A Neighbours original, Paul Keane remained on the show for the first few years as lovable Des Clarke before he departed in 1990. The character’s son made an appearance in 2003 but Des stayed off-screen until a brief return in 2015.
He has returned since and is coming back again only this time, he is brought back to Erinsborough by Sheila Canning (Colette Mann) who certainly has an agenda for bringing the former owner of Number 28 back to town.
Paul has been chatting to RadioTimes.com about what it was like to return again and how he feels about being part of the most iconic scenes in Neighbours history.
“I knew it was going to be very funny and high energy. I was very excited,” Paul said of the story that saw him working closely with Colette as Sheila has called on him to, inadvertently, help with her plan to reunite with Clive Gibbons (Geoff Paine) who is now in a relationship with Des’s old flame, Jane Harris (Annie Jones).
While Des does not initially know that he is a pawn in Sheila’s game, he certainly has a thing or two to say when he finds out. “They sort of converge on each other and Sheila is forced to reveal her plan, and Des is not happy and lets Sheila know, and just say, Sheila has a bad reaction.” That bad reaction is a suspected heart attack that sees Sheila wind up in the hospital where she once again gets renewed hope that a reunion with Clive could be on the way.
Returning again has seen Paul work alongside several of his former Neighbours cast mates in Geoff, Annie, Stefan and Lucinda Cowden who’s return as Melanie Pearson is linked to this story. “We are all older and wiser, but everyone still has their sense of humour,” Paul said of the reunion. “It has been a lot of fun and I take it as a huge compliment that the characters we play still have a following and fans welcome them back.”
We couldn’t speak to Paul and not ask him about his original stint on the show and the defining moment that was the death of Daphne Clarke (Elaine Smith). It is still one of the most talked-about moments in the history of the show and Paul is delighted that it has resonated with people for so long. “It certainly demonstrated just how invested Neighbours fans are in the characters’ stories and when the drama is heightened like it was with Daphne’s death, the fans commit wholeheartedly. I’m thrilled that it still ranks among those top moments on Neighbours.”
And as for how the show is now compared to back then, it still feels like, mostly, the same place to him. “You have to expect changes in 35 years, be it technology, cast and the style of writing, but the essence of Neighbours is still the same – the connections between characters and that great blend of drama, humour and escapism.