Welcome back Chloe Buckles, guest reviewing her beloved soap opera, Neighbours for me and in this case she’s selected the late night special! Here are her thoughts…
If you were a solid watcher of Neighbours in the 90’s then Monday evening’s 10pm one-hour special of the UK’s favourite Australian soap was the place to be without a doubt! Nostalgic, with some familiar faces of ex-cast, the show put on its best impression of a movie and encouraged us to get reminiscent of the 1990’s.
We kicked off with a Spice Girls intro instead of the usual opening titles, starting up the full themed 90’s party atmosphere as we headed off into Toadie’s (Ryan Moloney) 21st birthday party, seeing the return of familiar faces Stu Parker (Blair McDonough), Lance Wilkinson (Andrew Bibby) and Stonie Rebecchi (Anthony Engelman) – dressed as Teletubbies, naturally. Toadie won the party of his dreams from Lassiters, and of course the whole neighbourhood was invited! Plus there was an appearance from fan favourites Angie and Big Kev (Lesley Baker and Don Bridges)! There were some excellent costumes, but I enjoyed Paul Robinson’s (Stefan Dennis) “I came as myself in the 90’s” and Gary’s “a man in his 90’s”. The party atmosphere was somewhat disrupted though, by Stu who had a message to give to Toadie from Sindi (Marisa Warington) – the co-conspirator on the whole Andrea/Dee plot a few months back. When Toadie did catch up with Sindi, it was to be told that Andrea is back in town, watching him and wants to speak to him. I can’t imagine Sonya (Eve Morey) is going to be happy about that.
Unless you’ve been under a rock over the last week you won’t have missed the big news that Izzy Hoyland (Natalie Bassingthwaighte) is back in town, and she made her usual dramatic entrance – being knocked over by a car, that Susan (Jackie Woodburne) was driving! Karl (Alan Fletcher) and Susan have been picking at each over and bickering of late, ever since Karl returned from Thailand with a smuggled durian fruit and tried to pass the smell of it off on Susan at customs. Bad move Karl. Since then we’ve watched the couple bicker over the smallest of things and Karl become obsessed with wanting to be involved with a new wing being built at the hospital. In fact, in this episode, he’s cleared out the couple’s retirement fund. Susan is understandably cheesed off! Now, with Izzy’s return, are the couple set to hit to rocks over her, yet again? Izzy definitely manages to cast a spell over Karl in this episode, making him question whether Susan was in a fit state to drive after their disagreement. And it quickly becomes apparent when Izzy’s discussing with daughter Holly (Lucinda Armstrong Hall), that she has a plan up her sleeve involving the Kennedy’s. Izzy is definitely one of those characters you love to hate (or just love!) and having her back on the show is such a treat! As Susan said, “Isabelle has never done anything in her life without an agenda.”
Elsewhere, Tyler (Travis Burns) and Piper (Mavournee Hazel) aren’t in the partying mood with Tyler’s up and coming murder trial and have chosen to spend their last night in the city. Piper quickly confesses to Tyler that she has a plan – to go on the run! This move, to me, seems very out of character for Piper, who until recently was always very independent and unlikely, I think, to be altering her whole future for her boyfriend. But then, perhaps love makes people do silly things! Tyler is reluctant to agree but eventually concedes and the pair put on their (unconvincing) disguises to start their new life together. Elsewhere though, best friend Xanthe (Lilly Van der Meer) has had to admit that the pair are planning to run away and suddenly police helicopters are dispatched and Tyler and Piper are on a dramatic chase, desperate to get away. Tyler jumps a rooftop, telling Piper that she needs to go back to her family. However, Piper isn’t listening and follows him – leaving us all on a literal cliff hanger (or roof hanger). Will Piper manage to hold on? Or is it all over for her?
Overall, this episode left me wanting more – and it’s been a while since I felt that way about Neighbours. A fleeting appearance from newbie Rafael (Coronation Street’s Ryan Thomas) who it looks as though has unfinished business with Paul Robinson (who hasn’t…?) is just another small hook we were given into the up and coming weeks storylines. Personally I can’t wait to see what havoc Izzy is going to play on the Kennedy’s, and if we’ll ever see an end to the Andrea/Dee storyline – I’m still holding out hope that Dee is alive!
You can catch Neighbours at 1.45pm and 5.30pm on Channel 5.
Picture credits: Channel 5