LAST week, Grundy's celebrated the completion of the 1,500th episode
of Neighbours, confirming the show's position as the Bradman of Australian
soapies. The only other epic to approach this milestone has been the late,
lamented Young Doctors. They switched off the life support system around the
1,390th episode. No-one noticed the difference.
Despite some roller-coaster ratings of late, Ten still believes there is
life in Ramsay Street and is introducing some new, young residents this week.
Rachel Blakely, 23, and Scott Michaelson, 20, conform to the teen hunk/spunk
category that has made E Street such a fun place to visit. Gaby and Brad, as
they will become better known, appear as a boutique owner and her brother.
Both will obviously feature highly in the range of magazines which exist
solely to have this new breed of star on their covers.
Michaelson is an unassuming young man from Mt Waverley, an outer suburb of
Melbourne, who looks as if he was plucked from a surfboard at Bell's Beach by a
cigar-chomping Grundy's talent scout. This, apparently, is not so far from the
truth, as the soaps are now looking for raw talent rather than drama-school
types who will turn up their noses at any script not written by Michael Gow.
Scott's panel-van accent, by the way, is genuine.
Michaelson has the slightly nervous look of someone whose life is about to
be changed forever. Will he ever be able to walk to the local milk bar again
without being attacked by a pack of screaming schoolgirls? My guess is he hopes