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The Age

Ramsay St - the story so far

Author: Jim Schembri
Date: 16/03/1995
Words: 1696
          Publication: The Age
Section: Green Guide
Page: 16
Finding it hard to hang on to every plot twist after 10 years of Neighbours? Sit back then ... when we say the story so far, we mean the story so far. Jim Schembri has all the detail.

IN THE beginning, there was a vacant lot, lots of vacant lots, and the creators of Neighbours looked upon the vacant lots and said, ``This shall be the site for a street, not just any street, but Ramsay Street. And therein shall reside the family Robinson, and the family Ramsay, and the family of Mitchell, Bishop, Daniels, Lewis, Mangel and Harris, and of Willis and Alessis, and many more, even the Carpenters and the Clarkes and the Gottliebs."

And herein, the creators did say verily, would these families and loads of ancillary characters live in each other's pockets to the nth degree, where they would never seem to do anything but get involved in each other's business, where people would get married lots, and have children, and separate, and argue and never go to the toilet.

And they said unto each other in the boardroom that this shall not redefine the Australian soapie, for that has already been done with Number 96. What this shall do is merely respect the codes and values of the traditional soap, of eventful episodes filled with tragedy and humor, and flog it to within an inch of its life so that 10 years later, in 1995, it shall be seen in 41 countries and by 11 million viewers per day in Britain, where they seem to like this sort of stuff.

And they looked upon what they had created and they said: ``This is good."

And they ordained that, while marriage shall be a mainstay of the show, so too shall be accidents with vehicles, and trouble with water, and relationship and nervous breakdowns, and diseases, passionate kisses and babies, and the occasional falling off a mountain.

So the story began . . .

And so it was, in the first episode, that Des Clarke and Lorraine Kingham called off their wedding, Des then got engaged to Joan Langdon, and then called that off, too. He then went on to Daphne, which was also called off until they finally made it to the altar in episode 295.

Daphne didn't make it far after that, though. She died in hospital after crashing in a car while returning from her father's funeral, an early instance of the subsequent preponderance of vehicular mishaps that seem to besiege the good denizens of Ramsay Street.

Scott Robinson (son of Jim and Anne) mistook Charlene (daughter of Madge) for a burglar, and they went on to have a stormy but wonderful relationship. They married and kissed passionately, and then the pair left the series so Jason and Kylie could pursue separate careers, one in musical theatre, the other in lingerie.

Zoe told Jim she couldn't marry him, then she lost a baby; Mike fell in love with Cassie after Cassie fell in some water, from which he rescued her. This little event in episode 288 was an early taste of the large role that water would play as a troubled element in Neighbours.

HELEN discovered an affair between her best friend Grace and her late husband Bill, then Helen confessed to Madge that she was involved with Gerard, who was engaged to Rosemary.

Scott was hurt in a car crash when the car he was in swerved to miss a pram, containing the baby Sam, which ran off while Clive was presenting Susan with her engagement ring.

Water struck a second time when Basil, dog of Lucy, drowned. Lucy then got Bouncer, who made Mrs Mangels fall from a ladder and suffer memory loss. Then Lucy got a brain tumor, and Bouncer sired 10 puppies.

There was more water trouble in store: Scott, Jane and Mike were marooned in a dinghy without paddles and Bronwyn saved Jamie from drowning in a pool.

Helen had a stroke and Mike anguished over why he wasn't a better driver, having consigned Jenny to life in a wheelchair. A redback spider bit Sky and Helen was bothered by a blackmailer.

Rob Lewis had a car crash, Todd recoiled in horror at the news that he had to get braces for his teeth and Des, once again, called off another marriage, this time to Jane. Hillary and Mr Muir also called off their engagement, too. Harold, who was married to Madge, was arrested for being a peeping Tom.

A lethal truck claimed the ex-wife of Joe, while Todd and Boof stole parts for their bikes and Bouncer was rescued after falling into a hole.

Melanie broke off her engagement to Roger, Kerry died after being shot by poachers and Helen, while looking for Todd, fell down some stairs. Dorothy had a mastectomy.

An industrial accident blinded Josh while making surfboards, and Helen bravely decided to end her marriage to Michael; Harold was washed off a rocky ledge into the sea and Ashley kidnapped Lucy.

Glen fell from the roof of Lassiters' pub while trying to fix a Merry Christmas sign and Paul had a nervous breakdown because of financial problems caused by Aunty Felicity.

Water and car trouble conspired to send Lucy into a creek while stuck in a car; Brad was summonsed for bad driving and Pam was charged with murder. Amy got knocked over by a car registered in her Dad's name.

Madge was haunted by the ghost of Harold, and Todd, who made love to Phoebe earlier on, was hit by a car while valiantly on his way to stop her from having an abortion. Todd died, but Steve Gottlieb later proposed to Phoebe. She then went into premature labor on the eve of her wedding.

Jim had a heart attack and Brad had a close call with some sharks, which was a tough break because he was later marooned at sea with Doug who's father was dying of liver cancer and had to swim to safety and face his sharkophobia. Julie almost drowned in the Martin family spa bath.

Having survived sharks and surfboards, Brad was promptly thrown from a horse. Brad had bought a house but Beth then told Brad that they weren't going to get married after all because she found out Brad was in love with Lauren, who owned the horse that threw him.

Brad and Lauren got it on, but when they were about to get married he didn't say ``I do" on cue and the ceremony folded. He later told Beth there was nothing between them. Annalise witnessed an explosion at the Waterhole while Brad, Beth and Stephen were still inside.

Stephen later got a blood clot in his brain.

Julie and Phillip called it quits with their marriage, and Debbie was enticed into shoplifting, which she enjoyed. She also found that Julie, the estranged wife of Philip who, in turn, was getting it on with Beth, had overdosed on sleeping tablets.

Phillip and Julie then decided to try to have a baby but he couldn't get it up. He continued to have trouble in bed until his problems were solved when Julie dressed up in her school uniform.

Helen gave Hannah a piece of Uluru a present from Lucy, but a curse began to cause trouble, so she threw it over the fence.

Lauren was sucked into joining a cult at a bush retreat with Ruth and Jacob. She promptly turned into a religious nut and caused trouble in the coffee shop, from where she was promptly sacked for not agreeing to shup up. Craig had a nervous breakdown when Debbie told him she was not interested in him.

PHILLIP and Hannah lost their way in the bush and, before being rescued, Phillip fell asleep while Hannah fought for her life clinging to the rocks in a wild river. Beth and Brad prepared to marry but decided to elope.

Rick wanted to run for school elections but cigarettes were planted in his locker. Annalise confronted the thing that was harassing her, then she took over the coffee-shop lease. Mark, who rescued Annalise from Tim, discovered his first grey hair.

There was a fire at Lassiter's. Brett tried hypnotherapy to play cricket. Hannah was bitten by a carpet snake and Chrissie had an HIV test that was positive. Michael was not pleased.

Cheryl decided to have an amniocentesis while Gaby got a touch of placenta previa; Mark, who was an item with Annalise, found himself attracted to Katarina, a paraplegic, who was plotting a break-up between Mark and Annalise.

Julie found herself with some porno mags she didn't want and Danni found the nerve to drive a car. She and Michael later saved the life of a cab driver and were rewarded for their valor with a visit from an American band called the Honeypigs.

Makka confessed to Debbie, who had the hots for him, that he was gay, which explained why he didn't want to take her to the debutante ball. She was later hospitalised for malnutrition. Lou fell off an artificial mountain.

Doug had a prostate operation and Danni used counterfeit money; Mark and Annalise ended their relationship, although Annalise thought a baby might do it some good; Rick discovered, just as he was about to jump out of a plane, that he had vertigo; Gaby had a boy and Cheryl a girl.

Danni won a recording contract, but only for the way she looked, not for the way she sang. She didn't go for it. Brett realised the girl of his dreams also stole his money; Cheryl caught her nanny smoking and sacked her; Rick gave Cody some stolen exam papers and Lou was accidentally shot in the knee. Sam took steroids.

Cheryl suspected Lou of having an affair when she saw him meet My Ling. Mark left Annalise holding the bag at the altar; Rick was demoted to garbageperson at Lassiter's; Hannah exacted revenge on friends with some industrial-strength chilli, and Ramsay Street was hit by a heatwave.

. . . and the story continues . . .

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