned to Neighbours, 36 years after it set his impressive acting career in motion.
The 54-year-old was spotted on set as the TV series filmed its final scenes this week. In photos from the show’s Melbourne set, the Memento star could be seen slipping into a Triumph motorcycle jacket while standing next to his character’s motorbike.
The future movie star was cast on the show as an 18-year-old after writing to Grundy producers while still a Year 12 student. Also returning for the axed show’s last hurrah is Paul Keane, who played Des Clarke from the long-running soap’s first episodes.
Other original cast members spotted on set included Annie Jones, Stefan Dennis, Ian Smith, Geoff Paine and Lucinda Cowden. Not seen were Kylie Minogue, who is to reprise her role as Charlene Mitchell for the show’s final episode, or Jason Donovan, who will return to play Scott Robinson.
Network 10 and Fremantle, the show’s producer, confirmed the news that Neighbours was cancelled in March, with the final episode to be filmed in June. In a statement issued to MailOnline, they confirmed at the time: ‘It is with sadness that after nearly 37 years and almost 9000 episodes broadcast, we are confirming that Neighbours will cease production in the summer.
‘Following the loss of a key broadcast partner in the UK, and despite a search for alternative funding, we currently have no option but to rest the show. ‘Everyone at Neighbours has been overwhelmed by the love and support from the audience since the news came out. The show has brought a sunny slice of Australia into the homes of millions of viewers around the world launching the careers of dozens of household names along the way.
‘But as this chapter of Ramsay Street comes to a close, we promise to do everything we can to give the show the send-off it deserves.’ The show will be taken off-air indefinitely after an ‘extensive search for alternative funding’ ended in failure.
News of its abrupt departure from UK’s Channel 5 sent the show into a tailspin, with network bosses in Australia scrambling to find a new international broadcasting deal to cover production costs or face the closure of Ramsay Street for good.
Network 10 addressed the end of the series in a statement to Australian media this month, admitting it had been a ‘difficult decision’. ‘This difficult decision came after the search for an alternative UK broadcast partner proved unsuccessful.’
They added that the series would ‘not air on 10 Peach beyond September 2022’, marking the end of its decades-long run. ‘A much-loved stalwart of our program schedule for over 35 years it has been a staple of Australian television drama, and Australian cultural exports,’ they added.
‘Ramsay Street, Erinsborough, is a cul-de-sac recognised all over the world and has been home to Scott and Charlene, Des and Daphne, Dr Karl and Susan, Dee and Toadie, Aaron and David and many, many more neighbours.
‘Network 10 thanks the cast, crew, all the production team and Fremantle for bringing the perfect blend of soap and sunshine to audiences in Australia and around the world.’ They also praised ‘the Australian fans and audiences for their continued support of the series’.
‘Their encouragement particularly in the past few weeks has been incredible. It shows that our audience still want Australian scripted drama,’ continued the statement. ‘We have listened to them and there are exciting new local projects in the pipeline, which is great for our audience and for the local industry.
‘We are confident that the cast, crew and writers will bring their distinctive warmth, style and humour to the Neighbours set as they embark on filming the final episodes over the coming months.’
Meanwhile, British broadcaster Channel 5 confirmed the end of its 14-year deal with Neighbours in February, with a spokesperson telling MailOnline that the decision to axe the soap comes as the channel’s ‘current focus is on increasing our investment in original UK drama’.
‘We recognise that there will be disappointment about this decision, however our current focus is on increasing our investment in original UK drama, which has strong appeal for our viewers,’ they said.