As Neighbours heads rapidly towards its finale, we're feeling nostalgic for the show's roots. Having hit screens back in 1985, Neighbours began with two core families, and both clans are still prominent in the soap.
The Ramsays have continued to have family members coming and going from Erinsborough, while the Robinsons are now represented by Paul (Stefan Dennis), the only original character to remain on the show since its debut. The ruthless businessman has quite the history, clocking up several marriages and just as many children alongside his continuous scheming behaviour.
But while Neighbours viewers are well-versed in Paul's life story, what about all those other alumni? Let's take a trip down memory lane and remind ourselves of Ramsay Street's introductory residents.
Francis Bell played patriarch Max – with the famous street he lived on having been named after his grandfather. Max was a loudmouthed, uncouth man who always made his feelings known. His marriage to Maria was rocky, but the pair reunited offscreen and settled in Brisbane after Max's exit in 1986.
Years later, it was revealed that Max had had an affair with Anne Robinson. Anne had never featured on the soap, but the scandal linked the two clans in an unexpected way as the pair conceived a child, Jill Ramsay. Fans, however, found the hasty plot twist rather nonsensical!
Actor Bell passed away in 1994, and it was hinted onscreen in 2009 that Max had died as all references since have been in past tense.
Played by actress Dasha Bláhová, Maria was the wife of Max who only featured on Neighbours for a matter of months. Maria fell in love with Richard Morrison (Peter Flett) after her marriage broke down, and they moved to Hong Kong. But the following year, she and Max got back together and were never seen again.
We do know, though, that Maria is still very much alive, as son Shane was seen calling her about their old house being up for sale on Ramsay Street. There has been no word on whether we could be seeing Maria back on-screen for the finale, but if Shane's plan pays off we can only imagine that the character intends to come home.
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Danny (David Clencie) was revealed not to be Max's biological son, explaining away years of clashes and struggles between the pair. But Max eventually reassured Danny that he would always be his dad. In 1986, Danny transferred his bank job to a northern branch.
He was last seen in 2005 taking part in Annalise Hartman's (Kimberley Davies) documentary on Neighbours' 20th anniversary, alongside many other characters. As an original Ramsay, it would certainly be a treat to see what Danny has been up to once more...
Shane returned to Neighbours very recently as Peter O'Brien reprised the role. Before then, he hadn't been seen since 1987, leaving Erinsborough to travel around Australia.
Shane's homecoming came after more than 30 years away. He caught up with old friend Paul, and made an offer to buy Lassiters Hotel. He revealed he had made his fortune via Crypto Currency, explaining where he got the cash for the hotel and, potentially, his old home. He'll be present as Neighbours bows out in upcoming scenes.
Played by Vikki Blanche, Julie was raised by Jim as his own daughter. His wife Anne had been raped by Jim's boss, and Julie was born as a result. The nosey Julie left screens the same year that Neighbours debuted, marrying Philip Martin before moving away with her new clan.
In 1992, Julie returned as actress Julie Mullins took over the role - but two years later, she chose to leave. The soap decided to kill her off, and Julie attended a murder mystery event amid her struggling marriage. Drinking heavily, Julie fell from a tower to her death – although Philip was initially suspected of her murder.
Played by Christopher Milne in 1985, Philip was then portrayed by Ian Rawlings in his second stint. After Julie's untimely death, he fell into a depression. But eventually, Philip overcame this and fell in love with Ruth Wilkinson. They married, and the new blended family decided to move to Darwin in 1999, where they settled near the Willis family.
Rawlings later reprised his role twice. First in 2005 for the soap's 20th anniversary, which saw him in a furious row with Paul for framing him for fraud as well as catching up with old pals. In 2017, Philip was seen in Neighbours vs Time Travel, a web series which focused on Paul travelling back to 1985 with disastrous results! So could we be seeing Philip again? It's certainly possible – just keep him and Paul out of each other's way!
Debbie and Michael Martin
Debbie (Mandy Storvik and Katrina McEwan, later Marnie Reece-Wilmore) and Michael (Samuel Hammington) were Philip's children from his marriage to first wife Loretta. Michael resented stepmother Julie and caused trouble for her, and is later wrongly suspected of starting a house fire. Michael descended into a life of crime, but after time in a detention centre he changed his ways. He was last seen in 1998 supporting his family on the day of dad Philip's third wedding, to Ruth.
Debbie's storylines included attempting suicide and a battle with bulimia. In 2005, she briefly appeared for Neighbours' anniversary where we learned she was now working at the New York branch of Lassiters. If Philip decides to return to Erinsborough for a visit, could his kids follow suit?
Another original Ramsay Street patriarch, Jim was played by Alan Dale. A widower, Jim was shocked to learn he had another son, Glen Donnelly (Richard Huggett); but eventually he welcomed Glen into the clan. Some time later, Jim suffered a heart attack.
Although he recovered, his heart gave out for a second time in 1993. Love interest Fiona (Suzanne Dudley) found him, but instead of getting help, she seized the opportunity to transfer his money to her account! Jim died as a result, but 25 years later Paul sees a vision of his father after being involved in a car accident. Jim talks to Paul about putting right his mistakes, and Paul vows to be a better man. And it worked – to an extent! Will we be seeing another spiritual return from Jim? Watch this space!
Originally played by Darius Perkins, the role of Scott was later claimed by Jason Donovan. Scott married Charlene (Kylie Minogue) in one of soapland's most iconic weddings, but he departed in 1989 to join his wife in Brisbane.
The finale boasts the much-anticipated return of Scott and Charlene who are still happily together three decades on. Previously, Neighbours introduced the couple's children Daniel (Tim Phillipps) and Madison (Sarah Ellen), but it remains to be seen whether they will join their parents as they make their way back to Ramsay Street.
The sister of Paul and Scott, Lucy was previously played by Kylie Flinker and Sasha Close, before Melissa Bell took over the role in 1991. Bell reprised her role in recent months, playing a recurring part in Neighbours' final era.
Lucy is now based in New York, where she co-parents daughter Annie with Chris Pappas (James Mason). But her stake in Lassiters has given her reason to come and go between the US and Australia, meaning that, happily, fans have been regularly kept up to date with her life. She is on-screen to see the show out this week.
Anne Haddy played the original on-screen matriarch of the Robinsons. Helen's daughter Anne had died during childbirth, and in the years that followed she was instrumental in the clan. Star Haddy quit her role due to ill health, and a mutual decision was reached to kill Helen off.
The character then passed away surrounded by friends in 1997, and Neighbours left out the credits for the first time ever as the episode closed.
Actor Paul Keane has been back to revive Des on-screen a number of times since his initial 1990 exit. He was originally married to Daphne and the couple had son Jamie, before Daphne was killed. Des later moved to Perth with new wife Fiona, but the marriage was shortlived.
In 2020, Des wed former flame Jane Harris (Annie Jones), but again, the union didn't last. Des returned to talk things through with Jane, giving her his blessing in her relationship with Clive Gibbons (Geoff Paine) before returning to Perth – but we'll definitely be seeing him again in the finale.
Daphne (Elaine Smith) and Des had a very on-off courtship, but eventually love won out and the couple wed and started a family. Bit when actress Elaine Smith decided to leave Neighbours, it was agreed that a split wouldn't be believable for the viewers. Daphne was seriously injured in a car car crash. She ended up in a coma, later passing away in hospital.
The mother of Des, Eileen was played by Myra De Groot. She was only written in for a week, but the star had a vision to expand the character and took her ideas to the producers. Her initiative worked, and she was given a permanent contract.
After three years on-screen, during which time Eileen was reunited with her estranged husband Malcolm (Noel Travertine) who jilted her on the day of their second wedding, she suffered a nervous breakdown and moved into a rest home. But later, she moved to England where she settled down and remarried. Could we be seeing another Ramsay Street matriarch make a comeback?
Kim (Jenny Young) was first in a relationship with Scott, but when this ended she left. When Scott and other fellow residents found her, she revealed she was pregnant and hiding out from the father, Brad (Rick Ireland). Brad was planning to sell Kim's baby alongside another, and Kim considered an abortion before being reunited with her parents for support.
After 32 years, Kim returned to Ramsay Street where her sons David (Takaya Honda) and Leo Tanaka (Tim Kano) were now living. They were already convinced the man that brought them up wasn't their dad – and viewers were stunned when Kim revealed that Paul was actually their biological father! Last seen in 2017, could Kim be back to see her sons one last time before Neighbours concludes?
Terry (Maxine Klibingaitis) was another shortlived character who only featured for a few months. She was hired as an assistant to plumber Max, and Terry later embarked on a romance with Paul. She became Paul's first wife, but their marriage was all too brief when Terry's criminal past caught up with her.
Threatened by a man named Charles, Terry shot him dead in self-defence and suggested to Paul that they move away. But when Paul found the gun, he confronted her. Unable to give his wife an alibi, Paul wanted to go to the police, but Terry shot him in the shoulder and fled. The police managed to find her and she was jailed for murder, later taking her own life behind bars.
Douglas (James Condon) was a conman who jilted bride-to-be Helen (Haddy) after borrowing a large sum of money from Jim. But Helen and Madge (Anne Charleston) tracked down Douglas to a hotel and got their own back.
Madge posed as a rich single woman, fooling Douglas into offering to have some diamonds valued for her. But Madge handed him fake diamonds, and in his panic after discovering Helen's private investigator, Douglas gave Madge $50,000. Helen then revealed he had been set up, before leaving him behind for good.
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Neighbours' final episode premieres on Friday 29th July at 9pm, followed by Neighbours: What Happened Next? at 10:05pm and Neighbours: The Stars' Greatest Hits at 11:30pm, on Channel 5. Check out more of our Soaps coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what's on tonight.
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